What exactly is Blair so terrified about us finding out on Iraq?

The news that Chilcot has surrendered to the civil service establishment in not publishing the full evidence about the Iraq War is as depressing as it was predictable.   He was told by Gus O”Donnell, the head of the civil service in 2011, that there was no way he could publish all the evidence that he and his Inquiry members had seen, the implication being that the most revealing and controversial parts of the evidence had to be kept firmly hidden under lock and key.   What he should have done of course, on grounds of the need for full accountability in the national interest, was to defy the dead hand of the civil service suppression of the truth and published the full evidence ‘without fear or favour’, or at least published it all in redacted form (i.e. blacked out) so that we would all know the extent of the crucial evidence being withheld.   Alternatively, if Blair is now saying he’s not responsible for the blockage, he could publish it himself.   But of course you cannot believe a word Blair now says, especially when his own interests are threatened, and the subliminal line being put about that the blockage is all the fault of the Americans simply won’t wash.

There is a critical issue of State power here.   If you’ve committed a murder or as a public figure you raped a girl 30 years ago, every lurid detail about your past is dragged out into the daylight in open court.   But if you’re executive head of State and send hundreds of troops to their death in Iraq and Afghanistan, with thousand more maimed and wounded, the degree of your responsibility is kept secret.   Openness and transparency is an admired characteristic of societies, particularly in the US and to some extent (as an aspiration at least) in the UK, but those who set the rules apply it to everyone except themselves, though it is only at that level of power which affects the lives and fate of thousands of citizens that transparency really matters.   This has nothing to do with national security: it’s all about the self-serving interests of the perpetrators of the war and saving them from intense embarrassment or worse.

The ramshackle nature of accountability in this country is ruthlessly exposed by this whole episode.   First, every one of the inquiries into the Iraq war has been flawed.   The foreign affairs select committee was never shown the secret papers.   The Hutton committee was a blatant whitewash.   The Butler inquiry reached many of the right conclusions, but soft-pedalled its recommendations.   Second, Chilcot, a former permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland office, was carefully selected as someone who could be relied on to adhere to civil service protocol if it came to a showdown, as it has.   Third, as a further protection for those charged with responsibility for terrible events, they are to be given prior sight of those parts of the report that apply to them so that they have a chance to alter or tone down what it says before it’s published.   And fourth, most important of all, the whole process of the civil service shutting down the truth should not be allowed to continue: the decision about what is covered by a strict interpretation of national security should be taken instead by the Information Commissioner and not muffled by those whose first instinct is always secrecy.

 

6 thoughts on “What exactly is Blair so terrified about us finding out on Iraq?

  1. When people go on about Blair and Iraq, I sometimes wonder if it’s Tory propaganda, so people forget all the great things Labour did after the awful Tory years. More Tory MPs voted yes to a 2nd Iraq war than other parties. The reason was because it was them who made up so deeply involved with the USA in the region that we couldn’t have left the area if we wanted. Stems from when Thatcher made the rest of Europe hate us, because she didn’t like EU directives that gave workers rights such as enough breaks and holidays, despite it being the Tories who first fought to join us with the European market when they thought it would only be good for their corporate donors. Then Thatcher helped cause Lockerbie by making us the only country that allowed the USA to use us as airport to bomb Libya. Other countries made them fly around. Then John Major first made us the 2nd largest force to invade Iraq, and committed us to staying in the region to be the only other country to go on regular bombing raids with the USA up until the 2nd war, so we had so many troops, equipment and other commitments in the region, that we couldn’t have left it all when the USA went to war there a 2nd time.

  2. I think most people know the truth, no amount of whitewash will ever cover this blood stain.

  3. This beautifully exposes the fraud of ‘democracy’ in the UK and elsewhere in the world quite plainly for anyone to see. Our version, so called, might be lauded the best in the known world but it is a pitiful charade all the same: there are sinister forces at work behind the political stage playing to a very different tune. Our main political parties with their puffed up frontmen and women and vested interests might like to think they are centre stage and sometimes the illusion can be quite deceptive but this is to deny the existence of the ‘puppet master’.
    This is the ‘State’: in the guise of ‘state machinery’ and ‘state machinations’ it would once have popularly been called the ‘establishment’ and epitomized the ‘ruling class’.
    You can have ‘House of Commons’, House of Lords’, ‘House of Cards’ or any other ‘House’ you like but nothing changes without a pull on the strings: a nod from the ‘State’ or the Ruling Class.
    Can anyone explain to me how voting for a marionette can in any way affect the state of play and how long have we got to carry on playing this ridiculous and perverse game with any belief that what we do in the polling booth can have any serious meaning?

  4. Robin Cook has the postumous consolation of being 100% right in his resignation speech. A superb analysis.

  5. So Chilcot joins Levison, (already gathering dust alongside the previous 6 inquiries into press abuse,) and Francis, (which Andy Burham wanted to be secret anyway,) and all other exercises in procrastination and executive time wasting.

    I still look forward to that happy day when Blair is finally arrested and brought before the international court in the Hague to answer for his many crimes.

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