Earlier today, The Iraq Inquiry, a highly-anticipated inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in the Iraq War, delivered a damning verdict of the government’s decision under then-Prime Minister Tony Blair to join the invasion. The report is a culmination of a seven-year investigation that began in 2009 when the distinguished civil servant John Chilcot was charged with the responsibility of addressing public criticism of the case for the war and preparation for Iraq’s reconstruction, among other issues.
The report—which spans roughly 6,000 pages—concludes that Blair’s policies on Iraq were based on flawed assessments of intelligence, an inadequate level of preparation, and a “far from satisfactory” level of legal justification. Additional evidence and documents are also mostly available on the Inquiry’s website.
Upon releasing the report, Chilcot also provided a statement that is worth reading in its entirety. He said the inquiry “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.” The report also concluded:
• The judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction – WMD – were presented with a certainty that was not justified.
• Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.
• The Government failed to achieve its stated objectives.
Keep and eye out for more commentary from Lawfare in the coming days.