Should Iraq stay behind closed doors?

June 16, 2009

The government’s planned Iraq inquiry has come under withering fire on several fronts, notably the lack of consultation with other political parties, its apparent careful timing to avoid any possible political embarrassment just before the next election and for what several commentators feel is a hand-picked establishment team in charge of proceedings that is unlikely to rock the boat.******But the main criticism has been the fact that it will be held in private.******That way, the government says, witnesses will be more likely to be candid, the whole process will be quicker and, above all, it will obviate the need to have legions of expensive lawyers accompanying every witness.******Doubtless Gordon Brown had in mind the example of the Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings in Northern Ireland which had been going on for 10 years and which has so far run up costs of almost 100 million pounds in lawyers’ fees.******The overall cost of that inquiry had reached 182 million pounds by the end of last year. It is not expected to report now until 2010.******Do you believe the government has a point in that respect or should it have given in to the repeated demands to hold an inquiry in public?

5 comments

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The announcement of the so-called “inquiry” is nothing more than a cynical ploy to distract attention from the government’s woes and to get another embarrassment out of the way until after the election.The only useful inquiry into the war will be one that is conducted in the full light of public scrutiny. The relative costs of public and private inquiries have got nothing to do with it. When did this government ever give any thought to cost except to throw away as much money as it possibly could?Brown has suggested that the Iraq inquiry is similar to the Falklands inquiry, which was held in private. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Falklands War was a legitimate war in response to an unprovoked attack on British people and British territory and the inquiry was held only as a matter of routine to see what lessons needed to be learned for the future.The Iraq War was very different. An unprovoked attack by Britain on a country which was no threat whatsoever. What we want to know is WHY?

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

Please could we not waste any more money/time on any inquiry, private or not. Politics has become pointless these days. Leaders can no longer do anything without someone whinging to death for inqries about it forever more. Listening to radio 4 today yesterday frankly gave me a headache with endless whining about everything under the sun. Everything will be leaked and well known in the end and you can vote out the muppets if you don’t like them. So there is accountability anyway regardless of whether we spend the next ten years castagating ourselves about it or not. And of course it was for the oil/influence etc anyway and no inquiry will say that, public or private, though we all know it to be so and will vote accordingly. And give the money that the inquiry will waste for better equipment for the troops. See, issues are known, I spent 2 minutes to write this, but an inquiry will cost millions, take years and do nothing. How about we change our system to one that works.

Posted by russell | Report as abusive

I agree with the first comment in saying this seems like a political ploy to distract public attention/hostility from coming to an ugly head till after the election. However, I think the public, in the end, deserves this information in an undiluted form, which, since it’s now private, there’s no real way to make sure it will be.http://www.newsy.com/videos/gordon_br own_s_private_inquiry

Posted by Geraldine | Report as abusive

The British people had a chance to punish the incumbent government for the Iraq war at the general election in 2005. It dismally failed to do so. As a result we now have the government we deserve. Any inquiry by this government is not only a waste of time and money, it makes a mockery of the British people, doubly painful because so richly deserved. Let’s leave it to historians to judge what really happened, long after we’re all dead and will feel the shame rather less acutely.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.