I have to say that I wasn’t impressed at all with the questioning of Alastair Campbell this morning at the Iraq Inquiry. The questioning was far too disjointed, lame and obvious follow up questions were not asked. What’s the point of holding such an inquiry if the panel doesn’t have the expertise to thoroughly examine and cross examine a key player in Government in the run up to the Iraq War. It was frustrating to say the least and embarrassing to watch when the most obvious follow up questions weren’t asked. I doubt Tony Blair or any other senior person involved in the decision to go to war will fear giving evidence based on today’s extremely poor performance by the panel. I would adjourn the whole process and get some decent lawyers in who would justify the extremely high costs to the taxpayer of holding this Inquiry. Pathetic really!!
Muntadar al-Zaidi, the shoe throwing journalist has become a mini celebrity in Iraq and support for him is rising while he remains in custody. George Bush’s response to the shoes being hurled at him was to tell a pathetically weak joke about the size of the shoes which summed up his clumsiness in dealing with all matters relating to Iraq.
Had the shoes been thrown at Tony Blair, I suspect he would have responded by saying that it was only due to the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime that a journalist could throw a shoe at a visiting head of state and not end up being killed by state police along with the rest of his family. He would have added that while many disagreed with the war in Iraq, at least there was enough freedom now for a journalist to attend a press conference and express his view regardless of the manner in which he chooses to do so. Blair would have called for al-Zaidi to be released immediately and in the best case scenario would have invited him to a meeting in front of the cameras to discuss his concerns with al-Zaidi probably ending up apologising for his actions.
Perhaps I am being too kind to Blair but he certainly would have had the nous to defuse this incident instead of the way Bush and the Iraqi Government have responded and allowed it to escalate with allegations now of al-Zaidi’s mistreatment by the security forces and thousands marching to demand his immediate release.