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PRESS RELEASE


Chilcot: Blair’s Iraq War Was Unnecessary

July 6, 2016 (EIRNS)—Today’s release of the report of the Iraqi Inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, into the British role in the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, is, in the words of the Guardian, a "crushing verdict" against Blair’s decision to go to war alongside the G.W. Bush Administration.

"This is really bad for Blair, and it’s going to get worse," a pleased Lyndon LaRouche said today, upon being briefed on the report’s release.

The most damning conclusion from the report, as recounted in the 12-page statement that Chilcot delivered this morning on its release, is that the war was completely unnecessary. "Military action in Iraq might have been necessary at some point," Chilcot said, but in March of 2003 there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein; the strategy of containment could have been adapted and continued for some time; and the majority of the Security Council supported continuing UN inspections and monitoring. In short, the Commission concluded that Blair lied about the threat of weapons of mass destruction coming out of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, lies which were used to launch a completely illegal war.

Documentation in the report also shows the degree to which Blair actually dragged the G.W. Bush Administration into the war, even as elements of that administration were already predisposed to going to war in Iraq. Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, Blair was already making suggestions to Bush as to strategies for so-called regime-change in Baghdad. The strategy for trying to gain UN Security Council backing for the war was also Blair’s project. Even though Blair publicly committed to seeking a UN resolution authorizing the war, he was privately assuring Bush that, resolution or no, British troops would join the U.S.-led invasion.

Chilcot also hammered Blair on the aftermath of the invasion. Blair had claimed in testimony to the Commission that the difficulties encountered in Iraq after the invasion could not have been known in advance.

"We do not agree that hindsight is required," Chilcot said.

"The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuit of its interests, regional instability, and Al Qaeda activity in Iraq, were each explicitly identified before the invasion."

Blair immediately responded with a statement in self- defense, promising more to follow. "The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit," he lied, adding that whether people agree or disagree with the decision, "I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country." He said that in the follow-up statement he would issue, "I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse," and

"at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein, and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world."

Blair issued a second statement later in the day, rejecting, by the Guardian’s count, at least nine of the key points that Chilcot had made, including Chilcot’s conclusion that the war was not a last resort.

"Given the impasse at the UN and the insistence of the U.S.A.—for reasons I completely understood and with hundreds of thousands of troops in theatre which could not be kept in situ indefinitely—it was the last moment of decision for us."

In other words, the war was necessary because the troops were there and ready to go.