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Gordon Brown at the Iraq inquiry

Nick Robinson | 12:26 UK time, Friday, 5 March 2010

Heavily prepared. Heavily made-up. Gordon Brown was so eager to make his defence that he strode into the Iraq inquiry before the committee itself had settled comfortably in their seats.

Gordon BrownAgain and again he spelt out his explanation of his own role often ignoring questions to the evident frustration of those asking.

It was like watching a skilful chess player who had a defensive move prepared for every possible attack. Yes Iraq had been the right decision for the right reasons but of course he had regrets.

As for those missing weapons of mass destruction he had believed the information he had been given by the intelligence services .

Financially he had given the armed forces everything they could have wanted and what's more he wished he had managed to persuade the Americans to take reconstruction more seriously.

It was only when Sir Roderic Lyne, the skilful former diplomat, pushed him on whether he had been told by Tony Blair what the then prime minister had told President Bush did Gordon Brown stumble.

Once again he avoided the question, so blatantly that this time the audience broke into laughter. Yet throughout this morning Gordon Brown will feel he has not made a mistake.

The big problem for him may come when the issue turns to money and the decisions around the Ministry of Defence budget which caused problems not so much in Iraq but later in Afghanistan.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    It felt more like PMQs where he answers a different question to the one asked, maybe it'll get better this afternoon, I'm waiting for him to blame Ashcroft for the war.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nick

    Again and again he spelt out his explanation of his own role often ignoring questions to the evident frustration of those asking.

    PMQ's all over again.

    Why does that not surprise me.

    In Brown land he's right all the time.

    The opposite is true in the real world but he holds the levers of power.

    Frightening truly frightening.

  • Comment number 3.

    Did we just hear Brown say he was chair of the IMF at the time??

    Wot?

    The International Macavity Forum???

  • Comment number 4.

    "It was like watching a skillful chess player who had a defensive move prepared for every possible attack."

    Are you watching the same car crash as us Nicholas???

    or are you trawling for the job of ghost writing the Dear Leader's memoirs on May 7th? Good grief...

  • Comment number 5.

    Blair Brown is a set up. Blair got in on the understanding he would let Brown take over. Their prime mission: New World Order.

    Iraq is part of that and God knows what suffering it has caused and continues to cause. We did not have any international terrorism here on our beautiful English island until THEY started stirring up the middle east ostensibly on our behalf.

    What poppycock. Brown has always been a politician, it is his raison d'etre. He has been ensconced into the government for thirteen years.

    What knows he of the man in the street. Of our cultures, lifestyles, wishes, plights, highs and lows?

    He and Blair caused chaos so they could "fix" it and make a name for themselves.

    After Iraq / Afghanistan though they would need to fight in other many other troubled areas in the world. Ah, they can't do that though. Their time is running out. Thank God.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick

    20 second Brown at the Chilcot

    'It wasn't me Gov.'

    'I was hiding in number 11 keeping my head down and waiting for my chance after Tony was damaged.'

    'Also they didn't need all of them whirligig things for flying around Afghanistan when they already had snatch Landrovers.'

    'I've got my finger in my ears going LA LA LA because you are wrong'

    What hope have we for these debates if he can't even answer the question at a Public Enquiry he set up himself?

    Buffoonery abounds with this man.

  • Comment number 7.

    Seriously, what is the point? He is just avoiding answering any of the questions, and no-one makes him answer them.

    I expect the Teletubbies could do a better job of questioning than Chilcot and his team.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    To be honest I think we're a bit naive hoping for a smoking gun to emerge from the enquiry - everyone seems to either have their backsides covered by rhetoric, or, like Brown, they just ignore questions completely.

    All in all it's been a very unenlightening process from the start.

  • Comment number 10.

    His complacency about the legal justification for the war is shocking. He seems to think that just because the AG had said it was OK completely absolved him from any responsibility to ask the AG how he'd come to that decision or to think about it for himself.

    If a company director was about to commit his company to a controversial source of action, received a single piece of legal advice to say it was OK, and then failed to ask any further questions about how that advice was arrived at or what the risks were, he would be in serious trouble for not exercising due care if it subsequently turned out to be wrong.

    But of course politicians are above the law, so I guess he knows there was no need for him to act responsibly.

  • Comment number 11.

    Doesn't the performance of Blair now look prime ministerial? Brown is evasive and, as in PMQs, only seems to answer the question he wants to answer and not the question that is actually asked!

  • Comment number 12.

    If you regard not answering any questions as the same as not making any mistakes you are obviously mot qualified to do your job. Brown is in a complete state of utter denial. What a sham.

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't think so, I think it will be a rather dull afternoon. He has already set out his stall on finance. In any event the PM always answers the questions that he thinks should have been asked rather than the ones that are - viz PMQ's every Wednesday.

  • Comment number 14.

    "Once again he avoided the question"

    Yes, he's rather good at that.

  • Comment number 15.

    'Heavily made-up...' My dear Nick, you can't be telling us that our great and glorious leader is telling a load of porky-pies? Shum mishtake, shurely!

  • Comment number 16.

    I always thought Nick Robinson was a Brown supporter. Reading this report you'd think a general election was on the cards.
    Shame on the enquiry chairman for not redirecting Brown back to the questions in hand, that is his job after all. He ought to know how politicians behave, giving prepared statements rather than answering what was asked, he should be strong enough to keep them to the point.

  • Comment number 17.

    #1 Jim

    Wrong! Ashcroft is his THIRD line of defence, with Maggie Thatcher second and Campbell-Bannerman at the head of the list!

  • Comment number 18.

    Nick Robinson.

    their [politicians] common problem is that they must not lie on record, this leads to innovative and entertaining use of the language.

    quote from Wikipedia, on 'sophism':

    "Due to the importance of such skills in the litigious social life of Athens, practitioners often commanded very high fees. The practice of taking fees, along with the sophists' practice of questioning the existence and roles of traditional deities (this was done to make "the weaker argument appear the stronger") and investigating into the nature of the heavens and the earth prompted a popular reaction against them. Their attacks against Socrates (in fictional prosecution speeches) prompted a vigorous condemnation from his followers, including Plato and Xenophon, as there was a popular view of Socrates as a sophist. Their attitude, coupled with the wealth garnered by many of the sophists, eventually led to popular resentment against sophist practitioners and the ideas and writings associated with sophism." (emphasis added)

  • Comment number 19.


    This is worse than PMQs. At least in the commons some have the guts to ask some probing questions. As expected, this has been a well-rehearsed set of responses and avoidance tactics. As you say Nick, this afternoon Brown may be on a more sticky wicket over slashing the defence budget and starving the armed forces of funds.

    But families hoping Brown will get a grilling from Chilcot are set to be disappointed. The canny politician is a dab hand at ducking responsibility with denials, reeling off meaningless tractor stats to fudge the facts.

    At the end of the day, won't it be up to voters, not the media, to decide whether to back Brown's morally criminal government which put cheap politics above the safety of the armed forces?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/brown-wipes-blood-off-hands-for-chilcot.html

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Nick, I cant seem to get over this illusion of how much Brown looks like that other loser Nixon, and oh boy he got a few things back to front didnt he in answering questions at the Congress enquiry into Watergate.

  • Comment number 21.

    He is very adept at answering the question he thought was asked. The pannel have let him not answer with alacrity. I have heard more about what "I" can do, decided chaired the IMF etc. But it wasn't me.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh dear!

    Yet again, our esteemed leader cannot answer a question!

    David Cameron does exactly the same.

    This issue is so important to the people of this nation - out of respect for those soldiers who willingly gave their lives and their bereaved families, the least he can do is answer a direct question with a direct answer.

    But then, this is typical politician behaviour. They answer questions with what they want to say, regardless of relevance.

    I honestly don't think any of them can say a simple 'yes' or 'no', let alone hold up their hands and accept fault.

    I despair of our whole parliamentary system.

    Disrespectful and appalling.

    Do they really think we are that stupid?!

  • Comment number 23.

    how can you have a blog when its taking nearly and one hour to get a post pass the mods, get rid of the mods and bring in the rockers please

  • Comment number 24.

    'A war we couldn't avoid.'

    Unlike France and Germany. (Well spotted Andrew Neil)

  • Comment number 25.

    "It was like watching a skilful chess player"

    eh?! you must have been watching something different to what I was watching then.

    What I saw was a man who basically just continually ignores what he's asked and says:

    "I wasn't there at the time. I had no idea what was going on. Nobody ever told me what Bush said/wanted. I wasn't there guv, honest. It wasn't me. I was bankrolling it all but I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in any of it. Nope, it was none of my business, I wasn't there. I just told the military to do whatever they wanted and that I'd pay for whatever they asked for."

    It's blatent lies, he's not acting like a skilful chess player, Nick, he's acting like a 2 year old who's got chocolate spread all round his mouth who tells his mum "chocolate? what chocolate ? I never done it."

    I switched off in the end, it was just too frustrating watching him behave in such an odious and childish and selfish way telling lies and obfuscating with every breath.

  • Comment number 26.

    The earth is'nt the only heavenly body to have wandered off('ve) it's axis eH Gordon

  • Comment number 27.

    Typical Brown. He came with a series of key messages he wished to record and his response to every question was to repeat those messages - irrespective of the question. So we had his usual format - fail to answer the questions he was asked by providing answers to questions not asked.

    He even started with the usual PMQ format - ie tributes and sympathy for lives lost.

    Effectively. he and other Government witnesses have been allowed to use the enquiry as a platform to promote their views, often involving lashings of rewriting of history and post-rationalisation.

    It is right to say that the enquiry members have been largely ineffective interrogators. To be fair, however,their members (replete with academics and establishment figures, lacking any legal/forensic interrogation expertise) were hand picked by the Government, pausing only to set thier terms of reference. One could say they are doing exactly what they were selected to do.

    One ray of hope. By ignoring the Government to hold the hearings in private, the enquiry is exposed to a spotlight which may well impact the behaviour and/or findings of the enquiry.



  • Comment number 28.

    "The big boy did it teacher, I wasn't there"

  • Comment number 29.

    #8 was it this that broke the hosue rules

    There is the £1.5billon question and others.

  • Comment number 30.

    He actually said that he really didn't care about whether or not Iraq was a threat at all, the only thing he was interested in was that they'd violated un resolutions.

    His reason for going to war wasn't that Iraq was a threat, it was that the beauracracy of the UN needed to be affirmed.

    To me that's pretty horrific, and just about sums up his attitude. Kill 100s of thousands of Iraqi civilians just to enforce some UN tickboxes, doesn't matter if there was a threat or not. Does anyone else find that attitude that he was displaying absolutely obscene?

  • Comment number 31.

    Flame @ 5
    What knows he of the man in the street.


    >>

    Not you as well! Why have you gone all archaic? It's very pompous. Is it an attempt to give your comments gravitas?

  • Comment number 32.

    or was it

    Why was Veterans Support UK (VSUK) contructively shutdown , you know
    Nick you went to see the good work done there

  • Comment number 33.

    or was it


    DO some real work for a change and talk to GOSE and what pressure they were put under?

  • Comment number 34.

    or was it questions that Brown should be brought to account for
    as HE held the purse strings ie was responsible of, and that would not do for the BBC to have these ask in the open

  • Comment number 35.

    The nation has spent millions enquiring into various aspects of wars in the Mid-East. Shamefully under-equiped to ensure proper answers and apparently willing to accept an answer which is neither relevant to the question or even dissected to ensure its accuracy.

    Hutton was the worst. After scant investigation, Lord Falconer instructed the coroner to close the inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly. That was terrible.

    This enquiry is a farce. There is minimal genuinely forensic questioning. There is no insistence that people answer the questions put to them, rather than simply saying what they want.

    No point in being surprised. It has been thus for at least a decade. Obfuscation. Selective "truths".

    We have 140 LESS helicopters now than in 2003.

    For Brown to say that Blair and the Cabinet sent the nation into war with a credit-limit is astounding! Madness to assume that spending on defence in a time of peace is in any way comparable with funding an actively fighting force.

    To blame the MoD for poor procurement makes sense. It could apply to ANY government department for years.
    To imply that "They knew how much they had to spend, so tough if they couldn't live within the budget" is simply insulting to people inj the front line, who don't get a lot of say on who buys what, when and at what price.

    I'm amused that Brown is releasing a new book soon. His last "Courage" appears to have sold 4,000 copies. Probably used to make papier-mache models.

    Maybe his next should be called "Openness and Honesty in Government".
    That should save a lot of trees... Although I guess an entrepreneur could buy the rights and get it printed on loo rolls. I'd pay a couple of pence extra to show my respect.

  • Comment number 36.

    Its a farce no one on the pannel will be able to get him to answer a question that may cause him some discomfort . You have to say he is the master of ingoring anything that may put him in an awkward possition . I was there but the big boys made me do it.

  • Comment number 37.

    The man will not answer a direct question with a direct answer. He is clearly a master of evasive speak.

  • Comment number 38.

    In what respect is he a skilful chess player? I am quite capable of not asnwering questions asked of me too. Does that make me a skilful chess player? No, thought not.

    Brown is a utter disgrace.

  • Comment number 39.

    THATS ODD POST 8 REJECTED BUT POST IT AS BITS AND ITS OK

    WHAT GOING ON IS IT BIAS BBC STUUFF CAUSE THAT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

    TO THE OUT SIDE WORLD, WHAT A JOKE

    WHERE IS THE INTEGRITY AND INPARTIALITY OF THAT THEN

  • Comment number 40.

    I still think GB's doing quite well. Rather better than TB.

  • Comment number 41.

    #35 Yeah and the 22 new ones announced , as a means of suggesting that the forces are being equiped looks like its going to turn into another MK3 fiasco, given the time scales that cannot be meet

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm firmly in the anti Iraq War camp - more so now than ever - but I think Brown is fairly clean on it. He wasn't that interested - was a Blair thing - and his decisions back then seem, if not driven by the highest motives, to be at least understandable. Not a big election issue for me. Certainly not a Labour v Tory one - both parties would have done the same, both have the same policy now. If I did see it as an election issue, it would make me even more likely than I already am to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Comment number 43.

    Yet another whitewash. He has been allowed not answer questions. It is important to realise, that Gordon Brown is a liar. We have very good trading relationships with Iraq. I am sorry but after having held high hopes for this inquiry, I must say that it is a waste of time and money.

  • Comment number 44.

    Like PMQs, every question became a lecture without a clear answer. Masses of uncheckable figures rhymed off in rehearsed fashion, designed to set up a smokescreen to every answer. Why does the inquiry bother interviewing this man, his notions of truth appear to be far removed from what he is prepared to say and even his manner is challenging and sneering towards the inquiry team and those present. If as he says the intkkigence services told him there were WMDs in Iraq, why have these people been called to verify this ? This, like every other inquiry is heading towards the inevitable whitewash.

  • Comment number 45.

    I had high hopes for the Iraq Inquiry, but I sit (half-asleep) and totally disappointed. It's more like "uncertainty" (questioner) meeting "slick (Gordon Brown)...The inquiry drones on and on, and ultimately - whether Brown or Blair- slips slowly into obscure sludge.
    No drama, no piercing questions...just (yawn) droning...

    A couple of examples might serve to exemplify my point:
    Q.1: Brown is asked about France's opposition to the war. Was it necessary that the decision be taken on March 17th?
    Mr. Brown talks at great length about the need for states to work together: now, and in the future.
    Nice – but what was the question again?
    Q.2: Was there a growing threat from Iraq?
    Mr. Brown provides a briefing on the "international community in the world subsequent to the cold war" and the need for "adhering to rules".
    He speaks of meeting with intelligence in 2002 and 2003, of being given information that led him to believe that Iraq was a threat."
    Ah, what was the question?
    Never mind, I know Mr. Brown didn't answer it.
    I find myself humming: "Hut saw ruh, hut saw ruh, and a so and so and so forth

  • Comment number 46.

    I find it difficult to believe that if William Hague was in power, he wouldn't have done exactly the same as Blair. If anything he'd have been more likely to roll over and let George W Bush tickle his belly. Especially if the French were against the war. Its just like their whinges about the Economy if the Conservatives had been in power, the real thing instead of the lite version. Things would have been much worse.

    Any Conservatives here exploiting this for political gain, Are Hypocrites in my view. Dont want to go into this emotional/Armchair general stuff about Snatch landrovers as I wouldn't really know what I was talking about.

  • Comment number 47.

    why do the british people tolerate this sham of an inquiry,brown blair and the rest should be in front of a judge and jury,and be questioned by legally qualified people.

  • Comment number 48.

    At the close of his evidence I still feel that GB demonstrated his determination that the right thing be done - by everyone.

    His sincerity is plain for all to see.

    He is a man of integrity whatever may be said of him in the heat of political push and pull.

  • Comment number 49.

    Maybe we can take the unsold Brown ghost-written books and use them as extra security for the tanks and armored cars.

  • Comment number 50.

    He has not given a straight answer to any question and has evaded many of them outright. This fool is going to get slaughtered on the leaders debates if he continues with his evasive manner.

  • Comment number 51.

    Saga best sit down; I tend to agree with you that it was hatched by Blair and Bush. Brown was peripheral, but he could answer a question. I cant recall one answer in 4 hours of waffle. Figures spouted almost at will, not being brought back to the question.

    Not his fault I suppose but we could have done without thr expense of another non-inquiry.

  • Comment number 52.

    In giving his opinions on the situation in post-invasion Iraq, the PM gave the impression that officials were taken by surprise by the speed of events on the ground and, in any case, didn't have enough influence over the US to ensure that planning for reconstruction was taken seriously. Incredibly, he was speaking as if the UK had no prior experience of these kinds of operations. He then tried to shift the responsibility for reconstruction from the invading powers to the UN or another international agency, as if an invasion was some kind of unpredictable disaster.

  • Comment number 53.

    #42 not being interested is not a excuse , he was the chancellor after all second only to TB he could have stopped it ? That was the point that he could have stood for what he beileived , oh yes he did it was himself sorry , jsut to keep his job and a chance at the top job, wonder if it was going to take so long he would have changed his mind and doen a robin cook ?

  • Comment number 54.

    46. At 3:32pm on 05 Mar 2010, DHWilko wrote:

    Any Conservatives here exploiting this for political gain, Are Hypocrites in my view.

    ====================

    DHWilko, which party sexed up the documentation and misled the opposition into supporting the war?

    I'll give you a clue, it wasn't the tories.

    One Party took us to war. One didn't. It would only be hypocritical if the tories took us to a similar war.

    Either check the dictionary for the definition of hypocracy, or for an example listen to any of the Labour politicians (some elected some not) talk about non-doms.

  • Comment number 55.

    48. At 3:45pm on 05 Mar 2010, RobertLL wrote:
    At the close of his evidence I still feel that GB demonstrated his determination that the right thing be done - by everyone.

    His sincerity is plain for all to see.

    He is a man of integrity whatever may be said of him in the heat of political push and pull.

    ==================================================


    He's a proven liar - how does that square with your idea of integrity?

  • Comment number 56.

    #48 integrity is not a word I would assoicated with.

    selfishness,wastefull are more apt

  • Comment number 57.

    #46 maybe but they would not have lied and David Kelly would still be alive today ?

  • Comment number 58.

    46 dhwilko

    "I find it difficult to believe that if William Hague was in power...."
    =========================================================================

    Errrmmm, William Hague isn't in power. I think we have enough to contend with here without speculating on the imaginary decsions of imaginary leaders.

    I know why you do it though, I just I'd point out it isn't real.

  • Comment number 59.

    I agree that Gordon Brown is an invetreate liar who only answers questions that he would liked to have been asked not the ones that are actually asked but the big problem with this enquiry and the reason why it has proved ansd will continue to prove such a costly waste of money, has been the questioning from the enquiry members. Perhaps people's expectations were unfairly raised when the enquiry was announced but it serves no purpose and indeed seriously shortchanges the public at large and particularly the bereaved families that no attempt has been made to put on the spot the main protaganists in the whole scenario, and make them answer the fundamental questions.

  • Comment number 60.

    His comment about rogue states who defy International order. WHat absolute hypocrisy and double standards. The UK led by Brown allow Israel nuclear capability and no one bats an eyelid, assasinations, to regularly bombs other mid-eastern countries, to start 2 wars in the last 2 years, to use of banned weapons and collective punishments both against the Geneva convention, to defy UN resolutions since the 1960s. What does our great leader do to control this ultimate rogue state. Nothing!
    And what's equally sickening is his insincerity when he mouths his tributes to the soldiers he sent ill-equipped to their deaths. And we put up with this? Then we deserve all we get.

  • Comment number 61.

    "Brown said, he feared the "new world order we were trying to create would be put at risk"."

    That shocks me. Who asked for this New World Order? (What was it? BTW) Is he saying that Saddam was made an example of so that the US and its one real ally could force through some doctrine and hierarchy no one asked for?

    The rest of the world reading that just had all their suspicions confirmed this was about some weird unspoken doctrine written by the humanitarian 'Dick' Cheney?

    We went to war because a small US clique with UK support thought the world should be restructured. That this was given added biblical references by Blair and Bush (who spoke of Gog and Magog to Chirac) must confirm everything the Muslim world has believed?

    I'd also like to know why we went to war under the command of a country who had disregarded the Geneva Convention. How moral and correct was that?

  • Comment number 62.

    Gordon Brown

    Verdict: Guilty

    Sentence: To be sat alongside Bush and Blair in the history books as war-mongers.

  • Comment number 63.

    That is a very valid point @ 60. How can the UK and US lambast Iran et al, when we sit back and do nothing about Isreal, using white phosphorous, deplete uranium. More attention needs to be paid to sorting this out. Then perhaps there would be a chance of peace through out the area.

  • Comment number 64.

    61. TWSI

    Exactly... he was speaking as though he expected these foreign excursions to become commonplace, rather than 'let's hope we never have to go through this again'. Complete disregard for public opinion or the law.

  • Comment number 65.

    59. newstead73 wrote:
    Perhaps people's expectations were unfairly raised when the enquiry was announced but it serves no purpose and indeed seriously shortchanges the public at large and particularly the bereaved families that no attempt has been made to put on the spot the main protaganists in the whole scenario, and make them answer the fundamental questions.


    It's met with all my expectations... or lack of them.
    Given the composition and experience of the inquiry nothing more could be fairly expected of them.

  • Comment number 66.

    The hyperbolic bloggers on this site are so blinkered and anti-Brown that they just don't get it. Brown was cut out of the decision making process as regards the Iraq war. He cannot say this and start a public spat with Blair a few weeks before an election so he tries to give the impression that he was in agreement with the decision. I thought his performance was impressive albeit evasive at times. He is getting more assured as a speaker and will run rings round Cameron come the election.

  • Comment number 67.

    "and his decisions back then seem, if not driven by the highest motives, to be at least understandable."

    ie, get power, keep power and sod the rest of you.

  • Comment number 68.

    46. DHWilko wrote:

    "I find it difficult to believe that if William Hague was in power, he wouldn't have done exactly the same as Blair. If anything he'd have been more likely to roll over and let George W Bush tickle his belly. Especially if the French were against the war. Its just like their whinges about the Economy if the Conservatives had been in power, the real thing instead of the lite version. Things would have been much worse.

    Any Conservatives here exploiting this for political gain, Are Hypocrites in my view. Dont want to go into this emotional/Armchair general stuff about Snatch landrovers as I wouldn't really know what I was talking about."

    dh, unfortunately it's about who's in power at the time, who's responsible, and I agree the Tories probably wouldn't have done much different. But that doesn't absolve those who took the decisions. As for armchair generals, I believe there are enough real ones around to confirm the disaster that was the deployment of 'snatch' Landrovers against IEDs.

  • Comment number 69.

    66#

    He was probably sidelined, as Claire Short said, because he was a) according to her testimony going through one of the "not talking to you" spats with Blair and b) he was still obsessing about stabbing Blair in the back to get rid of him so he could get his turn in No10 without a popular mandate.

  • Comment number 70.

    "It was like watching a skilful chess player who had a defensive move prepared for every possible attack." NR


    The Sicilian Defense? The Semi-Slav Defense?

    Or the Brownsian variation on the Smoke & Mirrors Defense?

  • Comment number 71.

    Labour keep spouting about collective cabinet government when refusing FOI requests, so none of his "not me gov I was next door" does not wash.

    I have no doubt that if a Conservatives were in power we would have gone to war still but I know from my military experience during Labour and tory Governments. We would have been fully equipped and funded.

  • Comment number 72.

    I, unfortunately, haven't yet seen today's show at the Chilcot inquiry - but Nick's article and readers' posts confirm what I anticipated it to be. My own feelings are that after the next election - and if the conservatives get in - then a judicial enquiry should be held. I know there would be opposition - 'what, another inquiry into the Iraq war? - but there is massive grievances about this war and the belief that much has been hidden by this atrocious govt and that all these inquiries have been set up to 'closedown' the issue and whitewash the govt. I don't think we should let them get away with it. All this government's failings are there in the Iraq war - sofa govt - lack of minutes and records - lies - obfuscation - hubris - shallow thinking - lack of any thinking at all - belief in a new world order [the 3rd way], etc, etc.

  • Comment number 73.

    Too many party politicals on here again.
    There is no difference in the way the 2 main parties operate in this context.
    Don't tell me Cam would have told George W's hawks to take a hike!
    Attorney General badgered into "agreeing" the war was legal.

  • Comment number 74.

    In a stara way one cannot fail to be impressed by Brown's ability not to answer the question he has been asked. And to do it for 4 hours. No hesitations, instant responses of waffle.

    At the same tome one cannot fail to be unimpressed that such an important inquiry is being run by people who appear to have no idea how to cross examine and pursue the question to an answer that is relevant. Paxman would have done better than the panel of awfully polite, nice but useless interrogators charged with the task.

    I tend to agree with those who say that at some time this matter must come before a proper legal judicial enquiry .

  • Comment number 75.

    74 oops stara should read strange. Made a pig's ear of correcting a mis-spelling.

    tome should read time. Must take more of that before pressing the "post" button.

  • Comment number 76.

    What a joke!
    "It was like watching a skilful (sic) chess player who had a defensive move prepared for every possible attack".
    It was simply a PM with the power to use the nation's resources of PR to cover his arse and lie constantly about his actions.
    He was told to stride in as if he was God Almighty as that would disturb the enquiry team - a basic agro tactic.
    Tonight's QT on radio 4 shows how the bbc have lost the plot with the British public, and hopefully bbc senior management redundencies are on the way this year. Will you be in line Nick?

  • Comment number 77.

    It was Brown's usual tactic: "Not Me Guv".

    "Brown said, he feared the "new world order we were trying to create would be put at risk"." It is the UN that should create "the new world order", not the UK and not Brown. But this is yet another example of Brown's over mighty ego. He has been put on earth to save the world and nobody should question his right - or ability - to do so. Someone should remind him that almighty pride comes before an almighty fall.

    42: If Brown wasn't interested, he should have been. He was Chancellor the Exchequer and should have been alert to the cost of the invasion and its impact on the public finances. Also, he was a member of the Cabinet and therefore should have been aware that he would have to accept collective responsibility for the decision.

  • Comment number 78.

    68 the blame game
    "dh, unfortunately it's about who's in power at the time, who's responsible, and I agree the Tories probably wouldn't have done much different. But that doesn't absolve those who took the decisions. As for armchair generals, I believe there are enough real ones around to confirm the disaster that was the deployment of 'snatch' Landrovers against IEDs."

    Thanks for correcting me on what I didn't say Blame. I'm not saying a wrong and an imaginary wrong make a right like you've implied or that the people who made the decision aren't responsible. Its not much of a stretch of the imagination to recognise that the pro American Hague Conservatives or the Cameron Conservatives would have done the same. So I think the Conservatives line on being lied to about the reason for war is rubbish. They have strong links with the Republican party so they must have had some idea what was going on. I fully respect Lib Dems/others or non aligned arguements. for.

    Snatch landrovers were introduce in the 1990s in Northern Ireland. The IRA etc. used improvised explosives in that campaign and they were resistant to those. I've read somewhere that the Improvised devices are more sophisticated in Iraq and Afghanistan and use Shaped charges that even more heavily armoured vehicles are vulnerable to. Maybe this is something they didn't predict? Maybe they should have? As I've said I don't know. Its a manuverability(which is also a protection)/armour balance. I am not inclined to play to the Scottish pennypincher stereotype card about this serious issue as I think it is grossly unfair to suggest something like that about a human being. Some of the arguments seem to suggest that. Not you!. I do think Iraq was a mistake and that we have taken on too much. You've gone and made me contradict myself re armchair generals.

  • Comment number 79.

    70 - I'd have likened it to the "stonewall" defence.

    Followed by use of the "sitzfleisch" technique.

    Effectively sitting stationery for hour after hour, not doing much, until your opponent falls asleep or possibly dies of boredom.

    Brown's a master at it.

  • Comment number 80.

    Nick Robinson was right in saying that GB had an answer to everything. The trouble is that when you have an answer to everything then the answers must have been prepared. As usual, GB and the usual suspects at No. 10 have underestimated the intelligence of the voter, or perhaps they have overestimated their own. Nobody could even begin to believe the tale that Brown spun and the disbelief will soon be reflected in the polls. It is all very well for Brown to sympathize with the families of those who are now dead but an admission that he had at least some part in causing those deaths would have been more honest.

  • Comment number 81.

    I am quite disappointed at the BBCs inability to nullify the blatant trick that all government ministers and spokesmen are using to avoid the truth regarding funding for defence. Whatever you ask them they always respond by talking about 'funding all requests from the Army'. This is word play of the lowest kind. What they are talking about is funding 'Urgent Operational Requirements' known as 'UORs'. These represents items for which major crisis spending is required immediately to save soldier's lives. The government met these, they had no choice. They made the cuts which were major in size and direct from the hand of Gordon Brown, from the defence core budget. Many of the UORs were made due to the slow failure of the core defence budget as a result of these cuts. This is the reason why there are no helicopters and the Armed Forces have been consuming themselves slowly for the last 10 years. How about your usually excellent journalists finally getting to work and nailing this imoral word play which is jeopardising soldier's lives and may have contributed to some deaths.

 

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