The Hutton Report

The Belmont Club:

"...leaving politics aside, the most curious thing about the BBC-Hutton affair was how little sense it made in the traditional calculus of war. There was Andrew Gilligan, charging the most powerful man in Britain with an empty Palm Pilot at the very point on which he was not prepared to yield. 'You, Mr. Prime Minister, made up the entire cassus belli for invading Iraq', he in effect said, without so much as an electron to stand on.

"Yet this fecklessness was nothing beside that of Richard Sambrook, who, confronted with every indication that Downing Street intended to fight to the death on this issue, carelessly urged his troops further into enemy lines. Confronted with the most powerful force imaginable in Britain, the BBC's director of news did not even stoop to examine the strength of his defenses. Rather he assumed that the Corporation, as it is called, would prevail as a matter of course. To make the matter certain, he lined up support for the mendacious Gilligan, who by now must have wondered how his inventions could have gone so far, by convincing the BBC's Board of Directors to declare most solemnly than their ace reporter, had not nor had ever been less than a tower of probity. Just as the BBC's heavy cavalry charged off into the mist, every bridge was blown and every avenue of retreat cut behind them by the suicide of their one source -- a source who never said what they ascribed to him -- David Kelly. And there, cut off, watching the flood waters of the Rubicon rise behind them, was the very the flower of the BBC: the great and the good as they called themselves, with their Johnsons nailed to the floor."


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