Behind closed doors

Ignoring the main story of the day:

Coleen unveils her mini Rooney baby bump in a bikini in Barbados

it seems that the ever more unpopular and unelected Prime Minister of the UK, Gordon Brown, is facing more criticism, from all sides, after announcing an investigation ‘of unprecedented scope’ into the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

His predecessor, the democratically elected Tony Blair, caused division within the Labour Party after deciding to join America in the controversial invasion. Blair is widely expected to give evidence during the investigation.

The good news is that the investigation, which covers the period from 2001 up until the withdrawal of UK troops, will actually take place.

The bad news, which is causing widespread condemnation from all parties as well as from the families of servicemen, is that:

  • The investigation will not be public but will be held behind closed doors. ‘National Security’ is the apparent justification for this.
  • There is unlikely to be any apportioning of blame.
  • The committee of Privy Councilors charged with carrying out this ‘fully independent’ investigation is headed by Sir John Chilcot, a former permanent secretary, and includes amongst others a former ambassador, a biographer and a professor. In other words, no-one with any practical military background.
  • The report, containing all but the most ‘sensitive material’, will not be published until after the next election.

No cause for concern there then!

Families of servicemen killed during the conflict are keen to learn details about the standard of equipment provided  for soldiers, a long time concern of the UK military. This, however, is unlikely.

Critics believe that witnesses called to testify before the committee will be less likely to reveal the whole truth than would be the case if the inquiry was to be held in public. And the decision not to publish any report until after the next general election is being viewed as a ‘stitch-up’.

All in all, as the investigation stands, few people can be expecting to get any meaningful answers from the exercise, with the words ‘cover-up’ readily springing to many lips.

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