Simon Carr: Another witness is let off the hook

Sketch

Share
Related Topics

"Prime Minister, we will be asking you later to show how incomparably better Iraq is now, and also about the qualities that have been called forth over the period in question, strength and courage of course and also a mastery of the detail that goes beyond normal human understanding." John Chilcot didn't quite say this, but on we go anyway.

"... and that you always and in all circumstances did the right thing for the right reasons, but first perhaps, if you feel it would help the committee, would you like to start with your human side?"

The Prime Minister had a good day. He had learned the lessons of the war. The first was that you have to get your apology in first. People had died, and that was sad. "Any loss of life is very sad indeed," he confirmed. Later he told us, a little crookedly, "My sympathies go out to people who have questions to be answered." Nearly every time he said this sort of thing he remembered not to smile. The committee was susceptible – rather more than the audience members he tried to engage during one of the breaks. They snubbed him, reports have it. Ignored his overtures. Maybe they had some private reason.

He got his key messages out (see above). No request for war funds had ever been turned down, that was "a fundamental truth". The committee didn't ask him why so many witnesses had said something else (the lack of body armour, the right vehicles and helicopters had cost lives). "I made it clear that every application for equipment had to be approved," he said. Perhaps if Geoff Hoon and his permanent secretary had been quoted then he could have savaged them.

The committee skated over that and other areas that might have detained him. He said the French were going to veto a second resolution "whatever the circumstances" (not true). He didn't seem to have much to say in the way of a "growing threat" over the summer of 2002. And as for his description of the way the British army left Basra – that was, as Chilcot might have described it in his kindly way, "counterfactual".

Brown's basic rationale for going to war – rupturing the western alliance and shattering the authority of the UN – was to strengthen the solidarity of "the world community". It was a marvellously self-defeating exercise then. It was odd this didn't get the committee going.

Mind you, he had appointed it. Maybe that had something to do with it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Developer - Xamarin

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Student Support Assistants - Part Time & Full Time

£14600 - £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are passionate about sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister ...: No child would be caged in a failing prison

Frances Crook
 

Daily catch-up: 99 days until the election, which is also the average life of a web page

John Rentoul
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore