Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has presented his response to the the long-awaited Iraq Inquiry report, led by Sir John Chilcot, which was published on Wednesday.
The report found that Britain went to war with Iraq in 2003 “before peaceful options were exhausted” and the decision was based on “flawed intelligence”.
Cameron, who was speaking in the House of Commons, laid out the five lessons to be learned from the report — and the wrong conclusions the government, and others reading the report, shouldn’t jump to.
1) Taking the country to war should always be a last resort.
2) The machinery of government does matter. The government should make sure all key parts of its national security operation are joined up.
3) The culture established by Prime Ministers matters too. There should be a climate where officials can challenge policy “without fear or favour,” Cameron said.
4) Proper post-war planning is essential. Cameron added that 0.7% of Britain’s gross national income goes towards overseas aid in order to help achieve this.
5) The government should ensure that armed forces are always properly equipped. Cameron said the government spends 2% of its gross domestic product on defence and it plans to invest £178 billion on military equipment in the next decade.
And here are the lessons Cameron said we shouldn’t take from the report:
1) “It is wrong to conclude that we should not stand with US allies when our common interest is threatened.” Cameron added: “Britain has no greater friend or ally in the world than America.”
2) Cameron said it is wrong to conclude that we cannot rely on the judgments of “our brilliant and hard-working intelligence agencies.” He added that there needs to be “proper separation” between the process of assessing intelligence and the policy-making that follows.
3) It is wrong to think that Britain’s military is not capable. Cameron said Britain’s armed forces “remain the envy of the world.”
4) It is wrong to conlcude that intervention is always wrong. Cameron pointed to times when it has been “right to intervene,” such as in Sierra Leone and Kosovo.
More to follow …
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