British panel begins inquiry on Iraq war

British panel begins inq

November 24, 2009 15:44

In the most sweeping inquiry on the Iraq war, a panel investigating Britain's role in the conflict began questioning witnesses Tuesday in hearings that critics hope will humble ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair and expose alleged deception in the buildup to fighting. The panel, which opened with a moment of silence for those who died, will question dozens of officials over several months - including military officials and spy agency chiefs. It will also seek evidence from ex-White House staff. Among the most prominent witnesses will be Blair, who will be questioned on whether he secretly backed US President George W. Bush plan's for invasion a year before Parliament authorized military involvement in 2003. Led by a panel appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the inquiry won't apportion blame, or establish criminal or civil liability - only offer reprimand and recommendations in hopes mistakes won't be repeated in the future.

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