Chilcot, Cameron, Blair & Iraq – Who Cares?


5 August 2015. London. Prime Minister David Cameron says this morning that Sir John Chilcot must tell us when he intends to publish his  report on the circumstances of the UK’s part in the 2003 Iraq War.  Most importantly says Cameron he wants to know why it is six years overdue.

The cynic should be admonished at the highest level for suggesting that the fact that Sir John, an honourable man, earns £790 a day as chairman and the three remaining and equally honourable members of his committee, £565 a day has anything at all to do with the delay.

An honourable and interested member of the public might wonder at the time/pay connection, but surely only in passing.

Sir John is a thorough man.  Two other members of his committee (one a former diplomat of enormous standing at the FCO and another one of the five most distinguished historians of our time) are equally thorough and each is aware of the ease in which less careful scrutineers could sign off a report that left unanswered questions and wrong impressions.

Yet for all the sensitivity of what Chilcot has done, the truth is that most people do not remember the circumstances of the Iraq War and care less. Moreover, whatever the published findings of Chilcot’s pending report, rightly or wrongly the public’s view is simple: Tony Blair was inspired by the glamour of power and drama on the West Wing and President George W Bush. The reality of running a small off-shore island whose military contribution was about nil escaped him.  Diplomatically and politically the UK mattered – but to talk up war and not go to it.

In spite of clear public opinion in the UK, he took Britain to an illegal war and appeared to be caught, maybe inspirational in the deceitful manner of the transition to conflict. That’s it in a nutshell.

Thus the people who really care about Chilcot’s report are those who mostly want Blair’s crucifixion. We few who really want this report do so because we will read every line for an explanation of an event that cost so many lives, was illegal, proved nothing and was one of the elements that spawned the footholds of IS terrorism.

The people who really do not want Chilcot are those who were equally deceptive including a whole bunch in Whitehall and even the Intelligence community and those who were unbelievably incompetent – or political liars in search of preferment. .

Therefore, those who want Blair stretched in the Tower should also go for the others in Whitehall who knew that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was right when he said the war was illegal. Those ‘others’ did not (with one exception – a lawyer) resign on the spot. They did not go public to expose the lies and foolishness of the affair.

But for most, none of this matters.  They want Blair and that is what Chilcot is all about – at £790 and £565 a day for an honourable bunch of people – it is hardly worth it and anyway, they will not get him.

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