CHILCOT IRAQ INQUIRY: Britain's armed forces were sent to war with 'serious equipment shortfalls'

Britain’s army was sent into the Iraq War with “serious equipment shortfalls when the conflict began,” according to the findings in the highly-anticipated Chilcot report.

“Those shortfalls were exacerbated by the lack of an effective asset tracking system, a lesson from previous operations and exercises that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) had identified but not adequately addressed,” added Chilcot and his team at the Iraq Inquiry in the report.

“Ministers were not fully aware of the risks inherent in the decisions and the MOD and Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) were not fully aware of the situation on the ground during the conflict.”

In other words, armed forces were sent to war with not adequate enough kit or preparations for the scope and scale of the war once down on the ground.

The Iraq Inquiry, dubbed the Chilcot Inquiry, is one of the most highly-anticipated political reports in Britain’s history.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was in office from 1997-2007, took Britain to war in Iraq in 2003.

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 UK’s involvement in the war in Iraq.

The report, which is estimated to have cost over £10 million ($12.9 million) of taxpayers’ money, has been chaired by former senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot and has taken 7 years to complete.

179 British troops died during the 2003 invasion in Iraq and since then, 251,000 combatants and civilians in total have been killed in the country, according to the database The Iraq Body Count.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lance corporal Iain McMenemy and Lance corporal Damien Hern talked about how their kit was an issue:

“We were issued with the body armour vest and we were given ceramic plates, one for the front, one for the back and that’s what stops a bullet.

“First week into the combat campaign itself we were asked to give them up…. There were other troops that would be fighting perhaps on foot and the ones that were fighting on foot should have those ceramic plates because they may have more need for it.

“At the time we were asked we were manning vehicle check points on foot so we were very much at that point in the firing line so we felt we shouldn’t be asked to give up the ceramic plates which were the difference between stopping a bullet and not.”

In 2008, author Jonathan Steele wrote a book entitled “Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq” and it looked at how “Britain went to war unbriefed, unprepared and with no idea of the fallout that would ensue.

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