Intelligence Government History

Another Inquiry or Another Whitewash?
Protestors outside the inquiry / Photo: Chris John Beckett/flickr

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will be recalled for a second round of questioning after conflicting testimonies were given to the Iraq Inquiry.

It is unclear, however, what the consequences could be if Blair is found guilty of promoting false information regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in making the case for war. There seems to be a culture of inquiry in the UK that reinforces our democratic conscience but often results in ambiguous or anticlimactic conclusions.

BBC reports in 2003 quoted a government source claiming the 45-minute dossier had been ‘sexed up’ to justify the Iraq invasion. The Hutton Inquiry was held after the source, Ministry of Defence employee David Kelly, was found dead having apparently committed suicide. The inquiry cleared the government of any wrongdoing and heavily criticized the BBC’s actions – a verdict widely condemned by the press as a whitewash.


ISN Weekly Theme: Drones in Modern Warfare

US soldiers in Iraq flying a drone
US soldiers in Iraq flying a drone, photo: US Army Korea/ flickr

This week the ISN weighs in on the debate about drones, exploring both the risks and benefits associated with their use in modern warfare. The main challenge is to match the reality of the battlefield with theoretical, strategic and operational clarity and to catch up, both analytically and legally, with technological advances.

In our Special Report this week:

  • An Analysis by Micah Zenko looks at the pros and cons of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including lower morale among drone pilots, eroding pilot skills, as well as network safety issues and argues that caution and a broader strategic context are prerequisites for the successful deployment of these tools.
  • In this week’s Podcast Peter W Singer of the Brookings Institution discusses the importance of matching our analytical, theoretical and legal understanding of 21st century warfare with the science fiction-like capabilities of modern robotic technology.
  • In our News section, Security Watch articles on technological innovations and ethical questions in military robotics, the issue of robot autonomy on the battlefield, and much more.
  • In Publications papers from our Digital Library, including an Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) paper examining US and Pakistani strategy in light of drone attacks in Pakistan.
  • Primary Resources includes a United States Air Force report on the future of unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Links to relevant websites, among them a detailed Defense Science & Technology Agency article on developmental trends in drone technology.
  • The IR Directory lists relevant organizations, including the Space Daily, a news network covering science and technology issues in the field.
International Relations Foreign policy

ISN Weekly Theme: US Achievements in Iraq

Welcome to Baghdad, photo: Austin King / flickr
Welcome to Baghdad, photo: Austin King / flickr

In the wake of US troop withdrawals from Iraqi cities and with the scheduling of full withrawal still ahead, the ISN looks at the past, present and future of US involvement in Iraq. With a new president, a new strategy and a set of new challenges at home, the level of US engagement is changing drastically and rapidly altering the realities and demands on the ground. Will Iraqi troops stand up once Americans stand down? Will political reconciliation and institution-building take root?