Friday, January 30, 2004

Standards of Proof indeed

Polly Toynbee says it better than I could:

"The tragedy is that both sides are right - in quite different ways. For those who support a Labour government and support an independent BBC, this has been excruciating. Hutton was right to exonerate a prime minister who had been monstrously traduced, in a casual, flippant way. He was right because the government genuinely thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: everyone did, French and German intelligence as well as the US. Hans Blix and David Kelly thought so, as did Dr David Kay. Why everyone was so wrong was not for Hutton to judge. That is another story for another day. But in that context, exaggeration of the wording of the evidence pales into insignificance beside the allegation that the prime minister knowingly tricked us all. In the big picture, Hutton was essentially right, even if some of his findings are bizarre. Demented "Whitewash!" headlines in papers from the Morning Star to the Spectator were predictable."

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