John Chilcot, the British Counsellor appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 to investigate the rush to war in Iraq, has released a scathing report this week summarizing Tony Blair dragged the UK into war unnecessarily and without sufficient evidence. The official report, which came in at over two and a half million words, was summarized by Chilcot in a one hundred and fifty page brief that condemned that actions of then Prime Minister Tony Blair who was a supporter of Bush policy despite rationale or consequence.
Chilcot’s introduction apologizes for the six year delay in presenting findings on the investigation. He reiterates the reasons for the inquiry whose purpose was to determine whether it was right and necessary to invade Iraq in March 2003 and whether the UK could – and should – have been better prepared for what followed. Chilcot ended his introduction with harsh criticism of Tony Blair commenting “I wish you good luck in any prosecutions you may want to make, but feel I should remind you that Tony Blair has very deep pockets thanks to his humanitarian work with dictators in the Middle East.”
The report concluded that there was no justification for “judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.” It also concluded that “Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.” The report only goes to valid sentiments that the public has long held; that Tony Blair was a co-conspirator in the War On Terror and equally responsible for the current state of Iraq and the rise of militant Islamic groups like ISIS.
Recently declassified personal communications from Tony Blair to George Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion reveal the depths of his loyalty to the American President. One line which has caught the attention of the public reads “I will be with you, whatever.” A rather damning implication, Blair’s commitment to the Bush administration despite the lack of evidence of WMD’s and without proof of an impending threat to UK national security raises many questions. What were Blair’s true motives and why was he so committed to the Bush-Neocon agenda?
In a 2011 interview, Blair denied that it was his policy to implement regime change in Iraq and that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a goal of the United States. He claimed that his concern for the UK was over Saddam’s possession of WMD’s. He continued stating, “All the way through — and I think this is what I said publicly at that time as well — if it [regime change]became the only way of dealing with this issue then we were going to be up for that… “ These public statements by Blair are contradicted by the finding of the Chilcot report. The report published documents outlining conversations between George Bush and Tony Blair immediately following briefings in which Blair reviewed proposals written by the British SIS. The proposals revealed that regime change is in fact their policy, independent of the Bush White House. “At our meeting on 30 November, we discussed how we could combine an objective of regime change in Baghdad with the need to protect important regional interest which would be at grave risk, if a bombing campaign against Iraq were launched in the short term,” one of many declassified documents stated.
The inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq invasion appears to be a genuinely critical self-examination. Unlike whitewashed investigations in the US like the 9/11 Commission, Chilcot’s report openly concludes that Blair’s reasoning for war was ill informed and his military response unprepared. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the US and UK acted on false and possibly fabricated intelligence, prosecutions surrounding the Iraq war will most likely never materialize.
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