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Schadenfreude – The Chilcot Inquiry into the invasion of Iraq: truth will out

Many people – not only in Britain but also across Europe and the world – want to know why the United Kingdom invaded another country and what the political leadership expected to obtain by it – writes our secret columnist in Brussels Schadenfreude

You have to hand it to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for chutzpah. He recently talked about the fighting in Syria; it was simply chat, not one of his money-spinning speaking engagements. He remarked that the dire consequences of the ill-managed Western non-intervention in the Syrian civil war proved that his decision to order a military operation in Iraq was the right one.

This provokes two lines of thought. First – can anybody pretend that Iraq is now an orderly democracy with communal peace? Second – when will it be possible to know the whole story of what led up to Blair’s decision to intervene in Iraq?

The remit of the Chilcot Inquiry is to ascertain and report on the processes, influences, information stock and objectives of the Iraq affair. The committee of the inquiry was set up in June 2009. It had to examine a vast library of documents and testimonies.

It is rumoured that a pre-final draft report exists. Under the conventions of such matters – the Maxwell rules – the committee is required to tell persons named in its draft report what it proposes to say about them and to consider the comments they may have on the passages concerned. This two-way communication was set in hand about two months ago – perhaps earlier but announced later. Since then, there has been absolute silence.

One cannot criticise the committee if its interlocutors take their own time to explain why they may want to make changes in the texts they have been shown and if the responses take time to examine. But many people – not only in Britain but also across Europe and the world – want to know why the United Kingdom invaded another country and what the political leadership expected to obtain by it. Especially when Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown himself to be keen on invasions.

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