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Whether it's tax policy or security policy the Opposition decides what is in the party's short-term interest rather than the nation's long-term interest.

Just stop it ConservativeHome! Everyone just wants the whole last five years forgotten and the world to leave us alone so that we can all go on getting out of our heads on Friday evenings.

Ostrich head in sand etc etc

'Should a call for an enquiry into the origins of the Iraq war be the top priority of the Conservative opposition?'. Yes.

I really cannot agree Malcolm. Efforts to prevail now should be priority one.

Making a case for rebuilding our armed forces is very difficult in the current climate, where a lot of voters want to see military action drastically reduced due to the disastrous results of the last two major 'interventions'.

I think I'm right in saying that since the Crimea we've always had inquiries into the origins and prosecution of wars. In many cases while they were still being waged.
Indeed the armed forces at every level always review 'lessons learned' as a matter of course.
I think its right that the government, parliament and the people go through a similar process.
It may be uncomfortable for our allies, but it may well uncomfortable MPs on all sides too.
I'm slightly worried by the surrender of the Royal Prerogative in this area. Even a purely defensive action on our part may be predicated upon intelligence. As few MPs will have adequate security clearence then any discussion in parliament will necessarily be distorted by censorship.
This problem will be heaped on top of a now natural distrust of both our intelligence sources and those of our allies.

Tim, whether you think the war was a good idea as you do or are absolutely against it as I was/am you have to admit it was the most momentous decision of the past decade.
Whether you believe as you apparently do that the Government was justified in its behaviour prior to the war or as I do that they told lie after lie to our country you must admit the whole issue is surrounded in controversy which goes to the absolute heart of the trust people have in our politicians and our politics.An enquiry would settle the issue.
We both believe I think that this war has been prosecuted with the most amazing incompetence since 2003 and whether we believe we should be in Iraq or not surely we must agree that any war should never be prosecuted in this way again.
The case for an enquiry to prevent that happening is unanswerable as the Governments pathetic response yesterday illustrated. We owe it to our troops and we owe it our country.

Can anyone at all - having regard to the Saville inquiry, and other recent efforts including the BSE inquiry - put their hands on their hearts and affirm that an Inquiry on Iraq would be anything other than an extremely expensive bonanza for lawyers, and produce nothing that we did not know already?

Are the Conservatives prepared to commit the £200 million plus that an inquiry would cost, and also be prepared to accept that the effort involved by government departments would detract from the effort they were able to devote to current campaigns?

Editor, you write as one who always supported the war. I write as one of the millions (and probably the majority) who didn’t. The two perspectives are very different.

To millions it appeared obvious that the evidence didn’t make a case for war; obvious that we had become America’s poodle, obvious that the extent of post-war planning was for a victory parade with ticker tape and adoring Iraqis.

I hope that an enquiry would reveal new detail, vindicate the decision to go to war and restore trust in the decision making process. Without that vindication our ability to go to war again, should we need to, is compromised. Editor, that alone should be reason enough for you to support an enquiry. Politically, vindication would also disarm Lib Dems on this issue.

Unfortunately there’s always the possibility that the millions were right, the war was wrong, we were lied to and the majority of Conservative and Labour MPs were gullible and ineffective. If that's the case, it's hugely important that it's exposed and the lessons are learned.

"We asked CCHQ yesterday for a statement in support of the surge. Nothing was forthcoming and nothing apparently exists from the last 12 months. There have even been attempts to attribute the reduction in violence to other factors."

Tim, maybe there have been other factors which have attributed to the reduction in violence in Iraq over the last years, I believe that to be the case.

I fully agree with Malcolm Dunn and Mark Fulford's comments.

£200 million plus Richard North? Not even the Saville enquiry cost that. You're just plucking figures out of the air. However even if it costs that much if it prevents the mistakes that have happened in the last five years it will be money well spent.

Richard North, I don't know where you get that wild £200 million from but, for the sake of argument, I'll work with it.

£200 million "wasted" on an enquiry or £4.2 billion "wasted" on a war and its subsequent enquiry. I wonder which side of the argument feels more irritated about waste.

It's no wonder Hague is silent on the surge, he didn't think it would work in the first place and now joins the General Betray-Us brigade from the hard-left in America in now wishing that it hadn't. Unlike WH however CH was right about the surge and has every right to be proud about that- http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2007/01/a_rebuttal_of_w.html
The Inquiry is good politics though. We have to have a proper one at some point. the war in Iraq isn't going to end for years so theres no point waiting.
p.s. Mark Fulford is wrong. A clear majority of the poeple supported the war, and intelligence services around the world all thought there was some sort of WMD in Iraq. If only they'd listened to your expert opinion eh?

Mark: Our perspectives are very different - on that we agree but on not much else!

A few quick responses:

I don't regard us as America's poodle nor that the Iraq episode made us America's poodle. Saddam didn't just threaten America. It wasn't simply in America's interest to disarm him but in ours too. Britain's influence on America was massive before the war. Team Bush were emphasising regime change until Blair insisted on the UN route and therefore a (mistaken) focus on actually-existing WMD.

I really don't know what the inquiry is intended to prove. People didn't believe the Hutton Report. It was declared a whitewash by all those who disagreed with its conclusions. The Butler Report was similarly dismissed. America's Baker-Hamilton Report made many recommendations about Iraq that Bush rightly ignored when he went with the Petraeus approach and the surge. It's difficult to see how a Privy Counsel enquiry won't be politicised. Who would you put in charge of it? Have it if you must. It will undoubtedly include some wisdom in the detail but its overall effect will be to revisit old arguments.

Bush-Blair did mishandle the invasion. they tried to do it all on the cheap and the long term cost in terms of blood and treasure has been so much greater. But many people from the earliest days were saying that more troops were needed. I think of McCain, Lieberman, IDS. Who knows what would have happened if that advice had been heeded.

If America had prevailed in Iraq and had been seen to do so throughout the world, the world would be a much better place today. When America is strong evil retreats. We saw that in the initial aftermath of the Iraq war when Syria withdrew from Lebanon, Libya disarmed and the Pakistan nuclear sharing scandal was exposed. When the world's policeman is weak or seen as weak then troubles mushroom.

I go back to the point of the editorial. An inquiry should not be the Conservatives' top priority. Our failure to explore winning in Iraq and a reluctance to rebuild Britain's armed forces amounts to a dereliction of duty.

For those interested: I've made other points in response to Andrew Lilico's post at CentreRight.

"I go back to the point of the editorial. An inquiry should not be the Conservatives' top priority."

Tim, I stand to be corrected on this. But back after the Falklands war we had a proper and wide reaching enquiry. IIRC Ming Campbell expressed surprise at the lack of boundaries and the total unrestricted access to what could be described as sensitive information given by the then government.

We have never had that type of enquiry into the Iraq war, and that is why previous reports have been seen and treated quite rightly as whitewashes. When the defendant in the dock gets to pick the judge, as well as being able to restrict the line of questioning and the evidence produced from the prosecution we don't really tend to put great store in the outcome.

"Our failure to explore winning in Iraq and a reluctance to rebuild Britain's armed forces amounts to a dereliction of duty."

You want our armed forces to be rebuilt to carry on trying to win a war in the middle East. I don't agree with your Foreign policy stance and I certainly think that the first thing we need to do is give our armed forces a bl**dy good rest from continually fighting wars.
Tim, join up, or even join the TA's because they are now being relied upon to pick up the flack in war zones. My cousin has just been called up again for the third time since he retired after 25 years of service.
Put your money where your mouth is on this before you accuse others of a dereliction of duty!

I endorse what Tim says here about our not being America's poodle.

I also think it is quite transparent why we went to war, and that there would be little to be gained by having an inquiry into that. In my view it was also obviously the correct thing to do based on what we believed at the time.

My discussion with Tim over at CentreRight is about whether we need an inquiry into a different-but-related matter: Why we believed that Iraq had flouted UN sanctions in the late 1990s - the key belief that placed Blair and Bush in the situation in which war was inevitable after 9/11, a belief that was not of Blair or Bush's making; but a belief that turned out to be quite false (a fact still not widely understood).

In the UK we have had all kinds of stupid inquiries into the wrong questions. Everyone has been trying to nail Blair on sexed-up dossiers or 45 minutes and other such nonsense. This has caused them to miss the big picture - probably the greatest intelligence failure in history, causing us to maintain sanctions on Iraq for a decade on an entirely false pretext.

It isn't nonsense Andrew. If our government lie to us as to the reasons for this country going to war then they surely will lie about absolutely anything else.

What lies Malcolm 'I don't care about the human rights of others' Dunn?

Tim, join up, or even join the TA's because they are now being relied upon to pick up the flack in war zones. My cousin has just been called up again for the third time since he retired after 25 years of service.
Put your money where your mouth is on this before you accuse others of a dereliction of duty!

That's as daft as saying men can't have an opinion on abortion, living people about murder, Britons about America, etc.

Iraq isn't some adventure dreamed up by an upper-class elite for a bit of a jolly. What happens in Iraq now ultimately affects us all, whatever role in society we fulfil.

And, not that it is relevant, but Tim is from a military family and I am in the TA.

45 minutes, the sexed up dossier, the dodgy dossier,the words used in March 2003, the Niger connection, thye links with the September 11th terrorists, the legal advice from Goldsmith. These might do to start with Umbrella Man.

You do not seem to know the difference between mistakes and lies Malcolm.

"Iraq isn't some adventure dreamed up by an upper-class elite for a bit of a jolly. What happens in Iraq now ultimately affects us all, whatever role in society we fulfil.

And, not that it is relevant, but Tim is from a military family and I am in the TA."

Someone in my family has already lost a close relative in the present conflicts. We will have two members of our family on active service again in the near future.
I don't give a toss about a meaningless press statements about supporting a surge in Iraq, or the equally empty promises of what a Conservative government will do in the future regards fixing the problems faced by our military. That is a mammoth task that will take years and the costs will be considerable.
And most importantly, I think that far too many of us are already aware that this is not some kind of jolly!
The truth is, the situation for our military today is stark. We are running on empty, we have run out of troops to fill our obligations. I don't think that they can sustain the present level of commitments safely over the next 2 years. Now that makes my point relevant, because where are the soldiers going to come from, are we just going to ask the same pool of soldiers and their families to maintain the present level of active service with ever shorter periods of recuperation in between?
Now who is going to discuss the far more serious and relevant implications of this emergency?

At the moment only a full enquiry with no restrictions into the Iraq war is going to answer the questions that need answered, and it might also highlight just how unprepared the MOD were for the task in hand. It might even shame the present government into doing something right now, not that I am holding my breathe.

So stealing the thesis of a college student and trying to pass it off as 'intelligence' was a mistake was it Umbrella Man? Or the invention of the 45 minute claim which was never claimed by any intelligence source, that was a 'mistake' too was it?
You may persuade yourself that you're holier than thou Umbrella Man but you're sure as hell not interested in the truth are you?

Matt Kellett, the opinion polls in January 2003 consistently show that around 70% did not support the war without fresh UN support. There was no fresh support.

What's your evidence that "a clear majority of the poeple supported the war"?

The last thing we need is another bloody pointless enquiry Mad Malc.

Yes it was wrong. But, for all the lies etc, it only happened because parliament was offered a vote and both Labour and the Tories voted for it.

There is no point throwing (our) good money after bad.

(I was completely against the Iraq War)

Team Bush were emphasising regime change until Blair insisted on the UN route and therefore a (mistaken) focus on actually-existing WMD.

Editor, seeing that America went to war without further UN support, I don’t see how you can argue that we successfully persuaded America to go down the UN route. America was unstoppable in its determination to go to war and Blair, despite not meeting his own conditions for war, took us along with it. That made us a poodle.

That's nonsense, Mark@20:26. You are buying leftie revisionist propaganda. Blair was always in favour of invading Iraq. He'd have gone in in 1998 if Clinton had been willing. Blair was personally convicted of his mission to civilize the earth, bringing liberty and democracy and human rights to as many places as he could. He didn't "go along" with invading Iraq.

And he was right to take that attitude. It's what Britain and her daughter-of-empire America have done these past three hundred years. And we'll still be doing it in a hundred years' time.

You're right Andrew Blair should certainly be convicted. I'm not aware that he 'civilized' anywhere though. I can't think of too many wars Britain has fought in the last 300 years for liberty or democracy. Perhaps you could enlighten us?

Going back to the Editors point...I think the fact is Joe Public couldnt give a monkeys about an enquiry at this late stage of the game. If the Conservative grass roots (as evidenced by some contributors here) think its necessary from a moral perspective, so be it. But it sure aint gonna win votes.

Blair's own conditions were:

...the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition / shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.

On the 7th March 2003 Hans Blix was telling the UN that he needed months, not weeks or years, to resolve the disarmament tasks. We invaded 13 days later. You can hardly say that "the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted".

£200 million plus Richard North? Not even the Saville enquiry cost that. You're just plucking figures out of the air...

Posted by: Malcolm Dunn | March 26, 2008 at 15:24

Richard North, I don't know where you get that wild £200 million from but, for the sake of argument, I'll work with it.

Posted by: Mark Fulford | March 26, 2008 at 15:47

Do your research before you accuse me of error or exaggerating.

Now answer the second part of the question - what makes you think an inquiry will tells us anything we did not already know?

That is just one estimate most others put the total at less than $200 million.Nevetheless it is true that you picked the figure out of the air, there would be no reason for an enquiry to last anything like as long as 8 years,the Franks commission into the Falklands war concluded within months.
As regards the second part of your question you have no idea what an enquiry into the origins of this war will uncover or not uncover. Many conflicts involving British forces result in enquiries as I'm sure you well know. Churchill had some of his most difficult moments during WW2 after the report into the fall of Singapore (cocluded whilst our troops were still in action).
If an enquiry concludes that the government acted properly throughout then Tony Blair will be vindicated and people like me who believe he told a pack of lies will have to eat huge amounts of humble pie and apologise.More importantly trust in the political process in this country which has been hugely damaged in recent years may be restored. That surely is a price worth paying.

Malcolm Dunn -

Cost so far.

"On 8 February 2008, Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward revealed that the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was still costing £500,000 a month although it has not held hearings since 2005. The total cost of the Inquiry had reached £181.2m (by December 2007) and would not report until the second half of 2008. More than half of the overall cost is believed to be legal bills for the Inquiry."


Game set and match to Richard North!

:-)

Richard North, I notice that you challenge the throw-away line from my comment but ignored the substance.

As for "what makes you think an inquiry will tells us anything we did not already know?":

The Hutton Inquiry was specifically into the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly. The Butler Review was into the intelligence and specifically excluded politicians from scrutiny. There is a great deal to be learned about the timetable of decisions (e.g. at what point were we irrevocably committed to war) and the role of politicians and spin doctors in manipulating the information given to Parliament and the public (the area where there is greatest distrust). This inquiry would hardly need to go beyond No 10, does not need to redo Butler’s work and does not need to substantially divert intelligence resources. I am also very sceptical that it needs to cost £200 million.

Game set and match to Richard North!

Grow up.

And your point is Richard~? Why don't you just admit that you have absolutely no idea how much an enquiry into the Iraq war would cost.
Umbrella Man, you're starting to make a bit of a fool of yourself with posts like this.

You accused Richard North of plucking a figure "out of the air" Malcolm. He refutes that by showing that his figure is the official number. You don't even apologise but go on the attack against Richard and me.

He is plucking a figure out of the air. Why should an enquiry into the Iraq War last as long or cost us much as the Saville Enquiry? Neither he or indeed anybody else could has any idea how much such an enquiry would cost.

I give up Malcolm. There really is no point blogging with someone who can't engage in a proper conversation. RN pointed out that the inquiry could cost the same as the Saville investigation (£200m). You said that Saville didn't cost £200m. RN proves that it did and you change the subject. No we don't know what an Iraq inquiry will cost but RN quoting Saville's cost was a reasonable thing to do. For someone searching for the truth about the Iraq war your behaviour here is at best evasive.

I'm not being evasive at all. North has no evidence whatsoever that an enquiry into the Iraq war would cost the same as the Saville Enquiry.That has been the same point I've made in every post on this thread.Sorry you can't seem to understand that.

I think you just have to join up the dots. We have seen a number of inquiries - starting with the BSE inquiry, which cost £30 million - where costs have grown out of all proportion to the value.

With something as intensely political and with such a vast number of players involved, with so many reputations at stake, it is a relatively reasonable assumption that an Iraq inquiry could easily cost as much if not more than the Saville inquiry. Furthermore, it is not unreasonable to posit that it would take as long - 10 years or more.

Given that the issues are so contentious, it is also the case that the terms of reference could be "fudged" (they were in the BSE inquiry) which could mean that the crucial issues may not be properly explored. And since there is no agreement on what in fact are the crucial issues, it is very easy to see how this could happen.

The main point, however, is that some of the more contentious issues have already been fully explored - ad nauseam - and it is unlikely that anything really new will emerge. And since views are already fixed, it is unlikely that any findings would do more than reaffirm existing prejudices.

Of possibly more value would be an inquiry into why - when, in August 2003, a full-blown insurgency developed - the political and military response was clearly inadequate, allowing the situation to get out of hand, with the eventual retreat from al Amarah, and thence from all the other bases in southern Iraq, barring the COB.

But then, that is not even on the horizon for most commentators, yet that is possibly the main area of study which could assist us in dealing with current campaigns.

All the rest, it seems to me, is raking over old coals - a form of intellectual masturbation at the taxpayers' expense.

Richard@12:19

Your challenge to find a new issue is a fair one. And you are quite right that a simple investigation into the war would not do more than rake over old coals. But the issue of why our intelligence concerning Iraq was so bad has not been investigated here.

For example, is there any public awareness concerning the following points:
- It turns out that Saddam complied with his requirements to dismantle WMD during the 1990s.
- Which country's intelligence services provided ours with evidence that Saddam was not complying with UN WMD resolutions in the late 1990s?
- What had that country done to test that evidence?
- On what basis did our intelligence services believe that evidence? What did our intelligence services do to test that evidence?
- To what extent did we rely upon evidence-testing by third parties (so, neither us nor the country supplying the evidence - e.g. did we rely on an assessment by the American intelligence services of the reliability of data supplied by the Germans? If so, why?)
- Were there restriction on our access to key intelligence or other outdated procedures, e.g. restrictions on British access to US data going back to Cold War concerns about British leaks? Or restrictions on the legality of German security services sharing data at all? Or human rights restrictions preventing the sharing of the identity of relevant individuals so that they could be assessed or questioned?
- Were we overly dependent on a small number of sources?
- Was there any inappropriate deference to "technical" experts in WMD manufacture who might not be skilled at assessing the reliability of intel?
- Why did it all go so badly wrong?

I think there is very little public awareness of any of these issues, and there has certainly been no debate concerning the implication of whatever the truth is concerning these matters.

The Hutton Report cost £2.5 million.

Either that report (the one that absolved the politicians) wasn't extensive enough or a meaningful inquiry doesn't have to cost £200 million. Which do you want?

Andrew - I think a dispassionate view of the evidence suggests that the decision to invade Iraq had been made à priori, and that the "intelligence" was employed to justify a decision already made.

If that is anything like an accurate representation of the true situation, then an examination of the quality of intelligence might be somewhat otiose.

The outcome might be that the intelligence services simply did what they were asked to do.

If they did do that - i.e., provide justification for a decision that had already been made - it would not be the first time.

Those who recall the accounts of Market Garden (the airborne operation on Arnhem) will know that the intelligence gathering was used to affirm a decision in principle that the operation could succeed. Intelligence which indicated the contrary was ignored.

What we saw with Iraq, therefore, possibly reflects something of the human condition - and the way "intelligence" relates with high politics.

To confirm that, by means of a protracted and expensive inquiry, might be entertaining, but I doubt whether it will take us much futher forward.

Richard North,Re your post @12.19 I don't think it's reasonable at all to assume that. No other enquiry into anything has lasted a fraction as long as the Saville enquiry.
Nor do I believe that we would be raking over old coals as you put it. The behaviour of the government leading up to the outbreak of war and the decisions made subsequently have not been examined by anybody.

Returning to the question that the editor wanted answered: Should a call for an inquiry into the origins of the Iraq war really be the top priority of the Conservative Opposition?...

1. I think it’s exaggerating to say that this is being treated as our top priority.

2. Yes, learning the rights and wrongs from Iraq should have a high priority -- for the millions who didn't want war it's effectively an issue of justice.

3. Yes, this is a genius bit of politics. Gordon’s boxed into refusing an inquiry. Come next election we can make a unique offer that many Labour and Lib Dem voters will find irresistibly tempting – the truth exposed in a warts and all inquiry into the war they never wanted. The more I think about it the more surprised I am that Labour doesn’t see the danger and head us off with an inquiry under their control.

Malcolm - the fact is that you do not know, any more than I do. But neither can you affirm that such an inquiry would not spiral out of control any more than did the Saville inquiry.

On that basis, those who wish to pursue the idea of an inquiry are also committing to an open-ended process, the costs of which are indeterminate.

The one thing you cannot do, however, is set limits. Human Rights legislation requires that those who might be criticised have independent (and expensive) legal representation, which is bound to stack up the costs. Furthermore, it you attempt to put limits on the number of witnesses who can be heard, or the testimony that can be used, your inquiry is no longer "independent".

What you must also confront is whether this current government, should it ever agree to an inquiry, will allow terms of reference which will enable a thorough evaluation of the issues you wish to see rehearsed - and whether indeed the conflicting testimony from witnesses will enable any panel to come to a clear conclusion.

By all means take refuge in your belief system but, for the purposes of argument, if an inquiry did end up costing £200 million or more, how would you justify that expenditure compared with, say, the purchase of another 250 armoured vehicles for our troops in Afghanistan?

Malcolm - the fact is that you do not know, any more than I do how much an inquiry would cost. But neither can you affirm that such an inquiry would not spiral out of control any more than did the Saville inquiry.

On that basis, those who wish to pursue the idea of an inquiry are also committing to an open-ended process, the costs of which are indeterminate.

The one thing you cannot do, however, is set limits. Human Rights legislation requires that those who might be criticised have independent (and expensive) legal representation, which is bound to stack up the costs. Furthermore, it you attempt to put limits on the number of witnesses who can be heard, or the testimony that can be used, your inquiry is no longer "independent".

What you must also confront is whether this current government, should it ever agree to an inquiry, will allow terms of reference which will enable a thorough evaluation of the issues you wish to see rehearsed - and whether indeed the conflicting testimony from witnesses will enable any panel to come to a clear conclusion.

By all means take refuge in your belief system but, for the purposes of argument, if an inquiry did end up costing £200 million or more, how would you justify that expenditure compared with, say, the purchase of another 250 armoured vehicles for our troops in Afghanistan?

1'you do not know any more than I do' Alleluia ! At last!
2I have never suggested any limits would be set 3Do I think spending large amounts on an enquiry would be worth it? Yes.
4. Your analogy regarding amoured cars is false.

Richard North@15:40

You labour under the delusion that I am interested in having the basis for invasion in 2003 investigated, and that I want an inquiry into the use of intelligence to justify the war. I am not interested in that.

What I am interested in is why our intelligence assessments were so wrong in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.

I supported the war. I still think it was the right decision based on what we knew at the time. I don't think the intelligence assessments at the time had anything to do with why we invaded Iraq, and neither should they have done.

The question that we should be investigating - the new issue that has not been looked at before - is why our intelligence was so completely wrong for so long, dating from the time of John Major and Bill Clinton. Comments about the decision to invade Iraq having been made before the intelligence assessments in 2002/3 completely miss the point.

"Do I think spending large amounts on an enquiry would be worth it? Yes"

Will be you be directly contributing to the cost Malc, or are you happily splashing taxpayers' money around?

I'll tell you what, let's not burden the taxpayer with your desire to spend 'large amounts' of their money, as I'll give you the real enquiry conclusion:

#1 Labour told loads of porkies.

#2 Everyone with half a brain knew this and knew nothing was going to stop the CotW from smashing into Iraq with all guns blazing.

#3 However when presented to parliament, Labour and the Tories voted for war, and thus enabled it to go ahead.

You labour under the delusion that I am interested in having the basis for invasion in 2003 investigated, and that I want an inquiry into the use of intelligence to justify the war. I am not interested in that.

Posted by: Andrew Lilico | March 27, 2008 at 17:51

It seems more likely that the only delusion under which I labour(ed) is that I was "debating" with relatively civil and intelligent people.

Since the frame of this debate was an Iraqi inquiry, it would have taken a considerable leap of imagination to work out that you were interested in intelligence matters going back over ten years.

For that, I would suggest, it is not an inquiry you need, but a historian.

#3 However when presented to parliament, Labour and the Tories voted for war, and thus enabled it to go ahead.

Reasonable people make reasonable decisions according to the information in front of them. Thus he who controls the information holds the power and, with it, the responsibility. Whether it’s the BBC, the intelligence services or Tony Blair, the argument is the same -- they must be accountable.

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