The long awaited Chilcot Report has finally arrived. Does it justify Tony Blair’s actions? Does it condemn him? Here are some of the biggest discoveries…
Sir John Chilcot delivered his long awaited report on the UK’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq War, on Wednesday morning. His report explores how it was determined that the UK should join the invasion, particularly criticizing Tony Blair, the Prime Minister at the time of the Iraq War, and his involvement in the decision. Here are some of the major findings of the Chilcot Report:
- There was no immediate threat from Saddam Hussein at the time that the UK went to war. A threat might have arisen, but there was no significant one at the time. There were many opportunities for peaceful resolution, and the majority of the Security Council supported continuing UN inspections and monitoring the situation, which could have been a sustainable plan for some time.
- The threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was presented as a fact when it was still extremely uncertain.
- The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, only gave his advice that there was a legal basis for military action a week before the invasion began, and he never put it in writing.
- There was no adequate discussion about Lord Goldsmith’s legal advice and the legal issues recorded.
- There was not enough time to properly prepare three military brigades for deployment before the invasion, and the risks were not “properly identified nor fully exposed” to ministers, causing “equipment shortfalls”. These shortfalls, which included a lack of armoured vehicles, reconnaissance and intelligence assets, and helicopter support, should not have been tolerated.
- The planning and preparations for what was going to happen to Iraq after Saddam was taken out were “wholly inadequate”. Chilcot says “The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuit of its interests, regional instability, and al-Qaida activity in Iraq, were each explicitly identified before the invasion,” and were not taken properly into account.
- Security in Baghdad and south-east Iraq has gone down because of the UK’s lack post-conflict assistance.
- Chilcot does not believe Blair’s view that spurning the US-led military alliance against Iraq would have done major damage to the relations between both governments, because the two sides have taken different views on other major issues, such as the Vietnam war and the Suez crisis previously.
- The UK undermined the UN security council’s authority by not waiting for the full support of a second UN resolution authorising military action.
- Ultimately Blair had not made any “secret commitment to war” with George Bush, and there was no falsification or improper use of intelligence, nor any deception of the cabinet.
- The invasion failed to achieve the stated objectives and caused a lot of damage including more than 200 British soldiers and at least a 150,000 Iraqis killed, and many more Iraqis displaced.
- In the future, all aspects of any intervention should be fully calculated, debated, and challenged before they are put into action.
FULL REPORT: http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/