On the day Saddam Hussein was executed, we also received news of the New Year's Honours list-- a quaint little British tradition in which a range of titles are bestowed on people who have served their country well in the previous year, from Knighthoods, OBEs, CBEs, to the peculiarly named Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, which is given to people in the diplomatic service.
And can you guess who got that one this year, though it's not being widely reported? John Scarlett, current head of MI6, previously on the government's Joint Intelligence Committee. Who's he? The obliging fellow who, in the so-called "sexing-up" affair, agreed to the last-minute changes in the dossier Tony Blair presented to the nation to make his case for the invasion of Iraq. Fears had been expressed that the dossier, as it stood--replete with facts and other such inconveniences--would not make a convincing case for war. But by the time they'd finished rewriting it, having solicited Scarlett's consent for the changes, even half of the anti-war brigade secretly believed that Saddam had weapons sophisticated enough to launch strikes from Iraq on mainland Europe. It was a masterpiece of creative literature, way better than anything I've ever written, and it got Blair into Iraq behind George Bush with only a minimum of fuss.
Scarlett did his job well and on the day the deposed leader of Iraq was murdered and over seventy Iraqi citizens perished in a series of car bombs, he has been handsomely rewarded. It would leave you with a very bitter taste in the mouth if Iraq hadn't been tasting like poison on the tongue since it started.