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The Chilcot report

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, July 7th, 2016 - 51 comments
Categories: iraq, war - Tags:

The Chilcot report is out and it’s more damning of the decision to invade Iraq than expected. Corbyn has apologised on behalf of the UK Labour Party, Blair’s legacy is now set, and Cameron is making excuses.

The Independent has much more.

Now finally, will Key now resile from his shocking statements about Iraq in 2003?

Compare and contrast with: Helen Clark’s statement to Parliament on Iraq

51 comments on “The Chilcot report ”

  1. Tautoko Mangō Mata 1

    Helen Clark on Iraq
    Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister) : The Government deeply regrets the breakdown of the diplomatic process over the Iraq crisis. The New Zealand Government, like most Governments, has been a strong supporter of that process running its course. Like most countries, our strong preference was for the disarmament of Iraq to occur peacefully, through a strong and intrusive weapons inspection process. Such a process was re-established by Resolution 1441, which was passed on 8 November by unanimous resolution of the UN Security Council. New Zealand strongly backed that process, going so far as to send 13 military personnel to the UN weapons inspection team. The head of the team, Dr Hans Blix, has singled out the New Zealand contribution for special recognition in his reports to the UN Security Council.
    ……..
    It is equally important to emphasise our strong sense of shared values with all Western democracies, and to note our concern at the strain that this division over Iraq has placed on longstanding friendships and alliances between Western democracies. Our Government is determined that this difference of opinion, substantial as it is, will not damage longstanding friendships that we value. We fully understand the frustration, the impatience, and the outrage felt by the United States, Britain, and Australia at Iraq’s slowness to comply and its resistance to complying with UN resolutions. But notwithstanding that, our Government does not believe that the diplomatic process, backed by inspections and leading to disarmament, has run its course.

    New Zealand’s position on this crisis has at all times been based on our strong support for multilateralism and the rule of law, and for upholding the authority of the Security Council. It is a principled position, it has integrity, and we believe it is well understood by our friends. It is a matter of profound regret to us that some of our closest friends have chosen to stand outside the Security Council at this point, for a new and dangerous precedent is being set. It may be possible to justify one’s friends taking such action, but where then is our moral authority when other nations use the precedent that is now being set? These are troubled times for the United Nations. It has worked hard, as has the Security Council, to address the issue. In the end, consensus could not be reached. For the majority of nations on the council, the threshold for the use of force had not been reached. Our Government supports and endorses that judgment.
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/47HansS_20030318_00000054/clark-helen-debate-on-iraq

    • s y d 1.1

      thanks TMM, you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone…

      • leftie 1.1.1

        Ain’t that the truth. What an astounding difference between the highly intelligent, mindful and real leadership of Helen Clark, to that of the mindless rant of an American warmongering stooge and despot John key.

    • leftie 1.2

      The Labour government under Helen Clark have been vindicated, and were right to say no to America, and not follow it into it’s Iraqi war.

  2. Tautoko Mangō Mata 2

    Wayne Mapp
    So today I say this: to support the action led by the United States and Britain is the right course for New Zealand. We do so in National because, in the first instance, that ensures that international law is upheld, even when the United Nations fails to act. But in the second instance, our own interests should tell us to support our traditional friends and allies. Those relationships matter most on the tough issues, and this is assuredly one of the toughest of them all. Our position as a nation will be remembered long after Iraq has a new Government, and we will be judged accordingly.
    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/47HansD_20030318/volume-607-week-18-tuesday-18-march-2003

    • The bit in bold certainly was true, but aren’t we all glad that what we’re being judged on now isn’t Wayne’s suggested course of action?

    • Anno1701 2.2

      “Wayne Mapp” = Chicken Hawk

      all to easy to send young working class men/women of to die on the alter of greed and avarice aint it …

  3. Molly 3

    ” We do so in National because, in the first instance, that ensures that international law is upheld, even when the United Nations fails to act. But in the second instance, our own interests should tell us to support our traditional friends and allies. “

    What we would hope for, even from National:
    “We don’t do so as a sovereign country because, in the first instance, we ensure that international law is upheld, even when manufactured lies seem to declare otherwise. But in the second instance, our own humanity should tell us that those who we had to then invade and destroy are families and communities just like us, and “traditional allies” is the last excuse used by the followers of schoolyard bullies when they are asked to explain their infantile and abusive behaviour.”

    I remember a similar speech to the Hansard record of Wayne Mapp, given quite inappropriately by Dr Paul Hutchinson, at an Anzac Day memorial. Last one I ever attended in fact, as it was very disquieting to see the event appropriated by such overt politicking. Very similar key words and phrases.

  4. Greg 4

    Politicians should be bared from military services on Anzac day, they never send their children to war.
    Who was the last one that did, or in Amerika.

  5. UncookedSelachimorpha 6

    ‘Please stop saying I was lying’ says Tony Blair

    OK Tony, we’ll just say “bullshitting” then – that better?

    Corbyn was completely right about this one, to his credit.

  6. Nelson Muntz 7

    Here you go folks. All you need to read right here and completely bias free:

    http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk

  7. I’m so glad to see this report. I went to live in Kuwait shortly after Bush declared “victory” in Iraq, and ended up working for the US Army as it failed to impose that “victory” on the place. The wishful thinking that was the basis for the invasion and for the complete lack of planning on how to impose a new order once they’d destroyed the existing one was clear throughout. It annoys the hell out of me that Bush and Blair won’t ever face prosecution for it.

    • Sabine 8.1

      Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Paul Friedman, Fox News, etc etc etc they all should go to Hague for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.

      Depleted Uranium for that alone they should be dragged to a market square, tied to the shame pole and pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes for ever.

      Haliburton, should be made to pay every cent made of this crime to the victims.

      • swordfish 8.1.1

        Genau richtig !!!

      • Foreign waka 8.1.2

        I doubt that any of these warmongers and instigators of the everlasting profit conflict will see justice other than Blair being sacrificed to keep up appearances.

  8. RTM 9

    There are some lessons for the NZ Labour Party and the NZ left in the Iraq disaster. It’s easy to forget now, but an influential coterie of centre-left journalists, intellectuals, and political activists supported the invasion of Iraq, providing Blair and Bush with a progressive gloss for their neo-imperialism:
    http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2006/04/peculiarities-of-pro-war-left.html

    Despite the fiasco in Iraq, the ‘pro-war left’, or the ‘decent left’, as it sometimes called itself in 2003, remains a force inside the UK Labour Party and the UK media, and has been involved in the coup against Corbyn. Here in NZ some of the people trying to drag Labour to the right are very close to the pro-war left. Josie Pagani, for example, is a close friend of John McTernan, a former advisor to Blair and unrepentant supporter of the Iraq war. Pagani and McTernan are united by the view that Western capitalism is fundamentally progressive, and that the left needs to support the broad thrust of Western foreign and economic policies whilst seeking to influence the implementation of those policies. They think that military interventions in the Middle East and trade deals like the TPPA can be made into good things if only the left influences them for the better. Iraq shows what a dangerous argument that is.

    But it’s not only in Afghanistan and Iraq that neo-imperialist intervention has failed to create peace and prosperity this century. In the Pacific NZ has been involved in a series of failed interventions: http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/the-real-reasons-for-mission-failure-in.html

    • leftie 9.1

      Thank goodness a nothing like tory Josie Pagani is not the NZ Labour party, and doesn’t represent or speak for the NZ Labour party.

    • swordfish 9.2

      Yep, absolutely right, Scott.

      Pagani, Phil Quin, Wannabe Wellington Mayor Nick Leggett – all very much in that lavishly-funded Blairite Progress camp, with all the fiercely pro-Israel, quasi-Neo Conservative and Atlanticist baggage that goes with it.

      Highly-ambitious Establishment Boys and Girls who lack both the spine and the selflessness to ever do the ethical thing on Human Rights and International Law.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        These are the same reasonable sounding Labour voices who say, sadly Corbyn has proven that he can’t lead, and regrettably, it must be Clinton over Sanders; and never mind Cunliffe, he was just a sorry mistake which proves that the caucus knows better than the membership – the membership that is clearly far to the left of what is the acceptable mainstream reality.

  9. Adrian Thornton 10

    So I wonder if light of this report, that the editorial staff at the Guardian will finally give up their implicit support for the Blairite coup against Corbyn?
    As it is, it seems that the Guardian has become another Trojan horse on the Left, that constantly undermines any real progressive change that has any chance at all of happening re; Sanders and Corbyn.

    • rhinocrates 10.1

      constantly undermines any real progressive change

      They’re the kind of liberals who support progressive change right up until the moment it might actually happen.

  10. Sabine 11

    starting from 2003 this was a blog that i followed almost daily.
    Riverbend, Iraqi Girl Blogger.

    She eventually made it to Syria, and her last entry was 2013. Who knows what has happened to her in the mean time.

    You need to scroll down to find the archive.

    https://riverbendblog.blogspot.co.nz/

    • Adrian Thornton 11.1

      That riverbend blog looks like an incredible archive.
      I will spend some time on it tonight.
      Thanks for the link.

      • Sabine 11.1.1

        Start at the bottom 2003 and just read.
        IF i remember correctly she was early mid twenties at the beginning of the war working in IT.

    • Molly 11.2

      Thanks Sabine.

      Started reading it from 2003, and it looks like it will be worth the time spent to read it all.

  11. Chooky 12

    ‘5 revelations from Chilcot’s damning report into the Iraq war’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/349672-chilcot-findings-iraq-blair/

    1.) ‘Military action was not a last resort’

    2.) British government ‘undermined authority’ of security council

    3.) Weapons of Mass Destruction presented ‘with a certainty that was not justified’

    4.) UK forces were ill-prepared

    5.) Post-war planning: Blair should have known what might happen

    and

    ‘Chilcot’s forgotten witnesses – Britain’s Iraqi diaspora (VIDEO)’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/349624-chilcot-britain-iraq-diaspora/

    • mac1 12.1

      1.) ‘Military action was not a last resort’

      This directly contravenes the first principle of a just war. Helen Clark knew that. How many other conditions were not met by the invasion of Iraq?

      Principles of the Just War
      • A just war can only be waged as a last resort.
      • A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority.
      • A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered.
      • A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
      • The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish a peace preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
      • The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered.
      • The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants- the deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

  12. Save NZ 13

    +100 for the post and all the comments and links.

    At least there is some justice even if it has taken 7 years to get the report and of course you have to think of all the lives lost and still being lost due to this mistake.

    It is shocking hearing John Key, not only being such a war monger, but also his only concern was about the ‘free trade’ deal. There is an absolute absence of morality, understanding and compassion in his psychopath like simplicity and analysis of the Iraq war and trying to drag NZ into it.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      It is shocking hearing John Key, not only being such a war monger, but also his only concern was about the ‘free trade’ deal. There is an absolute absence of morality, understanding and compassion in his psychopath like simplicity and analysis of the Iraq war and trying to drag NZ into it.

      QFT

  13. Bill 14

    Corbyn’s initial response covers stuff quite well.

    The Guardian reports that

    As Corbyn issued his excoriating statement to the House of Commons, he was heckled by his own backbencher Ian Austin, who shouted: “Sit down and shut up, you’re a disgrace.”

    Gotta wonder.

    • swordfish 14.1

      Ian Austin = formerly one of Gordon Brown’s closest lieutenants – once described as one of Brown’s “Boot Boys”.

      And then when the Brownites fractured following the 2010 Election, Austin went in the more conservative direction – becoming a Balls-Cooper loyalist, opposing those former Brown prodigies (like current Deputy Tom Watson and Michael Dugher) who got in behind the Soft Left-ish new Leader Ed Miliband.

      Austin’s very much from the pro-Israel Right of the Party, forced to unreservedly apologise a few years ago after falsely claiming (in an article for the quasi-Blairite Labour Uncut site) that a Palestinian human rights group had denied the Holocaust.

      Amazing how often the Blairites and Brownites are prepared to ruthlessly exploit the memories of the 6 million murdered in the Holocaust for their own petty personal career advancement within the PLP.

      Nasty piece of work. Could do with de-selection, I would have thought.

      • Bill 14.1.1

        Thanks for the background info. Appreciated.

        • swordfish 14.1.1.1

          After a little more digging …

          Austin voted on 3 separate occasions (in Parliament through 2006-2007) against an Inquiry into the Iraq War.

  14. johnm 15

    Why O Why do we beat around the bush!?

    The Invasion of Iraq is the 21st century’s greatest war crime, I repeat war crime so far. Another 84 years to go. The George Bush war criminals are the 96% perpetrators Blair was just a sycophantic cheer leader.Iraq Was destroyed overwhelmingly by the U$

    Key was happy to join in as a mercenary for more trade deals. The moral poverty of the Nats is frightening even distressing.

  15. logie97 16

    … no point in wondering if Jokey Hen has “Got the guts” to apologise to parliament and the country for his stance on Iraq.

  16. johnm 17

    The Truth About Chilcot

    By Craig Murray

    July 06, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – The death toll from the horrific recent Iraq bombings has risen over 250. If Blair had not been absolutely determined to attack Iraq on the basis of a knowing lie about WMD, they would be alive now, along with millions of other dead ( My belief the U$ would have invaded anyway without U$K help Blair was just a convenient ally and hanger on ) . ISIS would never have taken control of territory in Iraq and Syria. Al Qaeda would never have grown from an organisation of a few hundred to one of tens of thousands. We would not have a completely destabilised Middle East and a massive refugee crisis.

    Do not expect a full truth and a full accounting from the Chilcot panel of establishment trusties today. Remember who they are.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45048.htm

  17. whispering kate 18

    Where’s George W Bush these days – painting away his leisure hours and living in his own mind. Would be great if the US could instigate a 7 year investigation into his disgraceful egotistic war mongering as well. Some hope. Iraq today is a tragic state of affairs with no ending in sight, Libya, Syria etc are in turmoil and the West in their stupid ignorance think they still have the right to meddle in their affairs. One person I saw on Aljezeera from Iraq admitted that Saddam Hussein was a dictator and far from perfect but life under his rule was far more safe than what they are experiencing now.
    Our PM would be like Blair and “be with them whatever” – God forbid.

  18. johnm 19

    The Judgement of History
    7th July 2016
    115

    The Chilcot report is utterly damning; but it’s still not justice.

    By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 6th July 2016

    Little is more corrosive of democracy than impunity. When politicians do terrible things and suffer no consequences, people lose trust in both politics and justice. They see them, correctly, as instruments deployed by the strong against the weak.

    Since the First World War, no prime minister of this country has done something as terrible as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq. This unprovoked war caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the mutilation of hundreds of thousands more. It flung the whole region into chaos, chaos which has been skillfully exploited by terror groups. Today, three million people in Iraq are internally displaced, and 10 million need humanitarian assistance.

    Yet Mr Blair, the co-author of these crimes, whose lethal combination of appalling judgement and tremendous powers of persuasion made the Iraq war possible, saunters the world, picking up prizes and massive fees, regally granting interviews, cloaked in a force field of denial and legal impunity. If this is what politics looks like, is it any wonder that so many people have given up on it?

    The crucial issue – the legality of the war – was, of course, beyond Sir John Chilcot’s remit. A government whose members were complicit in the matter under investigation (Gordon Brown financed and supported the Iraq war) defined his terms of reference. This is a fundamental flaw in the way inquiries are established in this country: it’s as if a defendant in a criminal case were able to appoint his own judge, choose the charge on which he is to be tried and have the hearing conducted in his own home.

    But if Brown imagined Sir John would give the authors of the war an easy ride, he could not have been more wrong. The Chilcot report, much fiercer than almost anyone anticipated, rips down almost every claim the Labour government made about the invasion and its aftermath. Two weeks before he launched his war of choice, Tony Blair told the Guardian: “Let the day-to-day judgments come and go: be prepared to be judged by history.” Well, that judgement has just been handed down, and it is utterly damning.

    Blair and his government and security services, Chilcot concludes, presented the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction with “a certainty that was not justified”: in other words they sexed up the evidence. Their “planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.” They ignored warnings – which proved to be horribly prescient – that “military action would increase the threat from Al Qaida” and “invasion might lead to Iraq’s weapons and capabilities being transferred into the hands of terrorists.”

    Blair’s claim that the catastrophe he caused in Iraq could not have been anticipated was demolished with a statement that could serve as the motif for the whole report: “We do not agree that hindsight is required.” All the disasters that came to pass were “explicitly identified before the invasion.”

    But the most damning and consequential judgement of all was the one with which Sir John’s statement began: “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.”

    This is as clear a statement as Chilcot was permitted to make that the war was illegal. The language he used echoes Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, which lays out the conditions required for lawful war. He has, in effect, defined the invasion of Iraq as a crime of aggression, which was described by the Nuremberg Tribunal as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”.

    As Geoffrey Robertson QC points out, as a result of the long delays in the incorporation of the crime of aggression into the Rome Statute (which underpins the International Criminal Court), there is no legal basis for prosecuting Tony Blair on this charge either in Britain or before the ICC. But there might be other means of achieving the same ends. Six weeks ago, an unprecedented trial concluded in Senegal, where the former ruler of another country – Hissene Habre of Chad – was convicted of crimes against humanity.

    An academic survey of 90 countries found that around a third of them have, in one form or another, incorporated the crime of aggression into domestic law. Following the precedent of Habre’s trial, is there a legal reason why Tony Blair should not face a similar process, if, on his many lucrative stops around the world, he sets foot in such a nation?

    Legal reasons, of course, are not the same as diplomatic reasons, and we can expect the UK and US governments to use a wide range of threats and powers to thwart the principle of equality before the law: after all, international law is what powerful nations do to weak ones. Look at the £600,000 Cameron’s government has spent so far to block a civil case against the former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the former head of MI6, Sir Mark Allen, for the kidnapping and deportation to Libya of dissidents from Gaddafi’s regime, who were repeatedly tortured on arrival.

    Justice is inseperable from democracy. If a prime minister can avoid indictment for waging aggressive war, the entire body politic is corrupted. In the Chilcot report, there is a reckoning, firm and tough and long overdue. But it’s still not justice.

    http://www.monbiot.com

  19. Chooky 21

    A holocaust for some…

    ‘ ‘They took one Saddam, but got us many more’: Young Iraqi man tells RT he wants justice for Blair’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/350045-iraq-war-blair-justice/

    “Blair’s apology for the Iraq invasion is not going to bring the “destroyed” country and dead people back, a disabled Iraqi man, who lost his whole family, told RT. He demands justice for those whose actions only created “many more Saddams”.
    “I am not satisfied [with the Chilcot report],” 25-year-old Ali Abbas said. “It won’t bring me back my family; it won’t bring me back my arms or it won’t bring me back my country. My country Iraq is destroyed because of this invasion.”

    Thirteen years ago, Abbas lost his mother, father, and a little brother as well as 13 other members of their family in the UK-US allied 2003 invasion…

    • Jenny 21.1

      Coldly planned pre-meditated mass murder.

      An eye witness view.

      Stuff.co.nz

      We had inspected many sites and looked at items pinpointed by specific intelligence as “targets”, such as decontamination trucks, refrigerated containers that could be part of a concealed weapons programme and warehouses in former sites linked to the past programme that had renewed “suspicious” activity.

      We found fire trucks instead of decontamination trucks, empty refrigerated containers with cobwebs in them (samples were taken but nothing was found) and, to my bewilderment, the warehouse at a site well known to myself having been there on several occasions in the past, full of exactly the same stored, broken equipment as per the notes from previous inspections that we had with us.

      The intelligence was found wanting and we felt at times like we were on a wild goose chase at the request of the Anglo-American Governments in which nothing was being found.

      Meanwhile, on watching the news on CNN we were being made to feel that there were WMDs in Iraq and that we were not doing our job properly.

      Imagine the excitement within our group when we sat down to watch Colin Powell’s speech to the UN Security Council in February, 2003.

      Here we were expecting to be shown evidence, based on intelligence not shown to us, that Iraq has WMDs including stockpiles of agents and evidence of manufacture from the previous four years, when UN inspectors were not in the country.

      During the speech, we looked at each other at different times and laughed. We could not believe what we were seeing or what lack of evidence was being presented to the world. We were fully expecting to be sent out the next day to sites to follow up on the claims we were about to see. We turned to each other, laughed, and said “they have nothing”.

      Nothing that we were seeing on the ground backed up any of the statements being made by Tony Blair and the UK Government – my country – even though, by this time, I had been living in New Zealand for four years.

      In the months following the invasion, I watched the news every day, expecting the Iraq Survey Group to turn up the large stockpiles of chemical agents or WMDs as they had been termed.

      I personally felt that no such items would be uncovered as the evidence we were seeing on the ground was backing up the claims that the missing agents had been destroyed by Iraq unilaterally and unsupervised back in 1991.

      Just a couple of days before we left the country, we were looking at ways of trying to verify some of these claims. To the US and UK governments these missing agents were not destroyed, they were concealed somewhere in the country. The years since have painted a different view of some of the assessments.

      So on March 18 we left our hotel in Baghdad and headed for the UN headquarters for the last time, and then on to the airport to catch our plane. Every Iraqi we came across was in tears, as now the UN inspectors were leaving and the Americans and British were coming!

      Life for generations of people will never be the same: for British and American troops who fought in the war, for political and intelligence institutions who got the facts so wrong.

      A former colleague, David Kelly, died, as did one of my Chemical Team Inspectors, in a road traffic accident on the way home from one of our last inspections.

      And for the Iraqi people, life will truly never be the same, and I will never forget their faces.
      STEVE ALLINSON NZ resident UN Iraq Weapons Inspector

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      • Jenny 21.1.1

        With the release of the Chilcot Report it is only a matter of time before Tony Blair finds himself arraigned before a court of some kind. Whether it is a class action taken on behalf of all the dead and maimed and heard in a Civil Court, or a specially set up International Tribunal of some sort, only time will tell.

        He may be an old man by that time, but the judgement of history is in, and can only get more damning as time goes by and more information and testimony comes out.

        The regret and sorrow and self serving justification that Tony Blair is publicly expressing now, is probably due to his horribly dawning realisation of this likelyhood.

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