Lest We Forget: Britain's Iraq inquiry, and why it matters
Reason for embargo
Britain’s ‘Chilcot’ Iraq Inquiry matters, for all its delays and incompleteness, because it reaffirms the danger of dogma and the deadliness of good intentions, the force of powerful ideas honestly held by decision-makers. Beyond rumours of the conspiratorial, and the covert, it is about the quality of decisions. The Inquiry’s hearings demonstrate the perils of wishful thinking, of doctrinaire ideological beliefs that go unchecked. It shows what can happen when the architects of policy operate without testing their own assumptions, move on the basis of an unquestioned ‘common sense’, making choices that are less calculated than axiomatic. As the Chilcot hearings revealed, those who conducted policy were in the grip of fatal assumptions. These assumptions were about Western insecurity, Western power, the Anglo-American relationship, and the very evolution of modern states. None of these assumptions have gone away. In that sense, the past is not even the past.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
First Online: 26 September 2016 DOI: 10.1057/s41311-016-0011-y