‘Saddam was not imminent threat, war was not the last option’ Chilcot report slams Tony Blair
Sir John Chilcot, who headed the committee British government constituted to look into the Iraq War Inquiry have come down heavily against the then prime minister Tony Blair for taking part in the invasion of Iraq without resorting to other methods. The committee constituted seven years ago, have made scathing attack against Blair for acting on the basis of a flawed intelligence report.
The committee was constituted in 2009 by the then prime minister Gordon Brown to look into the run-up to the 2003 US Iraq invasion and its aftermath.
The report said the decision to invade Iraq was wrong, conduct of military intervention badly went wrong with consequence to this day”
Terming Saddam Hussein as not an imminent threat at that time, the report however said he was brutal dictator who repressed his own people and attacked neighbours
The report said that Tony Blair presented case for war on the basis of a flawed intelligence report about Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The report running into 12 volumes, with estimated 26 lakh word said the United Kingdom joined the invasion before the peaceful options had been exhausted.
Iraq was the most controversial military engagement Britain had involved after the second world war.
The report blamed that it was Blair’s self belief that led the UK to join the invasion. “When the potential for military action arises, the government should not commit to a firm political objective before it is clear it can be achieved. Regular reassessment is essential.” report added.
The report blames Blair for presenting a dossier before the House of Commons which did not support his claim that Iraq had a growing programme of chemical and biological weapons. The government could not anticipate the consequences of the war which included the death of 1,50,00,00 Iraqis or more, the report said adding that more than a million people had been displaced.
“The people of Iraq has suffered greatly’ the report went to add. The planning and preparation for Iraq after the Saddam were inadequate, according to the Chilcot report.
— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) July 6, 2016
The Guardian reports that the report sheds light on the private conversation between Blair and Bush. It says Blair had urged the then US president George Bush not to take any hasty action on Saddam. But this position has changed after they met in 2002.
After that, basing on the joint intelligence report both leaders came to the conclusion that Saddam could not be removed without invasion.
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 6, 2016
The report also revealed a letter Blair wrote to Bush when the public opinion in Britain turned against invasion. On 2o July 2002 Blair wrote to Bush ” I will be with you whatever” the letter continued ” This is the moment to assess bluntly the difficulties. The planning on this and the strategy are the toughest yet. This is not Kosovo. This is not Afghanistan. It is not even the Gulf war.”
Chilcot rejected Blair’s contention that if Britain had spurned the US during Iraq invasion it would have done major damage to the US-UK relations, and cites examples of the position the UK took during Vietnam war and Suez crisis.
Tony Blair reacted to the report saying that “the report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit. Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country”
Prime minister David Cameron said the he will discuss the report in detail later.
PM: This has been a fully independent inquiry. MPs will have 2 days to debate it next week. #Chilcot
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) July 6, 2016