The report produced by Sir John Chilcot’s public inquiry into the Iraq War was published on 6 July, 2016. Having taken seven years to produce, the report ran to more than 2.5 million words and included an executive summary of 200 pages. Though the main conclusions of the report received some coverage in the British and international media, they were quickly replaced on the front pages by more recent machinations in Westminster.
The report itself was damning about the decision, taken by the then government of Tony Blair, to take the UK into a US-led war in Iraq. Broadly speaking, Chilcot’s criticisms fall within two categories, (a) criticisms of the case that was made for war and (b) criticisms of the way in which the war was prosecuted.
Examples of the first category include: That the Blair government made the case for war with ‘a certainty which was not justified’; The case for war rested on ‘flawed’ intelligence, specifically about Iraq’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction; and war was not a last resort, and peaceful alternatives to war had not been exhausted; the risks of the Britain’s military campaign were not fully revealed to ministers in the UK government