I have just heard Hilary Benn on XFM News (blimey, I surprised even myself that I could slip that in so easily, me a TOG too) saying that an inquiry into the Iraq war would be bad for our troops' morale and give succour to the enemy.
Tony Blair's spokesman said the government might agree to an inquiry once troops have left Iraq. He said: "Of course we continue to learn the lessons all the time and there is no doubt that at the end of our period there people will want to look back."
The problem with that is where do you draw the line? If we get bogged down in Iraq for thirty years, do we have the inquiry in year 30? If we don't wait that long how long do we wait? Until year 5, 4, 3 ? Surely the longer our embroilment goes on, the stronger is the argument for an inquiry, is it not?
As for the troops' morale being impacted, what a load of cobblers! Our service personnel are surely reassured by the fact that they are defending democracy, if they are defending anything (and even that is debatable). Part of democracy is getting all the facts and opinions out in the open. If facts and opinions are covered up, then mistakes happen and troops' lives are put in the line of fire unnecessarily. In the Commons' debate on this, it is worth noting where MPs speaking come from - and how many troops originate from their constituencies. Often along the years, a very large proportion of our troops in the line of fire have come from central Scotland and Wales. I wonder whether we will hear any Celtic voices in the debate asking for an inquiry? (yes, I know the Scots Nats and Plaid thingme asked for the debate - I was being trying to be ironic - I think I botched it. I know - it wasn't worth it)
As for giving succour to the enemy, nothing gives more succour to the enemy than the abandonment of democratic procedures.
Although Hilary Benn's voice sounds a bit like his dad's and his eyes sometimes threaten to have the same whirling properties of his father's eyes, the paternal similarity stops there. I cannot imagine Tony Benn arguing some obvious cobblers as his son did today on XFM news. Thank goodness for the new single from the Feeling played soon afterwards. It washed away the bad taste of Benn Junior's cant.