The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 8th July 2016
THE CHILCOT inquiry into the Iraq War, which began in March 2003, finally reported after seven long years of investigation on Wednesday and its findings for Tony Blair have been devastating.
Among those pushing for the report to be delivered were the families of 179 British service personnel who died in the war.
One young woman whose brother died in Iraq tearfully told a press conference: “The world needs to know there is one big terrorist: Tony Blair is the world’s biggest terrorist.”
Roger Bacon, speaking on behalf of the bereaved families, said they would reserve their right to take legal action on the basis of evidence provided by the report.
He said: “Never again must so many mistakes be allowed to sacrifice British lives and lead to the destruction of a country for no positive end. We were proud when our husbands, sons and daughters signed up to serve our country. But we cannot be proud of the way our Government has treated them.
“We must use this report to make sure that all parts of the Iraq War fiasco are never repeated again. Neither in a theatre of war, nor in the theatre of Whitehall.
“We call on the British Government immediately to follow up Sir John’s findings to ensure that the political process by which our country decides to go to war is never again twisted and confused with no liability for such actions.”
The report found that:
At the time Blair won parliamentary support for the war by claiming that Saddam has WMDs that could strike at Britain within 40 minutes if triggered.
As the House of Commons responded to the report Alex Salmond, speaking for the Scottish National Party, called for “legal consequences”, saying that Blair: “Recklessly committed the country to war without collective judgement.”
Salmond concluded: “After such carnage, people will ask inevitable questions of was conflict inevitable and worthwhile? The answer from Chilcot is undoubtedly no. And who is responsible? The answer is undoubtedly Tony Blair. There must now be a consideration of what political or legal consequences are appropriate for those responsible.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who strongly opposed the Iraq War from the beginning, began by commemorating the victims of the Iraq war and says the length of time taken to conclude the Chilcot Inquiry is a “matter of regret.”
“It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people,” Corbyn says, adding that it “fostered sectarianism” and became a catastrophe for the people of Iraq.
He reminded the House of the two million-strong peace march in London in opposition to the war. And he paid tribute to the late Robin Cook who resigned his Cabinet post in protest at the plans for the war.
While he was speaking Corbyn was heckled by Ian Austin, a Labour backbencher who called for Corbyn to “Sit down and shut up; you’re a disgrace.” Austin had repeatedly voted against the Chilcot Inquiry taking place.
Corbyn called for the House of Commons to take action against Blair for misleading it in the run-up to the war, echoing the call from Alex Salmond and the SNP’s plans to try to impeach Blair over this.
There were other calls for legal action. Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition also said: “We welcome the fact that this report is so damning but for us this is not the end but the beginning. There must be legal sanctions against Tony Blair and he should no longer be considered fit for any office.”