Simon Hoggart, in a review of the year in parliament, finds John Reid's use of a quotation of Hegel, the owl of Minerva flies at dusk, weird. Reid was answering a question about when the 'war n terror' would be concluded. It's quite probable that a politician like Reid used the quotation to obscure his meaning, rather than clarify it, as a more elaborate way of confessing that he hadn't a clue.
But Hegel's meaning is not that hard to understand. I have always taken it to mean that Minerva's owl, that is to say philosophy, Minerva being the Roman goddess of wisdom and the owl her symbol, can only understand events at their end, that is in retrospect.