Thursday, August 28, 2003

I was intending to write about the Hutton inquiry and Tony Blair being grilled about his involvement with the whole David Kelly affair but I've realised that I don't care that much any more. It seems clear that, while no one is going to come out of this smelling of roses, neither is anyone going to end up as the villain of the piece.

When the whole sorry affair blew up a couple of months ago, one of the major criticisms of the government's denial of the Andrew Gilligan story was that it was getting in the way of the real story, namely the justification for the war in Iraq and the way in which it was handled. While Hutton does seem to be getting some questions answered on that front, I can't seem to shake the idea that the inquiry is, inadvertently at least, acting as another smokescreen; this time hiding the extent of the tragedy now facing Iraq.

Blair said today that the dossier was not used as the immediate reason to go to war. If that were the case then we have no option other than to accept that the reason for the war was to liberate the Iraqi people. But surely, if that was your aim, wouldn't one of your top priorities be to ensure that life was returned to normal, if not made 'better', as soon after the conflict was over as possible? Wouldn't you want to be sure that history would look back on the war and say that it was wholly for the best? It's fairly obvious that there was no plan for rebuilding Iraq post-war and because of that the country is fast slipping into anarchy. That will breed resentment towards the US and UK, which in turn increases the chaos. What then? Could the whole country spiral out of control?

We need to stop worrying about the outcome of the inquiry into one man's death, tragic though it may have been, and start questioning why Iraq is in the state it is. And what can be done to put it right.

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