July 24, 2003
TONY BLAIR 'BESIEGED' BY WMD, KELLY
** The WMD and Kelly
controversies have "eroded public trust" in the Blair government.
** The "tragic
story" of David Kelly has "changed the face of British
** World media agree Blair
is "damaged" and "on the defensive"--but likely to survive.
'The sun prince of British politics living under a shadow'-- "Already weakened by the failure"
to find WMD, British PM Tony Blair faces "a further sagging in trust"
and "the worst crisis of his premiership" following the public
battles between his communications director Alastair Campbell and the BBC over
the "dodgy dossier" on Iraq's WMD and the suicide of the BBC's
purported source, Dr. David Kelly.
"Blair is on the defensive," noted a German daily,
"having to react to political developments out of control." Northern Ireland's pro-Unionist Belfast
Telegraph maintained that Blair "will regret saying that he expects
history to forgive him" for the war in Iraq, adding that he "has only
a shred of his former credibility."
Glasgow's tabloid Daily Record declared that Blair "took
Britain to war on a false premise....
It's not just a question of the government's honesty, it is also about
the PM's judgment."
A 'political sideshow' transformed by tragedy-- "One only had to see Tony Blair's
face" to see the effect of David Kelly's suicide. He looked "genuinely stricken" by
the "destruction of a decent man as part of a political power
game." British papers condemned the
"corrosive influence" of the Blair government's spin
"machine" and the "agenda-setting" mentality of the BBC for
turning "an interesting story" into a "tragedy" and a
crisis that could "do enormous damage" to the government and BBC
alike. Kelly's death "has lifted a
stone on the relentless bullying and manipulation of the news by politicians
and the media," stated the independent Financial Times. The episode, said the center-left Independent,
"illuminates the shoddy way in which politics--even politics that take
this country to war--have been conducted."
The "war" against the BBC "makes it look as if Blair
would crush anyone to preserve his place in history."
Blair may 'win' but will pay 'a high price'-- "You can always tell how big a hole a
prime minister or government is in by the vehemence of their onslaught on the
BBC," judged Britain's left-of-center Guardian. Papers in continental Europe and Iran
speculated that "Blair may yet have to resign." Italy's leftist La Repubblica said Labor
backbenchers would probably "plunge the dagger into the declining
Blair," while centrist La Stampa likened Blair to Richard III and
said he was "moving rapidly from triumph to disaster." One British outlet saw "a strange
alliance of interests" between "the government's enemies" and
Labor leftists eager "to get Gordon Brown in No. 10," and observed
"there is only so much pounding one man can take." Other British papers contended Blair "is
likely to survive the storm." One
analyst wrote in the conservative Times that the public may expect, if
not Blair's resignation, "an act of atonement," possibly including
the removal of Campbell or Defense Minister Geoff Hoon.
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 72 reports from 24 countries, July 19-24, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "What David
Richard Norton-Taylor argued in the left-of-center Guardian
(7/24): "Both the prime minister
and the foreign secretary seized the opportunity to remind us about the
brutality of Saddam's regime.... It was
as though they were mightily relieved that attention had been diverted away
from the increasingly damaging controversy over what weapons of mass
destruction, if any, Iraq possessed when Bush and Blair decided to invade the
country, and from the death of David Kelly in particular. And it was another welcome opportunity to
remind us of the nature of the Saddam regime.... But Dr. Kelly's death will continue to haunt
the government. As a senior adviser to
both the Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office on the threat posed by chemical
and biological weapons [Kelly] had to have access to up-to-date intelligence to
do his job. So when he told journalists
he had misgivings about the government's now largely discredited September
dossier it was extremely significant.
The world, let alone Iraq, would really have been a safer place had
David Kelly been allowed to do his job.
Some people in Downing Street and the MoD have a lot to answer
"BBC Row Is About Power"
Jackie Ashley commented in the left-of-center Guardian
(7/24): "Downing Street insiders,
ministers and backbench MPs are saying privately that No. 10 intends to wreak
vengeance on the BBC, whatever Lord Hutton decides.... This is not a row about journalistic
standards. It is a fight about
power.... The BBC has done what good
journalism ought to do: probing and questioning insistently things that the
government would rather not discuss....
It did not do what some U.S. broadcasters--notably Fox--did, and act as
a patriotic national cheerleader. Fox,
owned by Rupert Murdoch, is what Blair must have fantasized about having on his
side.... If you doubt the influence of
the Murdoch agenda on all this, look at any newsstand. The Murdoch papers have acted as the most
amazingly disciplined attack force on behalf of the government.... Those papers have been intertwined with New
Labour ever since it became clear that Blair would be in Downing Street. Blair wooed them, and from the first Murdoch,
sensing a winner, responded. One day, if
Murdoch gets his way, he will be in a position of terrifying influence over any
future government. So this is a
dangerous time for the BBC."
"The Real Truth...Is That Blair Was Wrong"
Paul Sinclair took this view in the tabloid Daily Record of
Glasgow (Internet version) (7/23): "We will never know for sure what Dr.
David Kelly said to BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan.... Sifting fact from hearsay and spin will be an
almost impossible task.... But let's not
get embroiled in the row over whether the BBC or the Government or Kelly have
lied.... What does still matter is the
core argument of why we went to war with Iraq and, on that, Kelly said some
pretty definite things.... The one claim
of Blair's he didn't rubbish was that Saddam was trying to buy uranium from
Niger to build a nuclear weapon. George
W. Bush and the CIA had already exposed that one as a porkie. So, compare those three points with what the
PM said last September when he unveiled the dossier on which we went to
war.... Don't accuse the Prime Minister
of lying. Let him keep his reputation as
an honest kinda guy, which he jealously guards.
But even if you do that, he was still just wrong. And he took Britain to war on a false
premise.... It is not just a question of
the Government's honesty, it is also about the PM's judgment."
"Labour Should Stop Fighting This Futile
Michael Brown judged in the center-left Independent
(Internet version) (7/23): "The
measured responses of Oliver Letwin for the Tories, and Charles Kennedy for the
Liberal Democrats, suggest that the principal opposition parties are resisting
the temptation to make too much political capital out of recent events and are
willing to give the inquiry [into Dr. Kelly's death] a fair
wind--notwithstanding its regrettably limited remit. They, at least, seem to appreciate...that
this is surely the moment for suspending judgment until the facts are known,
and they have both behaved with appropriate decorum. But what is so extraordinary is how...the
Prime Minister's plea for restraint is being totally undermined by his New
Labour lackeys. Even now they are still
pursuing their futile war with the BBC....
Every time these characters appear in the media they do more damage to
what is left of Mr. Blair's shattered image.
It is beyond comprehension that even reinforcements from the original
Blair spin team...have been pressed back into service--giving the clear
impression that this campaign of vilification of the BBC is being conducted
with Mr. Blair's tacit approval."
"Government Should Not Assume That It's
Over The Worst"
Donald Macintyre took this view in the center-left Independent
(Internet version) (7/22): "It is
no disrespect to Lord Hutton, an eminent judge, to say that an important part
of the Blair recovery was to call an inquiry and then give him a very narrow
remit. He isn't supposed to reopen the
whole question of the basis of the war in Iraq, or even of the intelligence
used to justify it.... What is less easy
for Lord Hutton to ask is some of the much bigger questions: whether, even with
the imprimatur of the Joint Intelligence Committee, the use of intelligence,
all of it no doubt genuine but some of it no doubt fallible, as part of a
propaganda effort was wise, right and in the interests of the intelligence
services themselves; and whether Downing Street exceeded its duties as a
client, and some of those at the top of the intelligence services their duties
as the provider in acceding to this exercise.... Mr. Blair--even if others don't--may yet
'win' on the narrow issues being examined by Lord Hutton. But the much bigger question of whether we
had the justification for going to war in Iraq won't be [answered]; and that
question has as much to do with Mr. Blair's long-term reputation as the tragic
death of a public servant who failed, in the end, to satisfy either of two
organizations seeking to exploit him in a conflict with each other."
"The Truth About Dr. Kelly"
The conservative Daily Telegraph commented (7/22): "Lord Hutton [leading the judicial
inquiry into the death of Dr. Kelly] has wasted no time in asserting the
independence of his judicial inquiry into the circumstances that led Dr. David
Kelly to take his own life. Oliver
Letwin [conservative MP] was untypically partisan when he demanded yesterday
that Lord Hutton's terms of reference should include information policy before,
during and since the Iraq war. Such a
wide-ranging investigation would keep ministers on the rack for years before it
reported, which is doubtless why the Tories would like it. The Government, of which Alastair Campbell is
Director of Communications and Strategy, is still seeking to divert attention
away from his machinations; but he and his minions remain the prime
suspects. The more we learn about how
Dr. Kelly's name was released by the Ministry of Defense, the more evident is
the corrosive influence on Whitehall of the Campbell machine. As for the BBC: Mr. Gilligan and his bosses
have come to symbolize the corporate triumphalism that so infuriates the license-paying
public. BBC journalism exhibits the same
'agenda-setting' mentality, the same lack of objectivity, as the Campbell
machine, with which it enjoys something close to symbiosis. The BBC's bias against the war led it into
grotesque distortion of reality."
"Don't Attack The BBC -- You Can't Win"
John Tusa, managing director of the Barbican Center and former
managing director of BBC World Service, commented in the left-of-center Guardian
(7/22): "You can always tell how
big a hole a prime minister or government is in by the vehemence of their
onslaught on the BBC. Judging by the
passion now being aimed at the corporation, from the chairman, Gavyn Davies,
downwards, the government feels it is in a bigger hole than it dares to admit
even to itself. As a displacement
activity, a diversion from finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it
can't be beaten. But a quick look back
at similar instances of attacking the usual scapegoats suggests that the policy
An editorial in the conservative Times argued (7/22): "The tragic death of Dr. David Kelly has
exposed serious institutional failings within the BBC and Whitehall. If the original crime was a misdemeanor, the mishandling
of it has become a serious offense. Lord
Hutton needs to throw the net of his inquiry wide enough to consider the flaws
in these important institutions which have a direct and profound responsibility
to the public. It must be remembered
that many of the great scandals of our time (Watergate, etc.) were made
institutionally important not because of the original crime, but because of the
cover-up. The focus of public attention
on whether the Government 'sexed up' intelligence to lead the country into war
has been a serious distraction from a more important debate about the quality
of the intelligence gathered before the conflict and the assiduousness of the
government analysis of that intelligence."
"Blair At Bay"
The independent Financial Times observed (7/22): "Tony Blair is feted in Washington,
Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. But the prime
minister's world tour is blighted by events back in Britain. The suicide of a former United Nations
weapons inspector has eroded public trust in a government already weakened by
the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Mr. Blair is likely to survive the storm but
several high-profile casualties could follow.
Mr. Blair's difficulty is that trust in New Labour has been slowly
ebbing since it won the 1997 general election.
Its obsession with presentation of policy rather than substance meant
the public increasingly viewed its announcements with skepticism.... So in a clash between the BBC and Downing
Street, the public tended to side with the broadcaster. Mr. Blair is unlikely to be singled out for
blame, though Alastair Campbell, his director of communications, is expected to
move on when the inquiry is over. But
the death of Mr. Kelly has led to a further sagging in trust in Mr. Blair's
"The Arrogance Of Power"
Anthony Howard opined in the conservative Times (Internet
version) (7/22): " It was, I think, Senator J. William Fulbright who
coined the phrase 'the arrogance of power.'
The Blair Government strikes me as having fallen victim to it at least
as catastrophically as most of its predecessors (although Margaret Thatcher was
not immune to it--witness her handling of the Westland affair of 1986, after
which it was rapidly downhill all the way).
Only one thing seems likely to prevent the present Government from
meeting the same sort of fate. What the
public now expects is an effort at expiation or, to put it more theologically,
an act of atonement. Whether that comes
in the shape of the departure from No 10 of Alastair Campbell, the removal of
Geoff Hoon from the Ministry of Defense or (however unfairly) the enforced
retirement of Gavyn Davies from the Chairmanship of the BBC may not much
matter. What is important, in the wake
of the waste of Kelly’s life, is that something is done to save British public
life from looking like a playground for bully boys."
"Gunning For The BBC"
The left-of-center Guardian took this view (Internet
version) (7/22): "Anyone reading
the newspapers over the past few days might well conclude that London does not
lag far behind Washington in its playful appetite for destroying people. Within 24 hours of the discovery of David
Kelly's body a shortlist of politicians and spin doctors was on the butcher's
block. By yesterday morning sharpened
stilettos were out for assorted BBC reporters, functionaries and
panjandrums. So much for Tony Blair's
call for restraint and respect. Not that
Mr. Blair can complain when the anti-BBC pack has been vociferously cheered on
by his closest confidant and adviser, Peter Mandelson.... It is worth reminding ourselves that, in any
rational political culture, who said what to whom at the BBC would be a matter
of small importance in the overall scheme of things.... But we are where we are. An interesting story--broadly true, if (one
suspects) a trifle embellished and embroidered at the edges--has become the
cause of the greatest crisis in relations between government and BBC in at
least a generation, with the further capacity to do both parties enormous
"Hand Of History May Not Rest Lightly On Bumptious
Malachi O'Doherty commented in the moderate, pro-unionist Belfast
Telegraph (Internet version) (7/21):
"Tony Blair will regret saying that he expects history to forgive
him for invading Iraq. The remark too
easily tempts the reminder that a politician's job is to seek approval in the
present, not in the future.... There was
never a greater need for American power, he said, and never a time when that
power was more misunderstood. That is
not what most people here feel. They are
still trying to get their heads round the fear that this man led them into a
war on false pretenses.... At home, the
Prime Minister has only a shred of his former credibility.... There was one simple reason for the war given
to us: Saddam had weapons of mass destruction with which he could attack British
interests.... Blair will reason that it
was good to remove a tyrant--but there are plenty of other tyrants about whom
he is silent. If George Bush decided to
pick on one of those tyrants tomorrow, Blair would be on board, of course, but
it is very doubtful that the British people would. He will not pull that stunt again.... Tony Blair [faces] a stunned Britain which
fears that he is implicated in the apparent suicide of David Kelly.... The idiocy, in purely British party political
terms, of his conduct in the U.S. is already eclipsed by a crisis that may
unseat him.... We know...that Downing
Street went to war on the BBC...as a means of defending Tony Blair against
closer scrutiny. All of that makes it
look as if Blair would crush anyone to preserve his place in history. And, perhaps, that is the sort of man he will
be remembered as."
"Spinning Out Of Control"
Jackie Ashley argued in the left-of-center Guardian
(7/21): "The hysterical headlines
only get wilder. There's blood on
Blair's hands, or the BBC's journalism killed him, or this is the New Labour
Watergate. To call for calm now is like
pressing the case for a vegan diet on the wolfpack. And Tony Blair too, at first, looked
genuinely stricken on his overseas visit, as he confirmed he would give
evidence to the inquiry. Yet elsewhere
the reaction was to carry on with the argument about the alleged 'sexing up' of
intelligence, as if Dr. Kelly was merely a grammatical pause. The government's enemies, now led by
Associated Newspapers, have accused its spin-politics of having killed Dr.
Kelly. Some are calling for Blair to
resign, some for Alastair Campbell, some for Geoff Hoon. [The opposition parties] think they could get
[Director of Communications for PM Blair] Campbell out, which would weaken
Blair. Their agenda is--like that of
many Labour leftists--to get Gordon Brown into No. 10 because they think he
would be hugely unpopular in middle Britain.
We have a strange alliance of interests.
The attacks on the BBC have been led by two groups--Rupert Murdoch's
newspapers and New Labour spin-doctors--which have been closely intertwined in
recent years. The covert Murdoch message
is clear enough: Tony, we are your real, reliable supporters, not the dodgy
lefties of the BBC.... The more the
government clips the wings of the corporation, the better for Murdoch. His papers are in attack mode. And here's something else to reflect on:
while Dr. Kelly's death is tragic, several thousand Iraqi civilians have been
killed by the war on Iraq which, we were told, was to disarm Saddam Hussein of
his weapons of mass destruction. Those
weapons, and the 'imminent threat' they were said to pose, remain as elusive as
"An Uncertain Ending For Blair's Role"
Peter Preston wrote in the left-of-center Guardian
(7/21): "What's happened? Why has 'best' turned to 'worst'?... From beginning to end, this is all about the
war. Did we win? Yes, mum: easily. Did hundreds of thousands die? Some thousands, yes--but far below many
forecasts. Is Saddam gone? As far as we can tell. And did he use his weapons of mass
destruction on our boys? No, mum: he
doesn't seem to have had any. You can
say, of course, that some people were keen on the war and some weren't, and
that hindsight and self-justification always rule, OK. You can say George Bush is a demon-dunce of a
figure here, an oily ogre. You can say
that intelligence--mainstream or confected--has been playing its usual miasmic
game. You can stress the great
unknowns--why Campbell went ape with the BBC, why Dr. David Kelly talked to so
many journalists quite so commodiously, what misty circumstances contrived to
turn a bad situation tragic. But you
still can't make everything fit. [Tony
Blair] is, in short, not a man without conviction--but one unhinged and perhaps
undone by conviction. It may be that,
some unexpected day soon, he'll be gone.
There's only so much pounding one man can take. Bush is sinking fast in the polls.... The bloody nightmare of attacks in Iraq goes
on and on. Political truth and political
"Spin And The BBC Are To Blame"
Martin Wolf commented in the independent Financial Times
(7/21): "The suicide of a civil
servant has transformed a dispute between the government and the BBC into a
tragedy. It has turned what was still
largely one of those 'who did what, to whom and when' Westminster stories into
one comprehensible, in the starkest terms, to everybody. In so doing, it has lifted a stone on the
relentless bullying and manipulation of the news by politicians and the
media. Some have even argued that the
prime minister should now resign. While
that reaction shows how unpopular he has become in some circles, it makes no
sense unless Lord Hutton's inquiry discovers something unexpected. The prime minister cannot be held personally
responsible for this tragedy. Yet he and
the government are also damaged. They
have made at least two grave errors....
The long-standing error is their determination to control the news
agenda.... The second error was in the
justification of the war on Iraq. It was
almost certainly a mistake to rely so heavily on the existence of illegal
weapons of mass destruction, and so on intelligence assessments. It was also a grave mistake, in pursuing the
BBC, to throw Mr. Kelly to the wolves.
What remains unclear is how heavily it--and the BBC--will pay. "
The conservative Times editorialized (Internet version)
(7/21): "The tragic story of Dr.
David Kelly is one of institutional failing and individual frailty.... His tragedy was to be caught between two of
Britain’s most powerful institutions, Downing Street and the BBC, whose egocentric
desire for vindication has distorted their sense of proportion, of honor and of
integrity. Some tough questions must now
be asked about how institutional Britain could have handled more honorably a
situation that went so terribly wrong.
It is still not clear why the BBC turned understandable questions about
the veracity of reports by one of its senior journalists into an issue of
fundamental principle.... It was
reasonable for the BBC to withhold the name of the main source, but it was
clearly unreasonable to hide behind that principle and not shed more light on
the accuracy of the report itself....
The Government also has hard questions to answer. How and why was Dr. Kelly’s name made public
in the first place?... It is worth
emphasizing that Dr. Kelly had no doubt that Saddam Hussein had the intent and
expertise to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction. His concern was whether the nature of this
program was correctly represented and his personal mission was to return to
Iraq to find evidence of those weapons.
Dr. Kelly was unusually open for a government adviser. The institutions which have so mishandled the
human dimension of this story must now be as willing as he was to volunteer the
"A Decent Man Caught Up In Someone Else's War"
William Rees-Mogg commented in the conservative Times
(Internet version) (7/21): "One
only had to see Tony Blair’s face as he walked off the aircraft in Tokyo to
know that the death of David Kelly has changed British politics. It is one of those events which mark an era,
or perhaps the ending of an era. It is a
personal tragedy...but it is also an event which ought not to have happened,
the destruction of a decent man as part of a political power game. It is not merely a political event, it is a
moral event, and it has made people feel not only sad, but ashamed."
"A Casualty Of Our Disdain For Truth"
The left-of-center Observer editorialized
(Internet version) (7/20): "The
tragic death of [David Kelly]...has thrown an unforgiving light on the unedifying
power struggles that have engaged Downing Street, the BBC, Parliament and the
press for the past few week.... The
events leading to Dr. Kelly being called to give evidence deserve close
scrutiny, as does the wider question of the use made of scientific and
intelligence material in putting the Government's case for war. But the inquiry must also examine the
behavior of all the protagonists.... A
judge-led inquiry which looked at such questions could bring a much-needed calm
to this overheated debate of recent weeks.
Maybe it could even create an environment in which it is possible to
discover the truth. That, after all, was
what Dr. Kelly was seeking to bring into the public domain. It is a tragedy that he became a casualty of
our preference for hysteria over calm examination of facts."
"The Danse Macabre"
The conservative Telegraph held (Internet
version) (7/21): "What we have seen
in all this is a danse macabre. The
dancers are the spin doctors...whose penchant for bullying and exaggeration have
so undermined trust in government policy, and those journalists and
politicians...who always opposed the war with Iraq and are desperate for
anything they can find to discredit it.
By pretending that the second dossier on Iraq's WMD was an intelligence
document rather than a compilation of material...[Alastair] Campbell gave the
critics the break they sought. They
seized it gleefully, shouting that Britain went to war with Iraq 'based on a
lie'.... The majority, who, in the end,
strongly supported the war, are now being told that they were fooled. This is not the case. It is true that Mr. Blair misled the House
about the nature of the second dossier, but it is not true that his case ever
depended on that dossier, or even on intelligence evidence that Saddam had WMD
ready to use.... How nice for the BBC if
New Labour spin now allows it to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. How dreadful for the nation."
"The Prime Minister In The Dock"
The center-left Independent judged
(7/20): "A political sideshow has
resulted in a tragic death, a death which now overshadows this government, yet
also illuminates the shoddy way in which politics--even politics that take this
country to war--has been conducted in recent months. For nearly a fortnight Dr. David Kelly, a
Ministry of Defense scientific adviser, was forced into the spotlight at
Westminster, as the Government and the BBC battled over who was the source of a
story reported on the Today program.
This should have been a peripheral issue, yet Dr. Kelly became the
victim of the full familiar repertoire of British politics--spin, counter-spin,
posturing by minor politicians, intolerable pressure from an intrusive
FRANCE: "Blood On
Jean-Paul Pierot editorialized in communist l’Humanite
(7/21): “Beyond the human tragedy, the
death of a former specialist in the disarmament of chemical and bacteriological
weapons is extremely symbolic. The tug
of war at the UNSC that lasted several weeks between the U.S. and Great Britain
on one side and France, Germany and Russia on the other was based precisely on
the inspections.... No doubt David Kelly
believed that his carefully researched information would be used well and
honestly...a tragic illusion. War had
already been decided, the justifications simply needed to be embellished. Lacking any concrete evidence, American and
British leaders undertook a headlong race based on lies. When will Bush and Blair pay the political
"Collateral Damage For Bush"
Fabrice Rousselot wrote in left-of-center Liberation
(7/21): “If the death of David Kelly is
a political time bomb for Tony Blair, it is no less so for George Bush."
GERMANY: "Sun Prince
Under A Shadow"
Gerd Appenzeller observed in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (7/23): “Except for David Kelly,
everyone involved in the current crisis--media advisor Campbell, BBC reporter
Gilligan, several members of the House of Commons and the Defense
Ministry--shares the responsibility for the current debate over credibility and
lies. Tony Blair, the sun prince of
British politics, is suddenly living under a shadow. It looks as if the British prime minister
combines charisma with a brutal instinct for preserving power.... The British legal system is beyond
reproach, and Judge Hutton will lead an independent investigation.”
Lutz Meier maintained in business daily Financial Times
Deutschland of Hamburg (7/23):
"However serious the BBC’s mistakes may be in the end--they do not
justify the attacks currently being led against the publicly financed
broadcasting system. Politicians and the
media are trying to force the BBC to display more ‘balance’ in its
reporting. Their goal is clear--the journalists
are supposed to be friendlier in their dealings with politicians. In the end, such a development leads to
information programs assisting the establishment.... Even before the Kelly affair, the Labor
administration had a hard time accepting the BBC’s critical stance, especially
since the BBC’s General Director Greg Dyke and its Chairman Gavyn Davis are
known as Labour supporters.... Over the
past few days, the BBC has delivered neutral reports on the Kelly affair; it
allowed all sides a say in the debate and that is precisely what one expects
from a journalistic role model."
"Blair Under Pressure"
Guenter Nonnenmacher judged in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/21): "The suicide
of David Kelly...looks like the tragic counterpoint to the rhetorical
contortions with which Prime Minister Blair has tried to distance himself from
his original justification for the Iraq war over the past few days.... As long as no weapons of mass destruction are
found in Iraq, Blair has to live with the accusation of having lied to the
House of Commons--knowingly...or unknowingly.
Over the past few years, Blair has lost a number of advisors, all of
whom were guilty of unscrupulous behavior and lies. The question is whether these were mistakes
made by individuals or whether such behavior is an integral part of the ‘Blair
"David Kelly's Legacy"
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich opined
(7/21): "The 45-minute period [for
Iraq to prepare WMD for launch] is only a minor mosaic among all the
'information' and measures with which the British government got the British
and the world in the right mood for the war....
.And it is not important whether Blair's aide and press chief Campbell
ordered making the WMD dossier 'sexier,' whether the British intelligence
services were fully credible or the war was justified for different
reasons. The question is how a
government that wants to wage war is allowed to go to get the support of the
population, and when it must accept accusations of warmongering. The British
Defense Ministry wanted to distract attention from this issue when it tried to
use Kelly as a kind of deceptive shell."
Thomas Kielinger noted in a front-page editorial in
right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (7/21): "The problems in Iraq and the debate
over allegedly falsified intelligence reports are threatening to destroy
whatever credibility Blair has left after six years in office. After David Kelly’s tragic suicide, Blair is
now paying the price for not justifying the Iraq war with the one reason that
mostly legitimized the intervention: Saddam’s refusal to obey all UN
resolutions since 1991. The question of
whether Iraq owned weapons of mass destruction had never been answered
Karl Grobe argued in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(7/21): "British weapons expert
David Kelly was driven to commit suicide by the disloyalty of his employer, the
British Defense Ministry.... But this is
not the greatest of London scandals....
The real scandal is the government's treatment of an alleged truth that
can no longer be maintained. It is
searching for traitors instead of trying to straighten facts. It has, at the expense of a human life, tried
to prove its absolute loyalty to the Bush government by negligently using shady
intelligence information.... The
honorable messieurs Blair, Hoon, and some others should quickly offer their
jobs to avoid an even greater damage for Britain."
"Blair As Moral Loser"
Frank Herold stated in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (7/21): "The death of
weapons expert David Kelly is cutting the ground from under Tony Blair's feet
in the controversy over the reasons for war.
The question is not whether blood sticks to his hands. But what kind of higher morality are we
talking about when it is based on manipulation of the truth and open lies? And what goals can be morally justified if an
embarrassing witness is denounced first and then driven to commit suicide? Blair will have to answer these questions
when he will be back from Asia. We can
understand that he does not hurry up to do this. But the play for time will not save
"Summer Of Displeasure"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
observed (7/21): “For the first time in
years, Blair is on the defensive, having to react to political developments out
of his control. The circle of his most
loyal supporters, the ‘Blairites,’ has shrunk significantly over the past few
months.... The real danger for Blair
does not come from the opposition, but from his own party...which will likely
begin to ask whether Blair has not turned from an asset into a liability.”
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger maintained in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/20): “For now, Blair
has done the right thing by appointing an investigative committee. If the committee comes to the conclusion that
intelligence reports were manipulated, Blair will be a lonely man. Many could lose their jobs in such a situation,
not only the prime minister’s closest advisor Campbell. Even a full-scale rebellion against Blair
would be possible then.... Blair
defended the U.S.-British war alliance against all accusations and preached to
his European partners about the dangers of today’s world. He did not invent these dangers; they do
exist. Nevertheless, a question of war
or peace must never be decided by manipulation.”
ITALY: "Blair in
Check: Everyone a Loser"
Alessio Altichieri contended in leading, centrist Corriere
della Sera (7/20): "Who is
going to pay the price? For the time
being there is a tragic sense of pain, of human compassion, and of pity for
this innocent man of science who, caught up in a political crisis much bigger
than him, has allowed himself to slowly bleed to death.... But we should be under no illusion: Pity does not get you anywhere in politics,
thus David Kelly's corpse is going to become a weapon in the war which, after
the battle for Iraq, is now being fought between the governments and
grass-roots opinion.... And we should
note that whoever wins the clash over Kelly's death will win also the verdict
on the war with Saddam, whatever the history books may have to say about
it.... Whichever way things go there are
going to be two losers, because in the firmament of symbols, the constellation
from which we interpret the meaning of events, David Kelly's suicide carries
greater weight than the death of hundreds or thousands of soldiers, whether
Iraqi or Western. Kelly is the victim
who shows us the unsustainable cost of politics when it clashes with the simple
truth of a man."
"Weavers Of Lies"
Barbara Spinelli judged in centrist, influential
La Stampa (7/20): "The
British call them spin doctors...spinners of tales, of fabrications, of lies
designed to protect politicians, to manipulate parliaments, and to confound
public opinion. It is into a web of that
nature that David Kelly...fell. And the
web has finally killed him, after using him as a decoy first and then as a
scapegoat. The honest civil servant has
paid for all the politicians who made mistakes and who lied about Iraq.... Here we have a prime minister moving rapidly
from triumph to disaster: Like Richard
III, he is roaming around the smoking battlefield and clinging madly to the idea
of a horse that could still save him. In
Blair's case that horse was Kelly, and that is why we are not looking at a Le
Carre-style thriller but at a true story with tragic overtones. It is the story of a politician who, in his
fiasco, shows no hesitation in pushing servants of the state over the edge of
the cliff in order to avoid falling over it himself.... Blair told the U.S. Congress that history
will forgive those who waged a war without being capable of explaining to the
troops how to end it; and that it will forgive the spin doctors who wove their
lies without finding the weapons over which they had spread so much fear. Who can say whether it will forgive also
those who pushed David Kelly to his death, or to expose his flank to death,
rather than living in such a world."
"The Latest Mystery Troubling London"
Guido Rampoldi wrote in leftist, influential La Repubblica
(Internet version) (7/19): " The
death of David Kelly, for what it drags along with it, is not just a British
mystery: it is an event that calls into question the way of being of the West
and its most precious possession, democracy....
First the defense minister, then Blair, turned him into the lead actor
in an event much larger than he, or perhaps into a scapegoat. But now Kelly is dead, and that changes
things. Probably, the opposition and the
rebels in Labour, over a third of the party, will use such a favorable occasion
to plunge the dagger into the declining Blair.
Neither the public in the opinion polls nor the British Parliament in
the verdict of its Foreign Relations Committee had so far been able to cast
doubt on the prime minister's good faith.
It was accepted that he had somewhat emphasized the indications that had
come to him from his secret services about Saddam's weapons; but they conceded
he had acted without malice, in any case in the conviction of protecting the
national interest. Now this presumption
of innocence could be revoked. The death
of Kelly seems to change the perspective, because it points to a lack of
transparency in the government's actions and methods of building the consensus
that touch on manipulation."
"The Iraqi Virus"
Aleksandr Morozov held in reformist youth-oriented Moskovskiy
Komsomolets (7/22): "Silence is
not the best defense. Never before has
Tony Blair been so close to a political collapse. The first time he was in danger of having to
resign was during preparations for the invasion of Iraq. London's unconditional support for the United
States' war plans led to a serious crisis and a split in NATO and the UN. Blair was a key figure in that crisis and an
architect of the Anglo-American alliance.
He survived that time. The war in
Iraq turned into a Blitzkrieg for the coalition. Lifted high on the crest of a victorious
wave, Blair then saw his luck change sharply when no weapons of mass
destruction were found in Iraq. To
Russia, Blair's departure would mean an end to well-established diplomatic ties
between the heads of state.... As Bush
has been affected by the non-existent Iraqi nukes of Nigerien origin, Tony
Blair has been hit by non-existent Iraqi germs."
"Blair's Worst Crisis"
Georgiy Stepanov commented on the front page of reformist Izvestiya
(7/21): "Tony Blair faces the worst
crisis of his premiership. It is not
even a scandal. It is a disaster for the
Labor government.... Tony Blair has
called it a 'terrible tragedy,' but who cares what he says now?"
"Stained With Blood"
Reformist Vremya Novostey judged (7/21): "The British Prime Minister's official
record has been stained, if indirectly, with that man's blood."
"No Reason To Blame Blair Personally"
Boris Volkhonskiy stated in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(7/21): "Ironically, there is
really no reason to blame Tony Blair personally. If anyone has to answer for that, the BBC
does because it set up its informer. But
who cares about someone's guilt in the virtual world created by BBC and other
television and radio giants? The British
Prime Minister, so it seems, has some bills to pay which he, in effect,
committed himself to pay when he embarked on public politics and which have
snowballed ever since he backed the United States on Iraq. That Blair is also a fine fellow, husband and
father means nothing under the circumstances."
Pride Had To Have A Fall"
Foreign affairs writer Markus Bernath noted in liberal daily Der
Standard (7/21): “David Kelly’s
suicide has hit the British Prime Minister in his favorite spot--that of
political morals. The scientist’s death
not only questions the content of the British government reports on the danger
of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but also the unscrupulousness with which the
Blair administration enforced this war....
Biologist David Kelly was a victim of the political opacity of the
manipulation of the spin doctors, which has become a political art since the
beginning of the New Labour government in 1997, not only in Britain, but also
in other parts of Europe. It is the spin
doctors who determine public issues and push their ‘messages’ through the media
with a force that is supposed to guarantee good survey results and eliminate
uncomfortable questions. Because what
mustn’t be, cannot be, the British government has never wanted to doubt its
representation of the danger of Iraq; because what cannot be, mustn’t be, the
BBC wanted to prove the opposite at any cost and vindicate the allegedly duped
public. Kelly got caught between the two
fronts. It is unlikely that anybody will
forgive his death, not even history.”
BELGIUM: "The Sordid
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn judged in conservative
Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (7/22): “Weapons expert David Kelly’s suicide may be
a decisive turning point in Tony Blair’s Prime Ministry. It is certainly the worst news that he has
had to swallow since long. Blair will
probably be able to ignore the demand for resignation without much
problem. The Labour Party’s majority is
still decisive. But, the sordid affair
is not over yet.... Most people are
certain that Blair and his people exaggerated the danger posed by Saddam. That may now turn against them. And, that is not the end of Blair’s problems. As the American and British troops become
more and more entangled in the Iraqi hornets’ nest, dissatisfaction among the
people is also growing. In the meantime,
not a trace of the weapons of mass destruction has been found--the motive for
the war in Iraq.... The death of David
Kelly is a sad episode in itself. Above
all, it seems to confirm that there are no winners in the Iraq war. The initial winners may become the biggest
losers of all.”
"A Morass Of Semi-Truths And Exaggerations"
Foreign affairs writer Marc Van de Weyer observed in conservative
Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (7/23): "Where are the weapons of mass
destruction that made the war inevitable as Bush and Blair said? Did they lie to sell the war to the unwilling
public opinion? Why are Americans still
being killed in liberated Iraq while the expectation was that there would only
be cheering? These questions will be
repeated until a credible and full answer is given.... The road to Iraq ran through a morass of
semi-truths and exaggerations. For one
man, that morass was lethal: British weapons expert David Kelly--a personal
tragedy for which we will never know the real reasons. But, it is no secret that his death has
everything to do with the way in which Saddam’s threat was described and
Kelly’s information was manipulated....
Kelly’s death has one positive consequence. The British government has realized that only
a parliamentary investigation...is the proper thing to do now that a gentle man
lost his life in the war for credibility."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "The
Kelly Case And Democracy"
Pavel Verner observed in the center-left Pravo (7/22): "Tony Blair said that history will prove
he was right which is quite probable. If
the British government had resorted...to a similar 'merciful lie' at the onset
of Hitler’s regime...maybe millions of lives would have been saved.... But was this lie really worth it, would not
other proof have done the same job?...
And why should Blair’s colleagues risk the downfall of their charismatic
leader?... We Czechs are used to much
more blatant lies, which not only do not cost the culprits anything, least of
all their positions.... Not even if
history does indeed prove that the war against Iraq was justifiable should
lying be the political norm."
"Both Cabinet And Media Failed In Kelly Affair"
Adam Cerny stated in the leading business Hospodarske noviny
(7/22): "The death of...David Kelly
means that neither the media nor the government can carry on behaving the way
they used to.... The tragedy was caused
by...an important political clash of the two conducted in the media.... Blair...has been repeating that...the war in
Iraq was necessary. Many
journalists--and those from the BBC especially--on the contrary point out that
there are holes in the cabinet's reasoning....
Blair has...two years to the next election.... He needs evidence that his conduct was proper
and justified.... He may succeed but it
will cost the departure of two ministers....
The BBC now is mainly concerned that the 'Kelly affair' will not turn
into a 'BBC affair' that would cast doubts on the professional approach of its
employees.... Disputes between the media
and the government are often very sharp....
The tragedy of [this fight] is that a third party became a victim.... Kelly’s mistake was that when he decided to
share his doubts [with a reporter], he was unable to foresee the
DENMARK: "Iraq Could
Topple Both Bush And Blair"
Center-right Jyllands-Posten commented (7/22): “Bush and Blair were originally marketed as
honest, young leaders.... Today, both
men are in such difficulties that Blair may have to resign and Bush looks
unlikely to win the next election.”
"Focus Must Remain On Motivation For War"
Center-left Politiken editorialized (7/22): “The media interest in Kelly’s suicide must
not be allowed to cloud the real issue:
What was the basis on which the British Prime Minister was able to
obtain backing for military intervention in Iraq?”
HUNGARY: "In The
Senior columnist Endre Aczel observed in leading Nepszabadsag
(7/22): ”British Prime Minister Tony
Blair received a repeated ovation in the U.S. Congress, where he said that he
believed ‘with his full nerves’ and ‘was fully convinced’ that the war [with
Iraq] was legitimate. As American
‘left-wing liberal’ writers pointed out one of the reasons why Tony Blair
received the open ovation in the U.S. is that President Bush’s America becomes
less and less sensitive and responsive to the lies and immoralities that
surround the justification of the war.
It may well be [the case]. But
only an independent investigation alone can acquit Tony Blair of the unspoken
charge that he threw Dr. Kelly at the mercy of a scrutinizing parliamentary
committee (and by doing so he caused, even if indirectly, the death of a
confidante expert, instead of protecting him). The applause of the Bush
[administration] won’t help here any more.”
"Fated To Fall?"
London correspondent Laszlo Jotischky commented in right wing
conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet (7/21): "Former British Prime Minister, Harold
Wilson said once that ‘one week is a long time in history’. His successor, Tony Blair is today the proof
that not seven days but seven hours is enough to turn a politician’s world
completely upside down. David Kelly is
viewed by the press and the public [in Great Britain] as an innocent victim of
an embittered and in many aspects cynical bickering between the BBC and the
The centrist Sunday Tribune editorialized (7/20): "It is still too early to judge what the
final outcome will be for the prime minister.... Whether he goes or not, Blair will have paid
a high price for his determination to go to war with George Bush.... The tragedy is that Blair did not realize the
power he had. If he had stood up to the
war mongers in Washington and refused to lend his support to the war the
Americans would have been totally isolated.
That does not mean they would still not have gone to war, but they would
not have had the cover of respectability for their actions.... In Ireland although a sizable majority
opposed the war there was a lot of sympathy for the British prime minister and
a generally benign interpretation of what he was trying to do.... The departure of the prime minister would be
a tragedy but a tragedy of his own making.”
"Blair Reputation On The Line"
The center-left Irish Times argued (7/19): “Mr. Tony Blair has chosen to make his
country's close relations with the United States the main feature of his
foreign policy, in many respects the defining aspect of his prime
ministership.... Just how acutely Mr.
Blair's reputation is on the line domestically over the issue was confirmed by
the death yesterday of Dr. David Kelly....
The intelligence sources and their reliability are at the center of the
difficulties faced by the U.S. and British governments in justifying the
decision to go to war. Reports alleging
that Iraq attempted to purchase from Niger uranium to make nuclear weapons were
forged but were nevertheless used by both Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush to demonstrate
the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime....
It has been said perceptively that whereas U.S. leaders and people
believe themselves to be at war following the terrorist attacks on New York and
Washington on September 11th 2001, Europeans have no such feeling of
threat. That psychological difference
goes far to explain their differing approach towards the war in Iraq.... His warning that transatlantic relations must
be multilateral not competitive and his call for the U.S. to listen to and not
command its European partners are well taken.
Unless relations are conducted on an equal footing reflecting their
changing status they will drift apart.
If the U.S. wants greater European involvement in stabilizing Iraq it
must be ready to pay the political price of giving the UN much greater
authority there. Mr. Blair's
international standing depends on recognizing this reality.”
"Blair On The Rack"
The center-right Irish Independent judged (7/19): "It is said that we all have strength
enough to endure the misfortune of others.
But it's hard not to wince on witnessing the gaunt and hunted figure
Tony Blair is becoming.... Going to war
is always dangerous, doing so without the evidence to justify it may prove a
fatal miscalculation. It is still
impossible to understand why one of the most pragmatic and strategic political
thinkers on the planet risked so much on the one play. It was as if having rolled the dice so often,
only to see lady luck smile back adoringly, he was beguiled into betting the
whole lot on a last spin of the wheel.
The existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq should have been
the one to break the bank. Turning his
back on Europe for the prize of being America's loyalest and best pal on the
globe, was another huge gamble....
Thursday night was the first time he blinked from his steadfast
insistence that Saddam's arsenals would ultimately supply the elusive casus
belli in Iraq. But acknowledging that
they may never now be found was the equivalent of removing a bullet-proof
vest. To do so in the heat of the most
vicious battle of his career is to betray chronic signs of battle fatigue. The snipers will be greatly encouraged.”
POLAND: "Monument For
Leopold Unger wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (7/22): “The government of Great Britain demonstrated
once again--and now even more clearly given the human, tragic context--the
weakness of its arguments officially substantiating the attack on Iraq. Hardly anyone hides their satisfaction that a
bloody dictatorship has been abolished; but almost one hundred days after
entering Baghdad nothing has been found in Iraq to confirm the official reasons
for the war--either the existence of weapons of mass destruction, or links
between Saddam and bin Laden.... Doctor
Kelly is the only one to emerge from the scandal with a clear conscience--alas,
posthumously. Were it not for such experts...journalists--and,
accordingly, readers and audiences--would be doomed to get information only
from an official source or from the air, and therefore incomplete or
untrue. Doctor Kelly deserves a
monument. It should be erected by
ROMANIA: "A Serious
Problem For Blair"
In centrist Jurnalul National analyst Dan Constantin opined
(7/22): "The lie didn’t last
long. In western politics, these kinds
of accidents [David Kelly's death] trigger crises and destroy careers. Tony Blair is facing a serious problem, the
press is focused on him, the opposition is attacking him from all sides, his
dismissal is requested. In the U.S.,
Bush isn’t feeling well, either, the public trust in the president is
constantly diminishing and the solidarity with Blair is not bringing good marks
Foreign policy analyst Cornel Codita commented in the economic
daily Bursa (7/22): "Another
Blair mistake hits the surface which is the one connecting the arguments of
participating in the intervention in Iraq, to the evidence regarding the
existence of WMD.... Blair...issued a
document under the authority of his cabinet, based on the information and the
evaluations of the secret services. Now,
when the early evaluations regarding the Iraqi military capacity are being
revised, and the arsenals of WMD refuses to come to surface, ‘the bomb’
launched back then by Blair is now exploding in his face."
"Bush, Blair Against The Wall"
Foreign policy analyst Ileana Cornea contended in the independent
daily, Ziua (7/21): “At almost
three months since the conclusion of the war in Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s famous
arsenal of weapons of mass destruction seems to have completely vanished. The Bush-Blair tandem, which was the engine
of the military intervention in Iraq, is being more and more put up against the
wall by the press and public opinion, which ask for evidence of the weapons,
make revelations, and discover fake documents aimed to destroy the arguments
which justified the start of the war in Iraq.... The world wants evidence, and it seems that
neither Bush nor Blair are able to provide this evidence.”
ISRAEL: "The Iraqi
Ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman editorialized (7/23): "Bush and Blair may have saved hundreds
of thousands of Iraqis from the bitter fate that awaited them under Saddam
Hussein's regime, but they might end their political careers because of a
hypocritical and cruel world that isn't interested in the least in the fate of
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Tales Of The Statesman"
Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina commented (7/23): "Statesmen use justification tales to
distract peoples' attention and to cover up the core of the truth. That is an old strategy of theirs. Here we see Blair making a lot of noise and
denying his government's involvement in the death of Dr. Kelly.... .People ought to know that statesmen are very
much like novelists: they do not like telling people the whole story of their
plots beforehand, but when cornered they use is as an excuse."
"Who Is The Victim?"
Riyadh's conservative, Al-Riyadh editorialized (7/20): "The death of David Kelly will open a
new door for renewed WMD controversies.
His death is going to increase the pressures that are already mounting
on PM Blair who received a standing ovation at the U.S. congress. Iraq has become a turning point in
history. The world of politics after war
on Iraq has become a market for allegations, lies, and complicated files
between the U.S. and Britain. No doubt
that getting rid of the dictatorship in Iraq gave the invading forces somewhat
of an excuse, but it has also become an important precedent in the world
affairs in post-occupation era."
Jeddah's English language Saudi Gazette commented
(7/20): "The death of Dr. David
Kelly has shocked the British political establishment to the core.... The more sinister suggestion is that Kelly
was murdered because his testimony had approved so embarrassing for the British
government. It will be very difficult
now for Blair and his administration to shake off this suggestion.... This tragedy is quite possibly the one event
that could bring the Blair government to its knees.... The best thing he can now do is to ensure the
investigations yield solid results and convince the British public."
Daily columnist Bater Wardam wrote on the op-ed page of
center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour (7/21): “Whether it was an assassination or a
suicide, the death of David Kelly, the British WMD expert, is the beginning for
exposing the biggest lie in the history of international politics. The cost of this lie must be paid by those
who perpetrated it by completely ending their political lives, and here we are
referring to Tony Blair and George Bush.
The leaders of the two biggest democratic countries in the world have
been lying to their people, to the world and to the media throughout the months
that preceded the war on Iraq. We in the
Arab world have always known it was a lie....
This political scandal must be paid for by George Bush and Tony Blair
alone. David Kelly and George Tenet must
not become the scapegoats for the biggest political lie in the history of the
United States and Britain. Most
importantly, the American and British people must never believe any similar
lies that would be told against Iran or Syria.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
The independent English-language Standard editorialized
(7/23): "Britain's Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, and Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa have a lot in common these
days. Both have a credibility problem,
poor popularity ratings and are seen by many as being out of touch with the
people they serve.... The tragedy here
is that Blair and Tung promised so much in the beginning but, in the end, gave
very little.... Blair faces a much
bigger problem in that his entire case for leading Britain into war with Iraq
is now being questioned. Not only by
opposition parties, but by his own MPs....
The death of Dr. David Kelly, a ministry of defense microbiologist and
weapons consultant, has only added to Blair's problems.... With the war over and the U.S. and Britain
dragged into a quagmire in Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction have yet been
found. The very premise for going to war
was built on sand."
INDONESIA: "Death of
British Expert Worsens Scandal Of Attack On Iraq"
Leading independent Kompas commented (7/21): “The fuss about the scandal of lies behind
the U.S. and British attacks on Iraq has intensified with the death of David
Kelly. It added to the suspicion over
the validity of the reasons for the attacks....
Premier Blair and President Bush are continuing to defend their reasons
for attacking Iraq. But the two leaders
cannot kill the world’s common sense.
Moreover, there are more and more revelations that their attacks were
based only on intelligence information of which the veracity cannot be proven.”
"Bush-Blair And Fuss About Intelligence Report"
Leading independent weekly magazine Tempo held (7/21): “David Kelly’s death may cut off the links
[in efforts] to uncover the intelligence fabrication. However, will Bush and Blair escape from ‘the
right to know,’ which is one of the pillars of democracy in their countries?”
PHILIPPINES: "The Case
Of The Missing WMD"
The editorial in the independent Manila Times (7/23): "Prime Minister Tony Blair was dogged by
the death of Dr. David Kelly, a government weapons specialist.... Mr. Blair, normally ebullient and composed,
is looking wan and distracted. It’s
testing time for him and New Labor....
Does it really matter that no weapon of mass destruction has so far been
found? Ex post facto, both the prime minister
and the president can take credit for having removed a vile regime from
power.... Both Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush to
this minute believe that in the fullness of time WMD will be found. Whether they are found or not does diminish
the fact that Saddam had WMD programs that neither of them could have
ignored. They should be taken at their
word. There was no conceivable reason
for them to lie to their people nor to deceive their parliaments. Both knew the gravity and consequences of
their decision. And they made it
according to their best judgment and in the light of the best--although in
hindsight, flawed--information. That’s
what leadership is all about.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
IRAN: "The End of
Bush's and Blair's Political Life Approaches"
Ali Qasemi commented in conservative Resalat
of Tehran (Internet version) (7/21):
"As the main news source of the BBC and the person who revealed the
lies told by Tony Blair's government and the changes made in the Saddam
dossier, [David Kelly's] death has pointed the accusing finger toward Tony
Blair's Labor government. The issue that
the police confessed that Kelly has been murdered [sic] led to increased
pressure from the media on Tony Blair's government.... Tony Blair and George Bush have been trapped
in many scandals such as Kellygate and Iraqgate, and the scandals have meant
that the end of their political life is approaching.... The Iraqi war has claimed many victims in
this country, in the region, and at international level. David Kelly is one of the victims of this
war. Kelly's death, however, has
revealed to the public the depth of the crimes committed by the 21st-century
warmongers. In the present conditions,
the British Labor Government should know that the fabrication of news regarding
Iran's nuclear program...will not help to save Blair and Bush from Vietnam
2003, Iraqgate, and Kellygate."
SOUTH AFRICA: "The
Afrikaans-language, centrist Die Burger editorialized
(7/23): "There are increasing
rumors of direct manipulation of the raw data in order to 'prove' that Saddam's
threat was real and present. The
question is whether this was done on instruction from Bush and Blair, or
whether their subordinates were guilty....
Ultimately both will have to take responsibility for what their
governments have done. And given that
their oppositions are smelling blood, they should not rest easy that the matter
will go away."
The right-of-center Calgary Herald commented (7/22): "The fact that weapons of mass
destruction have not yet been found in post-war Iraq is a sore spot for those
who supported the war. But the recent
public furor in the U.S. and Britain over inaccurate intelligence reports shows
that half the truth is worse than a whole lie.... Historians may forgive Bush's and Blair's use
of hyped-up intelligence reports, but voters tend to be far less
forgiving. It is not yet clear whether
the world is a safer place now with Saddam out of Iraq, but Americans and
Britons have good reason to be less trusting of their leaders."
"The Tragic Cost Of A Rash Iraq War"
The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (7/22): "British scientist David Kelly should be
alive today. But like thousands of
others, he has become a casualty of the American/British rush to make war on
Iraq.... Blair has ordered a judicial
probe of this tragedy, seeking to absolve his government of blame. But he already has lost the public's
confidence.... There is a savage irony
in this postwar blame game. Tragic as
his death is, Kelly is just one victim of Bush's obsession with 'regime change'
in Baghdad, and Blair's eager compliance.
Some 275 American and British troops have also died, along with more
than 8,500 Iraqi civilians and military.
They are the other casualties in Bush's drive to 'save' the world from
weapons of mass destruction that Washington has yet to produce. The American taxpayer, meanwhile, is on the
hook for more than $60 billion for the war and $1 billion a week since.... This is a mess, and a fearsome price for a
war that UN inspectors cautioned against from the start. They loathed Saddam's vicious regime. But they believed, rightly, that sanctions
were working. That Baghdad was
contained. That there was no need to
rush to war. They were right."
"Blair And The BBC"
The conservative National Post editorialized (7/21): "Britain now has its own Vince
Foster. Like the former deputy White
House counsel, David Kelly was, by all accounts, a sensitive, private man who
was emotionally unprepared for his supporting role in front-page political
bloodletting. Like Mr. Foster, he broke
down and killed himself. And like Mr.
Foster, his tragic death will be manipulated for crass political ends. Already, enemies of Tony Blair--especially
those who opposed his leading role in the liberation of Iraq--are issuing calls
for the British PM to resign. But Mr.
Blair's government has done nothing wrong.
To the extent fault lies anywhere, it is with the BBC, which turned Mr.
Kelly into a public figure through its false statements.... If David Kelly stands as Britain's Vince
Foster, then Mr. Gilligan stand as the BBC's Jayson Blair. What the UK needs isn't Tony Blair's
resignation, but a thorough overhaul of the Beeb."
BRAZIL: "Bush And
Blair Begin To Pay The Price Of Deception"
Business-oriented Valor Economico remarked (7/22): "The unmasking of the lies with which
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair justified the invasion of Iraq to
their fellow citizens seems to have produced predictable political
results. Blair is currently in much more
trouble than Bush."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (7/22): "Following the Kelly case, Prime
Minister Tony Blair's situation is no longer difficult, but dramatic.... On the other side of the ocean, the U.S.
president has also begun to be bothered by questions from the public."
"Lies Have Short Legs"
Right-of-center O Globo maintained (7/22): "It was predictable that all President
Bush and Prime Minister Blair had said to justify the Iraq war would turn
against them. Both are accused of lying
to break down the resistance from groups who disagreed about the idea of a
military intervention in the name of peace, without UN authorization.... The death under mysterious circumstance of a
British scientist involved in a dispute with the government and the BBC on
forged intelligence is particularly threatening to Blair's future."
Miguel Angel Granados Chapa observed in the independent Reforma
(7/22): "Tony Blair took up the
farce, used it to justify his own bellicosity and shared his false conviction
with Bush, who passed it on as irresponsibly as can be because in his hands it
was the means to activate his lethal war machinery.... The crude exposure of the vulgar lie upon
which the decision to invade Iraq was made served as the 'checkmate' to the
COLOMBIA: "Who Killed
Top national daily El Tiempo editorialized (7/21): “The death of scientist David Kelly means
postwar Iraq is sullied even more, entangled in lies and burdened by the deaths
of British-Americans troops.”