January 28, 2004

Golden Oldies Edition

"I have no doubt that there are thousands of pages of documents in safes in London and Washington right now - the Pentagon Papers of Iraq - whose unauthorised revelation would drastically alter the public discourse on whether we should continue sending our children to die in Iraq. That's clear from what has already come out through unauthorised disclosures from many anonymous sources and from officials and former officials such as David Kelly and US ambassador Joseph Wilson, who revealed the falsity of reports that Iraq had pursued uranium from Niger, which President Bush none the less cited as endorsed by British intelligence in his state of the union address before the war. Both Downing Street and the White House organised covert pressure to punish these leakers and to deter others, in Dr Kelly's case with tragic results." [emphasis added]

-- Daniel Ellsberg, writing in the Guardian.

Read the Hutton report tomorrow. Tell me then if you believe that Dr. Kelly's death is a result of Downing Street "covert pressure"? (as compared to, say, breathtakingly irresponsible Beeb journalism and dearth of serious institutional controls).

But leave this entire hyped maelstrom aside.

Who is Daniel Ellsberg anyway to ascribe culpability in Dr Kelly's death?

What, finally, does he really know about the complex emotions that led this particular scientist towards his tragic suicide?

Put differently, Ellsberg does Kelly's surviving family no favors trotting the dead scientist out to score cheap points in op-ed pieces.

Oh, and note, contra Ellsberg, that British intelligence did believe there was an Iraq/Niger/uranium connection.

But hey, it's just an op-ed in the Guardian. Facts are, er, of de mimimis import.

Posted by Gregory at January 28, 2004 01:41 AM
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