Socialist Worker

Chilcot report - Tony Blair should be put in the dock over Iraq war

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2512

Part of the two million-strong anti-war protest in London on 15 February 2003

Part of the two million-strong anti-war protest in London on 15 February 2003 (Pic: Ray Smith)


Warmonger and former Labour prime minister Tony Blair could face a motion of contempt in parliament following the release of the Chilcot report last week. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is reported to be ready to vote for it.

The report into the Iraq war found that Blair had helped to invade Iraq in 2003 on the basis of “flawed” intelligence.

Blair had argued that the invasion was necessary as the Iraqi regime under dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. This was a lie.

The report does not accuse Blair of lying. But the motion set to be tabled this week will accuse him of misleading parliament.

Outrage at Blair is widespread—not mainly because he lied to parliament but because his lies led to the deaths of a million Iraqi people.

A protest outside the report’s release event in central London last Wednesday gave a flavour of that anger. The protest was called by the Stop the War Coalition, which organised against the war in Iraq from the outset.

Abe Hayeem was one of around 200 people at the protest. He said, “The invasion was a deliberate attempt to topple Saddam Hussain.”

He added that Blair and former US president George Bush should “face justice in a criminal court” for launching the invasion.

And Stop the War convenor Lindsey German told Socialist Worker, “People have hopes that Blair will be held to account.

“There is criticism in the report that mistakes were made. But the first mistake was going to war in the first place.”

Snivelling

Blair responded to the report with a snivelling speech in defence of himself.

He said the invasion was “the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in ten years as British prime minister”. He went on to justify it at length.

And Alastair Campbell—Blair’s former spin doctor who concocted “intelligence” justifying the war—claimed that the report had cleared him.

Others are also trying to exonerate themselves. John Prescott, deputy prime minister at the time, wrote in the Mirror newspaper to express his “great sadness and anger” over the war that he voted for.

Prescott revealed that, despite backing the war at the time, he actually had several “concerns” that show he was on the right side all along.

And Tory MP David Davis, who was set to table the motion, also voted for the war.

The millions of people who marched in 2003 didn’t need to wait for thirteen years and a 12 volume report to know the war was wrong. Lindsey German said, “Millions of people saw the war for what it was.

“All our predictions were carried out”.

The revelations in the report are another blow to our rulers in deep crisis—that’s why they’re trying to weasel their way out if it. We shouldn’t let them.

Tony Blair is a mass murderer. He must be put in the dock for his war crimes—along with everyone else responsible for the slaughter.


Jeremy Corbyn says sorry - but many Labour MPs aren't

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn made an official apology for the Iraq war on behalf of Labour after the Chilcot report was published.

He said the apology was “owed first of all to the people of Iraq.

“Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and the country is still living with the devastating consequences of the war and the forces it unleashed.

“They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years.”

Corbyn added, “The apology is also owed to the families of those soldiers who died in Iraq or who have returned home injured or incapacitated.”

But not every Labour MP is sorry for the war.

Angela Eagle, who is challenging Corbyn’s leadership, warned against taking “revenge” against Blair for the invasion.

She voted in favour of the war in 2003.

And Labour MP Ian Austin heckled Corbyn as he condemned the war in parliament.

Austin shouted at Corbyn to “shut up” as he criticised the invasion.

Click here for a list of current MPs who voted for the war

Report ignores the impact of the war in Iraq

Not much is written in the Chilcot report on the effect of the war in Iraq on the Iraqi people or Iraqi society.

The war killed around a million Iraqi people—most of them civilians.

Some Iraqis were tortured by British soldiers—most infamously at the battle of Danny Boy in 2004, where a teenager was also killed.

The battle gets one mention in the report’s 2.6 million words. The camp where the torture took place is referred to twice in passing.

The report also notes that the invasion was followed by a civil war in Iraq but claims that “divisions were not created by the coalition”.

The truth is that the sectarian divisions in Iraq—and the chaos in Iraq today—are direct results of the 2003 invasion.

Alex Megone, protesting outside the report’s launch last week, said, “The war has been a disaster. It’s responsible for Isis. People in Iraq can’t live normal lives because of the war.”

Murad Qureshi added, “No Iraqi is grateful for the intervention. They are scathing about it.”


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