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12 November 2014updated 24 Jun 2021 12:35pm

It’s time for the truth: it’s time to publish the Chilcot Inquiry

In May, David Cameron said he hoped the Chilcot Inquiry would by unveiled by the end of the year. There are 50 days left of 2014, and Britain still hasn't had the answers it deserves.

By Ibrahim Taguri

The display of poppies at the Tower of London is a haunting reminder of the sacrifices made by the brave service men and women who gave their lives for the sake of our country.

And while we remember their legacy and give thanks to them for securing the freedoms we enjoy today, we are haunted by a painful legacy of lost lives and unanswered questions left in the wake of the Iraq war.

In 2003, British troops were led blindfolded into a war by a government whose greatest concern was for political gain rather than for national and international security.

As a consequence, 179 British personnel lost their lives, many more were injured and all in the name of war  a war for which the UK now bears a huge responsibility for the current state of affairs in the Middle East.

It’s time we took responsibility. It’s time to publish the Chilcot Inquiry.

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Time and time again we have been promised its publication. It has been more than three and a half years and we are still waiting.

In May, David Cameron said he hoped it would finally be unveiled by the end of the year.

That is now only 50 days away. The clock is ticking, Prime Minister.

The failure to publish the Chilcot Inquiry findings into the 2003 invasion of Iraq is turning into as much a smoke and mirrors exercise as the war it seeks to examine.

In 2003 the Liberal Democrats were the only party to vote against the war in Iraq. Our opposition in the minority, however, was not enough to prevent the UK from going to war, a war in which public opinion was divided, tormented and is still haunted by today.

The course of action then was part of a disastrous foreign policy, and it is for this reason we find ourselves wrangling with the same question a decade later.

The greater urgency is that parliament has again voted to undertake military incursions into Iraq, taking action against Islamic State. A decision I am deeply uncomfortable with, as it appears we find ourselves making the same strategy and policy mistakes without learning from the past.

On 5 November, Britain signalled its intention to send back military troops to Iraq. Followed four days later by President Obama’s declaration of 1,500 “non-combat” troops being deployed to the country.

And yet even as this happens, the Chilcot Inquiry still remains unpublished. How can we possibly intervene in another conflict when the investigation into the failings of the last Iraq war is kept out of the public domain?

We cannot possibly hope to learn from our past mistakes or bring about real humanitarian change in the world, when such important information is kept secret.

Our very presence on the ground would mean that once again our brave service men and women will be in the firing line and at risk of injury and death. It is inevitable.

Do they not deserve the truth? Do we not deserve the truth?

The establishment is yet again protecting itself by failing to publish the Chilcot findings. And yet again the establishment asks brave men and women to sacrifice their lives. Yet again the establishment asks us to put our trust in them.

But how can there be trust without truth?

Sorry, but I say enough is enough. The clock is ticking. Give us the truth. Now.

Ibrahim Taguri is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Brent Central. He tweets @ibrahimtaguri

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