Chilcot’s verdict on Tony Blair is damning. Do you agree?

Former prime minister Tony Blair takes part in a discussion on Britain in the World in central london, where he admitted the West "underestimated" the problems in Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein as he called for British ground troops to return to the region to take on Isis [Image: PA ].

Former prime minister Tony Blair takes part in a discussion on Britain in the World in central london, where he admitted the West “underestimated” the problems in Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein as he called for British ground troops to return to the region to take on Isis [Image: PA ].

I could have quoted any number of press articles on Tony Blair and the Chilcot report today. This just happened to be the first one that came to hand.

The press reaction really isn’t important to This Writer, you see. I want to know what Vox Political readers think.

Do any of you believe the war was justified, as Ann Clwyd still does (apparently)? Have any of you come to believe that? Did you support the war and turn away? Do you think Saddam Hussein had to go, no matter the cost? Do you think the war contributed to the rise of new terrorist groups like Daesh – sometimes called Islamic State – as laid out in the ‘cycle of international stupidity’ (above)? Do you think it didn’t? Do you think Blair wanted a war because they put national politicians on the international stage? Do you think he improved or diminished the UK’s international standing? Do you think the UK has gained from the war, or suffered as a result?

There are so many questions. I’d love to see your answers.

Tony Blair is damned. We have seen establishment whitewashes in the past: from Bloody Sunday to Hillsborough, officialdom has repeatedly conspired to smother truth in the interests of the powerful. But not this time. The Chilcot inquiry was becoming a satirical byword for taking farcically long to execute a task; but Sir John will surely go down in history for delivering the most comprehensively devastating verdict on any modern prime minister.

Those of us who marched against the Iraq calamity can feel no vindication, only misery that we failed to prevent a disaster that robbed hundreds of thousands of lives – those of 179 British soldiers among them – and which injured, traumatised and displaced millions of people: a disaster that bred extremism on a catastrophic scale.

One legacy of Chilcot should be to encourage us to be bolder in challenging authority, in being sceptical of official claims, in standing firm against an aggressive agenda spun by the media. Lessons must be learned, the war’s supporters will now declare. Don’t let them get away with it. The lessons were obvious to many of us before the bombs started falling.

And now Chilcot agrees that the war was indeed based on “flawed intelligence and assessments” that were not “challenged, and they should have been”. Nelson Mandela was among those who, in the runup to war, accused Blair and Bush of undermining the United Nations. Mandela lies vindicated. As Chilcot says: “We consider that the UK was … undermining the security council’s authority.”

Source: The war in Iraq was not a blunder or a mistake. It was a crime | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian


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34 thoughts on “Chilcot’s verdict on Tony Blair is damning. Do you agree?

  1. jeffrey davies

    greed pure greed that sums this man up but having that promise of riches if he followed them he has we know but sadly people l;ike this have their get out of jail cards ready or that dessert island

  2. Jean Watson

    No it was not justified and Blair and those involved with him should face prosecution for war crimes

  3. David Woods

    He is a war criminal, and I regard him as a traitor as well – he lied to the people; to parliament and would have to assume the Queen too!
    He is partly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and I would think directly linked to the rise of ISIS

    And to give him the title of ‘Peace Envoy’ afterwards must surely have rubbed the noses of all Muslims in the s**t afterwards!

  4. Gary Bowman

    I think the majority knew it wasn’t justified and we are now in the position of being proved correct. Unfortunately in being proven correct we are watching a destabilised middle East with millions becoming refugees, hundreds of thousands starving and suffering bombings daily, terrorist threats throughout Europe, Islamaphobia on a huge scale the potential for war between America and Russia! But of course if you were to profit from cocking up the world, then yes you will be convinced you did the right thing!

  5. NMac

    Going back in history to 1956,. When Anthony Eden took the country to war on a pack of lies told to both Parliament and the country in order to justify the invasion of a Middle Eastern country. However, in that age of greater deference to politicians, instead of being shamed and disgraced he was showered with “honours” and called an “elder statesman”. I have often wondered if that had some sort of bearing on Blair when he decided to tell lies in order to justify the invasion of a different Middle Eastern country, and that whatever the end result of the military action he did not expect to be publicly pilloried for his disgraceful conduct.

    Blair was not the first British Prime Minister to take the country to war on a pack of lies, it was done in 1956 and, even further back, in 1895/96 (Jameson Raid/Boer War). I sincerely hope he is the last and I hope that if Jeremy Corbyn weathers the storm and becomes PM he will well and truly signal the end of quasi-colonial British military interventions in the internal affairs of other countries.

  6. Julie Knights

    I thought that the world would be a better place without Saddam, but didn’t really support the war. But when our own government were adamant that he had WMDs that could be deployed within 45 minutes, and Saddam was denying it, I thought “do I believe a leader of a modern, western democracy with a free press or do I believe a tyrant dictator who doesn’t allow free speech?” and I felt that he was causing the war by not coming clean. It seams I made the wrong choice and that was the start of my mis trusting all politicians. So far, nobody has managed to restore my faith in them.

    1. Roy Beiley

      Not having read the report or even its Summary, I am reliant on extensive media coverage in order to come to a conclusion.
      I opposed the war. Something about the buddiness between the Cheshire Cat grinning Blair and Dubya, seen so many times since, seemed somehow out of place when they were due to talk about going to war. The context of his response yesterday was peppered with references to the United States of America having been attacked for the first time in their history and, they being our closest ally, it came across that this was what was most important. It looks to me that Blair had a pact with Bush to effect regime change in Iraq and to acted in a Presidential way instead of being a Prime Minister and observing parliamentary democracy by allowing the intelligence to be challenged. He put American vengeance for 9/11
      ahead of our interests and the whole bandwagon of war was put in place with terrible consequential outcomes. He obviously had earlier access to the Chilcot Report as his statement was well structured and crafted with some evidence of regret but no admission that he had done any wrongdoing. Blair has always suffered from a a surfeit of hubris and that faultline in his character has eventually been exposed by the evidence presented in Chilcot’s surprisingly candid report.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        One point: Iraq was not a response to 9/11. There was no evidence to support claims that Iraq had anything to do with it. The terrorists came into that country after the UK and USA did what we did to it. So how can Blair use 9/11 as justification?

  7. Nick

    Blair like IDS embarked on policy’s of deception and as a result millions of innocent people have died in the middle east along with the very brave soldiers that were sent there to fight

    IDS just like Blair as had a war with the sick and disabled causing many hundreds of mentally ill to take their own lives but also causing the deaths of many that were vulnerable to starve to death

    both men should never ever be allowed on the tv ever again at best and prosecuted at worse for reigning over such appalling atrocities

    at least Blair has said sorry ? as for IDS there has been no comment ?

  8. Rusty

    To your question, yes! Tony Blair is a war criminal! He’s a worried man now the truth (part off) is being told

  9. mohandeer

    Blair wanted to be centre stage rubbing shoulders with the powerful elite of the US. He wanted a war under his belt, no doubt imagining it would be another Desert Storm victory in which he would shine even brighter than thatcher. If you think this is an over simplification of Blair the psycho’s motives, then you misunderstood the pure megalomaniacal ego that was Blair. When Neil Andrews interviewed Blair suggesting that because of public opinion against the war being so high, a referendum might be called, Blair smiled and said dismissively that we can’t have a referendum every time government had a decision to make. How about that for utter starry eyed conceit, not to mention contempt for the peoples wishes?

  10. mysticmusician

    i was against the Iraq war from the start and traveled all the way from Cornwall to join the demonstration against the war in the first place. I never believed what Blair said about any of it and I’m truly sorry that the UK went to war and for the devastation and disruption it caused. It was certainly not undertaken in my name. I feel it definitely led to the fragmentation of that country which, in turn allowed Daesh to flourish causing the situation we face today as well as the hatred that this has engendered.

  11. mrmarcpc

    He and Bush Jr are evil, greedy, murdering scum, they ignored people like Hans Blix, lied to both our nations and are responsible of many deaths both in Iraq and here and that includes Dr. David Kelly!
    I’m pleased the report had a real go at him, he deserved it, his phony apology yesterday was sickening; he should be punished for his crimes and I hope the families including Dr. Kelly’s sue the balls off him!

  12. Robert

    I don’t know what speed you read at but it will take me weeks to get through it if I ever get to the end.

  13. Chris Bergin.

    I would like to see a Chilcot style enquiry into our current government. I think crimes against humanity barely covers it.

  14. Dez

    The elephant in the room, despite Chilcotts copius carefully worded verbal outpourings, is the still unsolved mystery of Dr. David Kelly who was thought to be a world expert of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction who died in bizarre circumstances and
    surrounded by dark happenings. He was alleged shafted and outed by the BBC, but for bizarre or covert reasons his death was not put through the usual channels but entrusted to the loyal Hutton to lead an inquiry which had less legal powers than a proper coroners court and lastly a strange cloak of secrecy has been placed on all the relevant information relating to his alleged suicide for many many years forward. All very strange that one of the Governments leading WMD experts met an untimely end just when the wolf pack was getting
    a head of steam to get stuck into another war which Dr. Kelly thought was all being over egged and not necessary. The last thing Blair wanted was a Government party pooper expert spoiling his and his mates Bushs plans. And now we hear Blair saying they were
    given the wrong intelligence? I believe they knew the real intelligence from their real expert but chose to sex up trumped up fear tactics which we all know is now common Government practice. Sorry Blair you are still guilty but looks like this soft touch report will mean you will have to wait until you meet your maker before your lifes work gets judged ….properly.

  15. Rik

    I think he (Blaire) should get some sort of bafta award for yesterday’s performance. .
    Seriously he needs to be convicted & thrown in jail and his wealth divided between the families of the soldiers who died in vain. ..
    Let him Rot In Peace

  16. casalealex

    Do any of you believe the war was justified – NOT AT ALL

    Do you think the war contributed to the
    rise of new terrorist groups like Daesh

    Do you think Blair wanted a war because they put national politicians on the international stage? – POSSIBLY

    Do you think he improved or diminished the UK’s
    international standing? DEFINITELY NOT

    Do you think the UK has gained from the war, – NO
    or suffered as a result? – YES

    Did you support the war – NO!

  17. John

    Well, we haven’t, as of yet, heard from Bush…. have we? To send an email, supposedly saying “We will be with you, whatever” is certainly one hell of an email to send.
    I remember when they actually caught Saddam, I remember the White House official saying “Ladies and gentlemen…. we got him!”
    I also remember Blair in the HoC, unfortunately coming out with the “Weapons of mass distraction” line.
    Sorry to sound obvious, but he is, of course, going to come out (and has already done so), with a number of excuses to cover his own ass (or to try anyway).

  18. Michelle

    I lived in Spain at the time and I marched with 1 in 10 Spaniards who also opposed the war. Long before the Iraq war loomed on the horizon I didn’t trust Blair, his cosy alignment with the Bush empire only confirmed my unease.

    A decade before the war I got to know a remarkable Afghani women who had directed a girls school in Kabul, because she was very well educated she and her family eventually had to flee the country, so I tried to understand and learnt and read about the US Afghan invasion from Middle Eastern authors – I sadly realised our European news was far from accurate and could see the propaganda template being applied to Iraq all over again.

    The whole world has suffered due to this cruel war, not just because of the devastation to people in Iraq and the surrounding countries but also because it meant that the politics of war and its powerful mindset flourished as did its economy.

  19. Nessie King

    Tony Blair not only deceived Parliament (he did not deceive the British people as I was one of the million who marched in protest at the war); he clearly broke the law in doing so by using the “dodgy dossier” as a pretext for Regime change in Iraq. That is illegal. We all KNEW this. We protested and we marched and he persisted with this position. For 13 years he REFUSED to apologise and I for one do not accept his crocodile tears in the 2 hour press conference he gave.

    But this is not new. As I have said – we KNEW. I am just glad that Chilcott did not perpetrate the white wash we expected and produced a very good and yes, damning report. So I do agree with you Mike.

  20. Phil Lee

    Lying to parliament will do as a holding charge (of which there can be no doubt) to keep him safely under lock and key while the real case is prepared. It would also allow his assets to be locked down so that they cannot be hidden away where his victims can’t access them for some small degree of compensation. As civil claims, they only need to be decided “on the balance of probability”, rather than the far more difficult “beyond reasonable doubt”. Then try him on the real, substantive, hardcore charges, when he’s down to relying on a legal aid lawyer.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Except lying to Parliament isn’t a criminal offence.
      Contempt of Parliament is an offence among MPs, for which they may be expelled, but Blair isn’t an MP any more.

      1. Michelle

        Hi Mike,

        yes, for folks who haven’t seen these laws from 1689 (!!!) on protecting liars: “Article 9 protects the member who knows what he is saying is untrue.. In more precise legal language, it protects a person from legal liability for words spoken or things done in the course of, or for the purposes of or incidental to, any proceedings in Parliament.” Ref point 38 on Legal Immunity (please see gov web link below).

        But I’m wondering, perhaps could it proven that Blair was in contempt at the time and that he acted in bad faith – especially as he was at pains in his theatrical speech re Chilcot to say that he ‘acted in good faith’ – he must be worried.

        On contempt for anyone who wants to see this legalise for themselves please note point 52 “A claim that a minister acted in bad faith would be rare, but the underlying principle should be the same even in such an exceptional case. The applicant should be entitled to point to ministerial statements and claim that the minister misled Parliament… Any question of a minister knowingly misleading the House would also be a serious contempt of Parliament, and would have grave parliamentary consequences.”


      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        With regard to that last bit, we know that Iain Duncan Smith knowingly misled the House on many occasions and faced no such grave Parliamentary consequences.

      3. Nick

        The reason IDS has got away with his negligence with regards the hundreds of deaths of the sick and disabled is because none of the relatives have joined forces to sue him for these deaths

        with regards the Iraq war all of the soldiers families of those that died will join forces to sue the goverment at some point

        IDS may appear to have got away from these deaths by distancing himself from them by stepping down as the minister for welfare ‘but he will never know for certain and will have to spend the rest of his life wondering if at some point he will be charged for these deaths through negligence and have to stand trial

        many hundreds have died in all sort of circumstances over the past few years’ so many in fact it’s very odd that he was not stopped by someone as over 6 years of presiding over these deaths is a hell of a long time

        makes you wonder if this country is a democracy at all as the only countries without redress are normally those in the middle east where you are punished in private and left to die ?

        many questions with regards this country’s overall integrity and most certainly one of the worst leading international countries i have ever encountered

  21. tim

    One person warn him and Bush about going to war with Irak, because he knew the subject very well and that man is Jacques Chirac and in exchange France was named as a traitor.
    Blair made his mind up well before 2003 and thought by all means to get it past in parliament. After the tragedy, he still don’t want to admit he was wrong. Some relatives of the dead soldiers said that Blair is dellusional, well no, they should not give him the chance do be declared mental illness and his punishment should not be diminished on this term.The man talked longer than Sir Chilcot after the condence conference that Sir Chilcot gave, for me Blair was well prepared and having the gift of the gab he wants some sympathy.

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