UK Iraq War Inquiry

Our partner in crime is having an inquiry on the lead up to the Iraq War and the failings and misdirections of its leaders. When do we get ours?

Inquiry Website – http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/

The Prime Minister announced on 15 June 2009 that an Inquiry would be conducted to identify lessons that can be learned from the Iraq conflict. The Iraq Inquiry was officially launched on 30 July 2009. At the launch the Chair of the Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, set out the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference:

“Our terms of reference are very broad, but the essential points, as set out by the Prime Minister and agreed by the House of Commons, are that this is an Inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors. It will consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath. We will therefore be considering the UK’s involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned. Those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country.”

The Inquiry committee members are Sir John Chilcot (Chairman), Sir Lawrence Freedman, Sir Martin Gilbert, Sir Roderic Lyne and Baroness Usha Prashar.

What have they already learned?

For one, the information about Iraq being able to target Cyprus with chemical weapons was divulged by a taxi driver after overhearing some military officers speaking in his ride. The information was included in a dossier but marked “verifiably inaccurate” by the agents that had collected it.

Also, that the top lawyer in Blair’s government, Lord Goldsmith, had advised him that deposing Saddam would be against international law. Blair “refused to accept Lord Goldsmith’s advice and instead issued instructions for his long-term friend to be “gagged” and barred from cabinet meetings, the newspaper claimed. Lord Goldsmith apparently lost three stone, and complained he was “more or less pinned to the wall” in a No 10 showdown with two of Mr Blair’s most loyal aides, Lord Falconer and Baroness Morgan. Mr Blair also allegedly failed to inform the Cabinet of the warning, fearing an “anti-war revolt”.”

Further, “among the devastating details presented to the inquiry was the revelation that British spies reported 10 days before the invasion that Iraq had “disassembled” what chemical weapons it had – but Mr Blair went ahead and sent troops into battle. Britain’s former ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, claimed Mr Blair and Mr Bush had signed a secret deal “in blood” to remove Saddam almost a year before the invasion. He said the agreement in effect left officials scrabbling to find “a smoking gun” to justify going to war.”

And after rushing into the war they could not even meet the necessary resources needed to complete the mission:

“We are putting amateurs into really important positions and people are getting killed as a result of some of these decisions. It’s a huge responsibility and I just don’t sense we are living up to it.”

The speed of the military operation that led to the occupation of Iraq in 2003 took planners by surprise, Viggers told Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the war, and reconstruction efforts were hampered by a growing insurgency, security issues, economic, governance and power supply problems.

“It was rather like going to the theatre and seeing one sort of play and realising you were watching a tragedy as the curtains came back.

“We suffered from a lack of any real understanding of the state of that country post-invasion.”

4 Comments

  1. Ian

    We’ve heard similar things about our intelligence gathering and the Bush administration’s behavior in the lead up to the war. Let us know when they handcuff Blair and take him off to jail.

  2. Jordan

    Will do.

    I’m really not sure what the result would be. Large bureaucracies are built on deflecting blame from individual decisions so I’m not sure if the blame will get spread around or if they could actual try him, either in Britain or the ICC.

  3. I believe the Obama Admin has pretty much put the brakes on any moves against the previous WH….thus we may NEVER know the real truth behind the move to Iraq…other than speculation….

  4. JM

    I think that the administration realizes just how much focus and bitterness will accompany a proper inquiry. I read somewhere yesterday about the White House releasing a lot of new information but virtually none from the Bush administration. I suspect the reason Cheney feels he can be a douche daily on national tv is that of someone who has gotten away with a crime – much like the banksters – and so feels immune. If Obama gets a second term I would hope he would push for some sort of Commission like we had we with Sept 11th. The Bush Jr and Cheney can’t be prosecuted but there are a lot of lingering issues that would help to be closed for the American public and world at large. Our current credibility only rests on Obama’s charisma and personality.