: Here how the Guardian’s leader (translation for us Americans: editorial) begins:
It is exactly 10 years to the week since the deputy White House counsel, Vince Foster, put the barrel of a Colt revolver in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He left behind a crumpled suicide note intended as an epitaph on the culture he had experienced during his short six months in Washington: “Here ruining people is considered sport.”
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.
I don’t mean to sound hard but I will: People who commit suicide — by definition — are not destroyed; they destroy themselves.
David Kelly killed himself. Vince Foster killed himself. (Note to tin-hatters: Spare me your reheated Clintonian conspiracy theories on this; I’m tired and grumpy and will bark and bite and thwap you on the nose with a rolled-up Times.)
Sadly, for reasons only they will know, neither man could not stand the pressure of politics: Foster in the middle of the White House, Kelly in the middle of the hottest story du jour. It is a tragedy that neither knew that soon enough and managed to get away or grow a tougher skin. If you can’t stand the heat of politics, then for God’s sake, man, stay away from the stove!
But politics is tough and for good reason: If you want to sway the ship of state, there will be people who disagree with you. They will say so. They will fight you. They will want you to lose so they can win. That’s politics and it always will be. That’s democracy. Even if you could strip away all the childishness and sniping and gossiping and petty fighting and greedy power-grabbing that will still be true: Politics is tough because it matters.
I find the chest-thumping and sodden sympathy over Kelly to be frequently disingenuous. He is being used in death more than in life. If he had not killed himself, he would be a trivia question in no time.
Kelly is not the issue.
The issue is: Who lied when no one should lie, especially not government, especially not the press?