CIWI Bulletin #8
25 April 2014
Dear members, supporters, readers and well-wishers,
Welcome to the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bulletin.
In this edition:
-“A fitting codicil to a century of war”
-Report: Iraq, Afghanistan were “strategic failures” for UK
-Chilcot “unlikely” to be published before 2015
-Chilcot delays “a national scandal”: fmr Blair minister
-Returning to Iraq
-‘Iraqis losing faith in justice’
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“A fitting codicil to a century of war”
Associate professor Jake Lynch discusses the need for an inquiry into Iraq in an article on Anzac day for New Matilda:
“Military spending and mythology in Australia have taken on a life of their own. We need an Iraq War inquiry and a more realistic view of the last century of war, writes Jake Lynch.
“[…] The disastrous conduct and consequences of another Coalition operation, the invasion of Iraq, has been the subject of several official probes in Britain, the latest of which, the Chilcot Inquiry, has heard copious confirmation of what was suspected all along: that allied countries committed support long before they knew what was at stake. In the words of a leaked memo from the head of MI6, “the intelligence and the facts [were] fixed around the policy” – again, that sense of inversion.
“There is a campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry in Australia, which is a good thing, since we’ve never had one. It also campaigns for a reform of war powers, to oblige Prime Ministers to obtain backing from Parliament before committing to the use of force.
“How do we keep getting into these messes? We can guess – the self-abasing urge, on the part of political leaders here, to gratify the every whim of powerful factions in Washington, whether they be neo-conservatives bent on war, or their suppliers of military hardware. It’s high time it was exposed by a properly constituted investigation, with appropriate powers to collect evidence and compel witnesses.
Iraq, Afghanistan were “strategic failures” for UK: report
Report from the Royal United Services Institute says the two wars cost Britain nearly £60 billion on top of normal spending, radicalised young Muslims:
“Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an authoritative study.
“The bulk of the money has been spent on interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan judged to have been "strategic failures", says the study, Wars in Peace, published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
“In comments with particular resonance in the light of Tony Blair's speech on Wednesday exhorting the west to do more to defeat Islamic extremism, the RUSI study concludes that "there is no longer any serious disagreement" that Britain's role in the Iraq war served to channel and increase the radicalisation of young Muslims in the UK.”
Chilcot “unlikely” to be published before 2015
The Daily Mail reports that we might be waiting a while for Chilcot:
“A long-delayed report on the Iraq war is unlikely to see the light of day until after the next general election, according to well-placed sources.
“Despite growing anger over the wait for publication of Sir John Chilcot’s investigation into the 2003 conflict, it is now not expected to be ready until early next year.
“Whitehall sources suggest that with an election due in May 2015, it will be deemed too politically difficult to publish it until after voters have gone to the polls.
“Labour strategists are said to be alarmed at the prospect of voters being reminded of the Iraq war in the months before the election, since the conflict was blamed for driving many of its voters to the Liberal Democrats in 2005 and 2010.”
Chilcot delays a “national scandal”: fmr Blair minister
The Huffington Post reports that Lord Morris, former minister in Tony Blair’s government, is agitating for the report of the UK’s inquiry into the Iraq war, the Chilcot Inquiry, to be published immediately:
“A former minister in Tony Blair's government has said the report of the official inquiry into the Iraq War must be published immediately, after prolonged delays.
“Former MP Lord Morris, who served as attorney general between 1997 and 1999, said the delays in publishing the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry were "a national scandal" and said there was "a real danger" it would still not be public by the 2015 general election.
“He said David Cameron should take the initiative and ensure it is published "well in advance" of this.
“Last year, The Daily Telegraph reported that Sir John Chilcot's findings were being delayed due to legal wrangles over whether conversations between Gordon Brown, who was chancellor at the time of the 2003 invasion, and then US President George W Bush, could be published.”
Returning to Iraq
New Yorker columnist Moises Saman returns to Iraq after four years:
“The last American combat troops departed in December, 2011, leaving behind an array of unresolved problems that, after a period of relative calm, have begun to burgeon again. The most intractable of these is the unsettled dispute between Iraq’s two largest religious groups, Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The Shiite majority suffered grievously under the Sunni-dominated regime of Saddam Hussein. The Americans ushered in a Shiite-led government, representing the majority, and served as umpire between Iraq’s major groups. By the end of 2008, following the “surge” of American combat troops, a hard-won peace had descended over much of the country, and it stayed in place until the last soldiers departed, twenty months ago.
“But, with no one left to broker between the Sunnis and the Shiites, the fighting that engulfed the country in 2006 is returning.”
‘Iraqis losing faith in justice’
An op-ed in Dubai’s Gulf News argues that “Iraqis are losing faith in the universality of justice and human rights as they wait in vain for an official apology, for compensation or at the very least, for those responsible to be held accountable”:
“Eleven years ago, a friend told me not to mind the invasion and occupation of Iraq as this may be the price we would have to pay for Iraq to become as good as California. I never spoke to him again or to any supporter of the occupation because deep in my heart, I knew that Iraq would be lucky to remain in the condition of early 2003. As the ugly 11th anniversary of the occupation came and went earlier this month, does anyone believe that we are on our way to the promised California dream?
“[…]The GICJ [Geneva International Centre for Justice] reported on “the suffering of Iraqi people from a high toxic level of lead, mercury contamination and depleted uranium pollution in many regions, which led to indirect killings of many innocent people” and called for the rectifying of these injustices saying the Iraqi people “are still waiting in vain for an official apology, for compensation to be paid, or [for] the responsible to be held accountable”.”
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The views expressed in this bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (Inc). Readers should note that the Campaign for an Iraq war Inquiry (Inc) seeks a diversity of views and opinions in order to identify common ground.