Friday, December 19, 2008

Brown attacked for delaying Iraq war inquiry.

So, even after he has announced that most British troops will leave Iraq by next summer Gordon Brown is still refusing to allow an inquiry into the events which led to the Iraq war stating that it would not be "right" to have such an investigation until British troops return home next summer.

There seems to never be a "right" time to examine the worst British military intervention since Suez.

The irony here, of course, is that the Iraq war is widely seen as "Blair's war", but Brown backed the war and has stated that, were he PM at the time, he would have done nothing differently, so he is obviously keen to prevent any inquiry's findings from becoming public until after the next election.

The opposition parties are up in arms:

David Cameron demanded a "robust, independent inquiry", saying it is vital to learn lessons which could help during the campaign in Afghanistan. With up to 400 troops remaining in Iraq, there is a chance the investigation could be delayed for "many, many years", he said.

The Tory leader insisted there is no need to wait until all troops are home because past inquiries had been held while conflicts continued. Troops who have served in Iraq are owed an investigation, he said. He told Mr Brown the inquiry should look into the decision to go to war, and the mistakes made in its conduct and planning. "Do you accept that if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past we are more likely to make them again in the future?" he asked.

The Prime Minister confirmed that British military operations in Iraq would end by 31 May at the latest, saying a rapid withdrawal would be complete by July.

On the inquiry calls, Mr Brown said: "I have always said this is a matter we will consider once our troops have come home. We are not at that position at the moment, and therefore it is not right to open the question now."

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, urged Labour and the Tories to apologise for backing an "illegal war" which he described as the "single worst foreign policy decision of the past 50 years" and called for a public inquiry.

Charles Kennedy, who opposed the war as Liberal Democrat leader, said it was "shameful" that the US and UK did not "even bother to count" the number of innocent lives lost during the conflict and occupation. He said it would leave a "legacy of hatred" for generations. The Prime Minister replied: "I do acknowledge the sufferings of the Iraqi people. You must not forget the violence against the Iraqi people practised by Saddam Hussein. We were dealing with a dictatorship and we now have a democracy."

Angus Robertson, leader of the Scottish National Party at Westminster, said: "Now that there is a timetable for withdrawing our forces, there is no reason why we cannot have a timetable for an inquiry."

Once again, we see a politician shamefully using the troops to protect himself politically. The families of soldiers who have fallen have the right to know why this war was necessary, but Brown is refusing to give them answers to their questions until it suits his electoral timetable to do so.

There have been a flurry of TV programmes over here interviewing the troops and the most interesting thing was that the legality of the Iraq war concerned them not a jot. They wanted to be soldiers and they wanted to go to war.

If Blair conned the nation into going to war then that is no reflection at all on the troops who simply go where they are sent.

So Brown is being duplicitous when he pretends that his reticence to have an inquiry is in some way related to protecting the troops, it is about protecting himself and his party from what would be genuine outrage if even half of the suspicions of the many ways Blair falsely sold this war were proven to be true.

But, once again, just have we have seen the Republicans do many times in the US, the troops are wrapped around one parties shoulders as if they are looking after their interests when, in truth, they are being used for political purposes.

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