What is the Chilcot report?
The Chilcot report is a huge document over two million words long which looks into the UKs involvement in the Iraq war. The report, also known as the ‘Chilcot enquiry’, was initiated by the former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown and later deferred to Sir John Chilcot, a British privy counselor and president of the UK’s independent policing think tank, the police foundation.
The report considers the UK’s involvement in Iraq from 2001 to 2009, covering the run-up to the conflict, the subsequent military action taken and the aftermath of the war. Its aim is to establish how and why decisions were made and to ensure that if a similar situation were to occur in the future, the British government is well equipped to respond in a manner that holds the countries best interests at heart. The report took more than seven years to complete before it was published online after various attempts were made by the Foreign office and the government to block several documents from being made public. Some conversations between former UK prime minister Tony Blair and former US president, George Bush were said to be “detrimental” to British-American relationships and thus they were removed from the report.
So what happened?
As I discussed in my previous post: politics made easy: what is the war in Iraq? in 2003, the US led an invasion of Iraq which was supported by British troops. The sole aim of this invasion was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, as both the U.S and UK believed him to be harboring weapons of mass destruction. Despite not everyone agreeing with this invasion and many raising the issues of a high chance of loss of life and the huge financial costs that would be involved, it was given the go ahead.
Where any weapons found?
Whilst Iraq’s army was defeated and Saddam Hussein was captured and later executed, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
What does the report say?
Here are some of the key findings of the report:
- The UK had NOT utilized all of the peaceful solutions to solve the conflict in Iraq, before it invaded. In other words, the UK had not acted appropriately or correctly in going to war with Iraq.
- Former US president George bush and his administration (his team) repeatedly ignored advice from the UK on how to oversee Iraq after the invasion, including what to do with the country’s money and oil supply.
- The report found that there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein, in fact, in terms of nuclear and chemical weapons, Iran, North Korea and Libya were considered greater threats at the time.
- British intelligence gave false information to the government when they said that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction- he did NOT.
- The UK military was ill-equipped and unorganized in their planning of the Iraq invasion, subsequently adding to the increased death toll of British soldiers.
The report did not however, come to a conclusion as to whether not not the invasion of Iraq could be deemed legal or illegal.
The invasion of Iraq lasted more than 8 years, during which time it is estimated that more than 461,000 people were killed.