Chilcot summary – unanimous view

A summary of the findings of the Chilcot report: The Iraq Inquiry

The Inquiry Report is the Committee’s unanimous view. Military action in Iraq might have been necessary at some point. But in March 2003:

  • There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.
  • The strategy of containment could have been adapted and continued for some time.
  • The majority of the Security Council supported continuing UN inspections and monitoring.

Military intervention elsewhere may be required in the future. A vital purpose of the Inquiry is to identify what lessons should be learned from experience in Iraq.

There are many lessons set out in the Report.

Some are about the management of relations with allies, especially the US. Mr Blair overestimated his ability to influence US decisions on Iraq.

The UK’s relationship with the US has proved strong enough over time to bear the weight of honest disagreement. It does not require unconditional support where our interests or judgements differ.

The lessons also include:

  • 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.

And, when decisions have been made, they need to be implemented fully.

Sadly, neither was the case in relation to the UK Government’s actions in Iraq.


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  1. David

     /  7th July 2016

    “There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.”

    Why does the threat need to be imminent? A risk is a risk.

    “The strategy of containment could have been adapted and continued for some time.”

    At what cost? The containment was breaking down and also had a huge cost in lives.

    The very simple answer is there was no clean, blood free solution The fact so many were more comfortable with leaving Iraq under the control of Saddam than taking any action against him tells you a lot about those people and not much about the choices there were.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  7th July 2016

      An honest approach would have been to say that Saddam is a brutal arse-hole who needs to be taken out for the good of his people. That would have immediately focused attention on what had to happen afterwards to ensure the goal was reached.

      Using the WMD excuse short-circuited that goal and made it into “who cares what happens to Iraq so long as it doesn’t have WMD”.

  2. artcroft

     /  7th July 2016

    Yet if containment had broken down, then so what? Saddam was determined to keep his hold on Iraq. Attacking the West through terrorism wasn’t going to help him do that and he knew it. That’s why he had no biological agents. Saddam was a menace to his own people and no one else.

    Now Iraq is a bloody mess and will be for a long time to come. ISIS, a direst result of the Iraq invasion, ravages Libya and Syria and has carried atrocities in the West.

    The invasion of Iraq was a mistake that the wise avoided.


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