Sunday, July 06, 2003

In this comment by political journalist Andrew Rawnsley in the guardian.co.uk, he suggests that we should not have high expectations of the report that is to be issued tomorrow by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee:

The title of the committee's inquiry - 'The Decision To Go To War In Iraq' - suggests a scope which is sweeping. The actual product will be narrow. It rushed at the job, taking just six days of evidence. It focused its inquiries on one aspect of one area - the '45-minute' claim - to the exclusion of many other vital topics.

Here are some of the large questions about the war that the committee cannot answer because it did not make a start on asking the questions. Exactly when did Tony Blair promise George Bush that he would commit British forces to the war? Why did British diplomacy fail to secure the second resolution at the United Nations which the Prime Minister had previously staked so much on? Was the Cabinet fully informed and consulted at all times? Were the intelligence assessments of Saddam Hussein's arsenal wrong? Why did the Prime Minister choose to believe the most frightening warnings? Why was there such scant preparation for handling the post-war situation in Iraq? Tony Blair's revelation, made to our political editor in today's The Observer , that he expected the war to last 125 days is more illuminating than any new fact established by the committee.