The long awaited Chilcot report has delivered its damned conclusion on the Iraq war and Tony Blair. The former Prime Minister has since apologised for the war which killed 179 British soldiers in 2003. As reported by Andy McSmith of The Independent, the report revealed that “Blair and US President George W. Bush were made fully aware that Iraq could descend into sectarian chaos after the invasion – directly contrary to what Mr Blair told the inquiry.” Blair had convinced himself that Saddam Hussein had WMDs (yes those pesky, weapons of mass destruction), and has asked people to put themselves in his shoes. Imagine seeing the evidence grow on WMDs; the possibility of a terrorist attack; and your duty to protect the country.
Today, Blair rejected Chilcot’s claim that the invasion on Iraq could have been delayed, and that he had persuaded then President George Bush to go down the UN route. Here’s the full quote from the beginning of Blair’s address:
The decision to go to war in Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power in a coalition of over 40 countries led by the USA, was the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in 10 years as British prime minister.
For that decision today I accept full responsibility, without exception and without excuse. I recognise the division felt by many in our country over the war and in particular I feel deeply and sincerely – in a way that no words can properly convey – the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved in Iraq, whether the members of our armed forces, the armed forces of other nations, or Iraqis.
The intelligence assessments made at the time of going to war turned out to be wrong. The aftermath turned out to be more hostile, protracted and bloody than ever we imagined. The coalition planned for one set of ground facts and encountered another, and a nation whose people we wanted to set free and secure from the evil of Saddam, became instead victim to sectarian terrorism.
For all of this I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe.
So did Blair lie? Did he instigate an unnecessary way? Will Blair go down for murder? The case continues…