The most revealing evidence to the Hutton inquiry so far has been provided not by Alastair Campbell, Andrew Gilligan or Geoff Hoon but by David Kelly’s sister, Sarah Pape. In the run-up to war, she told the inquiry on Monday, she had discussed the issue of Iraq with her brother, believing that he would agree with her view that war was unjustified: ‘I was very surprised when he was absolutely convinced that there was almost certainly no solution other than a regime change, which was unlikely to happen peacefully and regrettably would require military action to enforce it.’ In fact, she added, Dr Kelly was so forthright in his support for war that he won round the entire, previously sceptical, family.
There is a popular view that what is really on trial at the Hutton inquiry is the government’s decision to go to war in Iraq. Because he told several journalists of his deep unhappiness with the dossier which the government used to justify its decision to wage war, it has been widely assumed that Dr Kelly must have been opposed to war in principle. Mrs Pape’s evidence shows this to be a misconception: Dr Kelly, in common with this magazine, was in favour of the war but appalled by the cavalier way in which the government handled intelligence material in making its case for military action.
Anti-war protesters who hope to enjoy some kind of vindication at the conclusion of the Hutton inquiry are doomed to disappointment: the fact is that all the main protagonists in the inquiry, Andrew Gilligan included, were in favour of the war. On trial is the bullying attitude of Mr Blair’s administration towards officials, journalists and members of the public who cross it, not its decision to suppress a Middle-Eastern dictator.