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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

 

Three Cheers for Elizabeth Wilmshurst

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Iraq War: Chilcot Inquiry Jolted by former Deputy Legal Adviser

Must confess that until reading reports about today's proceedings the name of Elizabeth Wilmshurst  was not known to most of us this side of the Atlantic.....even among those who closely followed the controversy about Tony Blair's role in committing Britain to the unjustified war against Iraq.

While actions by ex-president G.W. Bush and his administration have been relegated to history, it  is a different story in Britain.  Despite efforts to bury the facts, the Labour Government was unable to stop demands for a public inquiry and a 5-member committee headed by Sir John Chilcot was announced by  Prime Minister Gordon Brown on June 15, 2009. The Chilcot Inquiry has been ongoing since 24th November 2009.  Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is due to appear the Committee on Friday, January 29th.

It is unlikely that Blair will face criminal charges. Alastair Campbell, who served as Blair's aide,  breezed through "soft ball" questions during his testimony last week. Blair, an unctious, smooth-tongued orator, is not going to have any problem.

But the proceedings were shook up today during evidence by Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Deputy Legal Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2001-2003.

From Guardian UK Jan 26, 2010
The Iraq inquiry burst into life yesterday, thanks to a quiet, thoughtful yet furious woman who ripped into the government like a genteel but very hungry lioness. Elizabeth Wilmshurst was the first witness to get a round of applause from the public.
Her evidence was brief, less than an hour, but Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith must have loathed every word. It was like being torn apart by a cross between Judi Dench as "M" and Princess Diana – softly spoken, but as hard and inflexible as a crowbar.



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At the end she ­described how the ­attorney general (who in the mists of history had also thought the invasion illegal) was finally consulted only at the very last minute as the troops were ready to go in. "I thought the process that was followed was lamentable," she said, and the word seemed to echo round the room. This ­inquiry will now never seem the same.

Perhaps, just perhaps, what she said will prod the members of the committee to shed their diffidence, take their fingers out and do the job for which they were selected.



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Comments:
We've known for ages that WMDs didn't exist. I don't know why we (the Brits)keep going over this!

Salaam aleychem.
 
Thank you. Yes, the non-existence of WMDs was established a long time ago.
And yet Mr. Blair made it a part of his argument. The Chilcot Committee is a joke.

Noted that you are a Haiku lover. I
enjoy them, especially ones by Basho.
 
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