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    Graham Smith Mar 25, 2009

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            Chilcot Opens British Inquiry on Iraq With Vow to Be ‘Frank’ - NYTimes.com

            new york times
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            Graham Smith on Aug 25, 2009

            We are determined to be thorough, rigorous, fair and frank,” Sir John Chilcot, a 70-year-old retired civil servant, said in an opening statement that appeared aimed, at least in part, at critics who contended that the investigation could become another whitewash of actions by those who led Britain to war, including the prime minister at the time, Tony Blair.

            “The inquiry is not a court of law, and nobody is on trial,” the inquiry chairman said. “But I want to make something absolutely clear: This committee will not shy away from making criticism.”

            Sir John said the panel planned to hold hearings and summon documents dealing with every phase of the war, from the decisions that preceded military action in Iraq to their aftermath. The purpose will be “to establish as accurately as possible what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned,” he said.

            Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed the five-member inquiry panel last month with a formal statement that it would not be assigning blame for events in Iraq. In the face of a public outcry, Mr. Brown quickly backed down, but the panel, judging by the chairman’s statement, appeared set on establishing its independence.