You dont have to be British to feel a certain sympathy for Reg Keys (the father of a British soldier who was killed in action in Iraq). Mr Keys has certain form. He stood against Tony Blair in the safe Labour constituency of Sedgefield in the 2005 British General Election. He got 4,000 votes.
Most bereaved military families have taken the deaths of their loved ones as an occupational hazard. Some like Reg Keys and Mrs Gentle have been vocal that their sons may have died in an illegal war.
After much delay (officially because British soldiers were still in a war zone), the Labour Government ofGordon Brown set up an Inquiry under “Sir” John Chilcott, a civil service mandarin to determine whether theBritish public and/or parliament were mis-informed by Tony Blair in 2003. Did he take his country to war, on false intelligence, to honour a private pledge to President George W Bush or to effect regime change in Iraq.
A previous Inquiry under “Lord” Hutton established (not entirely to everyones satisfaction) that the British Government had no hand in the suicide of weapons expert, Dr David Kelly, who had been briefing journalists.
It is largely believed that in presenting evidence to justify the war in Iraq, the British Government “spun” the Intelligence or “sexed up the dossier”. Newspapers were encouraged in the belief that Saddam Husseins weapons of mass destruction were just 45 minutes from Britain.
The British Government has a bad record with setting up an Inquiry to deal with problems. Hutton (on David Kelly), Levenson (on phone hacking by journalists), Taylor (on the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster) have all been set up to kick the ball “into the long grass” where it will be effectively forgotten about.
Hutton is now seen as a “whitewash”. Chilcott is effectively a second opinion.
Taylor is now been rubbished and a second Inquiry into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC supporters is under way.
Levenson reported and it was anticipated that David Cameron would accept the recommendations …Cameron had been under pressure from public opinion and victims…but he back-tracked.
So….Chilcott….set up in 2009 heard its last witness in 2011. Nearly four years ago. Chilcott has still not published his Report. This week he has written to David Cameron and said that the Report cannot be published before the British General Election (May 2015). The British Media smells a rat.
Well…Certainly David Cameron protests that the Report is long overdue. But if, as expected the Blair government is held responsible for misleading the British Parliament and the British People, then it has to be said that the Conservative Party was just as enthusiastic.
In fact, Labour backbenchers were vocal critics of the War. Possibly Ed Miliband can distance himself and his current generation of front benchers from the retired or retiring and rotten to the core generation of Blair, Straw, Beckett, Darling and the rest.
Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems have the only clean hands at Westminster. The Report will exonerate them. Unfortunately they have also to face their core supporters and explain how they sold out to go into Government with Cameron.
The real winners are the “Establishment”…the permanent government of civil service mandarins. The delay gets them off the hook. The strategy of delaying tactics has worked.
In 2005 George Galloway the maverick former Labour MP unseated Oona King, a fawning Blair Babe in East London. His criticism of the war resonated with several thousand Muslim voters in the constituency.
Yet this week, interviews conducted with local people suggested that the voters now regard the Iraq War is “old news”. It is “history”.
It is now almost safe to ignore Reg Keys and Mrs Gentle.
The British victims of the Iraq War can be forgotten.
But isnt this a familiar story. Promises involving the word “Justice” were made to the families of other victims. In Norn Iron, victims have been told their loved ones will not be forgotten.
It is of course a cruel lie.
These promises have been made since 1998 and still….nothing has been done.
Stalling. Playing for Time. Running Down the Clock.