TIME’s London Bureau Chief, Catherine Mayer, on how the U.K.’s Iraq inquiry has crossed the Atlantic.
The mission of Britain’s ongoing Iraq Inquiry is to “consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath … to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned.” The lesson many critics had already drawn before the inquiry heard from its first witnesses last year is that London was too subservient to Washington at every stage. Now members of the Inquiry have arrived in the U.S. for a series of “private discussions with a number of people who have insights into the UK’s involvement in Iraq over the period being examined.”
Those hoping to see Brits adopt a more assertive stance with Americans may be disappointed by the terms on which U.S. witnesses are participating. Here’s the statement from the Inquiry: “As the talks are being held on a private basis, the identities of the people the Inquiry committee are seeing and the location of meetings will not be revealed in advance. Subject to the agreement of participants, the Inquiry may provide more details about the trip after it has been completed. Similarly, if the committee wishes to use any of the information it receives from individuals in America in its report, it will seek their permission first.”