The Reasoned Review

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An Inquiry, Please?

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You’ve got to hand it to the British. Unlike their cowed counterparts across the Atlantic, they refuse to forget the Iraq War, and demand – gasp! – answers as to why their government was led into such a brutal, misbegotten, and ultimately futile endeavor, one for which there has been almost no positive outcome. The official inquiry began last Thursday, and not only will it decisively conclude who was for the war when, it will also be free to apportion blame where it sees fit.

Given our American squeamishness for “political” proceedings, it is difficult to foresee any analogous proceedings over here. After all, we can’t even find the stomach to investigate the 100 deaths by torture that apparently occurred at our secret detention centers. These were outright murders no matter how one looks at it; most of those held illegally by the US turned out to be totally innocent, which, of course, is the inevitable outcome when one offers large sums of cash in exchange for turning in your neighbors. The Obama Administration as well as the American Bar Association have made it abundantly clear that no prosecutions for these murders will be forthcoming, and, in essence, “we must look forward, not back” (whatever that means).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, our island fore-bearers have apparently retained some semblance of governmental accountability. Thus far the proceedings have confirmed what we already knew: that the US was “hell bent” on invading Iraq, that we didn’t care about getting UN support, and that we “actively undermined” British efforts to gain international authorization for the war.

According to British UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock,

Grumbling from Washington “included noises about ‘this is a waste of time, what we need is regime change, why are we bothering with this, we must sweep this aside and do what’s going to have to be done anyway — and deal with this with the use of force,'”

“This”, of course, means proof of Saddam’s connection to Al-Qaeda, UN authorization of the war (without which the war would be illegal), international support; you know, wastes of time like that.

Also from The Guardian:

Tony Blair’s government knew that prominent members of the Bush administration wanted to topple Saddam Hussein years before the invasion but initially distanced itself from the prospect knowing it would be unlawful, it was disclosed at the Iraq inquiry today.

And:

The government had intelligence days before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that Saddam Hussein might not be able to use chemical weapons, the inquiry into the war was told today.

So that’s interesting. The British government knew both that the Bush Administration was “hell bent” on invading Iraq before 9/11, and that allegations of “chemical weapons” were, to say it charitably, overblown. Then why would they agree, in spite of that, to this lunatic war? For those answers we must wait for Tony Blair’s testimony, which is scheduled for early next year.

But I think we should take it as a sign of our democracy’s health that any proceedings even remotely similar to Britain’s Iraq War inquiry would be all but unthinkable.

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Written by pavanvan

November 28, 2009 at 10:20 am

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