DO YOU remember the Chilcot inquiry? After several whitewashing
reports, the Chilcot inquiry was set up in July 2009 to examine UK
participation in the Iraq War. We could reasonably have expected it
to report a year or so ago, in 2011. We now know that it will not
be published before the end of 2013 - and possibly later.
Meanwhile, the world, led by
Archbishop Tutu, has woken up to the fact that the rule of law
applies to all nations, not just the enemies of the West, and has
asked for George W. Bush and Tony Blair to be tried at the
International Criminal Court in The Hague, for conducting an
unprovoked aggressive war against Iraq (News, Comment, 7
Why is the Chilcot inquiry so late?
There are two reasons. First: the Establishment has kicked the
problem into the long grass. Everyone - Mr Blair, the Government,
civil servants (with the notable exception of the deputy legal
adviser at the Foreign Office, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned
because she saw the war as illegal), Parliament, the Conservative
Party, and the intelligence services - sycophantically supported
the illegal war, poodles all.
Second, Chilcot is in an impossible
situation. The inquiry was expected to toe the line about being
misinformed on weapons of mass destruction and the supposed
legality of the war. But these defences do not wash. They were
cooked up, as Jack Straw, Colin Powell, Sir John Scarlett, Lord
Goldsmith, and others knew. Everything was brought into line,
because the decision to go to war had already been taken: first, by
Bush and Rumsfeld, and then by Blair. It was an institutionalised
dishonesty, a fabrication. And we did it.
The fabrication was frightening: a
student paper in the dossier; palpable untruths about the threat;
the attempted debunking and intimidation of Hans Blix and the other
inspectors; pressure on David Kelly; and various attempts to muzzle
the BBC, to force a volte-face from the Attorney General, to vilify
the French for having principles, to bring the Cabinet into line,
to press Parliament into agreement, to suppress knowledge that the
weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed, and to get the
tabloids to help to spread the lies. As a result, 100,000 people
were killed, a million more were made refugees, a civil war
followed, and Iraq suffered billions in damage and further billions
in economic losses. In the aftermath, various companies have
exploited oil revenues so as to boost their profits.
The underlying reason for the war was
that military and neo-conservatives in the United States needed it,
especially after the failure to capture Osama bin Laden in
Afghanistan. Moreover, since the collapse of the USSR, the military
needed enemies, and the US needed a headline victory. Afghanistan
did not provide it; Iraq would. After all, it was disarmed. The
British military was in hock to the Americans, and the arms
companies were out for a showcase war. Mr Bush, Mr Blair, Mr
Powell, and Mr Straw were brought into line by the United States'
military, led by Donald Rumsfeld.
We have dishonoured our military, and
killed many of them by fighting an unjust and illegal war to
advance militarism. It is time that we, as Christians, fully
debunked militarism. "God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier
yet" is perhaps not the best expression of God's continuing
relationship with the British Isles.
Dr Alan Storkey is the author
of Jesus and Politics (Baker Book House, 2005).