The Master of Pembroke College (U Cambridge), my temporary home, is Sir Richard Dearlove, head of SIS (commonly known as MI6) during the invasion of Iraq. It never ceases to amaze me how these people—either so grossly incompetent that they shouldn’t be allowed to shovel dog you-know-what, or else so criminal that they should be behind bars—get rewarded with plum (albeit fairly meaningless) posts. Institutionalised corruption at its finest.
Dearlove maintained total silence during the Blair Government’s successful bid to hoodwink the public and a supine Parliament into a disastrous and bloody war through outright lies and the mangling and stretching of intelligence beyond what any responsible person would recognise as justifiable. He allowed his agency to be either misrepresented (bespeaking negligence) or else accurately represented (bespeaking malice) as delivering its stamp of approval on the Government’s ill-judged, immoral policy.
Dearlove and his people allowed the Government to fabricate a rationale for war, dismantle the evidence at hand and reassemble it, all out of order, to present a Frankensteinian justification for a massive invasion of Iraq.
He retired after the war began. Months after the bombs had been dropped, after Iraqi casualties were running well into the tens of thousands, after Iraq’s infrastructure was being dismantled by the coalition, but before those casualties spiralled even higher, and before the coalition forces fully realised what kind of a mess they had created. He was succeeded, of course, by John Scarlett, another intelligence professional who had colluded with the Blair Government in a catastrophic war and an incredible betrayal of public trust.
And during subsequent investigations, reviews and inquiries, Dearlove has been quick to declare his dismay at the way the Blair Government handled intelligence. But of course he let the intelligence services be turned into a highly-politicised arm of that Government. And he wasn’t willing to share his dismay early enough to save the lives of hundreds of British soldiers, thousands of American ones, or over one-hundred thousand Iraqis. Only to save his own skin.
Dearlove’s disingenuity, his incompetence, his spinelessness have all contributed to the immorality of our politics, the imperilling of our people and interests, and the killing of tens and hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. I hope that his conscience troubles him, because neither the British press, the British Parliament or British Law has seen fit to make him or anyone else accountable for the catastrophe that was our invasion of Iraq.