is dedicated to a back of a fag packet analysis of the Iraq
The Iraq Inquiry is like a very long episode of Columbo.
know who did it because we saw what happened.
The only question
is can anything be proved.
in 2009 and has been
trundling along with brief spouts of media interest ever since with a
brief recess to "avoid influencing the general election". Of
course the Inquiry's actual powers are very limited. Documents
can be withheld from it on security grounds and no one gives evidence
oath. None-the-less almost all the oral evidence has been
in public and even some of the non-public hearings are available to
read as transcriptions so it is possible for observers to write their
reports. So for some time we toyed with the idea of a Pear Shaped
Inquiry Enquiry and this page is the result.
If you want a sensible analysis instead try the Iraq Inquiry Digest
in coming to any understanding from the Inquiry is the
sheer volume of material. The transcripts are long and, taken in
their original form, extremely dull.... often running to hundreds and
hundreds of pages. Even an extremely extremely abridged
on pre-war build-up and post-war operations are confused
and overlapping and testimony is not always chronological meaning the
casual reader has a hard time understanding it.
similar versions of the same stories and there is much
repetition of evidence so the idea was made more difficult by these
factors. This is, of course, how the Inquiry is supposed to be
from left to right :
Sir John Chilcot (ex-senior Civil Servant) Chairman
Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman (Military Historian)
Sir Martin Gilbert (Military Historian)
Sir Roderic Lyne (ex-Ambassador and Diplomat)
Baroness Usha Prashar (professional sitter on committees and boards of
inquires are really an exercise in getting embarrassing data
public domain as slowly as possible given the speed with which it is
otherwise likely to leak there. In general they tend to exist to
make sure that if the truth
cannot be whitewashed then it can at least be spread about fairly
equally. So sporadic bursts of
come and go but no overall cohesive story is transmitted to the
public. Of course now all the evidence has been submitted there
will soon be a final report but Whitehall still has powers of
veto. So below is the little sense we could make of
it. After considering reproducing transcripts might be
slightly visually and mentally dull we decided instead to opt for
animation using the Xtranormal web platform which is still a bit dull
as all the 3D animated characters speak in monotone and look a bit
jerky ...unlike the real video footage of the Iraq Inquiry which shows
a number of people who are monotonous and a number who act like ...
We couldn't help but notice that almost all the interviewees are men
but fortunately we are not bright enough to draw any conclusions from
stats with Christopher Meyer the United Kingdom Ambassador in
the run up to the war telling the Inquiry
about George W Bush's lack of belief in his own competence in the area
of foreign policy and how, as a result, he hired the Vulcans.
The Vulcans were led by Condoleezza Rice and Paul
and included Richard Armitage, Robert
Blackwill, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Dov S. Zakheim, Robert
Zoellick and Wolfowitz protegé, Scooter Libby.
...and recalls how to begin
with the Americans weren't that interested in Iraq but 9/11 changed
United Kingdom Ambassador to the
United Nations for five years, from 1998 to 2003 explains how there is
no supreme arbiter of international law ...
Tim Dowse former
head of the Non-proliferation Department in the
in 2003 commented on the level of Iraq's actual WMD capability as far
as he knew.
...and tried to nail down the more wobbly question of what exactly is a
Office's Political Director for the period from
September 2001 through to July 2003 Edward
Chaplin ponder on how things
could have been handled differently...
David Manning ponders on how George W Bush's administration
was so bitterly divided amongst its self that they didn't even know
what George W Bush would say to the UN before he said it to the UN ....
after he had said it Condoleezza Rice rang up to say that when he'd told the UN what they thought they wanted to hear about a second resolution that was only because he'd been reading the wrong draft of the speech because there were so many they got mixed up.
There was also evidence from military officers containing a lot of
general moans. Here's some comments about plugs and sockets
Patey the British Ambassador to Iraq from June 2005
July 2006 talked a lot about electricity
Graham Binns General Officer Commanding Multi-National
Division South East, Aug 2007 – Feb 2008 talks about exactly how the UK
forces supported the Iraqi General Mohan in Basra who commanded using a
Style talks about exactly how many military
operations the British Armed Forces are
designed to undertake and sustain at any one time and how running the
Afghanistan and Iraq operations in parallel caused some resourcing
John Reith Chief Joint Operations Aug 2001-Jul 2004 speaks
in private about playing on a field where the goalposts are moving ...
and the field as well.
Turnbull Cabinet Secretary, 2002 – 2005 described the generation
of the Iraq War dossier as process of "granny's footsteps".
Alastair Campbell says with
no irony that you can't just choose the
leadership of another country...
period of 4 years and then says sorry
for whinging too much...
says that while the wider issues were discussed you cant
just go around trusting the Cabinet with information. There are
27 or 28 of them. Far too many. Just him, Geoff Hoon, Jack
Straw, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell and erm...?
did not know a misleading impression of the 45
minute claim had been circulating in the press as he was too busy and
out the country in Kiev...
few people being allowed to know
anything Mr Hoon simply had too much to do. Mr Hoon claims he
only really understood what the issue was afterwards when he saw an
episode of Panorama.
the Cabinet has always been controversial.
size since 1900. In the 1950s
Harold McMillan actually had to make the table larger due to the
increase of people in the government...
technically a sub-committee of the Privy Council that was naturally
formed when the Privy Council became too large to make decisions like
which of the King's wives should have their head cut off this
week. The machination of "sofa government" is simply the
subconscious reiteration of the basic laws of optimum committee
size. Huge volumes of research are done all the
time into optimum committee sizes. The most often cited
guesses for the best size are between 5
people. Which is fine as long as you're not discussing
taking an entire nation to war...? Of course the other problem
with the Cabinet is while it's too large to make fast decisions it's
also too small to have the authority of the House of Commons ...so is
it a decision making policy committee or a policy rubber stamp?
Your guess is as good as mine.