Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Chilcot has produced a wealth of material for historians and exorcists

Related Topics

Here's a "blink" summary of the Anglo-American relationship from a Derbyshire miner. "Blair started out all right but then he met that Doobya. And he walked with his arms out like he was carrying two big barrels. After that, Blair walked with two big barrels under his arms. That's what happened. You can tell about a man by the way he walks. Same as I say."

A verdict based on three seconds of observation may outperform a million words of evidence and years of inquiry. In that one glimpse is everything a busy

person needs to know about why we went to war in Iraq.

The last day of the Chilcott Inquiry. They'd asked for Jack Straw to come back for a final go. Wily Jack, his voice like the shuffle of dusty paperwork. With his

elisions and allusions, his dysjunctive conjunctions - he can make a paragraph mean what he wants. And if he can't, he can fall back on “the negotiating history” which shows the opposite of the obvious is actually the case.

He can write "very perceptive" on an MI6 suggestion for regime change, and then explain why that had nothing to do with the case for going to war (because that would have been "palpably illegal"). Of course Chilcott is out-gunned – but he does yet have the final word, and there are encouraging signs.

For the sake of natural justice, a tribunal has to allow a witness to respond to charges, if they want to lambast him in their report.

The charge Straw was confronted with was that the Government fraudulently blamed the French for the failure of a second UN resolution. In what he described as "a short question" Rod Lyne laid out a three-part steamer with highly placed officials saying they were instructed to blame Chirac even though they knew it wasn't the case.

In his reply Straw demurred, "Not instructions with a capital I." My guess is they'll get hammered for this and some other administrative crimes.

In Jack Straw's favour, it is probably true he was sacked because he said the bombing of Iran was "inconceivable". He still says the approach to that country should be "more carrot than stick".

Compare that with Tony Blair's Götterdämmerung declaring “with all the passion I can summon" that Iran had to be bombed, beaten up and invaded. Or, as he put it, "confronted". In order to believe he did nothing wrong on Iraq he has to believe that the same should happen to Iran.

Cynics would say he was addressing the US in those words. "Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also," as it says in the Bible (it explains why you can't serve God and Mammon).

It's been one of those peculiarly British things, the Chilcott panel, a celebration of the amateur spirit. None of the panel had any experience in questioning, and you could see them being rocked and rolled by energetic witnesses. But Chilcott - like Hutton - has produced a wealth of materials for historians, student and exorcists.

Whatever the verdict, it is surely impossible to believe that Blair took us to war in Iraq without an ulterior purpose. And the fact that he and Alastair Campbell “stand by every word" shows they disagree with all that cant about "learning lessons".

Same as I say.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
With an eye for strategy: Stephen Fry’s General Melchett and Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund Blackadder  

What Cameron really needs is to turn this into a khaki election

Matthew Norman
An Italian policeman stands guard as migrants eat while waiting at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily. Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa struggled to cope with a huge influx of newly-arrived migrants as aid organisations warned the Libya crisis means thousands more could be on their way  

Migrant boat disaster: EU must commit funds to stop many more dying

Alistair Dawber
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own