Thursday, June 18, 2009
The Iraq war inquiry: redefining the term 'whitewash'
Michael Crick writes:
I'm interested to see that the distinguished war historian Sir Lawrence Freedman has been appointed to the new inquiry into the Iraq war, announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown today.
Critics of the war might argue Sir Lawrence was himself one of the causes of the war!
The professor once told me how, back in 1999, he was contacted by Downing Street seeking his thoughts for a speech on humanitarian intervention which the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair was about to make in Chicago.
When was military action justified for, liberal, humanitarian reasons?
Sir Lawrence says he was astonished when he heard and read Mr Blair's famous Chicago speech - perhaps the most important of Blair's premiership - that it was based largely on the memo he had sent to Number 10.
And the rest was history.
Nor will critics of the war be very happy about the appointment of the other historian Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill.
In 2004, he went so far as to compare US President George W Bush and Mr Blair to Roosevelt and Churchill.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really disappointed that Gordon Brown hasn’t gone the whole hog. Why doesn’t he put 'Neo' Con Coughlin, Nick Cohen, and Melanie Phillips on the inquiry team too?