Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Butler Report

Blair says he acted in good faith. In fact, he says he will take “full responsibility for any mistakes in good faith.” Very big of him. Simon Carr of the Indy supplies the missing part of the sentence: “I take full personal responsibility, so shut up.” Blair: “That issue of good faith should now be at an end,” which Simon Hoggart of the Guardian translates as “Now, will you stop picking on me?”

The Labour spin is that Butler cleared him, and this is simply not true, although god knows he tried. Actually, Butler’s relationship to reality is an exact mirror of Blair’s. Butler says that the “Dodgy Dossier” Blair used to justify going to war went to the “outer limits” of the available intelligence and that it’s language was, ahem, “fuller and firmer” than intel warranted. Most of us would call that deliberate misrepresentation, but not Butler, who himself takes the facts to their outer limits with his claim that there was no “deliberate distortion or culpable negligence.”

The Indy offers this helpful summary of Butler:
The intelligence: flawed
The dossier: dodgy
The 45-minute claim: wrong
Iraq's link to al-Qa'ida: unproven
The public: misled
The case for war: exaggerated
And who was to blame? No one

There are many stories in the major British press. Here’s a good summary.

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