Missing the logic of the text: Lord Butler’s report on intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
Boudeau, C. (2012) Missing the logic of the text: Lord Butler’s report on intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Journal of Language and Politics, 11 (4). pp. 543-561. ISSN 1569-9862
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This article focuses on the final report of Lord Butler’s review of British intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), specifically on its treatment of the accuracy of the use of intelligence on Iraqi WMD in a government dossier published in September 2002 ahead of the 2003 Iraq war. In the report, the demonstration of the accuracy of the “September Dossier” hinges on the insertion of tables that compare side-by-side quotations from this document and from intelligence assessments. The analysis of the textual and visual methods by which the report is written reveals how the logic of the comparative tables is missed in the Butler report: the logic of these tables requires that the comparison between quotations from the two documents should be performed at the level of their details but the Butler report performs its comparison only at a broad and general level.