"The world is better off without Saddam." George Bush.
Chilcot has taken a long time in coming. Fifteen years after the invasion of Iraq; seven years after it was set up! Nevertheless its publication and findings are to be welcomed as a vindication for those that battled for it and agreed to set it up; for the principles of an open and democratic society; to honour those who lost their lives or have been permanently scarred by its consequences, both home and abroad. It hopefully, puts finally to rest the flimsy excuses, prevarications and justifications to which we have been subjected over the years.
It has now been established after an exhaustive, judicial and independent enquiry that many of the serious allegations levelled against Prime Minister Blair and his government have been fully justified, not only on the basis of hindsight but of contemporary knowledge and information available to them at the time. As to the events of 9/11 and the whole military adventure, a ominous and secretive hand has been suggested, of which perhaps many leading spokespersons and politicians were unaware. It is possible that they, like us were duped, by fairly small, distinct and powerful criminal group!
In all these departments however, the victory might be regarded a Pyrrhic. It does nothing to change the disgraceful circumstances of the past; restore the dead to their loved ones or cure those injured or diseased by weaponry; heal the hatred and psychological damage inflicted to particularly young minds; restore the physical and social infrastructure destroyed; reduce current violence and bloodshed or stem the tide of refugees; guarantee the prevention of future similar illegal acts; or bring those that made them to account.
Ever alert to the importance of timings and singularity, I cannot escape from noticing the publication comes just a few weeks or days after the nationalistic celebration of the Monarch's 90th birthday and the centenary of the Somme; days after the EU Referendum expected to reaffirm membership; three days after American Independence anniversary; in the middle of European football competition in which Wales happens to be doing very well, whilst England fall victim to Iceland and drop out in disgrace. All of which provide fertile distraction material both in Europe and the USA.
In a further strange quirk, the Summary Report consists of precisely 911 paragraphs. Given the importance of the events of 9/11 to the rationale and justification of subsequent acts, including the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the fact that later revelations have proved it was indeed a massive fraud imposed on the world by a cohort of radical extremists far removed from those accused, the numbering of the paragraphs must at least be ironic.
Indeed it could be said that the report sagely both begins and ends with reference or allusion to this criminal, but never properly investigated event.
Paragraph 10 states: "After the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 and the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in November, the US Administration turned its attention to regime change in Iraq as part of the second phase of what it called the Global War on Terror."
This is expanded in later paragraphs as follows:
"46. The attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 changed perceptions about the severity and likelihood of the threat from international terrorism. They showed that attacks intended to cause large‑scale civilian casualties could be mounted anywhere in the world.
"47. In response to that perception of a greater threat, governments felt a responsibility to act to anticipate and reduce risks before they turned into a threat. That was described to the Inquiry by a number of witnesses as a change to the “calculus of risk” after 9/11.
"48. In the wake of the attacks, Mr Blair declared that the UK would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the US to defeat and eradicate international terrorism.
"49. The JIC assessed on 18 September that the attacks on the US had “set a new benchmark for terrorist atrocity”, and that terrorists seeking comparable impact might try to use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear devices. Only Islamic extremists such as those who shared Osama Bin Laden’s agenda had the motivation to pursue attacks with the deliberate aim of causing maximum casualties.
"50. Throughout the autumn of 2001, Mr Blair took an active and leading role in building a coalition to act against that threat, including military action against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. He also emphasised the potential risk of terrorists acquiring and using nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, and the dangers of inaction."
Mr Blair himself in his response to Chilcot refers to the impact it had on him as follows:
"My premiership changed completely on 11th September 2001. 9/11 was the worst terrorist atrocity in history. Over 3000 people died that day in America, including many British people, making it the worst ever loss of life of our own country’s citizens from any single terror attack. In fact, 9/11 was not the first attack. Prior to September 2001, 23 countries had suffered terrorist attacks of this nature. In 2002, 20 different nations lost people to terrorism."
He does not of course allude to the fact that, in the light of later revelations, he must have been conned by this, as well as us!
It appears that Chilcot declines to opine on the basic allegation that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden located in an Afghanistan cave on the other side of the world, using nineteen terrorists mainly from Saudi Arabia, who could barely fly a Cessna. This of course was not in its terms of reference, and anyway had to be beyond its scope, but it is hard to divorce it from our thoughts, if for no other reason than it appeared to be so influential in persuading Prime Minister Blair to head for war in spite of the fact as Chilcot makes clear.
Even by November 2001 the Intelligence position was that there was no connection between the events of 9/11 and Iraq or Saddam Hussein. Paragraph 51 states:
"51. In November 2001, the JIC assessed that Iraq had played no role in the 9/11 attacks on the US and that practical co‑operation between Iraq and Al Qaida was “unlikely”. There was no “credible evidence of covert transfers of WMD‑related technology and expertise to terrorist groups”."
However we know that the psychological connection was pushed hard by both Bush and Blair, reinforced by the latter's heavy reliance on the "forty-five minutes" threat, and had its desired propaganda effect on the respective populations. Thus we now know we went to war not just on one grievous lie but two.
So what has Chilcot finally 'put to bed' so to speak? His conclusions can be summarised from the millions of words 'buried' in the text, and thereby very difficult to extract. Also it tends to camouflage criticism in 'lessons to be learned'. Even so its conclusions are damning.
In the press conference to launch the document on 6.7.2016 Sir John Chilcot made the following observations (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyAWtkw3EZg) . He said the Inquiry was set up to answer two questions:
a) "Whether it was right and necessary to invade Iraq in March 2003"; and
b) "Whether the UK could and should have been better prepared for what followed"
He makes the following six (damning) conclusions:
1) "The UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted
2) Military action at that time was not a last resort
3) The judgements about the severity of threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, were presented with a certainty that was not justified
4) Despite explicit warnings the consequences of the invasion were underestimated
5) The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate
6) The government failed to achieve its stated objectives
In other words and in layman's language we might paraphrase by saying the government's military action constituted an illegal act under international law as it was not excused by aggression or the threat of it; the information available to it was unreliable and indeed 'sexed up' - effectively lied to - to persuade Parliament and the people to go to war; that the troops dispatched were insufficiently prepared from a planning and equipment point of view, as a result of which many died unnecessarily; that no thought was given to what would happen subsequently, significantly contributing to the death, destruction and chaos that followed, which is still continuing.
The whole policy it appears was first based upon the travesty and lies of 9/11; compounded by the then Prime Minister's egotistical obsession with "standing shoulder to shoulder" with the United States; prepared in pursuing this objective to ignore legal advice, domestic public opinion, Cabinet discussion and approval; telling Parliament and the country of threats that he knew to be untrue; going to war in a blasé fashion, with inadequate preparation or post invasion plan, thereby putting British and untold Iraqi civilian lives at stake.
It is hard to envisage any more serious charges that could be laid against a living politician short of torturing and killing Iraqi civilians with his own hands in cold blood! (Of course the British Government can hardly claim to be innocent of the latter either in the whole disgraceful business of American 'rendition' either)
Now we wait to see what the practical consequences of this leviathan Inquiry are. Already the debate and attention has moved from the conclusions of the report, buried as they are in the voluminous text like lurking cats in the undergrowth, to the personality and defences of Tony Blair who says for the decision, "I accept responsibility in full – without exception or excuse." (His full and some might think persuasive repost and defence, can be found here: (http://blair.3cdn.net/7c545e7dd16bfda1c8_aqm6ii5qy.pdf )
In the criminal law, those that plan to kill without lawful excuse, for example in self defence, may be found guilty of murder. The invasion of Iraq could not be accomplished without killing both combatants and innocent civilians - that much was clear. In law it is immaterial if the planner engages others to do the dirty deed or if it is carried out in a foreign territory.
Alternatively those that kill without intent, merely out of reckless behaviour, can be arraigned for the lesser charge of manslaughter. Even if the Police and DPP did not see fit to pursue a case, in theory Mr Blair could be subject to European Arrest Warrant by any of the twenty eight countries in the EU, to which Britain is obliged to accede!
Alternatively Britain is signed up, unlike America which has excluded itself from its jurisdiction, the International Criminal Court (ICC), by virtue of the 'Rome Statute' has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is hard to imagine a crime more egregious than the invasion of Iraq and its consequences for the people there.
But we should not hold our breath. We know that prominent politicians dwell in an enchanted land where normal rules do not apply. State officers can usually find reasons not to pursue charges against them. European States are unlikely to shake the EU boat even further especially when implicated in the whole murky business. The European Arrest Warrant is surely only for low social status petty criminals? The ICC is surely only for those African and European despots that have defied and have incurred the displeasure of Western government not for the leaders of those governments themselves? To claim you are a "democratic government" intent on "justice and freedom" appear to be the unimeachable 'get out of jail free card', whatever the extent or nature of barbaric act undertaken.
Prior to the Iraq invasion hundreds of thousands of Britons took to the streets to protest their opposition. They were ignored and since then the government has engaged in similar exercises. We shall have to see whether all the effort and money poured into Chilcot, has any lasting or profound effect on future policy and action or if anyone is actually held to account for the decisions taken and their lasting results.
Following from: https://jewishpaedophilia.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/uk-us-and-allies-complicit-in-funding-arming-creating-isil-takfiri-militants-in-iraq-syria/