By Euro Weekly News Media • 06 July 2016 • 12:00
MORE than a decade after the disastrous invasion of Iraq, Sir John Chilcot has confirmed what the world already knew with a devastating critique of Tony Blair’s decision to sign his country up to America’s war.
There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein; British troops were sent to their death and maiming when containment could easily have continued; the executive arm of government wantonly exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam’s weapons program; planning for the war’s aftermath was woefully negligent; the government failed to achieve any of its stated goals; and at least 150,000 Iraqis died violently and needlessly.
These were the central conclusions of Chilcot’s scathing 2.6 million word report, summarised in 146 uniformly damning pages, released today, July 6, after seven years spent pouring over ‘dodgy dossiers’, legal minutiae, and secret memos.
Far more damning an indictment of the former prime minister than expected, the report emphasises that taking the country into a war which cost the lives of 179 British soldiers and seriously injured 6,000 more, was a choice made by Blair as part of an unwavering policy of support towards President George W Bush.
Chilcot rubbished Blair’s argument that the military alliance between the UK and the American administration was too important to sacrifice through inaction, or peace as it is often known, pointing to the Suez crisis, Vietnam and Falkland wars as evidence that the relationship had survived past military disagreements.
Revealing a private note written by Blair to Bush in July 2002, nine months before the two countries began bombing Baghdad in their ‘shock and awe’ campaign, which read “I will be with you whatever,” Chilcot accused Blair of manipulating his pleas to parliament to seek a casus belli to justify a decision he had already made.
A withering assessment of the government’s plan for a post-invasion Iraq poured scorn over Blair’s defence that the Sunni-Shia rivalry and the entrance of Al-Qaida and Iranian forces into the conflict represented an unforeseeable obstacle in the path to peace.
“We do not agree that hindsight is required,” Chilcot said. “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.”
The report also described the necessity of British troops bargaining with Basra warlords as a “humiliation” and savaged the Ministry of Defence for inadequately providing soldiers with protection and planning.
Blair is expected to release a statement later today as protestors surrounded Westminster calling for him to face charges of war-crimes.
The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has called Blair a “war criminal” while Alex Salmond has insisted that he face some consequences for his actions.
“After such carnage, people will ask inevitable questions of was conflict inevitable and worthwhile? The answer from Chilcot is undoubtedly no. And who is responsible? The answer is undoubtedly Tony Blair. There must now be a consideration of what political or legal consequences are appropriate for those responsible,” he said.
What happens next is a complex question that rests largely on whether the International Criminal Court decides to pursue Blair in what would surely be a symbolic affair, given its lack of remit for investigating decisions to go to war.
Parliament could vote to retroactively impeach the former prime minister in what would also be a largely symbolic statement, while court cases, petitions and protests are likely to mount against the former statesman turned envoy of totalitarian regimes.
Whatever the outcome, Chilcot has today confirmed one thing which was already known, that Tony Blair’s name is dirt.
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That S.O.B. Blair should be locked up for a very long time. Not only for the Iraq War, but also because he destroyed our country with his ‘Multi-Cultural Britain’ policy that is causing so much hardship in Britain, even today!
Excellently put Matthew. Sadly, I would think it’s unlikely that the International Criminal Court in the Hague will take action against either Bush or Blair or both because they’re may not be enough hard evidence against them even after Chilcot. It’s a crying shame that there’s been no equivalent of Chilcot in the US which says a lot about the way the most powerful nation on the planet goes about its business. A US Chilcot might have swung it against them.
We can only hope that the lawyers for the dead and maimed soldiers’ families will do what they can within the confines of English law. As Alex Salmond mentioned though, there’s always Scottish Law. Unfortunately it looks like Scottish law made a mess of the Lockerbie bombing trial with Libya’s involvement still very much in question long after Megrahi’s death, so who’s to say the Scottish courts would convict Blair never mind Bush?
I won’t be reading the full Chilcot report just yet. They say it will take nine days! But I will read it – eventually. I’d rather raise some cheers for Andy Murray shortly in a different type of court – centre court at Wimbledon. Go Andy!
Gr’rr. You type “there” into your iPad and it converts it incorrectly to “they’re”! Doncha just lurve those spell checkers? If I had a Euro for every time it ncorrectly converts “its” to “it’s” too as it just did there! As I say. Gr’rr.
Roy, your comment about Blair’s “‘Multi-Cultural Britain’ policy that is causing so much hardship in Britain, even today!” is completely out of order. Clearly racist and utterly out of touch with the undoubted benefits other races bring to society.
More than half a century ago my French teacher at High School in Scotland was a black female immigrant from Jamaica. She was the best French teacher anyone could possibly have. Tony Blair was about 10 years old at the time! The local bus conductors and drivers were mostly Asian as were most of the corner shop owners. I don’t like Blair, but you are completely wrong to blame him for something that was already happening when he was still a child and which is of benefit to us all anyway.
Next time you visit England consider what would happen if all your “Multi-Cultural” doctors, nurses and teachers in particular were deported. Little England would cease to function. There are simply not enough trained white English men and women to do their jobs and that’s a fact.
What’s your own multi cultural contribution to Spain Roy? Full English Breakfasts and warm beer in place of tasty tapas and fine red wine?
You love to have a go at me don’t you Brian. When I said immigration I didn’t mean all those who came here to do jobs from Europe, but the hundreds of thousands who came here to live off benefits, all let in by Blair.
I am well aware we had many immigrants from places like the Caribbean in the 70’s who came here, integrated well and do a good job of work, but when Blair opened the gates to everyone all we got were Muslims who have turned the country upside down.
They are trying to take over towns and cities with their enclaves and having introduced Sharia Law into them many white Brits dare not even enter these areas.
The Muslims are trying to take over our education system in areas like Bradford and Birmingham, remember ‘Trojan Horse’, and our children are suffering because very few of the Muslims even speak English, and the classes are given in these languages by Muslim teachers. Our kids are not getting the education they deserve because of all these people.
My main concern is the hundreds of thousands of Muslims let in by Blair that infest our country, and you should be wise enough to recognize this fact!
Please don’t insult me with your final comment!!!!!!
Blair, Bush and their inner circles are directly responsible for the deaths of somewhere between 150,000 and 1,000,000 Iraqi people and 179 British service personnel. These are dreadful figures that are still rising as bombs like lastÃÂ Sunday’s continue to explode in Iraq and elsewhere.
No serial killer or terrorist could ever in their wildest dreams achieve that number of deaths.
As for the terrible injuries suffered by the living – words fail me.
Not all terrorism is a direct result of the Iraq and Afghan wars, but most of it is. The awful events of 9/11 in 2001 were nothing to do with Iraq. In fact there was no such thing as an Iraqi terrorist back then. There is now. Blair and Bush chose the wrong target and launched an illegal war when all other legal options for dealing with Saddam Hussein were still available. Chilcot has proven that, for all his evil plans, Saddam Hussein was not a credible threat to either Britain or America, not with hindsight but known at the time.
Blair’s crocodile tears on today’s television screens will never erase the awful things that he has done. We can only hope that he, and the others responsible, pay the price like any other common criminal.
Nope. Not having a go at you Roy as you put it. Just writing the simple truth. Since you hijacked this item about Chilcot from the very beginning to air your prejudice against Muslims let me quote your own reply back to you. “…when Blair opened the gates to everyone all we got were Muslims who have turned the country upside down.”
So “all we got were Muslims” eh? No, what you got was all sorts of people Roy. You just THINK they were all Muslims because that’s what the lying red-tops told you and you believed them. As for turning “the country upside down” – hogwash! If you are lookingÃÂ for someone to blame for Britain’s problems blame the majority of the population Roy, ÃÂ not the tiny minority of Muslims.
Prejudice like yours is no different from anti Semitic prejudice or anti Christian or any type of religious prejudice at all. You give yourself away by singling outÃÂ Muslims while ignoring all others.
You need to get used to the fact that just as an Englishman like you can fly to Spain and settle there other people can fly to your country or other countries and settle there too. This a good thing. You should be pleased you can do that.
Now let’s get back to Chilcot.
Brian, it may surprise you but I am NOT racist as you say! If Muslims, or anyone else like the Poles, want to come to our country and accept our way of life without trying to change it then I am happy for them to live here.
BUT, most of the Muslims want to change our country and REFUSE to accept our way of life. Why do you think they take over areas of our towns and cities, Bradford, Tower Hamlets, and parts of Birmingham, Manchester for example, and turn them into Muslim enclaves and introduce Sharia Law?
Why do you think they parade on the streets carrying signs that say “Islam is the one true faith” and “Death to all infidels”? Why do you think we have Muslim rape and sex trafficking gangs that take our young children and sell them as sex slaves, all because it says in the Qur’an that this is permissible?
If these people are prepared to accept the British way of life and not try to change it to THEIR way of thinking than I am quite happy for them to be here.
Anyone who lives in a foreign land should accept the laws and customs of that land or leave.
In twenty or thirty years time, if you live that long, you will find out what I mean, for Muslim families are having five or six children while we Brits have one or two. By that time they will be the majority and then you will see the true meaning of Islam! So don’t call me a racist!
So far as the Chilcot inquiry is concerned, Blair has done irreparable damage to this country during his time in office, and he should pay the price by going to prison for the rest of his life.
Now THERE I agree with you Roy! But the “irreparable damage” you mention ÃÂ was to much more than just “this country” by which I assume you mean the UK and not Spain. He and Bush damaged the entire world by pouring burning oil on the flames of terrorism. (I use the word “oil” deliberately for reasons which should be obvious.)
We know now for certain what we suspected already but could not prove. Chilcot has proven beyond doubt that Blair took us to war on an utterly false pretext and as a result he is directly responsible for more deaths and injuries than any serial killer or terrorist in history. For that, he should undoubtedly go to prison. So should Alastair Campbell, who is still in denial to an even greater degree than Blair, and probably Jack Straw too. However a lot has to happen before any of them can be put on trial so I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The main culprit of course, George W. Bush will probably get off Scot free because there seems to be no appetite in the USA for any decent enquiry into the Iraq war never mind any prospect of a legal trial. It is clear to me though that Bush junior just wanted desperately to finish what his daddy, Bush senior, started. He was determined to have his war come hell or high water andÃÂ Blair was equally determined to back him up to the hilt come what may – even to the point of going it alone without informing fellow ministers of important details. So much for war always being a last resort when all else has failed.
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