(I disagree, but I understand, given their vantage points.)
(David Graeber had recommended this piece by Frankie Boyle highly: ‘The Tory leadership election is a sort of X Factor for choosing the antichrist;The main post-Brexit worry of Labour MPs seems to be that their vote will crumble to Ukip under Corbyn, who won’t produce enough racist mugs and mouse mats to reassure everyone ;-)
Now on July 3, in anticipation of today’s report, ‘Chilcot inquiry must restore trust in government, says top lawyer’, the Guardian:
“Before the report’s release, Philippe Sands QC, author of Lawless World, a book about the Iraq war, said: “Of singular importance is the need for Chilcot to restore trust in the process of decision-making in government.”
Note: the Guardian reported last night that all of Sands’ questions were in the report, including the messages and Lord Goldsmith ‘changing his mind’ after a trip to DeeCee. Carrots, sticks, whatever. I don’t know about the rest of this:
“In 1995 Hussein Kamel, an Iraqi official who defected, told CIA and British intelligence officers and UN inspectors that, after the 1990-91 Gulf war, Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks.
But in the build-up to the invasion, key figures in the Bush administration repeatedly cited Kamel’s testimony as evidence that Iraq possessed WMD. Blair included it in his speech to parliament ahead of the invasion. When pressed in parliament to make Kamel’s testimony public, Blair said the UK did not possess a transcript.
Hans Blix, the UN’s former chief weapons inspector whose team was charged with finding evidence of WMD, has also claimed that the Blair government “misrepresented what we did … in order to get the authorisation [for war] that they shouldn’t have had”.
Blair is expected to challenge claims that experts warned him about the conflict between Sunni and Shia followers following Saddam’s removal.
“The thing I found really shocking when I was researching this was the absence of a plan and a complete failure to make any kind of preparation for the postwar aftermath or even consider what the aftermath might be,” said Steven Kettell, associate professor in politics and international studies at the University of Warwick. “It was criminal negligence on an industrial scale.”
Kettell said the inquiry’s report needed to be explicit in its criticisms. “Otherwise, a significant number of people will say it’s a cover-up by the establishment.”
Now the report did indeed show the correspondence between Bush and Blair, but as to addressing the fact that Blair failed to ask parliament for a second resolution as peer Lord Goldsmith, I can’t say. Below are some of the letters, nauseating as they are.
‘With you, whatever‘: Tony Blair’s letters to George W Bush’; Twenty-nine messages to then US president, released as part of Chilcot report, give insight into buildup towards invasion.
Here’s the Guardian’s coverage of Chilcot’s summary of the report from their live blog this a.m.:
Chilcot’s statement – Summary
- Chilcot said the invasion was “not a last resort.”
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.
- He said the intelligence was presented with a certainty that was not justified.
The judgments about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – WMDs – were presented with a certainty that was not justified.
- He said planning for post-invastion Iraq was “wholly inadequate”.
Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.
- He said the war was a failure.
The government failed to achieve its stated objectives.
- He accused the UK of undermining the authority of the UN security council.
Mr Blair and Mr Straw blamed France for the “impasse” in the UN and claimed that the UK government was acting on behalf of the international community “to uphold the authority of the security council”.
In the absence of a majority in support of military action, we consider that the UK was, in fact, undermining the security council’s authority.
- He said the process of deciding the war was legal was unsatisfactory.
The inquiry has not expressed a view on whether military action was legal. That could, of course, only be resolved by a properly constituted and internationally recognised court.
We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory.
- He said the joint intelligence committee should have told Blair to accept the limitations of the intelligence about Iraq’s WMD.
The joint intelligence committee should have made clear to Mr Blair that the assessed intelligence had not established “beyond doubt” either that Iraq had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons or that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued.
- He said Blair overlooked the threat the invasion would pose to the UK.
In the House of Commons on 18 March 2003, Mr Blair stated that he judged the possibility of terrorist groups in possession of WMD was “a real and present danger to Britain and its national security” – and that the threat from Saddam Hussein’s arsenal could not be contained and posed a clear danger to British citizens.
Mr Blair had been warned, however, that military action would increase the threat from al-Qaida to the UK and to UK interests. He had also been warned that an invasion might lead to Iraq’s weapons and capabilities being transferred into the hands of terrorists.
- He said Blair should have anticipated the post-invastion problems.
Mr Blair told the inquiry that the difficulties encountered in Iraq after the invasion could not have been known in advance. We do not agree that hindsight is required. The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuit of its interests, regional instability, and al-Qaida activity in Iraq, were each explicitly identified before the invasion.
- He said Blair overestimate his ability to influence America.
Some are the management of relations with allies, especially the US. Mr Blair overestimated his ability to influence US decisions on Iraq. The UK’s relationship with the US has proved strong enough over time to bear the weight of honest disagreement. It does not require unconditional support where our interests or judgments differ.
On the other hand…
Tony Blair says reports clears him of ‘bad faith’
Tony Blair has responded to the Chilcot report. This is his full statement:
“The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit. Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country.
I note that the report finds clearly:
– That there was no falsification or improper use of Intelligence (para 876 vol 4)
– No deception of Cabinet (para 953 vol 5)
– No secret commitment to war whether at Crawford Texas in April 2002 or elsewhere (para 572 onwards vol 1)
The inquiry does not make a finding on the legal basis for military action but finds that the Attorney General had concluded there was such a lawful basis by 13th March 2003 (para 933 vol 5)
However the report does make real and material criticisms of preparation, planning, process and of the relationship with the United States.
These are serious criticisms and they require serious answers.
I will respond in detail to them later this afternoon.
I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse.
I will at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world.
Above all I will pay tribute to our Armed Forces. I will express my profound regret at the loss of life and the grief it has caused the families, and I will set out the lessons I believe future leaders can learn from my experience.”
Pffffft to Bush’s Poodle.
‘The Iraq war inquiry has left the door open for Tony Blair to be prosecuted’; The Chilcot report did not look at the legality of the war itself. But the former prime minister comes in for heavy criticism for his conduct, Joshua Rozenberg