Military families who lost sons and daughters in the Iraq war are told they must pay £767 for a hard copy of Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry report. The revelation comes as a critical play based on the much-delayed publication opens in London.
Families have been informed that although they can obtain a free executive summary, a hard copy of the 2 million-word report will cost them dearly.
The news has outraged families of the war dead.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, David Godfrey, whose grandson Rifleman Daniel Coffey was killed in 2007, called the charge “scandalous.” He said former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who took the UK into the war, should pay for copies for bereaved families.
“It’s an absolute insult to all of us families. It’s just heart-breaking, to say the least,” he said.
Godfrey said he could not afford to attend the official release in London in July, let alone buy a copy of the report.
Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed on operations, asked the Mirror: “Have we not paid enough times with the lives of our sons?”
Roger Bacon, whose son Matthew died in 2005, told the paper the news “does beggar belief that it is going to cost that amount of money in the first place. Who has the money to pay for something like this?”
Chilcot takes the stage
The news comes as a new verbatim play on Chilcot opens at Battersea Arts Centre in South London. RT’s Joe Glenton attended press night.
Interspersed with emotive testimony from the forgotten voices of the Iraq War – veterans, grief-stricken families and Sunni and Shi’a Iraqis – the play is set around an abridged, fictionalized version of the Chilcot Inquiry evidence sessions.
The cast leap between roles as members of the investigating panel, witnesses – including then-PM Tony Blair, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and spin doctor Alastair Campbell – and those on the receiving end of Iraq’s savage occupation – repentant British soldiers and traumatized civilians.
Even the venue – Battersea’s faded, fire-damaged art centre – lends a certain battle-scarred touch.
The play is dense, complex, traumatic and at times emotionally draining.
There are any number of memorable interventions from slippery politicians, confused veterans and Iraqi victims of the war – some comical, some sickening, others deeply touching.
A particularly notable example comes in the play’s closing segment, in which an Iraqi teacher describes a grisly suicide attack on her students, and chillingly trivializes the Western-centric inquiry when she admits she has never even heard of Chilcot.
Full details of the play can be found here.