After years of writing and investigation, a report into the Iraq war was finally handed down overnight and the findings have shed a very unflattering light onto its key instigators, former leaders Tony Blair and George Bush.
The report by Sir John Chilcot found that both men rushed into the war before exhausting all other options, leading to chaos throughout Iraq and Afghanistan and the deaths of thousands of British, American and Australian soldiers – and others – sent to fight for the cause.
Former Prime Minister John Howard hasn’t escaped the criticism either. Mr Howard’s strong backing of Mr Bush further fuelled the push into Iraq with Australia playing a key role in the Coalition that took down Saddam Hussein.
Now, the trio have been slammed for causing on-going chaos, with the trickle on effects of the war still felt around the world.
The report’s key findings were:
- There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein
- A strategy of containment was preferable to military intervention
- There was no justified certainty to London’s judgments on the severity of any threat imposed by Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Distruction
- Blair was warned explicitly, but chose to underestimate the consequences of the 2003 invasion
- Planning for managing post-Saddam Iraq was inadequate
While Mr Howard is yet to respond to the report, Mr Blair has come out to apologise but said he ultimately stands by his decision.
“I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever know or believe,” he said, before seemingly backtracking.
“I believe it is better we took that decision. I acknowledge the mistakes and accept responsibility for them.
“As this report makes clear, there were no lies, there was no deceit.”
Mr Bush however has refused to apologise and released a statement through a spokesperson defending his decision to invade.
“Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously,” a spokesperson said, “President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”
The report has sparked protests throughout Britain, with many calling for Mr Blair and Mr Bush to face charges over the war.
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