What did the Chilcot Inquiry achieve?

An item on the news reminded me that no opinion on the invasion of Iraq will change as a result of the Chilcot Inquiry. Well, how presumptuous I thought, but then no of course no opinions will be changed – which might be the problem. For those who feel that not having a Saddam Hussein in the world is better can not be convinced otherwise, for those who feel that the war a bloody mistake will only be too happy by Blair’s constant admission “I only did what I thought was right” (as this, like the former reason, is only a feeling, it is safeguarded from conviction and hubris, and thus much criticism, other than the charge, laid out to Blair by many stood outside the QEII conference building, that he was simply an actor).

Anyone who was looking for Blair’s “grilling” for answers will come up to two possible conclusions; either that it was a well-meaning accident or that everything was fine. As the news item explained everyone had made their minds up, so no worries, but the question that came into my mind was – does Blair believe himself?

My mind was not changed, but the inquiry did add another element to the question – if all that Blair had said was true, about the reasons for being urgent, then yes, lawful or not concern is increased, but a lot of the findings were made haphhazardly, and is not Blair himself cryptically admitting this, with his belief (by which I mean the belief in this being the right thing to do, not his spiritual belief – however I wonder how far they are interrelated?)?

Belief doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny, but insofar as it is our existential lot, we often can’t denigrate outright, for the grounds for falsifying this claim is not directly within us, scientifically – our claim to the contrary would be just as unscientific, and to suggest that what one believes is not objectively true would be arrogant. But then this becomes a question of conviction – do we really believe he belives (an odd qualia arrangement).

For my money, Blair is not crazy, and by doing what he felt was right is nothing to pour scorn on indefinitely, a lot of renegades operate this in highly complex moments – especially in war – but I also think there was, and is, enough evidence to show that Iraq had no arsenal of mass destructive weaponary, and so Blair’s belief claim is therefore predicated upon a series of weaknesses. Should we be asking, not the 2003 question, but the 2010 question? Only now that the 2003 question has been proved wrong.

I think the war was wrong, I think the urgency was lies, and I think the constant appeals to belief (in the case of Blair) and the emergence of the 2010 question (see the film Minority Report for more information – one can not operate solely on the do first ask later, particularly in the cases where the urgency is fiction) all testify to a leader who had it wrong. The inquiry, for that reason, did one thing: it let his ideas ties their own rope.


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