The 2002-3 Iraq war and the Chilcott Enquiry The cost to date, nearly £8 million. The report is yet to be published. Why wont they release the information?
Two million people marched against the war, many more were profoundly disturbed by the suspicion that our government had lied and dissembled in order to please the Americans. For young people in particular, the controversy seemed to confirm that politics was inherently corrupt. In this context, the ludicrous farce of the Chilcott Inquiry is even more damaging. To many people, it will inevitably appear that the Whitehall establishment is protecting its own.
The more you hide, the more people suspect and fear you – and the more you play into the hands of juvenile nihilists who prattle about revolution without really understanding what it means. But as the popularity of conspiracy theories suggests, people always like to believe the worst.
What, they will wonder, do Blair and Brown have to hide? What did they tell President Bush? What promises did they make, and what secrets are lurking in the documents? The great irony, of course, is that the Chilcott Inquiry was meant to shed light on the dark corners of British foreign policy, to heal the wounds of the Iraq invasion, and to restore public faith in the political process.
Yet all of this is so unnecessary. For decades, successive governments have come to power promising to roll back the culture of secrecy, yet none of them has done it. Why the mandarins and their political patrons are so frightened of openness is simply beyond me. Their American friends, for example, are much quicker and keener to open their archives and to air their dirty linen in public, and it never does them any harm.