Sir John Chilcot’s seven-year inquiry has been finally released on July 6 and concluded that military action in Iraq “was not a last resort.”
Chilcot Inquiry examines the first eight years of the Iraq War, starting with the run-up to hostilities and including the period of occupation. The report focuses on the issue of commitments, what were given to then-US President George W Bush by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair ahead of the invasion, and the possibility of misleading the British public over the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that did not actually exist.
The report also criticizes spy agency MI6 that provided false data, and military commanders for putting pressure on the UK Prime Minister.
On the findings of the report, John Chilcot concludes that the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s WMDs was “presented with a certainty that was not justified.”
He says that “despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated” and the government “failed to achieve its stated objectives.”
According to Chilcot, Tony Blair urged George Bush not to take hasty action in Iraq after the attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. But by early December, when the policy of the USA had started to shift, the UK Prime Minister said that the US and the UK should work together for regime change in Iraq, what he called as a “clever strategy”. By April 2002, the UK’s thinking deeply changed.
“The Joint Intelligence Committee had concluded that Saddam Hussein could not be removed without an invasion.”
“The government was stating that Iraq was a threat that had to be dealt with. It had to disarm or be disarmed.”
On March 17, 2003, Britain took a formal decision to invade Iraq.
Thousands of anti-war supporters staged a demonstration in Westminster on Wednesday. They called for Blair and others to face the full force of the law.
The organizer of the protest was the CND general secretary, Kate Hudson. “If Tony Blair and other politicians responsible had told the truth it would never have happened. A country was destroyed, millions of innocent Iraqis were killed, British soldiers were killed, and terrorism has spread across the Middle East. Those responsible must now be brought to justice,” she said.
The former Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, Alex Salmond, said that conclusions of the report could be an occasion for the opening of a legal action against Blair. Current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will respond to the report in Parliament today while Tony Blair is planning to hold a press conference to response it at the same day.
The Chilcot report consists of 12 volumes totaling 2.6 million words. Sir John Chilcot planned that the work on the report will take two years but actually he needed seven years.