Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Iraq war inquiry has left the door open for Tony Blair to be prosecuted

What does the Chilcot report say?

Sir John Chilcot delivered a devastating critique of Tony Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, concluding that Britain chose to join the US invasion before “peaceful options for disarmament” had been exhausted. His report, which amounts to arguably the most scathing official verdict given on any modern British prime minister, concludes:
  • Tony Blair exaggerated the case for war in Iraq
  • There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein
  • Britain’s intelligence agencies produced "flawed information"
  • George Bush largely ignored UK advice on postwar planning
  • The UK military were ill-equipped for the task
  • UK-US relations would not have been harmed had the UK stayed out of the war


Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry has not, in his words, “expressed a view on whether military action [in Iraq] was legal”. That question, he said, could be resolved only by a court. Still less does his report deal with the question of whether Tony Blair or others should face legal action.

However, the Chilcot inquiry did find that the circumstances in which the Blair government decided that there was a legal basis for military action were “far from satisfactory”. The report said that Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, should have been asked to provide written advice to the cabinet on 17 March 2003 explaining the legal basis on which the UK could take military action and setting out the risks of legal challenge.

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