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Blair, Bush and the Chilcot Inquiry: Will the government keep making the same old mistake?

Blair, Bush and the Chilcot Inquiry: Will the government keep making the same old mistake? Blair protest at Chilcot publication press conference (IMAGE:Howard Jones/WENN)

After nearly a decade of investigations, the newly surfaced Chilcot Inquiry exposed the UK’s questionable participation during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In a revelatory report conducted by Sir John Chilcot, to determine the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war between 2003 and 2009, it’s now known the UK’s military contributions to the United States led invasion of Iraq prove unjustified, this consequently resulting in the unnecessary loss of many lives since the start of the decade surpassing war on terror. Some of those most affected by then prime minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush’s decision to occupy Iraq are the countless relatives of those who gave their lives in belief of their governments combative agenda.

I know there are those who can never forgive me for having taken this decision; or who think I took it dishonestly – Tony Blair

Other casualties of the ethically skewed occupation include the near million Iraqi civilians who lost their lives, this not including the subsequent destabilisation of the well-being and homes of countless civilians as a direct result of disparate military intervention. Ascending attempts of oppression from government entities, the recently surfaced Inquiry also claims Blair undermined the UN Security Council when pushing for invasive military pursuit in the region. Basing the grounds for invasion on what the report now determine was “flawed intelligence”, the UN Security Council could not be convinced “peaceful options to disarm Iraq had been exhausted”.

Though acting as a pursuer of peace, the UN reportedly failed to thoroughly filter the allegations of Iraq’s supposed possession of arms, with the report concluding the accusations “were not challenged, and they should have been.” Via unsubstantial claims that terrorist cells within Iraq harboured “weapons of mass destruction”, Blair led the U.K. in following the Bush administration and the US defence department in pursuing military action against the sovereign state in March of 2003. The Chilcot report conclude the allegations of Iraq possessing existential threatening weapons was “presented with a certainty that was not justified.”

For the first time since World War II, Blair and Bush proceeded to lead their countries into a full scale occupation of Iraq, targeting various areas suspected of harbouring terrorists. Not only did their inaccuracy fail to root out those looking to convey terror, but at the same time gave a new meaning to the phase collateral damage. Over the six years Western intervention has occupied Iraq, the death of up to a million innocent civilians can be attributed to the relentless military force destabilising the country. Angered, aren’t only those a world apart from us, but those here in Britain. Left behind are many riddled with the loss of loved ones, ones who believed their reasons for fighting for their country were justified. Many are understandably outraged, with relatives of those lost coming forward to speak out.

There is one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware of, and his name is Tony Blair, the world’s worst terrorist.  – Sarah O’ Connor, whose brother Sergeant Bob O’Connor was killed in 2005.

In a domino effect that can source its origins back to the attack on 9/11, the US, U.K. and its supporting allies identified Al-Qaeda affiliate Saddam Hussein as being at the helm of violent extremism targeting Western nations. While Saddam certainly fuelled fears of societal safety within the United Nations, Chilcot data suggest the UK’s methods of sourcing Hussein by way of violent force proved ineffective in extinguishing the supposed threat of terrorism, instead the UK’s involvement during the occupation of Iraq – along with its US leadership, directly resulted in the displacement of more than a million people. Blair, Bush and his administration can be directly linked to the foreign policy which irresponsibly gambled with the lives of so many. Some have come forward to condemn Blair and Bush since the reports surfacing, many of those being the family of fallen soldiers who arguably died in vain.

Now we know where we stand and what we can do. Tony Blair should be taken to court for trial for murder. He can’t get away with this any more. – Pauline Graham,  the grandmother of 19-year-old soldier Gordon Gentle

Since the surfacing of the devastating report, former prime minister Tony Blair has come under intense media scrutiny for his leadership in the 2003 invasion, declaring it “the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in 10 years as British prime minister”. The former leader displayed empathy towards those who lost their loved ones fighting in the war, sharing: “there will not be a day when I do not relive and rethink what happened”. Speaking further, the former Labour leader was surprisingly unrepentant when asked if invading the sovereign state was a mistake, stating: “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer”. Claiming to have acted in good faith when discussing the grounds for invasion off of intelligence which “turned out to be wrong”, Blair refutes long standing claims he lied to the British public regarding the war, going onto state “he couldn’t accept” the criticism that British soldiers died in vain.

Declaring the decision to invade of the “upmost gravity”, the report does confirm Saddam Hussein’s concerning perversion of universal human rights and the unethical treatment of those he ruled over, declaring the deceased leader “undoubtedly a brutal dictator who attacked Iraq’s neighbours, repressed and killed many of his own people”. Though Tony Blair claims there won’t be a day he doesn’t relive the decision to invade – despite the invasion being launched off underwhelming evidence, he urges people to consider the public perception following the attacks on the world trade center’s in 2001, stating: “It is important 15 years after 9/11 to recall the atmosphere at that time. America had never suffered such an attack on its own soil before. It had a devastating impact on the population. They regarded themselves as at war.”

Despite claiming to have acted on mounting intelligence suggesting Iraq possessed WMD, Chilcot was quick to note Blair’s choice to co-sign military aspirations drawn immidiately after the attack on 9/11. A remarkable private message analysed in the investigation sent in July of 2002, reveal Blair told Bush: “I will be with you, whatever.” Following the reports surfacing, members of parliament have also come forward accusing Blair guilty of “contempt” regarding his active role in the invasion. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn joins Conservative MP David Davis in reaffirming allegations Blair deceived the House of Commons when making the case for war. Corbyn’s joining of the majority parliamentary motion comes after John Prescott, deputy prime minister at the time of the invasion, reiterates claims Blair had “led parliament into an illegal war”, sharing with the Sunday Mirror: “I will now live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life,”. Travelling a path rarely taken by those in his position, Blair has also come forward stating he’d “back” the parliamentary motion launched against him, believing that’s “surely how parliamentary democracy works.”

Launched in hopes of identifying lessons for the future, the Chilcot Inquiry investigates whether the decision to occupy Iraq was right and whether the UK should have been more prepared for the ensuing chaos. The report resoundingly conclude the governing bodies of both the US and UK “failed to achieve its stated objectives”, declaring the basis for invasion “unjustified” and its fallout “underestimated”. With the mishandling of the Iraq occupation basking in the undeniable light of day, what has the damning report taught us for future reference?

Well, disparate military action certainly proves inefficient. As the “supposed” representatives of the people, we expect governing figures to have the upmost responsibility to act in the best interests of its citizens. By disregarding collective morale, governing bodies risk emitting negative optics of the nations they represent, thus increasing the chances of hate fuelled retaliation resulting in the further loss of life. Another nod to the excess of unorganized military pursuit is the obvious issue of civilian casualties. The sacrificing of a few to ensure the safety of many is simply not an excuse we can continue to use. As the Inquiry states, attempts of non-violent solutions had not been exhausted, this poignantly confirms a primitive nature in which innocent lives are far from valued. As to not risk entering an ethically ambiguous grey zone – albeit a little late, the prioritizing of innocent lives must be addressed.

967 Iraqi and Syrian civilians have died as a result of air strikes by the 12 coalition states engaged in attacks on Isis.” The Independent

With the War on Terror now surpassing that of a decade, the participation of military action from various nations worldwide continue to prove the inevitability of war. If peace is the genuine agenda of government bodies worldwide, the conviction to achieve basic peace must be paired with tolerance and patience on all sides. Primitive instinctive direction has no place in the upper echelons of government, as we have seen first-hand the result of such a situation. Currently, millions of innocent Syrian civilians risk the same consequences of unorganized military intervention we know too well prove inefficient.

The unfair practices that engulfed Iraq in 2003 have us all questioning our government’s attempts of peace keeping, but the lesson is crystal – we can’t afford to keep making the same old mistakes.

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