No whitewash for Iraq inquiry

By public demand Gordon Brown’s early efforts to keep the inquiry into the Iraq war secret were defeated by the chairman himself Sir John Chilcott, former father confessor to the intelligence community and NIO chief. In that role, he had probably the most extensive knowledge of anyone of MI5’s role in the province and throughout the UK. I can feel hackles rising already at the sight of his pedigree but even the most grudging of his critics have to admit he made a good start. For the inquiry launching in public on Monday, Chilcott knows where to search for all the (metaphorical) bodies and intense scrutiny will keep him up to the mark. If he has a bias it might be to defend the rank and file of the intelligence community from exploitation by politicians. So look out Tony Blair. It’s probably right to keep the lawyers out of the inquiry, in favour of a more worldly wise group who are also as independent as you’re likely to get. An investigative rather than an inquisitorial approach is the key to producing meaty conclusions in about two years’ time. As veteran Whitehall watcher Peter Riddell says:

So it will not be like the Scott inquiry into arms to Iraq; the Hutton inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly — and especially not like the 11-year, and rising, Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday. However, unlike the similarly constituted Franks inquiry into the Falklands conflict in 1982, Sir John has ensured that most of the hearings will be in public.
Although the report will come out long after the election, Labour’s recored will hardly escape scrutiny in the meantime.
The Daily Telegraph stable has been scooping the media again with selected leaks about the planning chaos and rotten equipment etc.It was so often thus, up to D Day anyway – the military never ready, the politicians always pushing. While the paper comes near to accusing Tony Blair of lying to Parliament, by denying war preparations even as they were going on, to me the leaks don’t add up to the smoking gun and can be written off as a political necessity – like John Major’s denial of secret contacts with the IRA. Stormy relations between the Britain and American military also featured in WW2 – only then, they began with American suspicions of all those crafty Brits, before the Spielberg-style US roll-over began.

  • joeCanuck

    I have some swampland in Florida, currently slightly frozen; wanna buy Brian?
    The UK has 100s years experience in protecting the Establishment.
    “Some mistakes were made but no malicious intent…bah bah…”

  • Only Asking

    Thats a very big remit they’re about to cover.

    In Brown’s own words, the inquiry can examine the controversial run-up to the invasion, including those disputed dossiers and Tony Blair’s relations with George Bush; the war itself (the least controversial bit); and the occupation, obtaining whatever papers its wants

    Something tells me this will converge with the KSM trail. Is this, like that, an attempt to say Britain is no longer at war? It will be a severe embarrassment to both nations and could be a huge intelligence coup for AQ???? No?

  • Only Asking

    It will be a severe embarrassment to both nations and could be a huge intelligence coup for AQ????

    When both are put together I mean?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I Agree it will be no Saville enquiry – more Widgery. Britian is not going to convict itself of warmongering or war crimes and if a few politicans carry the can that simply deflects attention away from the fact that most of the Labour Party and almost all the Tory Party(who didnt need a dosssier at all) and of course most Ulster Unionists were in favour of the war and continue to defend it.

    The war, and the defecne of the war, is an indictment not of a few funny Oxbridge chaps wearing disguises and operating in the shadows but of Britian – it’s politicians and its electorate and has disgraefully tarnished Ireland’s good name internationally with the profile afforded to Tim Collin’s and other Norn Iron participants.

    If ever anyone needed a reminder of why we need a United Ireland this very British war is just that.

  • Wilde Rover

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit,

    “If ever anyone needed a reminder of why we need a United Ireland this very British war is just that.”

    You’re forgetting about the role of Shannon in all of this. In many ways the people of Ireland have blood on their hands over this too…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Wilde Rover,

    re. “You’re forgetting about the role of Shannon in all of this. In many ways the people of Ireland have blood on their hands over this too… ”

    Good Point. There are few absolutes and this is not one of them – but we would not have any troops from our country(Northern Territories) involved if we had a UI.

  • With the ‘Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war about to begin, it looks very much like after months of taking evidence from government mandarins, senior officers and government ministers, John Chilcot, will end up next year, issuing a report which make’s piffling recommendations for greater scrutiny, more accountability, fact-checking and new planning mechanisms. Whilst whitewashing all guilt from those responsible for this criminal endeavor; Tony Blair, the members of his cabinet, Chief of staff of the UK military, heads of the security services and David Cameron and the Tory opposition will all walk away without a stain on their characters.

    More here,
    http://www.organizedrage.com/2009/11/chilcot-inquiry-will-whitewash-all.html

  • Jimmy Sands

    The leaks from the military are that nothing that went wrong was their fault?

    Well there’s a shock.