25 Nov 2009

Iraq inquiry: Whitehall witness 'looks drained'

At the Iraq war inquiry led by Sir John Chilcot, two Whitehall witnesses “look drained” as they recall the debate over weapons of mass destruction (WMD), writes Channel 4 News Iraq Inquiry Blogger.

One thing I know I’ll remember about today’s hearing was watching two career diplomats relive the moments that must surely be the absolute nadir of their professional lives.

I’m talking about the weeks and months following the Iraq war when the weapons their department had so confidently assessed would be found failed to turn up.

Sir William (Ehrman) in particular looked drained as the hearing wound up.

Remember that these are not creatures accustomed to bright lights and TV cameras (unlike Thursday’s witness, former US Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer). Theirs is the world of Cobra and war rooms

That said, the pain felt by tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqis, not to mention the relatives of US and UK soldiers killed both during and since the conflict, will be of an entirely different kind – and both these witnesses remain employed in senior Foreign Office positions.

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