Holding a ‘Public’ Inquiry into the Iraq war in private is a bad joke
The Prime Minister’s announcement that the ‘public’ inquiry into the Iraq war will be heard in private is ludicrous double-think; so much for greater openness and accountability (1).
As long as Prime Ministers can choose what issues public inquiries can address, what evidence they can hear and who writes their final reports their conclusions will be worthless propaganda anyway. It’s like letting the accused in criminal courts appoint their friends as judges and decide what charges they’ll face and what evidence can be heard. The verdict will never be in question.( The judges appointed to head this inquiry include Sir John Chilcot and Baroness Usha Prashar, both of whom already owed jobs and titles to the ‘New Labour’ government of Brown and Blair (2), (3))
However the testimony of witnesses at public inquiries often gives the public vital information on what has actually happened and who was responsible for what. Holding hearings in private prevents that.
The reason is fairly obvious ; as Chancellor Gordon Brown voted for the Iraq war and pledged “whatever it takes” in public money for it (4), (5). The Conservatives call for another Franks’ Inquiry with private hearings has similar motives – they were even more eager than Blair and Brown to send British troops to die and kill based on the interests of American and British oil and arms firms, at any cost in British and Iraqi lives.
Brown in his statement also boasted that violence in Iraq was lower than at any time since 2003, which ignores the fact that on any figures, for instance Iraq Body Count’s, far less Iraqis were being killed violently before the March 2003 invasion than at any time since it (6).
(1) = Prime Minister’s Office 15 Jun 2009 ‘Statement on Iraq’, http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19650
(2) = Review of the Intelligence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction,
‘Rt Hon Sir John Chilcot GCB’, http://archive.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/butlerreview/biography/sirchilcot.asp
(3) = House of Lords Minutes and Order Paper - Minutes of Proceedings26 Jan 1999,
(4) = House of Commons Library, ‘Commons divisions on Iraq 26 February and 18 March 2003’, page 7, http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snSG-02109.pdf
(5) = Independent 15 Mar 2003 ‘Brown promises to expand war chest to meet Iraqi threat’, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brown-promises-to-expand-war-chest-to-meet-iraqi-threat-599520.html
(6) = Iraq Body Count database,