One of the highest ranked officials in the British army allowed looting to happen in Basra and Baghdad following the onset of the Iraq War because the situation was so out of control.
According to the highly-anticipated
Iraq Inquiry, dubbed the Chilcot Inquiry, “faced with widespread looting after the invasion, and without instructions, UK commanders had to make their own judgements about what to do.”
“Brigadier Graham Binns, commanding the 7 Armoured Brigade which had taken Basra City, told the Inquiry that he had concluded that ‘the best way to stop looting was just to get to a point where there was nothing left to loot.‘”
A Brigadier usually oversees and commands thousands of men — a brigade.
Sir John Chilcot and his team, which put together the report, also highlighted how the inability of Britain’s armed forces to control the escalation of looting could have contributed to “resentment” toward the coalition which “could lead to violence.”
Furthermore, this lack of control had a huge impact on the country overall and the power of the army:
“In the absence of a functioning Iraqi police force and criminal justice system, and without a clear Coalition Phase IV plan, looting and score‑settling became a serious problem in Baghdad soon after the regime fell. The looting of ministry buildings and damage to state‑owned infrastructure in particular added to the challenges of the Occupation.”
“Reflecting in June 2004, Mr David Richmond, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Iraq from March to June 2004, judged that the failure to crack down on looting in Baghdad in April 2003 released ‘a crime wave which the Coalition has never been able to bring fully under control.'”
The Iraq 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.
Britain went to war with Iraq “before peaceful options were exhausted” and the decision was based on “flawed intelligence,” said Chilcot at a press conference in London on Wednesday ahead of the long-awaited report’s release.
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