Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Would Sophocles Do?

Remember that Beckett interview with John Humphries on Today a while back? Here's a reminder:
Beckett: Mr Ross' basic thesis is that in some way, there was an assertion that Saddam Hussain was a threat directly to the U.K. You and I are both speaking from memory now but I don't recall that argument being one that was used. It...

Humphries: Sorry, Tony Blair didn't tell us Saddam Hussain was a threat to the United Kingdom?

Beckett: Wait a minute, wait a minute. What was said throughout was that Saddam Hussain was a threat to his region and that he had the intention and the desire to be a threat much more widely...

Humphries: 45 minutes?

Beckett: John, you and I both know that was a statement that was made once and it was thought to be of such little relevance and perhaps people began to quickly think 'I'm not sure about that'. It was never used once in all the debates or questions in the House...

Humphries: It didn't need to be. It was on the public record.

Beckett: Oh come on. No-one thought it was relevant. Nobody thought it was actually a big sweeping statement.
It's still extraordinary.

Anyway, I was just poking around TheyWorkForYou looking for something else when I found this written Q&A from 19th March 2003:
Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to publish amendments to his assessment in the document 'Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction' presented to the House in September 2002 arising from the evidence of UNMOVIC inspectors on Iraqi (a) bases, (b) presidential palaces and (c) uranium imports.

Tony Blair: I have no plans to publish an amended version of the dossier presented in September 2002, the contents of which still accurately reflect our assessment of the position with regard to Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes.
Let's play spot the liar.

If Beckett was telling the truth about the 45 minute claim, if, as she put it, "people began to quickly think 'I'm not sure about that'", the statement by Blair six months later and one day after the war started is totally indefensible.

Perhaps Gilligan was wrong to say that the government "probably knew that the 45 minutes claim was wrong or questionable" when the dossier was released. Perhaps. Beckett certainly appears to have confirmed that the government knew it was questionable before the war started.

And when Nick Robinson* stripped down Blair's waffle today, it laid bare the ridiculous nature of his position. Again.

Iraq is what should have brought Blair down. Here are some clues as to the reasons why it won't.

And here are the dots being joined up beautifully.

The people who attended the largest demonstration in this country's history weren't fooled by Blair's "evidence". To hear various Conservatives, the very people whose job it is to scrutinise the activities of the government, complaining that they'd been being tricked is derisory. They could have listened to Robin Cook but they were too busy cheering Blair on.

And all this in the name of defending democracy.

If the ancient Greek playwright's were still with us today, I don't think they'd be struggling for inspiration.

* I'd like to say a few more things about Nick's post and might do later if time allows.


Andy W said...

The interview with Blair this morning on Radio 4 was cringe worthy even by Blairs standards - there is a true sense of denial.

Think Gilligan was really on the button hence the reaction.

Yes he likes democracy - unless, that is, it is the democratically elected government in Palestine.
The whole episode is a true disgrace.

Really like your blog by the way.

CuriousHamster said...

Denial is right. It really was awful. A particular lowlight was when Humphries pointed out that Iraq had created a new generation of terrorists and Blair started going on and on about how Iraq doesn't justify terrorism. Humphries' occassional interruptions to try to get him to address the actual question were never going to succeed.

It reminded me of an old joke:

Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Fish!

And thank you. Much appreciated.