UK Iraq War Report is finally out. Seven years after the Chilcot Inquiry was convened to look into whether the Iraq War was a justified invasion by the UK, it was published on Wednesday.
And one person who has not been shown any mercy in the Iraq war report is former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Not only does The Iraq Inquiry pronounce that Saddam Hussein’s reign over Iraq posed no imminent threat to the UK, but in 2.6 million words, the report also makes it clear that Blair pushed an ill-prepared army to go to war in Iraq — an action that resulted in an astronomical number of deaths.
"The decision to go to war in Iraq was the hardest, most— Tony Blair Office (@tonyblairoffice) July 6, 2016
momentous & agonising decision I made as PM" Full statement https://t.co/uOvTXYnQzE
Set up by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UK Iraq War report was drawn up by a committee chaired by Sir John Chilcot, who headed the inquiry which also had War Studies scholar Sir Lawrence Freedman, historian Sir Martin Gilbert, diplomat Sir Roderic Lyne and Deputy Chair of the British Council Baroness Usha Prashar.
“We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”
One of the first to apologise in the wake of the UK Iraq war report was Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party which was in power at the time of the war.
This evening I apologised, on behalf of my party, for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003.https://t.co/QvqsUeNiqq— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) July 6, 2016
The UK Iraq War report also spelled out three other crushing blows to Tony Blair’s decision to follow George W. Bush into war.
“We have also concluded that:
- The judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – WMD – were presented with a certainty that was not justified.
- Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.
- The Government failed to achieve its stated objectives.”
The report pointing to the futility of the Iraq War also revealed that — as The Guardian puts it — in a “remarkable” private note, sent on 28 July 2002, Blair promised Bush his unquestioned loyalty with the following words:
“I will be with you, whatever.”
The war report not only pointed a clear finger at Blair for hoodwinking the British public with false reasons for proceeding to war but also drew attention to the unpardonable fact that 150,000 Iraqi lives — most of them civilian — were lost in the Iraq War, prompting a lingering atmosphere of displacement and disaster in the Middle East.
In his press conference, however, Blair, though apparently accepting of his culpability, remained visible unrepentant of the fact that he went ahead with a war before, as John Chilcot said and the BBC quoted, all the “peaceful options” available were exhausted.
Blair’s statement [PDF] in response to the report is a resounding proclamation of his adamance and his insistence that he was justified in leading his country to war.
“I will never agree that those who died or who were injured made their sacrifice in vain. They fought in the defining global struggle of the 21st Century against the terrorism and violence which, the world over, destroys lives and divides communities, and their sacrifice should always be remembered with thanksgiving and honour when finally that struggle is won, as it will be.
I know some of the families cannot and do not accept this is so.
I know there are those who can never forgive me for having taken this decision; or who think I took it dishonestly.”
The UK Iraq War report has re-opened the curtains to the sorrow of those who have lost dear ones in the war. In the topmost photograph of this post, Sarah O’Connor holds a picture of her brother Sergeant Bob O’Connor who was killed in Iraq in 2005, outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference center after the announcement of the outcome of the report. Surrounding her were other families of soldiers killed in the Iraq war.
[Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]