Blair Takes Another Hit

The furor over the suicide of David Kelly has resulted in another drop in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s standing with the voters, according to the Daily Telegraph, which says Blair “has suffered huge damage to his reputation among voters.”
Based on polling done following Kelly’s suicide, 39% of voters say Blair should resign, while 41% say he should stay on. Fifty-nine percent said their opinion of Blair had declined as a result of the Kelly incident. By a three to one margin, respondents trust the BBC more than the British government, and by an astonishing 64% to 23% margin, respondents say Blair’s government “did not give accurate information to the public before the Iraq war, based on the intelligence at that time, about the threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”
Things are looking bleaker and bleaker for both Tony Blair and George W. Bush. The current controversies over the 45-minute claim in England and the sixteen words here in the U.S. are not really the problem; the fundamental problem is the apparent failure to find Saddam’s weapons. If invading troops had come across stocks of chemical and biological weapons as expected, none of this would be happening and no one would care about parsing sentences in speeches or intelligence reports. Which raises the question: Have we, in fact, found conclusive evidence of Iraq’s weapons programs and information about the current whereabouts of the weapons, and if so, when will the evidence be made public? David Kay, who is in charge of the search, has said that he has seen plenty to convince him that Saddam was pursuing WMDs, but is holding off with making anything public until there is enough evidence to convince everyone. I hope the Administration moves sooner rather than later to release information confirming the WMD programs; the longer it waits, the less reversible the damage will be.

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