Today, Sir John Chilcot of the United Kingdom’s Parliament released his long awaited report on the decision to join the United States in the invasion of Iraq and its consequences. The 6,000 page, 2.5 million word effort has been in the works for seven years and delivers a vicious condemnation of then Prime Minister Tony Blair, who lied to the British people about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and Baathist Iraq. The release of the report has sparked a fresh wave of calls for Tony Blair’s prosecution for war crimes.
The release of this report should prompt Americans to ask why haven’t we had an investigation into the events and decisions that led to the biggest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam? Why haven’t we begun prosecuting the men responsible for blatantly lying to the American people in order to justify a useless conflict that has accomplished nothing but lead to countless deaths? The war that threw an entire region into instability and chaos, that made our nation less safe by creating conditions for nonstate militant groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS/ISIL)?
The Iraq War was prosecuted with such staggering incompetence and such obviously poor decision making that one has to question whether or not the events that followed – the outbreak of civil war, the rise of Daesh, the widespread corruption and the wasting of trillions of dollars, a large part of which went to multinational corporations – were all intended to happen. The dissolving of the Iraqi military, the refusal to institute martial law, the failure to prevent looters from raiding military armories, the refusal to listen to anyone who had useful operational knowledge of Iraq and its people are all decisions that we have paid a steep price for.
Especially when intelligence reports in both America and the United Kingdom accurately predicted the chaos that would follow. The Chilcot report concludes that “the UK had ample warning that Iraq would collapse after the invasion and make the problem of terrorism worse — but it went to war anyway. Then-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair decided that the UK couldn’t afford the hit to the US-UK relationship that would come from seriously challenging the Bush administration’s rush to war.”
President Bush still has the nerve to defend his choice to invade Iraq, which was being planned before 9/11 ever happened. A spokesperson for the former president said that “despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”
As the death toll from the weekend bombings in Baghdad rises to above three hundred killed, it is clear that Mr. Bush is still delusional. The American people and the Iraqi people deserve answers, and justice demands that we try and prosecute President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and the rest of their coven of neoconservative ideologues that designed and profited off of this cataclysmic conflict.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.