Friday, 27 February 2004
Is there no end for Bliar's misery over intelligence and Iraq? Hopefully and in a word, no. Had he been open and honest about the reasons for war right from the beginning, then more people would have been prepared to believe him now. As it is, there is an air of shabby dishonesty surrounding all his pronouncements on these matters. At lot of debate has gone on regarding whether or not Claire was right to speak out, and most of the papers seem to think that she should have kept quiet. Certainly as a member of the government, she had a duty as part of collective responsibility to say nothing. And at this point it should be noted that as a minister she actually voted for the war. However, on the other side of the coin, she was - like Katharine Gun - a public servant aware of a potentially illegal act, and therefore almost obliged to speak out. So damned if she did and damned if she didn't. And today it comes out that Hans Blix had his mobile phone tapped whenever he was in Iraq. And Richard Butler's phone was tapped as well. So not only did the US and UK undermine the authority of the UN by riding roughshod over resolutions and ignoring diplomatic efforts, but now they appear to have gone further by bugging the UN. If diplomats can't hold discussions in confidence within the portals of the UN, then what hope is there for international trust and cooperation in future. Whether he likes it or not, Tony Blair must accept more responsibility for this state of affairs than George Bush. After all, it was Blair who repeatedly tried to justify the war in terms acceptable to the Labour Party. Had he not raised the profile of intelligence information (and its misuse) then it may very well be that these issues would not have been thrust into the spotlight. The only way forward now is to be open and honest. This should fall under the remit of the Butler Inquiry, but somehow I doubt that it will be anything more than another sanitised whitewashing exercise.