Thursday 7 July 2016

tonkin ghosts or mess-o'-potamia

Finally released seven years after the beginning of the investigation and five years after its conclusion, with publication delayed several times, the Chilcot Report (or the Iraq Inquiry) brought back a surge of memories and is confirmation of what many if not most of us suspected:
diplomatic solutions had not been exhausted, Iraq presented little imminent threat beyond its neighbours and the actions of the US and the UK undermined the United Nations’ authority through the unilateral determination, the case for war of their leaders. Legality and thus the ability to indict or exonerate anyone of war crimes was outside of the scope of the investigation, and thirteen years on it is difficult to conceive how a world with or without Hussein might be. The forces that rushed in to occupy that void in power does seem rather like a hydra instead of any improvement, and prosecuting regime-change under once dubious and now patently false fears and scaremongering seems beyond regrettable.  Sadly, this publication will not vindicate the suffering of Iraqis or service members that have been pained by this pretext, and I wonder if the political fall-out will be momentous and haunting enough to ensure that such adventures are not embarked upon again.  The world’s threshold and memory sometimes seems woefully inadequate.