the families of servicemen and women lost in Iraq will, at last, hear the result of the Chilcot inquiry today.
As reports in this newspaper today testify, they have waited a long time for this moment. Seven years have been spent in the report’s preparation, 129 witnesses have given evidence and it has cost £9m.
The cost pales into insignificance, of course, when you hear how the bereaved families have suffered.
As details of the report begin to emerge, the principal focus will be on its analysis of the flawed decision-making which led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the question of whether Tony Blair and his government knowingly engaged in subterfuge to press the case for going to war.
Key to this is Mr Blair’s claim that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein possessed the ability to launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. It was this which was at the heart of his insistence that the conflict was triggered by self-defence rather than a calculated push for regime change years in the planning.
Peter Brierley, father of Shaun, one of 179 Britons killed in the Iraq war, says: “This has been a long, long time coming so it is really just a sense of relief that it’s going to happen – although there have been so many occasions when we have been this close before and it’s been put back. The wait has been hard.”
Whatever the findings of today’s report, one thing is certain – they will not bring back Shaun Brierley. We hope that Shaun’s family - and the families of all the other victims - will find some comfort in today’s report.