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The question: Hutton Inquiry

With the Hutton Inquiry into Dr David Kelly's death in full swing, what do you think of the way the government presented the case for the war on Iraq?

In my view none of the arguments put forward were ever convincing - a link with Al-Qaida, WMD, attempts to build nuclear weapons with material from Niger, that the Iraqis wanted us to rescue them, etc.

The government tried them all and obviously realised that they were not persuading people, but decided they were going to tag along behind America anyway.

Since the war, almost all the claims have been shown to be false. If one or two of them had turned out to be doubtful then you could put it down to the uncertainties of intelligence interpretation, but when they cannot substantiate any of them . . . The most cynical argument of all is the current one that 'We won so that proves we were right to do it'. For honesty, balance and morality I give the government a 'very poor' rating: for bullying and psy-ops I would give 'tried hard'.

George Tedbury, 58, director, Hong Kong

The way the government presented the case for war was cold bloodedly callous and deceitful.

The end result was that our country went to war illegally, arguably made the threat of terrorism worse than it was before, and caused immense trauma and suffering to innocent people. And the suffering goes on - witness the loss of limbs to children from cluster bombs left carelessly lying around, and the suffering from cancer and other malignant diseases from the use of depleted uranium weapons has still to kick in. I voted Labour last election - I now hang my head in shame.

Jim Towers, 52, transport planner, Stirling

Having been glued to the box every Sunday night for '24', one can see how information and misinformation equates to power! As a layperson, it is simply impossible to judge the political, social and personal agendas of those people who wield this immense power.

Only now after 50+ years are we learning things about WW2 and Vietnam that had they been public at the time may have swayed opinion. Perhaps the good people of this country do not really care much as it does not directly affect their shopping, bus journey, house price and pension. . . . . or does it? ?

Peter Hookham, ITS Engineer, Devon

The government is damned if it does and damned if it does not reveal exactly what actually went on. In life, there are two ways to look at these things. You either subscribe to the Machiavelli theory or the cock-up theory.

Unfortunately for the government, they tried to be clever but they failed - so I subscribe to the cockup. Having visited Iraq in the 80's, I would say that Saddam was also trying to be too clever - he failed, so another cock-up. No weapons of mass destruction (what a misnomer) and so Saddam may still have the last laugh.

Labyrinthine, isn't it? I prefer being truthful and reasonably honest.

Philip Norris 57, principal consultant

The government case for war convinced me, but then spin (or PR) is all about that, rather than 100% truth. We are used to being fed perfectly valid, substantiated arguments from Number 10 and we believe them all. Just occasionally we realise - from the Kelly affair, the lack of real WMD's, the increased traffic congestion, the poorer rail services, etc - that it was all carefully, professionally managed spin. Lets face it, this is what we all do in presenting rickety cases, but we mostly get away with it. Now, what was it I said to the boss about great Q1 results? !

Dudley Swain, 56, performance manager, Exeter

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