Families of UK soldiers to boycott Iraq war inquiry report
Story Code : 551080
The two million-word inquiry report about the involvement of the British government in the 2003 invasion of Iraq will be published on Wednesday after about seven years.
The Iraq Inquiry, also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry after its chairman, Sir John Chilcot, was established in 2009 to investigate Britain’s role in the Iraq war and its aftermath that saw British forces remain in the Arab country for six years.
The report analyzes evidence about how the government of Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair acted before the invasion of Iraq and during the war.
Relatives of the 170 British soldiers who were killed between 2003 and 2009 will get an early sight of a summary of the report.
"It will be a whitewash. I'm absolutely disgusted. I'm not going because it will be a whitewash,” said Julia Nicholson, mother of Gary Nicholson who died when their plane was shot down in 2005.
"Tony Blair has got blood on his hands. He will have covered his back and (George W) Bush's back," she added.
Janice Procter, whose 18-year-old son Michael Tench was killed in 2007, said "It's been horrendous, I'm very apprehensive about this.”
"This man (Blair) has put 179 kids to the slaughter – there's no justice. (The report) is not going to give me any closure or comfort," she said.
Procter added that she will not attend the session for the relatives of the soldiers, “I'm not going to waste two hours of my life reading it."
David Godfrey, whose grandson Rifleman Daniel Coffey died in 2007 in Iraq, said Blair is a “war criminal” and should be tried at a court.
"I'm quite apprehensive at the moment. People say this should bring closure but it won't. It might give us information but what we need is closure,” Godfrey said.
Roger Bacon’s son Matt was killed in the war in 2005. Bacon said, "What I'm expecting is that the report will bring out what I've always believed, which is that [Blair] took us to war illegally.”
“The major thing is, how did we get into this mess in the first place?” he added.
Blair told British MPs before invading Iraq that intelligence showed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had “active”, “growing” and “up and running” nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were the basis of launching the war.
In 2004, however, a US report said that Saddam Hussein had destroyed his last WMD over a decade ago and had no capacity to build new ones.
Earlier reports said that the Chilcot inquiry report will affect the reputation of Blair, his foreign secretary Jack Straw and former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove.
Launched by the administration of former US president George W. Bush with strong UK backing, the war led to the deaths of more than one million Iraqis.
The invasion plunged Iraq into chaos, resulting in years of deadly violence and the rise of terrorist groups like Daesh (ISIL).