UK entry into Iraq war not justified: report

The findings of the seven-year inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, into Britain's role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq were delivered on July 6 in the form of a scathing verdict against former prime minister Tony Blair and his administration, stating that the war was based on "flawed intelligence and assessments" and had been launched before "peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted." Tthe Chilcot Inquiry concluded that the "judgements about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction—WMD—were presented with a certainty that was not justified… There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein. Additionally, "[t]he planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate."

While stating that determination of whether the military action was legal is the prerogative of an international court, the inquiry concluded that "the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory." Chilcot's statement reminded that a UN Security Council majority was lacking at the time of the invasion, and further concluded "that the UK was, in fact, undermining the Security Council's authority" by proceeding with military action. As for the post-conflict period, Chilcot's statement concluded that "[t]he Government's preparations failed to take account of the magnitude of the task of stabilising, administering and reconstructing Iraq, and of the responsibilities which were likely to fall to the UK."

Stating that a vital purpose of the inquiry is to identify the lessons that can be learned from the Iraq experience including "management of relations with allies," Chilcot remarked that, "[t]he 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."

From Jurist, July 7. Used with permission.