by Andrew Mason
Kevin Marsh, formerly the editor of the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme at the time when Andrew Gilligan made his now most infamous comment that Tony Blair’s government probably knew that the 45 minute claim was wrong (even before it was written into the September 2002 Iraq WMD dossier), has now entered the debate about whether this and other untrue WMD claims were actual ‘lies’ in the true sense of the word.
No sensible analysis has ever shown Tony Blair “lied”. Nor was that the allegation levelled by Dr David Kelly and reported by Andrew Gilligan, in spite of Alastair Campbell’s efforts to persuade us all that it was.
However, substitute for the word “lied” the phrase “created the truth” or “misled the British public about the certainty of the intelligence and the conclusions that could be drawn from it” and most people might well take the view he and those around him are guilty as charged.
His comments come in the wake of Desmond Tutu’s recent refusal to appear on the same stage as Blair at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg on the basis that he believes Blair should be tried as a potential war criminal at the Hague and his subsequent piece in last Sunday’s Observer where he goes on to explain the reasoning for his action, wherein he states:
Leadership and morality are indivisible. Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.
If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?
Kevin Marsh’s new book – Stumbling Over Truth: The Inside Story of ‘Sexed-up’ Dossier, Hutton and the BBC – is due to be published on 19/20 September.
The publication of the book has now been scheduled for 24 September.