(8:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
The Iraq inquiry has resumed this week, promising crucial witnesses – Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Lord Goldsmith and possibly Gordon Brown.
And so it begins again, will we see some more little tidbits of information on this Countries, the once United States, as we did before the Holiday break.
This opportunity is essential and long overdue. It comes at a critical moment for our democracy. For many people, the ballot box has become a spent force. The single most significant factor in this disenchantment has been the decision to plunge a coalition of nations into a war, not only in the face of worldwide public opposition but also on an entirely unproven basis.
And why is the above being stated by those across the pond and not here, for we bear the greatest guilt for allowing ourselves to be pushed into a War of Choice against an Innocent People and causing our other invasion and occupation to stagnate and fester with the growing hatreds where we’re now left with expanding it some eight years later!
The rest of that piece can be found here
And the player list of testimonials about the Brits involvement might be growing not only in bodies but in interests:
The News of the World says Prince Charles secretly campaigned against the 2003 Iraq War
Campaigners have urged the Iraq Inquiry to call the Prince of Wales as a witness after reports emerged that he lobbied against the 2003 invasion.
Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic said Charles should give evidence and any correspondence between him and Tony Blair about the war should be submitted to the inquiry.
The call comes after The News of the World reported at the weekend that the Prince campaigned against the invasion of Iraq behind the scenes.
A source told the paper: “The Prince thought Blair was making a big mistake and he made his stance clear to influential people and politicians.”…>>>>>
This would be an interesting addition to the witness list, as the royal family are required to do service in the British Military, and if he has any of the correspondence or good memories of any discussions with Blair that can be added to the record.
Sir William Patey arrives to give evidence in London at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
What could be delivered on Powerpoint could not necessarily be delivered on Earth, says former ambassador Sir William Patey.
Tony Blair personally briefed Britain’s ambassador in Baghdad, with Downing Street calling almost every day as tension grew between political demands at home and reality on the ground in Iraq, the Chilcot inquiry was told today.
“The politics here demanded instant results,” said Sir William Patey, who was ambassador in Baghdad from 2005 to 2006. He told the inquiry in London that the almost daily briefings from No 10 came throughout his time in Iraq.
“The first time I have ever had instructions as an ambassador directly from the prime minister was: help get a constitution that the Iraqis would vote positively for, the formation of a new government, create the conditions for the withdrawal of British troops,” Patey said. “It was quite simple.”
Patey added: “I think the level of ambition was probably higher than the ability to deliver. What could be delivered on Powerpoint could not necessarily be delivered on Earth.”
There were tensions with the US over the timing and scale of a phased withdrawal of British troops from Basra after 2006 as UK military chiefs increasingly worried about their ability to operate in two countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – at the same time, the inquiry heard.
“We did not have the means to deliver on the objectives (in Afghanistan),” said General Sir Nick Houghton….>>>>>
General Sir Peter Wall with Tony Blair in 2003. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Contingent became focus of Shia militia violence and Iraqi army commander wanted them out, says former chief of defence staff
The inquiry in London questioned top defence and military officials about three controversial events leading to the final withdrawal from Iraq. They were the decision to leave Basra Palace, secret talks with the Mahdi army, a prominent Shia militia, and the Charge of the Knights, a US-led operation with the Iraqi army, drawn up unbeknown to the British in 2008, which crushed most militia activity.
General Sir Peter Wall, deputy chief of the defence staff at the time, was asked about whether British troops at the Basra base were “sitting ducks”. He replied: “Yup.” But he added that General Mohan, the Iraqi army commander in Basra, also wanted the British to leave the base as their presence there was “unwelcome for the general security of the environment and the impact it was having on innocent people ….>>>>>
Great expectation, trying to even figure out how to handle public tickets to the Inquiry room this session, on the coming testimony of Tony Blair, the bush good buddy and seeming lap dog to the Neo-Cons wishes.
A burning mask of Tony Blair outside the conference centre
The public inquiry into the Iraq war resumed on Tuesday after the Christmas break, as questions grew about the looming appearance by Tony Blair, who led the country into the controversial conflict.
Blair is expected to give evidence to the inquiry in the second half of January or early February, while his former communications chief and close ally Alastair Campbell will appear next week, on January 12.
Meanwhile, an Internet campaign has been launched for Blair to face tough questions about why he took Britain into the unpopular war, amid criticisms the probe, led by a retired top civil servant, has gone too easy on some witnesses.
“When it comes to Tony Blair, we can’t let this happen,” said activist group 38 Degrees, which is inviting people to submit questions they want the inquiry to put to the ex-premier.
“Blair made the decision to commit us to a war in Iraq. We deserve to know the real reasons he went ahead.”
The first witness to give evidence to the resumed probe Tuesday was William Patey, Britain’s ambassador to Baghdad between 2005 and 2006.
He said he had received almost daily telephone calls from Downing Street, acknowledging that politicians may have set over-ambitious targets for what could be delivered.
“There was a tension between the desire for instant results and the realities on the ground,” said Patey, now ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“What you could achieve in the sort of timescales that London needed for political reasons — there was a disconnect.”…>>>>>
Hope he’s been practicing his spin because if the tough questions come he’ll need it. Though he did probably open up to much, a conscious maybe, on softball questions from a BBC reporter in a taped interview, prior to the holidays, that caused him allot of problems and received widespread condemnation.
Sir William said violence in Basra had increased during his time in Iraq
Ambitions for reforming Iraq after the war were “probably higher than the ability to deliver”, the former UK ambassador to the country has said.
Sir William Patey, in the job from 2005 to 2006, said there was no “quick fix” for changes such as setting up a police force and drafting a constitution.
The Iraq Inquiry heard that “what could be delivered on Powerpoint couldn’t necessarily be delivered on Earth”.
Sir William recalled that he had written at the time that “the prospect of descent into civil war… was probably more likely than the transition to a stable Iraq unless certain things happened”.
These included getting Iraqis involved in self-government and handling their own policing and security arrangements.
Sir William said: “What we couldn’t quite expect was the level of historic baggage we found when we got there.
“In a sense we became a target and people tried to portray us as occupiers.”
This, along with corruption and infiltration by militia groups, made it more difficult to set up an effective police force in the area, Sir William said.
He told the inquiry: “I think we were planning on the job. I think we started by thinking we would look [to set up] a Surrey Constabulary in Basra and ended up with the RUC [Royal Ulster Constabulary].” …>>>>>
A day heavily-draped with political drama, of bitter recriminations but also an impassioned self-defence, a day the nature of which the Inquiry has not seen before nor will likely see again.
Followers of twitter.com/iraqinquiryblog will have realised by now that that day wasn’t today.
Actually that’s not entirely fair of me – there was a little drama right at the end of today’s session, and true to form it came via Roderic ‘Silent Assassin’ Lyne. The man displays what can only be described as Columbo tendencies in his last minute, ‘Just one more thing’ approach to witness-mugging….>>>>>