A curious vindication.
Byline: The Register-Guard
Tony Blair Noun 1. Tony Blair - British statesman who became prime minister in 1997 (born in 1953)
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, Blair won a crushing victory over the British Broadcasting Corp. last week. An investigation of an arms specialist's suicide concluded that the prime minister's government had not distorted intelligence reports to bolster its case for war in Iraq, as a BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. report suggested. The chairman of the BBC's board of governors resigned within hours.
It's a strange sort of victory, however, that leaves Blair triumphant but wrong.
For Blair, the vindication is gratifying grat·i·fy
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
2. . But larger questions remain, for people in Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. as well as in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . The intelligence may not have been "sexed up," as the BBC claimed, but whatever its testosterone level, Britain's spies clearly overestimated the Iraqi threat. Twisting intelligence for political purposes is cynical, and invites disaster. Accepting flawed intelligence lacks the sour stench of cynicism, but can lead to an equally disastrous result.
In the runup to the Iraq war Iraq War: see under Persian Gulf Wars.
or Second Persian Gulf War
Brief conflict in 2003 between Iraq and a combined force of troops largely from the U.S. and Great Britain; and a subsequent U.S. , both Blair and President Bush strenuously argued that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or posed a threat to Iraq's neighbors and the world. Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations, where he showed satellite photos and other evidence of continuing weapons programs. Blair's government prepared a summary of British intelligence reports that included a claim that Iraq could deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes.
The BBC carried a report casting doubt on the summary, anonymously quoting a source who was said to have claimed the intelligence data had been "sexed up." The source was later revealed to be David Kelly, a British arms inspector.
Kelly was poorly treated all around. The BBC inflated both his standing as a source and his criticisms of the intelligence summary. The Blair government made Kelly's identity known through investigations of an apparent leak. Kelly committed suicide for reasons that may never be known, but neither the BBC nor his employers had made his life comfortable.
The BBC has now been chastised chas·tise
tr.v. chas·tised, chas·tis·ing, chas·tis·es
1. To punish, as by beating. See Synonyms at punish.
2. To criticize severely; rebuke.
3. Archaic To purify. for its reporting, and for alleging deceit by Blair's government. Yet it is clear that Blair and Bush alike attempted to build the strongest possible argument for war against Iraq, and based this argument on intelligence that subsequently proved faulty. No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. David Kay, the head of the U.S. arms inspection team, now says no such weapons will be found.
Such a fundamental misreading MISREADING, contracts. When a deed is read falsely to an illiterate or blind man, who is a party to it, such false reading amounts to a fraud, because the contract never had the assent of both parties. 5 Co. 19; 6 East, R. 309; Dane's Ab. c. 86, a, 3, Sec. 7; 2 John. R. 404; 12 John. R. of the situation in Iraq - a misreading shared, though not to the same degree, by the intelligence services of France, Germany and Russia - has far-reaching implications. It casts serious doubt on the Bush administration's doctrine of pre-emptive pre·emp·tive or pre-emp·tive
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of preemption.
2. Having or granted by the right of preemption.
a. war. The United States can't claim the right to attack nations judged to be potential aggressors unless it can accurately assess the severity of the threats they present. In the case of Iraq, those assessments proved wide of the mark.
The faulty intelligence about Iraq should also nourish a healthy skepticism about assessments of the capabilities and intentions of other countries whose closed systems make information-gathering difficult. Whether the subject is North Korea or Iran, the Iraq experience shows a need for stronger proof and greater caution.
It's expected that governments will read their intelligence reports honestly, as the investigation concluded that the Blair government had done. But an honest reading of bad intelligence is not good enough.