by RAY FLEMING
FIVE weeks from today, on March 19, the 5th anniversary of Operation Iraq Freedom will be marked. American and British forces invaded Iraq, bringing “shock and awe” bombardment to the Iraqi people but not, not even now, Freedom. It has been five years of lost lives, abandoned hopes and worsening prospects for peace in the Middle East. There is a movement afoot in Britain to use this fifth anniversary to make the case for an independent inquiry into the events and actions that led to the war, as well as to its aftermath. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was mocked last week by David Cameron for the number of inquiries he has set up since he took office; in fact his inclination to call for a thorough examination of the pros and cons of government policies is a good one and certainly preferable to knee-jerk responses to complex issues. But will Mr Brown go for the Big One and agree to the thorough Iraq inquiry that almost everyone except Tony Blair and his closest colleagues have wanted? When questioned on this matter before Mr Brown has said that an inquiry would be inappropriate while British troops were still in Iraq; but their number has now been reduced and their role is no longer in the front line. In any case, one might think that those who have been at the sharp end of the war would be most supportive of an inquiry into why it happened in the first place.