Chilcot inquiry should look at costs of Iraq war say peace groups

By staff writers
May 10, 2010

A network of individuals and groups, including many Christians and church groups, have written to Sir John Chilcot, urging that the Iraq Inquiry investigate the financial costs to the UK of the Iraq War.

The groups say that such a move would be an essential aspect of the fulfillment of the Inquiry's remit. They include Pax Christi, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Justice not Vengeance, Movement for the Abolition of War and the Coventry Deanery Justice and Peace Group.

In their letter, they draw on the work of Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes in their publication, 'The Three Trillion Dollar War: The true cost of the Iraq Conflict', suggesting that the Inquiry carry out investigation into areas such as budgetary costs, long-term care for veterans and their families, the resetting of defence capabilities, those costs incurred by the country but not sustained by the government, the macroeconomic effects of the war and how to learn from the mistakes made.

The groups say that at a time when financial issues loom large in the mind of politicians and the general public alike, there is ever more urgency to determine how this bears on such critical matters as the decision to take a country to war, and how that responsibility should be borne.

The new government will be undertaking a Strategic Defence Review and the campaigners suggest that these issues must be taken note of in that Review.

"Following the publication in 2008 of the book The Three Trillion-Dollar War by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, academics of the highest order, it might have been expected that experts in defence economics on this side of the Atlantic would have taken up the same sort of analysis of the costs to the UK" the letter says.

"As far as we can tell, this has not happened. There is consequently a large gap in public understanding about the total, and long-term, economic ramifications of this war for this country, a consideration which clearly bears on ‘the best interests of the country’, which is the essential focus of the Inquiry."


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