Iraq inquiry slams Blair over legal basis for war

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A British inquiry into the Iraq war strongly criticised former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government on Wednesday for joining the U.S.-led invasion without a satisfactory legal basis or proper planning.

Blair responded that he had taken the decision to go to war in Iraq “in good faith”, that he still believed it was better to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and that he did not see that action as the cause of terrorism today, in the Middle East or elsewhere.

The long-awaited inquiry report stopped short of saying military action was illegal, a stance that is certain to disappoint Blair’s many critics.

“We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for military action were far from satisfactory,” said John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, in a speech presenting his findings.

Blair argued the report should exonerate him from accusations of lying.

“The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit,” he said in a statement.

“Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country.”

Relatives of some of the British soldiers who died in Iraq said they would study the report to examine if there was a legal case to pursue against those responsible.

The Chilcot report said there was no imminent threat from Saddam in March 2003, and the chaos in Iraq and the region which followed should also have been foreseen.

The invasion and subsequent instability in Iraq had, by 2009, resulted in the deaths of at least 150,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, and displaced more than a million.

The report said Britain had joined the invasion without exhausting peaceful options, that it had underestimated the consequences of …Read More

Source:: Nigerian Pilot