The Chilcot report, due to be published later this morning, 6th July 2016, is, of course, caught between a rock and a hard place – between the careful legalistic weighing of evidence to support conclusions and the need of the general public, in particular the families of the British soldiers who died in that war, to see a primary justice done.
Regardless of the prior agreement with George Bush and regardless of the deceit in persuading parliament to vote for that war [deceit long detailed in the public domain], the soldiers were sent in to Iraq knowingly ill-equipped for survival – because Blair’s need for secrecy until an advanced stage meant that the Ministry of Defence were forbidden to commence the procurement of necessary items.
Chilcot has to report between the rock of public certainty on culpability – which requires the justice of formal confirmation; and the hard place of legal argument and the threats of litigation from those who may be criticised.
There are times when the imperative is for the confirmation of fundamental public values of decency and integrity – and this is one of them.
Legalistic considerations of the weight of evidence can seem- and be – the equivalent of arguing abut the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. That sort of proper but bloodless finagling will not answer the real need of Britain in this instance.
We must all hope that Chilcot has taken a stance with the rock at his back and faced up to the transient perils of the hard place.