Questions with no clear answers

IT'S BEEN a year now since the suicide of Dr David Kelly, a weapons scientist, who was at the centre of the controversy over the reason why Britain went to war with Iraq, siding with the United States.

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Published: Mon 19 Jul 2004, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:24 AM

In May 2003, the BBC ran a story quoting an anonymous official, saying that British Prime Minister Tony Blair's office had deliberately exaggerated evidence in a September 2002 dossier on Iraq's WMD capabilities. The claim was that Iraq could deploy some chemical and biological weapons on a notice of 45 minutes. That anonymous official was later revealed to be Dr David Kelly - by Ministry of Defence officials - who unwittingly got caught in a running battle between the BBC and the PMO. Kelly could not handle the pressure and the limelight thrust on him, especially as the WMD issue became very political and controversial, and therefore he took his own life during a walk in the woods one day last July.

A year is normally a long enough time for the notoriously short public memory and the scandal-chasing British tabloid media to forget even important issues. But the global implications of the war against Iraq have helped to keep the controversy alive in some form or the other. Especially since Tony Blair is sinking deeper and deeper into the quicksand of Iraq. In a remarkable twist, Blair on Friday night claimed he did not know that vital intelligence had been discredited weeks before he told the Hutton inquiry in August 2003 that the Iraq war was all 'perfectly justified'. Now, this is snowballing into a major controversy, threatening to unseat Blair in the next elections, as MPs in the House of Commons were astonished by this latest stance of the PM, and they believe he is either lying through his teeth or he is incompetent (if he was actually not informed of the discredited intelligence).

Both raise serious doubts about his ability to hold the highest office in the UK. But simultaneously, on the other side of the Atlantic, George W. Bush has, for the first time after the Iraq war, felt mild jitters at home from a medley assortment of clever footage and selective soundbites. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 topples may or may not have an effect on the presidential elections and no one knows what the final outcome would be. Bush is trying to project his good measures in the field of economic development, and that may have many takers. But, whether Mr Blair will have a smooth sailing and whether he wins another term in office is a more difficult question to answer.

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