THE father of a Wearside soldier murdered in Iraq has written a heartfelt letter to the man leading the inquiry into the war, over the latest delay in releasing his report.
Military policeman Corporal Simon Miller, from Washington, was one of six Red Caps killed when a 400-strong mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in Iraq in June 2003.
This week it emerged that the report into the launch of the war – six years in the making – would not be released until after the General Election in May.
Chairman Sir John Chilcot wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to say “very substantial progress” had been made towards completing the report, and agreement had been reached on what details from notes and conversations between former PM Tony Blair and US president George Bush would be published.
However, he conceded there was “no realistic prospect” of this being done before May 7 “whilst being fair to all those involved”.
The hold-up provoked widespread condemnation.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the hold-up “incomprehensible”, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “increasingly unacceptable” and Ukip leader Nigel Farage said it “smacks of an establishment cover-up, and one which I suggest the British public will see right through”. Now, Simon Miller’s father John has written to Sir John Chilcot condemning the decision to delay publication of the report.
The families of those who died in the conflict had ben given no prior notice that the report had been delayed, but Mr Miller said he had not been surprised
“I always expect the worst, given what has happened to us over the years,” he said.
“We heard about it from the news on the TV and then the next day I received an email from the Chilcot inquiry, containing the letter Sir John Chilcot had sent to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s reply.
“I have sent an email back to Chilcot to express my feelings in no uncertain terms.
“I am very angry about it.”
John Miller’s letter to Sir John Chilcot
Dear Sir John,
I have to state from what appeared optimism not only for me and my wife, but also our son, that you would do the right thing in your quest for the truth as to why we were led into the invasion of Iraq.
We had to accept in the very beginning the way the panel was set out to conduct the inquiry, rather than a judge-led inquest.
You have gleaned all the material and evidence required to “criticise” those responsible and we had to accept that it was the best that we could ever hope for.
But now with your “Maxwellisation” you are allowing those you feel need to be criticised the right to reply, but all this will do is “dampen” down your criticism to such an extent all your work will dissolve into nothing.
Those involved had every opportunity to defend their actions when interviewed, so why are you allowing individuals to reply retrospectively, now they know they are going to be criticised?
What opportunity was my son offered before boarding that plane to Kuwait on the 14th February 2003, when Blair said “Saddam has WMD and can be deployed in 45 minutes” to question that comment?
What opportunity did my son have on the 19th of March 2003 when Coalition Forces started bombing Iraq, and when missiles were being fired back and he was in and out of his chemical suit, to ask “does he really have WMD”?
Can you even begin to imagine how scared he was?
Do you have any idea how much this hurts, the trauma and heart ache of almost 12 years that has taken away not only Simon’s life, but that of ours too?
You must now do the right thing, publish the findings and your criticisms, in the hope that it will go someway to give the families of 179 British soldiers some sense of justice.
To delay any further will be another slur on the memory of our brilliant son, please don’t pander to the cowards involved.
Father of Cpl Simon Miller Murdered on 24th June 2003 Majar Al Kabir Iraq.