Intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq “did not justify” the UK’s decision to go to war in 2003, the Chilcot Report has concluded.
Sir John Chilcot said in a speech in London on Wednesday: “The judgements about Iraq’s capabilities in that statement, and in the dossier published the same day, were presented with a certainty that was not justified.”
“The Joint Intelligence Committee should have made clear to Mr Blair that the assessed intelligence had not established ‘beyond doubt’ either that Iraq had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons or that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued.”
The government produced two dossiers of evidence used to justify war in Iraq to Parliament: one in September 2002 and another in February 2003, known as the dodgy dossier.
The September document was an investigation of weapons of mass destruction within Iraq and claimed Saddam Hussein had access to chemical weapons, biological weapons, and reconstituted nuclear weapons. The Iraq Survey Group subsequently only found a small stockpile of chemical weapons in 2003, inadequate to post a significant threat.
The February 2003 report was a document on Iraq’s weapons capabilities circulated by Alastair Campbell, Blair’s head of communications, to journalists. It became known as the “dodgy dossier” after it emerged that much of the work in it had been plagiarised, notably from a report by a graduate student.
The revelation was included in the long-awaited Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, finally published after 7 years on Tuesday.
The 2.6 million word document is the culmination of a huge investigation that was launched by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 into the United Kingdom’s involvement in the war in Iraq.
The report, which is estimated to have cost over £10 million of taxpayers’ money, has been chaired by former senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot.
The UK went to war with Iraq alongside the US in 2003. The US stated that the intent was to remove “a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world.”
War with Iraq was part of the US’ “War on Terror” following the September 11th attack on the Twin Towers in 2001, as set out in this 2003 State Department document. The US said it wanted to “Shut down the Salman Pak training camp where members of al-Qaida had trained.”
However, the UK public strongly opposed military action and the UN refused to sanction military action. The protracted conflict that followed the declaration of war saw 179 British military personnel killed and thousands of Iraqis killed.
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