Findings of the Inquiry Committee
1. The first is that the judgments of the severity of the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were “presented [to the British Parliament] with a certainty that was not justified”. Mr. Blair, in a misleading statement to Parliament in September 2002, had warned that the-then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological capabilities that posed a threat to the U.K. “with a certainty that was not justified”, the report states.
2. Second, the outcome of the invasion was underestimated by Mr. Blair, “despite explicit warnings”.While military action in Iraq “might have been necessary at some point”, the report notes that in March 2003, when the U.S.-U.K.-led coalition entered Iraq, “there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.”
More than 1,50,000 Iraqis had died by the time most of the British troops withdrew in 2009, while 179 British soldiers also lost their lives.
3. Third, planning for an Iraq after Saddam was “wholly inadequate”, and finally, the government “failed to realise its stated objectives”.Mr. Blair did not establish clear ministerial oversight in planning and preparation for the war and his post-war efforts in Iraq “never matched the scale of its challenge”, the report concluded.
Seven years later, the country remains badly plagued by sectarian violence, as shown notably by Sunday’s Baghdad suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group which killed at least 250 people.
4. Mr. Blair faced particular criticism for pledging to support U.S. President George W. Bush the year before the invasion, writing: “I will be with you, whatever”.
In the report, Mr. Blair emerges as not just an obedient junior ally of the then U.S. President George W. Bush, but as a powerful backer and, sometimes, a step ahead of the U.S. President, first in pushing for regime-change in Iraq, and then endorsing military invasion as a means to carry it out.
View Point of former British PM Tony Blair
Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, who took the controversial and unpopular decision to send British troops into war in Iraq in 2003, said he would take the same decision today if he had the same level of information as he had then.
Mr. Blair argued that if the US-led coalition had withdrawn the threat of invasion in 2003, they would have found it impossible to regroup the forces, and Saddam Hussein would have been strengthened by then insisting that they did not have “the option to delay.”