The inquiry’s main points regarding Tony Blair’s decision to go to war, how he put his case and the postwar occupation
The Chilcot inquiry has delivered a damning verdict on the decision by former prime minister Tony Blair to commit British troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It says:
Chilcot is withering about Blair’s choice to join the US invasion. He says: “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”
Chilcot finds that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the buildup to the invasion in 2002 and 2003. The then prime minister disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services. “The judgments about Iraq’s capabilities … were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” the report says.
Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to offer his unqualified backing for war well before UN weapons inspectors had completed their work, saying: “I will be with you, whatever.” In a six-page memo marked secret and personal, the then British prime minister told Bush, US president at the time, in July 2002 that the removal of Saddam Hussein would “free up the region” even if Iraqis may “feel ambivalent about being invaded”. It was one of 29 letters Blair sent to Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war, during the conflict and in its devastating aftermath, released on Wednesday as part of the Chilcot report.