Iraq Inquiry Opened

An inquiry has finally begun into the decision for the UK to become involved in the war in Iraq, with the public hearings opening today. It is being lead by Sir John Chilcot, who will call on other witnesses such as senior politicians, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former PM Tony Blair.

Many believe that Sir John and the four other members of the inquiry team have deliberately selected witnesses who will not be critical of the Government (none of whom are lawyers), however he insists that the accounts given will be “fair and accurate” and says that the inquiry will not shy away from criticism.

There are a large quantity of people who oppose the war in Iraq; they are hoping that this inquiry will find the decision for the UK to invade Iraq was in act unlawful, based on deliberately misleading information about the risk that Saddam Hussein posed. There is a suggestion that this intelligence was flawed.

As Sir John opened the inquiry, he proposed a moment’s silence for the lives that have been lost in the war. Then he laid out the timetable for the forthcoming hearings and the draft of the final report. The entire process could last until 2011 – more than a year from now.

In the run up to Christmas, the public hearings will focus on diplomats, military officers and senior government officials who will all give evidence. Tony Blair and other members of the government will be questioned in the New Year. Sir John has reminded us that nobody is on trial here; they are not a court and therefore are not able to find anyone guilty or not guilty.

It has been announced today that in exchange for testifying, witnesses will be immune to prosecution.

Speaking about the inquiry, Sir John said that it was set up so that lessons can be learned to help future governments with similar situations. They will be evaluating many relevant documents and accounts from those who have had first hand experiences in the war since it began in 2001.

Already, the inquiry panel have held five private meetings with families of those who went missing or were killed in action, as well as meeting with some veterans. Some believe that Tony Blair, who was the country’s leader when the conflict began, should be charged with war crimes.

Some of our Victoria Park Escorts know soldiers currently fighting so are very interested to see what this inquiry will reveal.