I haven't been paying too much attention to the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry, largely because I'm cynically assuming it's going to return a verdict of Whoops, 100% Accidental Bloodbath, Tut-Tut.
I am, however, loving the reactions it's bringing out around the internet.
Twittering anti-war lefty types seem to veer from cold suspicion to outbursts of wild optimism every time generic civil servant (x) makes a vague admission that yes, the case for war may possibly have been full of bullshit.
Why this should be, I have no idea. Obviously the case for war was crammed to bursting with bullshit, bulging and groaning at the seams. Hilariously though, this inquiry marks at least the third time that the British state has told the anti-war left that the word gullible isn't in the dictionary, and the third instance of enthusiastic, puppy-eyed lefties saying Really? Surely not, rushing off to check the OED.
I imagine that Chilcot will cast Tony Blair as a shifty, pompous, dishonest twerp who sent the armed forces into a boiling disaster, much as an inquiry into Myra Hindley's behaviour would probably raise doubts over her suitability for childminding duties. Sadly, the chances of it finding criminal culpability in the former PM's aggressive warmaking are somewhere between jack and shit, and Jack just nipped into Ladbrokes to put a whopping great bet on a whitewash.
I guess this is my point - the question of the war's legality is an enticing carrot for anti-war types to chase in perpetuity. I'm working on the assumption that for some, a fiery official condemnation would prove them right once and for all and force the nation to face reality, as if the last seven years weren't quite real enough.
Whether Chilcot nails Blair's balls to the floor or not, the war's defenders are not about to throw up their hands in horror and join in the massive bout of Bodysnatchers-style finger-pointing and howling. There will be no Thank you protestors for being right about this epic clusterfuck after-show party.
A sizeable number of the war's cheerleaders have cheerfully blown off its horrific consequences, from the Iraqi insurgents' bloodbaths, through the sectarian death squads and the ensuing civil war and micro-partitioning of the country, by waving their hands and chanting the magical exculpatory incantation, Al-Qaeda terrorists ate our homework!
These people would rather cram their scrotums down their own throats than give an inch to Chilcot, and the odds of say, the Times, running a Sorry we fed you all lies editorial are woeful.
Further, regardless of the outcome, the former PM isn't going to be clapped in irons, chained to a heavy radiator and thrown into the Thames. He's going to continue shambling around the world jamming great fistfuls of dollars into his pockets in the full glare of the public eye.
No, the only service the inquiry can perform is to utterly expose the lunacy at the heart of our decision to join the Americans in their deranged Iraq enterprise, and to make sure the lesson is drummed into the public one more time, hard enough to prevent even partial repeats. Here's a brief recap of exactly how we wound up taking part...
Let's recall that the Americans invaded Iraq to fend off Iraqi aggression.
I'll write that again, for clarity. The United States - the world's only remaining superpower, with a defence budget of five hundred billion dollars per annum - invaded the castrated, two-soldiers-in-a-Fiat-Panda dictatorship of Iraq in self-defence.
Now, I can already hear the objections about Tony Blair's humanitarian agenda, but none of that matters at all. Tony wasn't in charge - the US was deploying the most terrifying military machine in history, and made it clear they could squash the Iraqi military like an asthmatic beetle without our help.
This was the Bush White House's war, and they wouldn't start babbling about painting schools and helping those poor women vote until the collapse of Iraq had turned the country into the Hammer House of Horror. Their justifications were the terrifying, anthrax-filled model planes that Saddam might use to genocide Dogdick, Alabama and those awful mushroom clouds that would be shaped like smoking guns, or whatever.
And the plan? The plan went like this - Invade Iraq = Freedom!
You know when you've got a suitcase that's so full you can't shut it, and you wedge everything down and shove a fork through the zipper and pull to no avail, and eventually two of your mates have to sit on the damn thing until you eventually get the bulging, straining case shut?
That is just how full of bullshit the case for war was.
The Americans were standing, pumped-up and raring to dive into the new Vietnam they've been looking for ever since they fled the original with their tails between their legs, loudly bellowing that they would totally have kicked those skinny pyjama guys asses, if their buddies hadn't stopped them...
...And the former Prime Minister looked at this situation and thought, This looks like the kind of ultraviolent dipshit escapade I could really get my teeth into!
So there's your one and only question for the PM on Friday - What the hell were you thinking, numbnuts?
Of course, we know the answer to that one, but I don't think it'll do the country any harm to hear Tony Blair spell out his reasoning, one more time.