Note on Chilcott
Britain’s intervention in Iraq was not decided by Tony Blair, still less George W Bush. It was decided by 417 MPs after 2 days of debate in which all the accusations about dodgy dossiers, being outside international law, fears about lack of post-invasion planning and wider consequences for the Muslim world were argued back and forth.
This was a culmination of endless debates on Iraq ever since the UK authorized overflights and bombing of Iraqi military installations in order to protect Kurds in the north of Iraq and some anti-Saddam groups in the south.
No other issue was given so much attention by the Commons and the 417 MPs who voted, including many in the present government, did so in full awareness of the questions and accusations about the case for war.
But the Chilcott inquiry cannot put 417 MPs in the dock. Instead diplomats, generals, intelligence officials have to have this cloud permanently over their heads because elected politicians took the final decision.
Voters had the chance to remove MPs who voted for the war in 2005, 2010 and 2015. Chilcott’s team seems to dodged the fact that in a democracy a Prime Minister proposes but MPs decide. The report is going to be like twenty Ph D theses rolled into one and will bring no closure and little comfort to those who lost loved ones in Iraq.
At the least a page should be reserved to list the 417 MPs as they ultimately took the decision and bear the responsibility.