The Chilcot Inquiry, also known as the Iraq Inquiry, is a public inquiry into the Britain's involvement in the Iraq War, set in motion by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in June 2009.
The report was published on July 6, 2016, with a public statement by the chair for the inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, more than seven years after the investigation was announced.
In 2012, the government vetoed the release of the documents detailing minutes of cabinet meetings in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, stating that revealing this conversation would present a "significant danger" to British-American relations as well as impact the morale of the British Armed Forces.
Downing Street actually suppressed military chiefs from responding to the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry and prevented them from issuing their own views to soldiers, sailors and airmen.
In the words of Lord-in-Waiting Lord Wallace of Saltaire, it would be "inappropriate" to publish the report in the months leading up to the next general election in May 2015.
However, the report got further delayed and only got published in July 2016.
The damming 12-volume, 2 million-plus word report was broadly critical of the actions of the British government and military in making the case for the war, in tactics and in planning for the aftermath of the Iraq War.
According to the report:
- Saddam Hussein did not pose an urgent threat to British interests
- There was no confirmation of presence of weapons of mass destruction
- The U.K. “chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted”
- The U.K. and U.S. undermined the authority of the United Nations Security Council
- The process of identifying the legal basis was "far from satisfactory"
- A war was unnecessary
- Planning for post-war Iraq was “wholly inadequate”
- The Blair government “failed to achieve its stated objectives”
Check Out: 6 Of The Iraq War's Biggest Hypocrites
Chilcot found planning for the campaign was “wholly inadequate” and the military was too slow to provide suitable armored vehicles against deadly roadside bombs. The military was left humiliated in Basra, releasing detainees so that insurgents would stop targeting troops.
According to a source quoted by The Telegraph, “It came as a real surprise to people in the MOD (Ministry of Defense) that the report was so blunt and left no room for doubt that military had failed to achieve their objectives in Iraq. This is not the way official reports usually work.”
Reactions to the report are, needless to say, not very favorable.
But we got our hands on cheap oil, which is nice #ChilcotsLastLine— Ms. Cranky Pants (@Malyukana) July 7, 2016
The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War also reported the tensions that grew between the American and British military as the security situation unraveled.
“U.S. and U.K. strategies had, in effect, been on different courses since the U.K. decision to focus its attention on MND (SE) [Multi-National Division South East, the British run zone] in 2003. As result of this decision, the U.K. had acquired distinctly different priorities from the U.S. It was only marginally involved in the central tasks of stabilizing the Iraqi government in Baghdad and managing sectarian divisions, while it had come to see its main task in Basra as one of keeping the situation calm while building the case for withdrawal.”
Tony Blair holds that he had taken the decision to go to war in Iraq "in good faith" and wants the report to exonerate him from accusations of lying.
"The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit," he said. "Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country."
However, he could be barred from future public office in the United Kingdom as members of the British parliament are getting ready to vote on whether Blair deceived the British parliament in order to go to war in Iraq.
Especially since the Chilcot report offers proof that Blair was warned before the invasion that his actions would provoke al Qaeda attacks and that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-U.S./anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”