I have neither the time nor the inclination to discuss in any great detail a long overdue 2.6 million word report that I haven’t read (nor am I likely ever to).
Pundits are reporting that it is “far from a whitewash” and that it employs some “pretty damning” language. Which is all fine and dandy but as I understand it, ultimately the Chilcot report vindicates Tony Blair and his inner circle of the most central charge, one which should see them facing criminal trial (malfeasance in public office?) – deliberately misleading Parliament and the British public as to the reasons for invading Iraq. Employing the finest traditions of British polysemic grandiloquence it provides ample room for just about everyone to claim – to greater or lesser degrees – justification for their opinion on this sorry affair. For sure there is criticism aplenty of Tony Blair and, again in the finest traditions of British public enquiries, a multiplicity of “lessons to be learnt” but if its definitive judgements on ethical propriety or legal culpability you were hoping for then prepare for disappointment.
The Chilcot report has confirmed once again that British public enquiries are merely an ingenious means of protecting an elite, not of affording justice or fixing the rot at heart of the political system; they are a political placebo for the masses. It confirms what the common populace has instinctually (now backed by a growing body of evidence) known for a long time viz. that the political establishment lie to them. That they deceive them. That they manipulate them (thanks to their propinquity to high ranking media personalities). That they regard their opinion with scorn and disdain (despite the largest protest ever witnessed in the UK the majority of MPs still voted for the war).
There is not a scintilla of doubt in my mind that the Bush administration resolved to invade Iraq soon after the 9/11 attacks, as part of a neo-conservative project for a new world order shaped around American global hegemony. The invasion and remoulding of Iraq was to be the testing ground and the first step towards its realisation.
If there was justice in this world both Blair and Bush would be facing the same fate as the tyrant they toppled – a tyrant who had served them so well in the past. If there has ever been an episode in the contemporary relationship between the West and the Muslim world with the propensity to inspire a longing for revenge it must surely be the invasion and devastation of Iraq. On the 11th anniversary of one such act of vengeance I pray the peoples of Britain and America take the time to reflect on the part they played in the brutalisation of a people who have historically done them no wrong. Saying ‘sorry’ is simply not enough, it must be a regret reified by the provision of justice. Today as we ponder over the possibility of further terrorist attacks in Western capitals let us not forget the magnitude of the act of terrorism that instigated this all and spare a thought for its thousands of nameless, faceless victims.
“Il est défendu de tuer; tout meurtrier est puni, à moins qu’il n’ait tué en grande compagnie, et au son des trompettes.”
“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” [Voltaire – ‘Rights’]
May the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon sayiddina Muhammad. Ameen.