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Families bid for Iraq war inquiry

The Guardian (UK)
Press Association
Wednesday August 17, 2005 8:08 AM

The families of 17 soldiers killed during the Iraq war and one who took his own life after returning to Britain are launching a legal bid to secure an independent inquiry into the legality of the conflict.

Their lawyers will lodge papers at the High Court in London seeking a judicial review of the Government's refusal in May to order an inquiry.

They argue that, under human rights laws, if the UK state is involved in the use of lethal force there must be an independent inquiry. The court will also be asked to decide the remit of any inquiry.

Among the questions raised by the families is "why the equivocal advice of March 7, 2003 from the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, changed so that 10 days later it was completely unequivocal in giving legal support for the war".

The families want an inquiry which will cross-examine the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the Defence Secretary at the time, Geoff Hoon, and the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

One of the applicants in the case is Rose Gentle, from Pollok, Glasgow, whose 19-year-old son Gordon, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra on June 28, 2004.

Another applicant, Reg Keys, is the father of Tom Keys who was killed in Al Majar, near Basra, on June 24, 2003, while serving with the Royal Military Police.

Lawyers are seeking an urgent preliminary hearing so that the judicial review can be held before the end of this year.

The hearing is expected to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in September, said the campaign group Military Families Against the War.

The families have already been to Downing Street to formally deliver their request for "a full independent public inquiry" into the decision to invade Iraq and a full investigation into the deaths of their sons. But government lawyers turned down their call and Prime Minister Tony Blair later said there was no need to go "back over this ground again and again."



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And best of luck. I mean it. I am behind you in spirit.

Her "Royal Majesty", the "Queen" might not like those uppity
"Commoners" coming around any more than Emperor Bush likes that
peasant "Cindy Sheehan" hanging out and ruining his vacation.

Dear France and Ireland
We are very, very, very sorry for the way we allowed these asshole
frat brats and "Blue Blood Wanna-bees" to be mean to you.
I am eating FRENCH FRIES and drinking a GUINESS STOUT as I write this.
WE THE PEOPLE hope you still love us. We love you.

p.s. - Ireland, sorry about that CIA "license to kidnap" thing.

Never having met or spoken with Her Majesty, I can only speculate. I would strongly suspect, however, that she's no more in favour (note British spelling) of Tony Blair's lapdog posision vis-a-vis the U.S. president than are most of those "uppity commoners" in her realm. And sending her loyal subjects off to die in a foreign land for no valid reason is probably not high on her list of good ideas either. Speaking openly against the Prime Minister, however, isn't on her roster of approved duties. So we'll never know for sure.

amen. It is time for the people who have really paid the price to really demand an accounting of this unnecessary and tragic war. Hubris, ignorance, and greed got us there. There is something no one talks much about. And that to heal terrorism......from all sides. Does violence only beget more violence? Does one party "winning" at the cost of the other's dignity and happijness ever last? No. So, you can't just wipe out people who's suffering is in the form of aggression as if you were critter control. You can only stomp them down for awhile anyway. The only real cure is going to be that we as a species do what it takes to get along. We need lot's of people to explore this. It's the next step in human evolution. If we don't take it, we can kiss this species goodbye

I applaude the families that are asking their government about the "Downing Street Memo's" and want an explanation of why the AG changed his mind in 10 days. The balls of Tony Blair saying "there was no need to go back over this ground again and again". He sounds just like Bush, arrogant. We will eventually find out the truth....Cindy Sheehan, on this side of the ocean is playing her part. We all must support her effort.

Reg Keys is a wonderful man, he has worked very hard to get answers from Tony Blair about the rush to war that resulted in the tragic death of his son. Running against Blair in the last election must have been very painful but he kept his dignity throughout.

Like Cindy, he has met the response that soldiers accept the risk that they may lose their lives in the service of their country. In Britain it was obvious the public were not convinced of the case Blair was making. Robin Cook's resignation speech was perfectly delivered - he cut the case for war to pieces. Blair's was laced with dramatic flourishes designed to strike fear in the listener. If we could see what he had seen, those intelligence reports flooding his desk with dire warnings, know what he knew. The contrast between the two men was obvious, Robin Cook's integrity shone. Decisions that put the lives of others in the balance - Mr Bush and Mr Blair made them quick enough, but seem loathe to discuss the basis on which they did, no public scrutiny on offer. For those of us who have watched events from the wings, surely we have a duty to support all the mitlitary families and the Iraqi civilians in working tirelessly to uncover the truth. I think the truth is the only thing that will help resolve the chaos in Iraq, help the civilian population and the soldiers reach a mutual understanding that this war was beyond the control of either side and began in Washington where a handful of individuals decided to play God in the Middle-east.

Reg and Cindy against Bush and Blair - the first two individuals are decent, ordinary people, loving parents who each seek to come to terms with the loss of a child. It must be a living nightmare, war started on a day of Mr Bush's choosing, there was clearly no threat to the US. Mr Blair signed up our military and passed them to Bush. Time we find out what these two men have in their hearts - when they are so ready to rip out the hearts of others.

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