Blair continues to poodle it up:
Tony Blair has rejected a call for an independent inquiry into the civilian death toll in the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The call came on Wednesday in an open letter to the premier made available to Reuters and signed by over 40 diplomats, peers, scientists and churchmen.
Any totalling of the Iraqi civilian war dead could embarrass Blair ahead of a general election expected next May in a country that mostly opposed the U.S.-led war.
Blair, however, said he saw no need for an inquiry.
“Figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which are a survey from the hospitals there, are in our view the most accurate survey there is,” he told parliament.
The signatories urged Blair to commission an urgent probe and keep counting so long as British soldiers were in Iraq.
“Your government is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during military operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised to do so,” they wrote in the letter.
“However, without counting the dead and injured, no one can know whether Britain and its coalition partners are meeting these obligations.”
Signatories included Air Marshal Sir Timothy Garden, who spent 32 years in the military; Sir Stephen Egerton, a former British ambassador to Iraq; human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger and the Bishop of Oxford Richard Harris.