The long campaigned for official enquiry into Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war is to begin on Tuesday.
Sir John Chilcot, the Enquiry’s Chairman explains what’s what here:
“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.”
While the ultimate report is not expected for at least a year the hearings are open to the public, so expect some UK newspapers and blogs to read like it’s 2003 again as tidbits of evidence make their way into the public domain.
Oliver Miles, writing in The Independent has started the fun early. In an article which posits the question: is Tony Blair a war criminal? (and provides us with a clue by comparing the previous prime minister with Kurt Waldheim) he takes issue with the backgrounds of a couple of members of the committee.
All five members have outstanding reputations and records, but it is a pity that, if and when the inquiry is accused of a whitewash, such handy ammunition will be available. Membership should not only be balanced; it should be seen to be balanced.
What have they done and who might hold it against them? Miles explains:
Both Gilbert and Freedman are Jewish
What? Jewish you say?
Such facts are not usually mentioned in the mainstream British and American media
I’ll be damned. Good God man they’re crawling all over the place, and nobody’s doing a bally thing about it!