Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Straw lied to Parliament

An interesting but little remarked revelation from the Hutton Inquiry was that Jack Straw is now officially a liar. Some people will, of course, remember that Wor Jackie brutally smuggered (like buggered, but referring to smugness) the Foreign Affairs Committee over the false claim that Iraqi WMD could be deployed within 45 minutes. Deployed means, of course, to place troops or equipment in position and in a state of readiness for use. Jackie, though, lawyered out of this by claiming that all they had meant was "to make them available to units...I feel this is an unremarkable claim, as an order to use them would not be given if they were not available." Oddly enough, the deputy director of Defence Intelligence, Martin Howard, said at the inquiry that the "source" said that they could be
fired within 45 minutes of the order being given. Not "made available". Prepared, delivered, and fired.

Mr. Straw lied.

Doubtless he thinks we are all too ignorant to realise that chemical arms are not kept in soldiers' belt pouches. Or that they are generally stored as more than one substance, limiting the danger of accidental release or unauthorised use as well as keeping them from deteriorating. They have to be released from storage under high security and then prepared. Dr Kelly pointed out that even the most efficient handlers would have been doing very well to achieve this in 45 minutes.

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