: 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?

  • Invoking “Vincent Foster” is magically quieting, because once the lunatic fringe link is made, debate is no longer taken seriously, not by people who “count.” Only flyover types (or lunatics) will then ask otherwise-uncomfortable questions.
    No matter what you might secretly suspect, you must NEVER, ever, mention things like Vincent Foster if you want to get invited to the right parties. Hip, sophisticated attitudes are self-enforcing, and thus superior to censorship.
    Whether there is or is not a conspiracy in any individual case isn’t the point, really. Fashion is a marvelous coverup method, because it divides people into two camps; the conspiracy theorists — kooks all — and those would just never be caught thinking that way.
    Believing in cover-ups is SO lower class, really…
    But I just l-o-o-ve slumming!
    (OK. Now you can bark and bite and thwap me on the nose with a rolled-up Times.)

  • No, I think you have missed the point. Politics has always been rough, what the Clinton administration and the Blair government after it did was to create the illusion that politics was not about confrontation but a cosy consensus. It therefore drew into its warm glow many who were neither steeled for conflict nor expected it.
    I don

  • “a perhaps na

  • Dave F

    According to distinguished investigative journalist Tom Mangold, a friend of Dr Kelly, he was a tough hombre who had faced down Saddam’s feared Mukhabarat secret police during his UN inspectorate mission; who was confident of handling the select committee interview, and looking forward to it; was no stranger to the murky world of poitical backstabbing and spookery (obviously). Mangold believes an accumulation of factors led to his friend’s suicide, and he makes clear his suspiciion that Kelly’s remarks were sexed up by Andrew Gilligan

  • Zec

    This post is completly ignorant. I wan’t comment it at all.
    I will say just one thing : Mr. President Bush, the emperior of USA : kill yourself! Do it now! Kill yourself. It is an open call for your suicide. Commit suicide. Kill yourself, George. It would be honorable. And I wouldn’t care, I wouldn’t consider it as tragedy. It will be happy day on the face of the earth. Great day for humanity. George W. Bush kill yourself. Comiit suicide.
    Kelly was great man and he didn’t desirved to be thrown among wolfes. So, why you, George, arent among wolfs and you lied. You lied, man ! George kill yourself. As this guy here, Jeff i Think, said: Kelly isnt the issue. Well, OK. What about you George W. Bush. Maybe you are THE ISSUE. Kill yourself George !!!!!! Please !!!!
    Why ? Why ? O, you do not know ? George, they call you liar! Adn how they call people who still support you in the USA? : Ignorant and arrogant.
    Here’s why you should kill your self:
    (1) On August 26, 2002, the Vice President in a speech stated: `Simply stated, there is
    no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction . . . What he wants is
    time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and
    biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons.’
    (2) On September 12, 2002, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, the
    President stated: `Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for
    the production of biological weapons.Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength
    aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.’
    (3) On October 7, 2002, in a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, the President stated: `It
    possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear
    weapons.And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had
    used to produce chemical and biological weapons.’
    (4) On January 7, 2003, the Secretary of Defense at a press briefing stated: `There is no
    doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons.’
    (5) On January 9, 2003, in his daily press briefing, the White House spokesperson
    stated: ‘We know for a fact that there are weapons there Iraq.’
    (6) On March 16, 2003, in an appearance on NBC’s `Meet The Press’, the Vice President
    stated: `We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. El Baradei
    frankly is wrong.’
    (7) On March 17, 2003, in an Address to the Nation, the President stated: `Intelligence
    gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to
    possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.’
    ( On March 21, 2003, in his daily press briefing the White House spokesperson stated:
    `Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of
    mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly.all this will be made clear in the
    course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.’
    (9) On March 24, 2003, in an appearance on CBS’s `Face the Nation’, the Secretary of
    Defense stated: `We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical
    and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they’re weaponized
    and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been
    (10) On March 30, 2003, in an appearance on ABC’s `This Week’, the Secretary of
    Defense stated: `We know where they are, they are in the area around Tikrit

  • George Peery

    (Sounds like somebody needs to go back on his meds and resume therapy.)
    Little men like Dr. Kelly should stay away from the big media.

  • Zec

    Ha, ha, what an ignorant and arrogant Mr.George Peery. Like Mr.Kelly has a choice to be away from media. First. Mr.Perry, inform yourself. He was not little man. He was decent man. Tell that to their family Mr.Ignorant.
    And don’t skip the main issue I posted. This is about THE ISSUES as Jarvis said. Kelly isn’t the issue. Well, compare that to dear President Bush. Is he THE ISSUE ? You skip on that. Not a word. Should Bush stay out of media ? No, no. Not now. He’s the liar , you know.
    And thanks I am fine. No medicine needed. It’s because english isnt my native language, you know Mr.Ignorant.
    But I can read english well. And the world read Washington Times too.
    Take look what Post said about Mr. Liar.
    Thank god I am living far away from US. He, he, he.
    By, by, you ignorant ! Mr.Bush , you should kill yourself ! Seriously!
    Oct. Report Said Defeated Hussein Would Be Threat
    By Walter Pincus
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, July 21, 2003; Page A01
    Last fall, the administration repeatedly warned in public of the danger that an unprovoked Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists.
    “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists,” President Bush said in Cincinnati on Oct. 7. “Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.”
    But declassified portions of a still-secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released Friday by the White House show that at the time of the president’s speech the U.S. intelligence community judged that possibility to be unlikely. In fact, the NIE, which began circulating Oct. 2, shows the intelligence services were much more worried that Hussein might give weapons to al Qaeda terrorists if he were facing death or capture and his government was collapsing after a military attack by the United States.
    “Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al Qaeda, . . . already engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the United States, could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct,” one key judgment of the estimate said.
    It went on to say that Hussein might decide to take the “extreme step” of assisting al Qaeda in a terrorist attack against the United States if it “would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”
    The declassified sections of the NIE were offered by the White House to rebut allegations that the administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. The result, however, could be to raise more questions about whether the administration misrepresented the judgments of the intelligence services on another basis for going to war: the threat posed by Hussein as a source of weapons for terrorists.
    The NIE’s findings also raise concerns about the dangers posed by Hussein, who is believed to be in hiding, and the failure to find any of his alleged stocks of chemical and biological weapons. If such stocks exist, a hotly debated proposition, this is precisely the kind of dangerous situation the CIA and other intelligence services warned about last fall, administration officials said. A senior administration official said yesterday that the U.S. intelligence community does not know either “the extent to which Saddam Hussein has access or control” over the groups that are attacking U.S. forces, or the location of any possible hidden chemical or biological agents or weapons. Asked whether the former Iraqi leader would today use any chemical or biological weapons if he controlled them, the senior official said, “We would not put that past him to do whatever makes our lives miserable.”
    The official said the judgment of last fall’s intelligence estimate — that a desperate Hussein, in hiding and with U.S. troops searching for him in Iraq, could turn to al Qaeda — “had not been supplanted.”
    L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, said yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” he believes Hussein is alive. ” I think he is in Iraq, and the sooner we can either kill him or capture him, the better.”
    On “Fox News Sunday,” Bremer also said Hussein appeared to have pre-positioned weapons and made plans to carry out an insurgency should his forces, as expected, lose a war with the United States. “There has been some evidence of planning for the possibility of losing the war militarily and going into some kind of insurgency or organized resistance,” Bremer said, without explaining what the evidence is.
    Bremer said he does not believe Hussein could make a comeback: “Dead or alive, this guy is finished in Iraq. There is no public support for him.”
    Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said in an interview that despite what Bush has said, the war is not over until Hussein is captured or killed. “He could come back like Napoleon if we don’t watch out,” said Markey, who added that the former Iraqi leader remains a threat because he, if anybody, knows where any chemical or biological weapons might be.
    Last fall, as Congress began debating a resolution giving Bush authority to go to war against Iraq, CIA Director George J. Tenet ordered six intelligence services to develop over a 10-day period a common assessment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs and the threat they posed. A few days after the NIE began circulating, at the request of members of Congress who wanted material they could use in public debate, the administration released a 25-page unclassified summary of the 90-page classified report.
    Two days later, in response to pressure from Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), then chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Tenet released three pages of additional information from the NIE and a classified hearing that for the first time suggested that Hussein might only use chemical or biological weapons when under threat of attack.
    Friday’s declassified material from the NIE gave a much more complete picture of the intelligence in the form of all the key judgments of the intelligence community.
    One of the judgments was that Hussein “appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or [chemical or biological weapons] against the United States fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger case for making war.”
    Another judgment was that Iraq would “probably” attempt a clandestine attack against the United States, as mentioned by Bush — not on “any given day” as the president said Oct. 7, but only “if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable.”
    Today the situation is changed. Hussein is alive but in hiding, and his alleged stocks of chemical or biological weapons or agents have not been found. Meanwhile, the president and other leaders have yet to mention publicly the intelligence assessment that Hussein may be a potentially bigger threat now than before the United States attacked.
    In fact, Bush, in his May 1 speech from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, appeared to take just the opposite position. “We have removed an ally of al Qaeda,” Bush said. “No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime.”
    Mr.Bush please kill yourself!!!!!!!

  • Right on!
    (that’s Sixties-speak for great post)

  • Michael Strickland

    I have a hard time understanding all the “Bush lied” stuff. We know Saddam had the weapons, there are UN inventories and thousands of dead in mass graves who were killed by them, we know that.
    You guys need Buspar, thorozine or something. I see no crisis, no scandal, and not much wrong with President Bush.
    Foster and Kelley killed themselves because they had vastly overestimated their importance in the scheme of things, I think Camus philosophized about that once.
    Lighten up, chill out, open a PBR, lean back in your Lazy Boy. Bush will be President until January, 2009, and the NY Times only important if you have quantities of fish to wrap, or a large car to paint.
    The BBC will pass away, Foster and Kelly will always be dead.