International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003





**  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 politics."


**  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 Kelly Knew"


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 for."


"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 War"


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 doesn't work."


"Reithian Values?"


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 government."


"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 damage."


"Hand Of History May Not Rest Lightly On Bumptious Blair"


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 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 ever."


"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 consequences."


"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. "


"Unanswered Questions"


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 truth."


"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 media."


FRANCE:  "Blood On Their Hands"


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 price?”


"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.”


"Unholy Alliance"


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 system.’”


"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."


"Destructive Weapons"


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 clearly."


"Deadly Scandal"


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 him."


"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.”


"Blair’s Loneliness"


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."


RUSSIA:  "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."


AUSTRIA:  "Blair’s 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 Affair"


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 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 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 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 consequences."


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 Lurch"


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 British government.”


IRELAND:  "Blair's Political Crisis"


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 Doctor Kelly"


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 journalists.”


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 for him."


"Blair's Bomb"


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 Trap"


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 human beings."


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."


"Kelly's Death"


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."


JORDAN:  "The Scapegoat"


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.”




CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Failed Promise"


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.”




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 Right Answer"


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."




CANADA:  "Intelligence Blunder"


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."


"Blair Besieged"


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." 


MEXICO:  "Suicide"


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 governments’ game."


COLOMBIA:  "Who Killed The Professor?"


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.”


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