Outside the dwindling circle of fanatical Blair- and Brownites, it is now virtually universally recognised that the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq was Britain’s greatest foreign policy disaster for at least half a century, possibly longer. Predictably, Jack “Man of” Straw – one of the leading conspirators behind the war – has banned the release of the cabinet papers that would reveal how ministers took their disastrous decision.
Labour’s line is that it would damage the quality of our government (!) if it was revealed who said what during this momentous debate. In fact, it seems what we would actually have learned would have been just the opposite. All the indications are that far from there being a ding-dong argument, ministers nodded through the war in an astonishingly supine and casual manner.
This was not a decision on whether to spend more on schools, or how we should organise hospitals – important though those things are. This was a decision to bomb, invade and occupy another country in the sure knowledge that it would result in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people who had never done us any harm. The actions of some of those sitting around that cabinet table may well have been criminal. Six years later we still do not know what went wrong, nor how we would avoid the same things going wrong again if we were asked to, say, bomb Iran.
To put it in terms Mr Blair might understand, Labour lost its soul the day it decided to bomb Iraq. Perhaps even worse, though, is what has followed – the party’s cold-blooded determination, over weeks, months and years, to ensure that none of those responsible for the disaster is called to account. It beggars belief that the only people who ever lost their jobs over Iraq were the chairman and director-general of the BBC, and the BBC reporter who dared to tell the truth.
Wake up Labour! No good will come of you until you call the warmongers to account. The only way for a once-great political party to regain its self-respect is to release the cabinet and all other relevant papers forthwith and to have a full INDEPENDENT inquiry with witnesses testifying on oath.