We have been waiting for the so-called Chilcot Report, the result of the Iraq Inquiry, for some years. And so it came to pass that the good news came first: there would be a report released, probably before the end of 2014. This much was welcome, but routine. What has taxed the Fourth Estate has been the bad news: not every last item of correspondence, and all notes of conversations, will be part of that report.
What's f***ing wrong with me changing my mind over Iraq, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
Worse, the stuff we will not see in full is the to-and-fro between Tone and Dubya, which was thought to be central to the UK being a full participant in the Iraq adventure, which was supposed to topple Saddam Hussein, but instead, via the terminal ineptitude of some within the “Coalition of the willing”, precipitated a deadly civil war which has not yet run its course.
As the deeply subversive Guardian has noted, “The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war has been accused of allowing a whitewash after it struck a deal with ministers to publish the gist of letters between Tony Blair and George Bush but not the full correspondence ... No decision has been taken ... on exactly which quotations from the Bush-Blair correspondence will be published or how the gist will be phrased”.
Establishment blames establishment no shock horror
Oh dear. “Evening squire, know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more ... gist, squire, you get my gist, nudge nudge, a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat”. There may be perfectly good reasons for less than full disclosure, but for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail, this is not just the withholding of full disclosure, it is shabby.
“This Shabby Whitewash” thunders today’s front page lead, as readers are left in no doubt that this is A Very Bad Thing indeed. “The Iraq War inquiry was condemned as a whitewash last night after more than 150 crucial messages from Tony Blair to George W Bush were censored. In them, Mr Blair is said to have promised the US President: ‘You know, George, whatever you decide to do, I'm with you’”.
There was no stopping the paper, with Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, under the headline “Establishment looks after its own ... again”, thundering “When the Chilcot inquiry was established in 2009, the public was promised it would finally reveal the unvarnished truth about how Tony Blair, in the face of overwhelming opposition, dragged Britain into the shameful Iraq War”.
And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. The “overwhelming opposition” did not, at the time or for several years after the event, include the Daily Mail. Moreover, if we’re talking about the establishment looking after their own, perhaps Dacre would like to advance a credible alternative explanation for former Sun man William Newman being appointed to the board of IPSO.
Paul Dacre – caught facing both ways in order to kick his targets. Yet again.
The "overwhelming opposition" did not include most of the media, most of the two main political parties and most of the political elite. Opposition was from outside the political and media mainstream. At the time of the demonstration on 15th February 2003 the Mirror and Independent were handing out "stop the war" banners and the Guardian was trying to face both ways at once. The rest of the media was full of dodgy news items about the WMD that Iraq had, and tub-thumping articles about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans.
The Mail appears to be trying to rewrite history to suggest that only Blair was at fault, and to whitewash out the role of those outside the political mainstream in questioning what was happening.
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