The Chilcot inquiry was started on November 24th 2009 and is currently going through a process of what is termed as Maxwellisation. This is a process where the people who are criticised in the report have a right to reply. This report will be the verdict on the run up to the Iraq war and the inquiry is of course totally independent much like the Saville report into Bloody Sunday. Sadly, unlike the panel the people reading this report will not be so neutral. No matter what the report says people will simply view it through the prism of each person’s already strongly held view. We have born witness to Simon Jenkins of the Guardian writing a piece saying we all know it’s Blair’s fault that we went into Iraq; not only does Jenkins assume that we all feel Iraq was a mistake but he seems to just want to get it out as quickly as possible like a virgin just before their first sexual conquest.
Calls for this to come out early are quite frankly ridiculous for several reasons. Firstly, if it is released before everyone has a chance to a right of reply if there are any errors or clarifications that need to be made they will have to be done very publicly and openly. This means that the reports credibility is immediately undermined. As this will be the official say on the build-up to the Iraq war a report of this size losing credibility is simply not acceptable. Not just this but releasing the report during an election cycle is the ultimate ‘sexing down’ to plagiarize from Nick Clegg and his desperation. If it was released now we would hear about it for a day or two and then the parliamentary scuffles would take over. As none of the people involved in the planning of Iraq are now in frontline politics it doesn’t affect this parliament or poll ratings which with less than four months to go until polling day is the only thing that matters. The report if released later would be ubiquitous rather than a flash in the pan.
Not surprisingly one political party does want this released for their poll ratings, the liberal democrats. A party which has the approval rating equivalent to George Bush at the end of his second term while playing the bongos is desperate for a lift and they are thinking this could be the lift they need. They were the only established party which opposed the war and consistently argued against it. However their petition to release the inquiry is simply disingenuous. Even Menzies Campbell has stated in the Commons that it isn’t any participant who is holding up the report. This pressure has nothing to do with wanting to see the truth and it has everything to do with public opinion and scoring points. This while nothing new in politics or indeed in the anti-war movement is the outrageous truth.
It feels like many of those against war don’t care about the truth and will forever apportion Blair the blame for this conflict. They don’t care what the report has to say, whether it will be accurate and feel like the process for giving people the right to reply is a waste of time. They just want to see it to confirm their conclusions. Much like anti-war left celebrated when we decided to let Syria engulf themselves in a civil war which has left the entire Middle East unstable and let Assad get away with chemical weapons attacks, it isn’t about justice, right or wrong but about scoring points. They use the dead in Iraq as their banner to ‘prove’ they must be right, they exaggerate figures and apportion deaths which weren’t committed by us as our responsibility. Chilcot should wait until all the evidence is in and everyone has had their say then it can and should be published.
By Sam Mace, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.