London, July 6: A British inquiry into the Iraq war of 2003 has strongly criticised the former Tony Blair government, saying it had led the country into the war based on flawed intelligence.
The long-awaited inquiry report said Great Britain had joined the US-led invasion of Iraq without making full use of the options to negotiate and that the legal basis for military action was not satisfactory and even the planning was not upto the mark.
The inquiry, which was set up in 2009 under the then British prime minister Gordon Brown and was headed by Sir Jon Chilcot, a privy councillor, produced a report comprising 2.6 million words (about thrice the length of the Bible) which revealed the details of the exchanges between Blair and the then US president George W Bush who led the invasion into the Asian country, resulting in deaths of several thousands.
"It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged and they should have been," Chilcot said while presenting the findings.
The probe rejected Blair's defence that the post-invasion problems in Iraq could not have been understood in advance. Britain also lost 179 soldiers in the war which took place since the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was said to possess weapons of mass destruction though nothing of that sort was found.
Vacuum in Iraq persists till today
Hussein was toppled by the attack and the vaccum which was created in Iraq on that day still persists. The Islamic State today controls large areas of the country and regularly target innocent lives in bomb attacks---the latest happening on July 3 which saw the death of 250 people. It was the eighth attack the country has witnessed since February this year. [We talked enough of Istanbul, Dhaka attacks; did we think much about Baghdad?]
Opponents of Blair's decision to join the war will get into the inquiry report's findings on how Blair, who left office in 2007, justified the military adventure in Iraq.