British war inquiries should focus on data

Posted: Friday, June 06, 2003

In the U.S., two Senate committees have now called joint hearings on whether the Bush administration misused intelligence information to make its case for an attack on Iraq. In Australia, the Labor opposition announced last night it is taking ''a long, hard look'' at calling for an independent inquiry on the same issue (Australia's defense minister has already said public confidence may require such a move).

In Britain, meanwhile, there is still nothing but stonewalling. Here, ministers continue to set themselves against calls for inquiry and to insult those who make them. This is both a wrong and a foolish position to adopt. An inquiry is justified, and the pressure for one is mounting. ... The Blair government should not be out of step with its Iraq war allies, never mind out of step with its own supporters and backbenchers. ...

The focus of an inquiry should be the quality of the intelligence available to ministers in the period leading up to the Iraq war, and the use that was made of it. But it is important not to rule out issues that might be raised by this central theme, including the effect on British diplomacy and the implications for the government's legal position on the war. ...

The Guardian,

London, June 3

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