The long-awaited inquiry by Lord Chilcot into the UK decision to join with the US in waging the illegal way against Iraq has ended and its final report has been released. The investigation was started in 2009 to look into the decision that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the region and created anarchy and lawlessness that have become the breeding grounds for vicious and deadly groups like ISIS. The report offers a searing indictment of former prime minister Tony Blair and the entire way that the government made that fateful decision.
For those who have followed this issue closely, there was little that was new in the report. We knew right from the start that the basis for the war was fraudulent, despite the flatly false and self-serving revisionism of warmongers who now say that ‘everyone’ thought it was the right thing to do then. But what is significant about the report is that it is an official one instituted by then-British prime minister Gordon Brown and so its conclusions cannot be that easily dismissed by the usual apologists for war crimes.
This article provides a succinct review of the main conclusions of the Chilcot report, that there was no imminent danger from Iraq, that the evidence of Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction were not conclusive but were deliberately exaggerated, and that key facts were hidden not just from the British public but even the rest of the British government in order to bolster the fraudulent case for war. Jon Schwarz has more.
The report reveals even more of Tony Blair’s disgusting subservience to George W. Bush. Blair has been referred to as Bush’s lap dog and his poodle but that is an insult to dogs who actually have standards. Blair comes across as hopelessly infatuated with Bush, sending him 29 letters some of which read like fan mail and one even like a love-letter promising him that “I will be with you, whatever.” The British public should be disgusted with such a disgusting display of obsequiousness by their leader.
As is often the case, much attention has been paid to the casualties suffered by the US and UK invading forces. By contrast the current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had opposed the war, made an excellent speech in parliament where he emphasized that the people who suffered the most were Iraqis and apologized for his own party’s role in this criminal war.
“Politicians and political parties can only grow stronger by acknowledging when they get it wrong and by facing up to their mistakes,” he said. “So I now apologise sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003.
“That apology is owed first of all to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed.” He said it was those people who had paid the greatest price.
The Labour leader’s apology went further than he had earlier in parliament, when he responded to the Chilcot report after David Cameron. At that point, Corbyn called the war an “act of military aggression”, arguing that it was thought of as illegal “by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion”.
“It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of refugees,” Corbyn said. “It devastated Iraq’s infrastructure and society. The occupation fostered a lethal sectarianism that turned into a civil war. The war fuelled and spread terrorism across the region.”
Blair and Bush should face charges for war crimes, something that even Desmond Tutu has called for. It is interesting that as Corbyn was speaking, one of his own party members Ian Austin heckled him, saying “Sit down and shut up, you’re a disgrace.” This shows the remaining influence of the Blairite neoliberals in the party, the same conservative-lite types as those who dominate the Democratic party here and form a single transatlantic pro-business, pro-war bloc. Blair’s supporters in the parliamentary Labour group may be trying to oust Corbyn as their leader because the Chilcot report may have opened up the possibility of bringing Blair to trial and he may not oppose such a move.
The odious, slimy, and unctuous Blair has defended his decision as the right one and in a press conference in response to the release of the report has talked about his own suffering, as if we cared.
Looking tired, his voice sometimes croaking with emotion, Blair described his decision to join the US attack as “the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in 10 years as British prime minister”.
He said he felt “deeply and sincerely … the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved in Iraq”.
“There will not be a day when I do not relive and rethink what happened,” he added.
I do not believe him for a minute. Cynical politicians like him do not give a damn about the suffering they inflict on the poor and weak. They are capable of turning in Oscar-worthy, emotion-laden performances and tears on cue and his is just to tide him over until he feels the storm has passed and he can return to his war-profiteering ways.
Some families of dead British soldiers have called for legal action to be taken as a consequence of the Chilcot report. Some relatives of dead UK soldiers are furious with Blair and have called him “the world’s worst terrorist” and are planning to sue him, though I am not sure what British law allows.
I hope that Blair is hounded all the way to his grave.