The next whitewash
Is it any wonder people have lost trust in their politicians? Over in Washington, Dubya is suddenly demanding “to know the facts” about Iraq’s WMD for all the world (as Jonathan Freedland points out) as if he were “an aggrieved American voter, somehow hoodwinked into the war with Iraq”. In London, as late as last week, Tony Blair was denouncing the idea of an inquiry as ludicrous, unnecessary, etc. But now, suddenly (and immediately after Washington decides it has to have an inquiry), there is to a British inquiry too.
It will be a typical British affair too — held in secret and run by a panel consisting of two trusty political has-beens, a retired soldier and a former diplomat who has spent most of his professional life in the company of spooks. And it is to be chaired by Lord Butler, the former Cabinet Secretary who defended the Tory government’s supply of arms to Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war and was hoodwinked by Tory liars Jonathan Aitken and Neil Hamilton. This forensic genius is to preside over an inquiry with sclerotic terms of reference, designed to make sure that the Blair government’s decision to go to war on false premises will not be questioned. Ye Gods! Who do these people think we are? The Liberal Democrats were right to boycott this secretive farce.