Predictably, the Chilcot inquiry has descended into a farcical escapade where everybody blames everybody else for the disaster that was the war in Iraq. Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Viggers has called the people running the war 'amateurs', appparently oblivious to the fact that he was, erm, one of them. It doesn't take a genius to realise that the planning for the war was very poor, and though the responsibility for this must ultimately rest at the very top, people lower down the pecking order must take a portion of the blame. They did not question what was happening, and engaged in their task with gusto.
Even John Prescott is breaking ranks, wondering how he went along with it in the first place. A pervasive 'Blame Blair' atmosphere has even affected the former Deputy PM, it seems. In implicitly suggesting that he was conned, noting the attorney general being 'troubled' (note that Lord Goldsmith kept his opposition to himself) and distancing himself from Blair, Prescott tries to lay the blame for the war elsewhere. Tony Blair must indeed take a huge amount of responsibility (and I pray for the day that will surely never come where he and George Bush are up before a war crimes tribunal), but other people were culpable too. Prescott, in the position he held at the time, certainly was, and so too was the attorney general. But it goes beyond even that. Parliament voted for the war, afterall, even though many MPs are doing their best to convince us otherwise. And the fiasco that the occupation has turned into must be due in part to errors within the leadership of the armed forces.
Plenty of people are to blame. And though I welcome the inquiry, I just wish it could actually achieve something genuine and worthwhile in the future rather than degenerate into chorus of "Not me, guv!" from people to whom we have entrusted British and Iraqi lives.
The politics of death
2 days ago