Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Shorter Butler Report

Mistakes were made, crappy intelligence was deliberately skewed, but let's not hold any individual accountable.

In my mind, a more thorough whitewash than the SSCI report issued Friday.

Here's the longer version of the shorter Butler Report (sans some of the whitewash):

• In March 2002, the intelligence was "insufficiently robust" to prove Iraq was in breach of UN resolutions

• Since the war events have "thrown doubt" on a high proportion of the sources used to justify the war

• Some human intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "seriously flawed" and "open to doubt"

• The Joint Intelligence Committee should not have included the "45 minute" claim in the Iraq dossier without stating what exactly it referred to

• The language of the Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons may have left readers with the impression that there was "fuller and firmer" intelligence behind its judgments than was the case

• Tony Blair's statement to MPs on the day the dossier was published may have reinforced this impression.

• The judgments in the dossier went to the "outer limits", although not beyond the intelligence available.

• Making public that the Joint Intelligence Committee had authorship of the Iraq dossier was a "mistaken judgment".

• This resulted in more weight being placed on the intelligence than it could bear, the report found.

• The report found no evidence that the motive of the British Government for initiating military action in Iraq was securing continued access to oil supplies.

• The report raised concern about the "informality and circumscribed character" of the Government’s policy-making procedures towards Iraq.