A British inquiry into the Iraq War has learnt that talk of ousting Saddam Hussein began even before 9/11.The inquiry started yesterday amid hopes of finding out the truth and fears of a cover up. The chief inquirer, Sir John Chilcot, set out his intentions on day one. He said: “The Iraq Inquiry was set up to identify the lessons that should be learned from the UK’s involvement in Iraq to help future governments who may face similar situations.” Witnesses from intelligence and foreign office circles told the five-member panel that the US was making noises about ousting Saddam Hussein as early as 2001 but that at that time, Britain had no plans to invade. Meanwhile in Baghdad, Iraqis hope American and not just British involvement in events will be scrutinized. Dr Abdul-Jabar Ahmed, who is Assistant Dean at Baghdad’s College of Political Science, is among them. He told reporters: “I think the inquiry related to the government of Tony Blair is supposed also to be due to the responsibility of the American administration. We can charge George Bush or we can charge Mr Obama about some crucial mistakes that happened in Iraq, and these mistakes led to many casualties of civilians in Iraq.” The inquiry hopes to clarify what went on in the build up to the invasion as well as to assess the preparation for the war and the handling of it. It is expected to hear from former prime minister Tonw Blair in February but a final report is not due until late next year.
Iraq War Inquiry: regime change mooted in 2001