Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken full responsibility for the British invasion of Iraq in 2003, but says he stands by the decision.
Blair was responding to the Chilcot Report which found “no imminent threat” from Iraq’s then-leader Saddam Hussein at the time of going to war.
“It is now clear the policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged and they should have been,” said Sir John Chilcot, Chairman of Iraq Inquiry.
“Mr Blair told the inquiry that the difficulties encountered in Iraq after the invasion could not have been known in advance. We do not agree.”
Sir John Chilcot slammed Blair for overstating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and for failing to make adequate plans for after his downfall.
“The decision to go to war in Iraq and to remove Saddam Hussein from power in a coalition of over 40 countries led by the United State of America was the hardest, most momentous, most agonizing decision I took in my 10 years as British Prime Minister. For that decision today, I accept full responsibility, without exception and without excuse,” said Blair.
However, Blair said he believed “the world is better and safer as a result” of toppling Saddam Hussein.
Family members of some of the British service personnel who died were briefed on the report in advance. Some chose to boycott the presentation, over fears it would be a whitewash.