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Nothing to add to my Iraq Inquiry evidence

Posted on 13 May 2011 | 11:05am

As with previous inquiries, I decided on being called as a witness to the Chilcot Inquiry  that I should say nothing beyond my own evidence. That was harder when earlier inquiries were going on, because I was still working for the government, and regularly briefing the media, but it is straightforward enough now. I have given my evidence, as have many others, and the inquiry is now preparing its report. Whatever the media may wish to do with the evidence from Major General Laurie published on the inquiry website yesterday, I see no purpose in giving a running commentary.

To those genuinely interested in the issues rather than a headline, however, you may wish to watch or read the evidence I gave in January which is here. Indeed, I would recommend reading as much of the evidence of others as possible too, rather than rely on media reports of it, which have tended to focus on those bits which suit the particular media organisation’s line.

To restate the contents of the tweet I sent yesterday – I was, and remain, absolutely clear about the purpose of the dossier at the time, which was not to make the case for war, but set out the reasons why the Prime Minister and the government were becoming more not less concerned about Iraq and WMD. Also, I was and remain clear that at no time did I or anyone in Downing Street put pressure on the Joint Intelligence Committee.

‘Witness says same thing as he has been saying for years’ may not be deemed newsworthy, but I can say to those journalists outside the house, and those calling and emailing, that it is all I am saying, other than to restate that I have never met Major General Laurie.

  • Keane Sinead

     Do you still believe that there was W.M.D?For a man who went constantly on about phone hacking,you are very quiet on this.But it was not the son’s of the Guardian reading middle class sent to Iraq it was the working class in search of betterment.The dodgy dossier has been proven to be false or do you not agree.

  • Luke Wilcox

    It appears that the only thing that was sexed up was, as ever, the media’s portrayal of the dossier and the inquiry.

    The reports yesterday weren’t really news worthy anyway…

  •  I think AC you might have to get around to the fact that the Iraq Inquiry is going to throw either you or TB under the bus, or both of you. One only has to see ex Cabinet Secretaries being highly critical, one can postulate that they would not do this in less you they had been given the wink that TB, AC over the Iraq are going to be found wanting, just my reading of the dots, but its form the dots you get a total picture. I supported the Iraq War as a Tory but find these disclosures troubling, and the post war planning for Iraq was a disaster. At the end of the day it might be a matter of viewpoint, but if the Iraq Inquiry is going to say throw you under the bus, how will you spin it, even Ed Miliband might throw you out of the Party.

  • Mark Wright

    The media remind me of being a kid going up to the girl I fancied at school and repeatedly asking her to go out with me until she gave me the answer I wanted to hear.

  • Olli Issakainen

    The first casualty of war is truth.
      In 1956 we had the Suez crisis. Anthony Eden´s cabinet discussed how to misled the public over a secret pact with France and Israel to seize the Suez canal. Eden lied to the Commons.
      In 1964 LBJ lied about Gulf of Tonkin indicent. Lie launched Vietnam war.
      Katherine Graham, American publisher of the Washington Post and member of the influental CFR, made in 1988 a speech at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
      She said “that we live in a dirty and dangerous world”. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn´t, she added. Democracy flourishes when government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when press can decide whether to print what it knows.
      Max Hastings has written in the Guardian that all journalism is conducted against a background of official obfuscation and deceit. When he was sent to Vietnam, he was told “never forget that they lie, they lie, they lie”.
      According to Donald Rumsfeld the Iraq war was about regime change. He also says that President Bush “made the decision to go after Saddam Hussein” as early as 11 January 2003, making it clear that all that happened at the UN was a sham.
      The Independent tells us that MI6 had a secret plan for anti-Saddam coup in December 2001. Illegal regime change was on the agenda. Jack Straw saw this document. Oil was the key motive.
      MI6 also knew that Saddam did not support al-Qaida. TB said different things in 2004. Britain also knew about US military plans against Saddam long before officially acknowledged.
      AC has said that the Iraq dossier was not a case for war. Top military intelligence official has now stated that making a case for war was “exactly its purpose”.
      London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) has many ties with neocons. The IISS role in creating of the “dodgy dossier” on Iraq is interesting. IISS dossier on Iraq WMDs was published 9 Sept.
      Blair administration saw it as providing proof that Saddam was meddling with WMDs. Large parts of the IISS document was recycled in the Downing Street dossier, published with a foreword of the PM.
      We now know from the Iraq Options paper and Downing Street memo that there was no imminent threat from Saddam, and that the intelligence was sparse and inconclusive. Nevertheless, most western intelligence agencies believed that Saddam had WMDs.
      Anyway, this is irrelevant. Industrialised countries can manufacture WMDs whenever they want.
      The then head of CIA was 100% certain that Saddam had WMDs, and told so to President Bush.
      According to the New Statesman a former Blair advisor has said that there was a little bit of rhetorical exaggeration in what Tony [Blair] said at the time, so it was exaggerating rather than lying.
      Exaggerating or lying? The choice is yours.

    Ps. I do not believe in conspiracy theories. They are for people who search for meaning which, by the way, is a natural tendency in human beings. I search for truth. As a Christian, I do believe what the Bible says about the future.  

    • Gillian C.

      Yipee! Olli I is a Christian, as am I.  I said I was a Christian on this site a few months’ ago now.  I don’t think it goes down too well on this particular site though!  I personally don’t care what non-believers think about Christians.  I like to stand up and be counted, so to speak.  Tell the truth and shame the devil.  The awful things that are happening in this world are really about the battle between Good and evil, at the moment evil has the upper-hand.  But not for much longer.

      BTW, before anyone calls me a nutter or similar for being a Christian and for my faith and beliefs,  I’ve written about my battle with depression (which I won) before on AC’s site.  I would just like to make cyrstal clear that I am not and never have been psychotic.  Thank God. 

  • John from Sussex

    This is particularly silly post I have to say. ‘Throw you under a bus’ or ‘throw you out of the party’. I don’t think so. In fact I think that that successive and exhaustive enquiries, media coverage and the passage of time have neutralised Iraq as an issue. Only the the anti-ar ‘war crimes’ zealots are remotely interested any more. 

    •  As stated in my “ silly post ” I supported the Iraq War but that’s not the point, one is reading the smoke signals from the Iraq Inquiry, they want in no PC terms to scalp someone from the Blair Era, Blair can be found guilty by telling Bush 43 he would be there no matter what, while telling the House of Commons there was still time for the Iraqi Regime to allow for a diplomatic solution. On the PR side AC might be found and it’s a big IF, that he placed wrong pressure on intelligence to get the evidence he wanted, just reading the tea leaves of the Iraq Inquiry, on the other hand the Iraq Inquiry might say everything was above board, then that’s the end, just the dots don’t say that, and follow logic not what I want the info to be, that the difference, we shall see, but if AC is for the high jump don’t expect “ Red ” Ed to come to his rescue, he stabbed his own brother in the back, also he has disavowed the Iraq War, why not throw out AC or even TB, show a real break.

  • Gillian C.

    To the few people who contribute occasionly on AC’s site and who still think that Olli Issakainen and AC are one and the same, surely after today’s comment by the aforementioned OI any of you who still think that way must be completely barking! 

  • Janete

     
    It wasn’t at all surprising that the BBC led with this story yesterday. They still haven’t got over the Gilligan affair and never miss an opportunity to criticise AC and Tony Blair with regard to Iraq.
     
    Considering the BBC is a publicly funded body quired to report news impartially, their reporting yesterday left much to be desired. The web report rightly gave some background to the controversy and mentioned the Hutton inquiry but didn’t think to mention its outcome.
     
    A comparison with the FT shows how skewed the BBC report is. There is no reference to the fact that Gen Laurie’s letter was an unsolicted contribution to the inquiry. Nor does it make clear that he didn’t attend key meetings of JIC and that his views can only be based on demands made of him and on secondhand accounts of meetings. Surely fair points made by the FT reporter.
     
    It’s also interesting that they quote from Gen Laurie’s letter that ‘we could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to WMD’ but omitted the bit that went on to say their general conclusion was that ‘they must have been dismantled, buried or taken abroad’. Of course this bit of the comment undermines all those (including many in the BBC) who prefer to believe that the whole WMD story was made up by Blair and co.
     
    Whatever one’s views on Iraq, it is surely important in a democracy, that our premier, publicly funded news agency reports all relevant aspects of an issue. Alarmingly, it has become the norm for journalists of all persuasions to leave out the bits that undermine their own viewpoint.

  • MicheleB

    I sometimes wonder where certain observers’ and comment-makers’ memories are.
    Am I really the only person that heard Hans Blix, 5 weeks in to the Iraq invasion, saying on Today in the 8.10 slot, that he had by then come to the conclusion that Saddam had snuck his WMDs away to Syria for concealment and face-keeping? 
    He elaborated, he said that Saddam was known to enjoy a game of poker and he had gambled with his citizens’ safety rather than admit to them that he had been forced to comply with international demands.
    Perhaps Mr Blix was wrong and the WMDs had not really been transported across the border; we do know however that plenty of them were used on and buried inside the 000s of Chemical Ali’s victims.
    Some of us also remember how many 000s of people had been dying per month under the UN sanctions that had existed for years.

  • Keane Sinead

    Is a government lying to both it’s people and parliament not newsworthy.The dossier has been proved to be a tissue of lies.Those involved with said dossier should come out and admit (including A.C.) that they did not tell the truth,also why was a media advisor involved in an intelligence or so called document.

  • ronnie

    has something happened to my brain or is Olli’s latest post just a pile of confused and disconnected waffle?

  • Gilliebc

    I would venture to suggest it’s the former ronnie, sorry. 

  • Dave Simons

    There have long been Christians and Christians and there is a big difference between the hierarchicals and conservatives of Roman Catholicism and Quakers and Unitarians. I think the Greek word ‘Christos’ got grafted onto a Hebrew fundamentalist, one in a long tradition, who got built up to be no less than the Creator of the Universe in human form. When I reflect on what happened to a former truck driver like Elvis Presley in my lifetime – Elvis being now just short of sainthood – I’m not surprised to see the same process at work in ancient history. A lot of the Christian ethics have of course influenced the various types of socialism, but a lot of Christians go to what Robert Tressell called ‘the Church of the Whited Sepulchre’ and so they don’t feel too impelled to practice what they preach. I’d recommend to any Christian the book by Robert Graves and Joshua Podro – ‘The Nazarene Gospel Restored’. It was a case of a former Anglican and an orthodox Jew coming to more or less the same conclusions on the basis of much research into Hebrew mythology and the writings of near contemporaries like Eusebius. I think the publisher, Carcanet, was planning to republish the book and may have done by now, but it was previously published in a limited edition, and subsequently, some would say, suppressed.
    Incidentally I think this old Manichean idea of the battle between Good and Evil might better be called a battle between mutual miscomprehensions.

  •  As a former soldier who served in the first Gulf war I can offer that Iraq had WMD, If ever you have come under a “scud attack” and then to hear the high pitch alarms from the NBC detectors (gas detection) that get you franticly reaching for your respirator (Gas Mask) then you have no need to question, survival is instinctive.
    It is more than likely that once the ground war started then Saddam withdrew the majority of his short range arsenal back to Baghdad to be later dismantled or transported across the borders, as later suggested by Hans Blix.
    Since that conflict my views on war have certainly changed, once experienced, tragically never forgot, for me it is forever ongoing!. Indeed although Saddam undoubtedly murdered thousands of his own people, spare more than a mere passing thought for the thousands of civilians killed by coalition WMD.
    Its not the dossier that should be questioned but rather asking what were the underlying real truths for the invasion.
    “dulce bellum inexpertis”

  • Barrie Singleton

    It can be hard to comprehend how AC can re-view his evidence to Chilcot, and not see a man defending the indefensible.

    However, AC’s deep, blinding love for TB, was apparent during the whole sorry saga, and love conquers all- even reason. 

  • Odddog1

     Has it not occurred to you that the reason he maintained his fiction about the WMDs was that he did not want to make the true state of affairs known to his middle east rivals . All Force is partly show including ours.
    Why was it that battleships were retained by the British Navy long after their vulnerability was revealed ? The answer is that they looked good and frightened our rivals .
    Civil servants and politicians should have known this.

  • MicheleB

    Well said; I’m a devout R4 listener but was amazed at their output after the odious hack’s interview.  To have ‘that phrase’ repeated every hour for weeks and weeks on end, every reiteration of the news headlines sounding like Auntie being hip, while Dyke still claims he had not got round to listening to one edition.  Nobody ever wants war but this invasion got decades of sanctions ended (and the busters off the hook).

    .

  • MicheleB

    Given the likely Torygraph watchers and their NIDness, my phrase ‘the odious hack’ refers to theirs

    .

  •   As a former soldier who served in the first Gulf war I can assure people that Iraq had WMD, If ever you have come under a “scud attack” and then to hear the high pitch alarms from the NBC detectors (gas detection) that get you franticly reaching for your respirator (Gas Mask) then you have no need to question, survival is instinctive.
    It is more than likely that once the 1991 ground war started then Saddam withdrew the majority of his short range arsenal back to Baghdad to be later dismantled or transported across the borders as later stated by Hans Blix.
    Since that conflict my views on war have certainly changed, once experienced, tragically never forgoten Indeed although Saddam undoubtedly murdered thousands of his own people, spare a reflective thought for the thousands of civilians killed by coalition WMD.
    Its not the dossier that should be questioned but rather asking what were the underlying real truths for the invasion?
    “dulce bellum inexpertis”

  • Cllr Steve Norman

    AN Wilson is
    such a pompous boor but at least it prompted, for the first time I can recall,
    an intervention by a BBC presenter (Jonathan Dimbleby on Any Questions) to clarify
    the definition of the word “lying”.

  • MicheleB

    Further to my entry post on this thread I’ve found corroboration of what I remember from that 8.10 interview in 2003:.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/may/23/iraq1   
    ………………..If that were the case, he said, Iraq’s evasive behaviour in recent years
    could be due to Saddam Hussein’s fixation with Iraqi honour and a wish
    to dictate the conditions under which people could enter the country…………..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Blix#Iraq_disarmament_crisis_.282002-2003.29

    ——————————

    I’m amazed to have found it as I’ve tried many times before. 

    I’ve also failed to ever find any reminder of that Blix interview on any subsequent R4 programme or article or on iPlayer, I’ve always found that amazing.

    Who was the cause of the sanctions and then the war? 
    Saddam

    Who brought Dr Kelly to suicide?  
    The odious hack that brought him to public attention to correct the impression he’d given that Susan Watts had been his source.

    .

  • Ross

     Don’t let them get you down, Mr Campbell.

  • Brian Boreham

    If, Mr Campbell, you and Tony Blair have been telling the truth about the reasons for invading Iraq, why, to my knowledge, have neither of you sued any of the thousands of individuals who have publicly accused you of lying? 

  • Gilliebc

    The thing is Dave the books that you refer to were written by mere mortals.  The Bible on the other hand, was written under divine guidance.
    There is a never-ending discussion/argument that could be had on this subject. But what is really boils down to is “simple” faith.  Either a person has faith or they don’t.  I don’t have a problem with atheists or agnostics that’s their choice and I’m certainly not saying that their lack of faith does not make them good people. e.g. you yourself Dave come across as a very decent person and AC himself has many fine qualities.
    However, people with little or no faith, who place their hopes on mankind to make this world a better place are doomed to be disappointed.  Christians may also be disappointed too of course.

  • starcana

    Don’t you just love hindsight! All the people (in an outside the media) who now attack AC and TB are the same people who on September 12th 2001 wanted retribution in any form, expressions of power from the US, UN, Uk and action against  everyone  considered the  enemy. Surely people must see through these purely political media attacks. Has the Mail, Telegraph etc EVER said TB or AC did anything good, got anything right. No, of course not, it doesn’t suit their agenda. You’re right not to comment further Alastair.

  • MicheleB

    Major General Laurie’s outburst seems to be restricted to him describing his perceptions. 

    I’ve not read anywhere that he has quoted literal direct orders, he has described what he thought he was being asked to do.

    Everything comes down to perception and unfortunately none of us is able
    to know for sure that our listener is understanding us properly and not
    extrapolating, over-working what they are hearing / reading.

    Is his perception all that matters?  Digging back in to my memory again I remember TB running himself ragged round the world for months on end, making Dubbya hold off for international endorsement, stopping him taking US in to Iraq by itself, un-witnessed and uncontrolled. 

    I hope very much indeed that the current ‘I am the PM’ was totally uninformed in advance about US’s latest international venture.

    .

  • MicheleB

     Quote ……………..why …. have neither of you sued any of the thousands of individuals who have publicly accused you of lying?……….

    Isn’t your question kind of self-answering, kind of loopy?

  • Pam

    It’s called a double bluff! 

  • ronnie

    I’ve often wondered about Dr Blix’s shifting perspective. 

    People (incuding Dr B) seem to have forgotten that in early 2003, Bilx himself is on record as believing that 1000 tonnes of chemical agent and 10,000 litres of anthrax known to be in Iraq were unaccounted for and had not been destroyed. This is in an UNMOVIC report called Unresolved Disarmament Issues dated March 6th – you’ll find the details on page 205 of the Butler Report.

    My impression is that he’s a self-important kind of guy who turned against the war because he was bitter that they cut short his time in the limelight.

    But there’s no doubt that he believed in 2003 that there was solid evidence that Saddam still had WMD.

    As, let’s face it, did everybody.

  • Quinney

    Is this Saddam Hussein quoted still the same one who hung a British journalist? Started a war with Iran? Drained the marshes near Basra to defeat the marsh arabs? Invaded Kuwait? Invaded Saudi Arabia whilst in Kuwait? Fired missiles at Israel duringthe gulf war? Or were there two of them?

  • MicheleB

     Hi Ronnie 🙂

    Re your ‘As, let’s face it, (so) did everybody’

    ……………… everybody was right and if that hadn’t been made known, who knows ….. the 000s of people whose bodies Saddam and his cousin used in lieu of other hiding places might still be alive …. the gases dropped on them would have stayed in reserve for those of other nationalities.

    WMDs anyone ??

    ——————

    I find it very saddening that some of us habitually turn in on ourselves.
    For ‘ideological’ (LOL) reasons, people that disrespect TB and AC seem (to me) to be CHOOSING to misrepresent them. 

    Should we question the objectivity/respectability  (entitlement to their jobs) of pundits that bestow more ‘honour’ on the likes of Saddam at the expense of men like TB/AC?

    The evidence of WMDs is incontrovertible; had he not be stopped would Saddam have killed even higher a proportion of his citizens than Hitler did? 

  • MicheleB

     Hi Ronnie 🙂

    Re your ‘As, let’s face it, (so) did everybody’

    ……………… everybody was right and if that hadn’t been made known, who knows ….. the 000s of people whose bodies Saddam and his cousin used in lieu of other hiding places might still be alive …. the gases dropped on them would have stayed in reserve for those of other nationalities.

    WMDs anyone ??

    ——————

    I find it very saddening that some of us habitually turn in on ourselves.
    For ‘ideological’ (LOL) reasons, people that disrespect TB and AC seem (to me) to be CHOOSING to misrepresent them. 

    Should we question the objectivity/respectability  (entitlement to their jobs) of pundits that bestow more ‘honour’ on the likes of Saddam at the expense of men like TB/AC?

    The evidence of WMDs is incontrovertible; had he not be stopped would Saddam have killed even higher a proportion of his citizens than Hitler did? 

  • Dave Simons

     I suspect one organisation that did know what the real situation was about WMD in Iraq was Mossad – they don’t miss much – but it’s very likely that they wouldn’t tell anyone else, especially their allies.

  • Dave Simons

     The Bible is a motley collection written by many very down-to-earth and human hands. Humans often claim to be divinely inspired, but I think it’s unwise to speak on behalf of divinities, real or imagined – they might answer back! The Bible is mostly patriarchal and often very anti-women. The Song of Solomon is often quoted as an exception. Some of the rules and regs in Leviticus and Deutoronomy – like ‘do not suffer a witch to live’ – have caused, and continue to cause, a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. There is nothing new in the New Testament – ‘love thy enemy’ is a repeat of one of the psalms, which states something like ‘if thy enemy be fallen, pick them up’. And so on. Another good book written by a mere mortal is ‘An Introduction to the Bible’ – J. W. Rogerson, Penguin Books, 1999.
    The trouble with faith is that you can have faith in anything. A lot of people in Germany in the 1930s had faith in Hitler and look where it led them and us. Sorry Gillie, but on this subject I’m closer to Richard Dawkins than Cliff Richard!

  • Jo Willcox

    Having heard the evidence and wrestled with this in my mind, I have no doubt that TB and AC acted on the evidence and best interests of the county and people of Iraq at the time. I always felt that TB was genuine and trusted him, and felt he was a pretty incredible leader. Even my Dad (a raging Tory) respected him and AC…(c’mon no cynism here people)

    I can’t help feeling cynical sometimes about the West as a whole and why we can’t be a bit more honest about the other reasons as to why we go into some regions and not others, on ‘humanitarian grounds.’

    Though I am grateful that we live in a country where our leaders are called into question for their actions and that we can have open discussions without the threat of being killed for our opinions, gender, political views etc…

    I can’t imagine one person who isn’t deeply sad regretful about the loss of life of Iraqis and our soldiers, but the issues are so compex.

    Labour did a lot of really positive things and the country was a better place to live, sadly that does get forgotten in all this.

  • ronnie

     And another thing…

    Sorry to bang on about this but it’s relevant to the Laurie issue.

    Hans Blix was specifically asked by Butler (para 315 ff) whether he saw the Dossier as being intended to make a case for war. He replied: “No it doesn’t. I see it as making the case for inspection”.

    You have to keep reminding yourself just how much history has been rewritten in the intervening years.

  • So it’s a case of “keep repeating the lie and hopefully it will be believed”. It is clear for everyone to see what happened, why don’t you just come clean and be done with it? Why continue torturing yourself when everyone knows what happened?

  • Quinney

    Sorry, forgot to add using chemical weapons on the Kurds at Halabja in 1988 when he and Chemical Ali murdered at least 5,000 civilians. 

  • MicheleB

    To Da Messer;  Why don’t you stop guessing?

    I take it you are not a first-hand witness.  If you were then say so.
    I take it you are prejudiced.  If not then describe the set of scales you’re using.

    This is about FACTS, if I received an order I did not like the sound of, especially one that I thought was requiring me to lie to a world audience and other world leaders  I would question it to ensure I had understood properly. 

    I doubt the Major has any liking for Mr Campbell, let’s hope his altruism or lack of it will be outed under further questioning.

    .

  • Olli Issakainen

    Christianity is about faith and trust. It does not need any evidence to back it up.
    Faith is a gift from God. Faith is a mystery.
    But John Locke cited design in nature, miracles and fulfilled Bible prophecy as “evidence” for Christianity.
    I have read many books by Richard Dawkins. He knows next to nothing about theology.
    By believing in God you get eternal life in excellent conditions – free. As Pascal said, you can win everything by having faith but do not lose anything.
    Dostojevski said that Christianity made him so happy that he would not give it up even if it was proven not to be true. It is same with me.
    I was an atheist between the ages 12-19, so I do understand people who have no faith.
    But I realised at the age of 19 that I had got things wrong. The theory of evolution does not prove that God does not exist. Christianity has an answer to the problem of pain.
    And miracles do happen. I have experienced two myself.
    I recommend you to read books by C.S. Lewis on Christianity. Check also David Wilkerson´s The Vision (1973), and compare it with today´s headlines. You will be amazed to see that he got everything right in 1973.

    Ps. Israel knew that Saddam did not have WMDs. It had to know. Israel, by the way, is God´s fifth Gospel. The birth of Israel (1948) was predicted in the Bible.   

  • Gilliebc

    Interesting comment Dave.  I don’t know much if anything about Mossad, but I do know someone who does and he says that Mossad are a cruel, ruthless and evil organisation that make our intelligence services look like a bunch of pussy cats. 

  • Gilliebc

    I wouldn’t agree that the books of the Bible are a motley collection, especially those written by the apostles and disciples.  Those who were chosen by Jesus and who worked alongside Him.  Their writings in particular are from their first hand knowledge and enlightenment. 
    If mankind had obeyed the 10 commandments, unrealistic as that sounds,
    then surely no one could deny that the world would be a much better place!  The 10 commandments like other advice contained in the Bible were written for our own good.  They are not the commandments of some “spoilsport” they are the commandments of a wise and all-seeing, caring and loving God. Just imagine a world where everyone lived in peace and harmony how lovely would that be.  That’s what God wanted for us all.

    Dave, the point you make about Hitler is a very telling one.  i.e. No one should place their faith in another human being.  Where has that ever got anyone?

    Just for the record I’m not an admirer (I don’t like the word fan) of Cliff Richard.  He’s a little too self-agrandizing for my taste.

  • Dave Simons

     We’ve digressed a little from Weapons of Mass Destruction, thanks initially to Olli, but it’s an interesting exchange of views, and sincere thanks to you and Olli for it. I expect we could go on and on! For Olli’s information I have read some C. S. Lewis but not the David Wilkerson book, which I promise to look up. For Gilli’s information the four gospels and all the other apocryphal gospels were written after the death of the historical Jesus – sometimes long after, as is the case with John. Not all of the four ‘evangelists’ worked alongside the historical Jesus – John was probably not even born then. As for the ten commandments they depend on context. Someone once told me the old joke about ‘The pleasures of youth are nothing to the pleasures of adultery’ and I have to say there might be some truth in that!
    Incidentally if you ever do get to visit Oare church, where the beautiful but fictional Lorna Doone was shot, you’ll find my real name entered in he visitors’ book on 20 May 2009.

  • Gilliebc

    Some very intrigueing little nuggets in that post Dave.  I freely admit to breaking at least one of the 10 commandments, several times actually.
    Nothing illegal I hasten to add.  That bit about your real name being in the visitors book at Oare church, is yours a well known name?  Or, would I recognise it for some reason? Or, do you know or think you may have known me, perhaps.  “Answers on a postcard please”  I’m very curious,
    how about some more clues?  You could save me having to drive to Exmoor!

  • Dave Simons

    No to all three of your questions but I would encourage you to revisit that beautiful part of your county which has been graced with a romantic novel. Some of R. D. Blackmore’s descriptions of natural beauty in the Doone Valley are pretty outstanding. Also the pub at the top of Countisbury Hill is a bit special. Now why would you want to be saved from having to drive to Exmoor? It’s a national treasure! The little church at Culborne is also worth a visit, and the nearby farm where Samuel Taylor Coleridge claimed he wrote ‘Kubla Khan’ after an attack of dysentery. What were we talking about – WMD? 

  • Tc

     The Truth is Coming!

  • Gilliebc

    You make it sound delightful Dave, Exmoor that is.  It has been a very long time since I was last there, so I may well go again soon!
     
    What WMD’s ?  Re: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he was born in the small town of Ottery St. Mary, I believe, which is about a 15 min. drive from where I live.  Awful road though.  The church at OSM is a scaled down version of Exeter Cathedral.  I daresay you know that though.
    Do you use Twitter at all?  I’ve had a twitter account for a couple of years, but I don’t entirely “get” twitter and don’t use it often.  I acquired a couple of followers quite quickly, but I’ve no idea who they are.  I also follow AC of course though I’ve never actually tweeted him. But I paid a quick visit to twitter tonight and I seem to be “following” some people that I don’t recall asking to follow. I am a bit of a techno. idiot, I must admit.  I’ve not noticed you Dave on other sites.  I quite like the Sky News site, because it’s easy to use and has many fine features!  I’m on that particular site as “Mrs. Ordinary” simply because I wasn’t able to use my usual name.  I don’t know why.
    Hope you get this post as a reply to you Dave.  I say that because it seemed to get lost about half-way through.  But I found it again, more by accident than through my computer skills, which are not great.
    Telegraph blogs are quite a laugh at times and one doesn’t have to be quite so pc on there either.
    But, I have to say AC’s site is still my favourite and always my first port of call every day.  I hope he won’t give up blogging if he takes on a full-time job again.

  • Dave Simons

    Yes STC was born in OSM, son of a local vicar.
    I don’t use or ‘get’ Twitter and this is the only Blog site I use – occasioned by attending one of AC’s talks last autumn. Being a ‘techno idiot’ seems a healthy option to me – wait till the power fails and we all have to remember (or learn) how to count and do real manual work!