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Author Topic: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports  (Read 3004 times)

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Offline Irisado

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The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« on: July 7, 2016, 05:54:35 AM »
After seven years, Sir John Chilcot has finally published his inquiry into the Iraq War.  It numbers twelve volumes and is, therefore, going to take some time to fully digest.  It is, however, already clear that those hoping that Chilcot would find evidence that Tony Blair lied are to be disappointed.  This comes as no surprise to me, for as much I as disagreed with Blair's foreign policy and found that the evidence did not justify his approach, it was clear that he never actually lied.  What is of interest though is the extent to which his decision-making and the way in which intelligence was presented is criticised.  Perhaps the most crucial point is that Chilcot concludes that all diplomatic paths had not been exhausted before the decision to go to war was taken.

Tony Blair, of course, rejected this and any notion that he had taken the wrong decision during a two hour news conference yesterday.  His long speech involved stating his case all over again, repeating arguments from thirteen years ago.  Some of his most perplexing comments pertained to the idea that Iraq is in a better state now than it was then.  He cannot have watched the programmes that I've seen or listened to the Iraqis who have been regularly interviewed over the last thirteen years to reach such a conclusion.

While it took far too long for the report to come out, I'd say that, based on what I've seen so far, it was worth waiting for.  What do the rest of you think?
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Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #1 on: July 7, 2016, 10:45:39 AM »
The thing I've picked up on the news over here is that it became clear that Blair more or less promised away British miliary support at a really early stage, which has come under harsh criticism.

Offline Wyddr

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #2 on: July 7, 2016, 12:27:04 PM »
From our side of the pond, a lot of our reaction has been "Y'all didn't know that already?"

Like, we've known most of this stuff for *years.* Perhaps not with hard evidence, but enough soft evidence to make it pretty much a given.

What in the report comes off as surprising? Haven't you guys known Blair was in GW's back pocket for a while now?

Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #3 on: July 7, 2016, 01:06:12 PM »
Well, some of the concerns was supposedly whether Blair was "repaying" Bush for Clinton (apprently reluctant) intervention in the Balkans in the '90s, but this was apparently unrelated.

Offline Irisado

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #4 on: July 7, 2016, 01:17:32 PM »
From our side of the pond, a lot of our reaction has been "Y'all didn't know that already?"

Like, we've known most of this stuff for *years.* Perhaps not with hard evidence, but enough soft evidence to make it pretty much a given.

What in the report comes off as surprising? Haven't you guys known Blair was in GW's back pocket for a while now?

It was well known and Chilcot has not said anything that has not already been uncovered, but it is now all documented as hard evidence.  That is the key difference from the past.

On the point that Blair was actually somehow following Bush, that's not the case.  Blair pursued the case for taking action against Iraq before 11 September 2001, and actually became a little frustrated by Clinton being a bit more cautious than he would have liked.  The characterisation of 'poodle Blair' by the British media was fundamentally flawed.  I discovered this during my own research, but that notion has now been well and truly put to bed by Chilcot, and that is important.

Well, some of the concerns was supposedly whether Blair was "repaying" Bush for Clinton (apprently reluctant) intervention in the Balkans in the '90s, but this was apparently unrelated.

Related and unrelated at the same time.  Clinton was very angry with Blair for going public about a possible NATO ground offensive in Kosovo, which would have involved putting US troops on the ground, something which Clinton was very reticent to do.  Clinton gave Blair a dressing down over this in private, and Blair concluded from this that he should only ever offer any critique of US foreign policy in private if he wanted to have influence over the president.  This was thus the approach he adopted with Bush, but it's questionable as to how much influence he ultimately managed to achieve over Bush, although he did help to persuade him to go down the UN route.
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Offline Lonewolf

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #5 on: July 7, 2016, 01:32:51 PM »
What Wyddr said. Also i dont think that Blair has lied to the public. That honor goes to the American intelligence.

What i cant understand is Blairs continous defending of the decision to join the war effort, especially his claim that it was the right thing and that the Iraq is better off now than is would be otherwise. A couple of 100.000 dead people, broken down infrastructure, enslaved women and children and a still raging massive civil war, that has spread outward into other countries, speak another language. He drives a straight line at least, i guess. Bushs poodle indeed.

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Offline Irisado

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #6 on: July 7, 2016, 01:48:29 PM »
He sincerely believes that Iraq is better off now, that's why he defends his approach, and tries to use the counterfactual of how much worse it would have been had Saddam Hussein remained in power during the Arab Spring, in that Iraq would have turned into another Syria.  I disagree with the use of counterfactuals in this way, and also his assessment of the current state of Iraq.

He drives a straight line at least, i guess. Bushs poodle indeed.

I'm not sure whether you're saying he was or was not Bush's poodle, but the evidence all shows that he was not.  That was, as I alluded to above, a fabrication of the British media.  Blair strongly believed in what he was doing.
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Offline Lonewolf

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #7 on: July 7, 2016, 02:02:25 PM »
From the evidence i have read, he pledged his full support to bushs cause long before the war started. Maybe i have the wrong metapher for the word "poodle" in my head. But he was something you would call a "Schleimer" in German, someone who does all he/she can do to please or impress a more important person.


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Offline Irisado

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #8 on: July 7, 2016, 03:03:00 PM »
Ah, that's not a poodle.  A poodle is just someone who obediently follows another.  Blair was at the head of those wanting to take action against Iraq.  His pledge to support Bush was because he believed that this was the way to influence the US President, to maintain the special relationship between the US and the UK, and was in line with his (Blair's) own policy.
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Offline Calamity

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #9 on: July 7, 2016, 05:46:00 PM »
I'm glad it's over and I'm glad it says what it says.  What I want now is for Blair to suffer for his crimes.  Hopefully it's not too much to ask for.

Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #10 on: July 7, 2016, 05:56:37 PM »
Ah, that's not a poodle.  A poodle is just someone who obediently follows another.  Blair was at the head of those wanting to take action against Iraq.  His pledge to support Bush was because he believed that this was the way to influence the US President, to maintain the special relationship between the US and the UK, and was in line with his (Blair's) own policy.

I think that was what I was trying to say above, although who knows anymore, it's late and I'm tired. :P


That being said, defending the invasion of Iraq with an imaginary situation of Saddam during the Arab Spring is dubious in the extreme, given that I'm not sure the Arab Spring would really have occured if it were not for the invasion and subsequent events. There are other factors, of course, such as the continued economic mismanagement in MENA authoritarian and semi-authoritarian states, as well as the Sahrawi activists whose actions preceded but where eventually obscured the Arab Spring. Very speculative anyhow.

Offline Irisado

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Re: The Chilcot Inquiry Finally Reports
« Reply #11 on: July 7, 2016, 06:39:31 PM »
I'm glad it's over and I'm glad it says what it says.  What I want now is for Blair to suffer for his crimes.  Hopefully it's not too much to ask for.

I think that, if you take a look at his delivery and his expression, it's clear that he is suffering for it.  However, what I suspect you're referring to is potential legal consequences.  Even though the legality of the war remains open to debate, as Chilcot touches on, there's little chance of any prosecution so far as I can see, simply because he didn't actually lie.

That being said, defending the invasion of Iraq with an imaginary situation of Saddam during the Arab Spring is dubious in the extreme, given that I'm not sure the Arab Spring would really have occured if it were not for the invasion and subsequent events.

Indeed so.  This is why the whole basis of counterfactual argument he is making can so easily be challenged using other counterfactuals.
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