At last. We now know that the long-awaited Chilcot Inquiry report into the Iraq war will be published on July 6th. Writing to the Prime Minister, Sir John Chilcot said today:
‘National security checking of the Inquiry’s report has now been completed, without the need for any redactions to appear in the text. I am grateful for the speed with which it was accomplished.’
Given how long the report has taken, it’s probably the first time we’ve heard the word ‘speed’ associated with the Chilcot Inquiry. The wait for its findings has been tremendous: more than seven years or some 2,579 days since Gordon Brown set it up in June 2009. It’s also cost more than £10.3m – and probably more by the time we get to actually read the documents themselves.
Brown’s idea was that the inquiry would help us to ‘learn the lessons’ from the conflict. Whether there is anything useful to learn remains to be seen but from an inquiry that has taken so long to materialise, the pressure for blame to be apportioned will be extreme. A hungry press has spent years attacking Chilcot for the amount of time it has taken to report back. Politicians from across the board have done the same. Now we know that the Chilcot report will finally be published this summer, it seems a simple whitewash just won’t satiate those who have waited so long to read what the report has to say.