Hutton's distraction
Date: Monday, February 02 @ 09:33:52 UTC
Topic: Trinidad and Tobago

Newsday Editorial
Trinidad and Tobago

IT WOULD be great, of course, if organs of the media, whether print or electronic, had a monopoly on infallibility, if they were operated by super-humans who, unlike ordinary mortals, were immune to the weakness of making errors and mistakes. Whatever the British Broadcasting Corporation may have done wrong in the episode that led to the suicide of UK scientist David Kelly, it can only confirm the fact that even a world renowned institution such as this cannot always get it right, that like every other news gathering organisation the BBC remains vulnerable to the work of its journalists in the field, how and what they report and comment upon.

For this reason, we can see no compelling reason why two of the top BBC officials, chairman Gavin Davies and Director General Greg Dyke, should resign in the wake of Lord Hutton's findings which were critical of the BBC's handling of reporter Andrew Gilligan's interview with Dr Kelly and which also exonerated the Blair government from charges of "sexing up" the intelligence dossier to justify the UK joining the US in invading Iraq. Neither do we see the need for such an abject and grovelling apology to the Blair government by the BBC, particularly in light of the disagreements which Davies and Dyke and other BBC personnel have expressed about the seemingly one-sided report of Lord Hutton. But, in keeping with the ethical traditions of British public life, both Davies and Dyke have apparently decided to quit because, as one of them has stated, the buck stops with him.

As far as we are concerned, however, this furore over the death of Dr Kelly and the inquiry of Lord Hutton is little more than a passing distraction from the basic, on-going and far more critical issue of PM Blair's fraudulent pretext for joining President Bush in their destructive invation of Iraq. Whether or not he was guilty of "sexing up" the intelligence dossier, the fact is that Blair deceived the British people and, together with Bush, the entire world by insisting that Saddam Hussein had to be toppled since he presented an imminent terrorist threat by his possession of a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction which he could activate in a matter of 45 minutes. After nine months of the US-UK occupation of Iraq, it is now abundantly clear that Saddam had no such arsenal of WMDs and presented no threat whatever to any other country. Over this period of time, David Kay, the US weapons inspector together with a team of 1,400 inspectors have been combing Iraq from top to bottom without finding any such weapons. Eventually, about a week ago, Kay abandoned his assignment giving his final verdict that Saddam's possession of WMDs was pure fiction.

If, in the tradition of a leading democracy, Davies and Dyke stepped down from their BBC positions because they felt the buck stopped with them, do Blair and Bush not recognise similar principles and feel similar compulsions? Should they be allowed to get away with this act of gross deception, with launching a pre-emptive and illegal invasion on another country on a false pretext, by simply blaming their administration's faulty intelligence? Do they not accept the fact that the buck also stops with them? What makes the horror they have inflicted on the Iraqi people even more reprehensible is the fact that they had the opinion of Hans Blitz, the UN weapons inspector and his team who, after searching Iraq for four months with the cooperation of Saddam himself, found no weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the enormity of what they have done in the name of freedom is too much for them to accept. What a tragedy.

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