Families of British soldiers killed in Tony Blair’s Iraq war have threatened legal action to force the Chilcot Inquiry to set a date to publish its report.
Rose Gentle’s son Gordon died in Iraq more than 11 years ago. She has always insisted her son died because of lies Blair told in making the case for war.
Rose told Socialist Worker, “We are demanding they set a date, by the end of this month, for when it’s going to be published. If they don’t we will be pushing for a judicial review.
“They’ve had plenty of time and we’re sicking of waiting.”
She is part of a group of families supporting the legal battle.
The inquiry was set up to whitewash the Blair Labour government’s lies over the 2003 Iraq war.
It is supposed to be a “non-judgemental” investigation into Britain’s involvement in the illegal invasion.
It stopped taking evidence in 2011 but has never published its findings.
The head of the inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, says publication is delayed to allow the various war criminals criticised in the report to respond. But there is no deadline for them to do so.
The fact that those criticised in Chilcot’s report are being given so much time to respond has angered many. Rose said, “They shouldn’t even be given the chance to respond.”
Shockingly the families are not updated directly by the inquiry. “We don’t get told anything, it’s the press that tell us what’s happening,” said Rose.
War criminal Blair has since gone on to lead a life of luxury and has recently reared his head to warn against voting Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s new leader.
Rose thought Blair should back away from politics. “He’s done enough damage in the world. And he’s certainly got enough money now.”
But many anti-war campaigners have different ideas about where Blair should end up.
As Rose said, “He should be up in front of the Hague for war crimes.”
Scottish National Party MP Chris Stephens, who represents Rose’s constituency, spoke out in parliament earlier this year saying “these people have waited for answers for far too long”.
His comments are welcome. Rose added, “I’d like to see first minister Nicola Sturgeon step up and give her support and push the inquiry. Every other politician should be backing us too.”
It has been a long campaign by the military families to get answers about the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Our rulers want Chilcot to hide their crimes in Iraq.
But Rose is defiant. “The families are not going to walk away from it.”
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