Does Chilcot Report Bring Peace to Tragic Soldiers’ Families?
Last week the Chilcot inquiry, which has taken years to produce, was finally published revealing the immoral decision process of the UK to invade Iraq. Then Prime Minister Tony Blair has come under fire for ignoring official advice, exaggerating the threat made by Saddam Hussein, a lack of planning for post-invasion and sending troops to war ill-equipped for the task.
The UK backed military action to join the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Following the invasion, the UK lost 179 of its servicemen and women. The families of those who lost their lives for their country have long criticised the Iraq regime and have been waiting for the results of the Chilcot inquiry for seven years. The report heavily criticises Tony Blair for following George Bush to war – but now that it has brought the truth to light, will anyone be held to account for these deaths?
While the report itself doesn’t explicitly refer to the invasion of Iraq as illegal, it says the legal basis for the war was far from satisfactory. Additionally, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time John Prescott has said he now believes the invasion was illegal. MPs may be able to vote whether Blair is guilty of contempt of Parliament or even try him for war crimes. Prosecutions seem unlikely at this stage, however families of the British soldiers who died may be able to sue Blair – but would that make them feel any better? If they feel as if their loved ones were needlessly sent to war, then they may want to see someone held to account.
Chilcot has found that military action at the time was not a last resort, and other peaceful options had not been considered. Blair then exaggerated the threat from Iraq and Saddam Hussein, to justify his argument for invasion. Additionally, British Intelligence Services were at fault for producing ‘flawed’ information about the alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Worryingly, the report also highlights how unprepared the UK military were for the challenges in Iraq. The invasion was inadequately planned, and forces were slow to react to the security threats throughout the war. In particular, the use of IEDs is mentioned, which were to blame for the many of the fatalities.
Bereaved families were emotional and angry after reading this damning report – with one family member referring to Blair as a terrorist. Many are considering legal action for these troops which were sent to Iraq unprepared, on false information, and never came home.
Servicemen and women who serve on the frontline can find comfort in the features of SwonSong. If you risk your life every day, you never know if you’ll get to say goodbye to your family. While sadly those troops in Iraq didn’t have the chance to create messages for their loved ones, we hope those serving now around the world can benefit from the app.
Visit SwonSong to find out more.