Tony Blair in trouble
Britain went to war without proper consideration, Sir John Chilcot has said at a press conference ahead of the publication of his £10m report.
He said: “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.
“We have also concluded that the judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction 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.”
Here are the key points from the report:
- There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.
- The strategy of containment could have been adopted and continued for some time.
- The judgments 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 were wholly inadequate.
- The government failed to achieve its stated objectives.
The report also concluded that the the “UK’s relationship with the US has proved strong enough over time to bear the weight of honest disagreement”.
Here are the key lessons, according to Sir John Chilcot:
- The importance of collective Ministerial discussion which encourages frank and informed debate and challenge.
- The need to assess risks, weigh options and set an achievable and realistic strategy
- The vital role of Ministerial leadership and co-ordination of action across Government, supported by senior officials
- The need to ensure that both the civilian and military arms of Government are properly equipped for their tasks
- Above all, the lesson is that all aspects of any intervention need to be calculated, debated and challenged with the utmost rigour