The Chilcot Report: Bush Ignored Numerous Warnings Before Invading Iraq

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tags: Iraq War, Tony Blair, George W Bush, Chilcot Report



The British report demolishes one of the certainties of some opponents of the Iraq War: that Bush lied his way into war. The report shows the president believed Saddam possessed WMD, although he and his administration were irresponsible in their use of the intelligence that led them to that conclusion. However, the report reinforces the suspicion that there was plenty of attention paid to which corporations would get to profit from the Iraq reconstruction, while the humanitarian needs after Saddam’s fall were given far less thought.

Based on the findings of the report, the Bush administration at first focused on missile defense as its priority, with Iraq and the Middle East far down the list of issues to address. But members of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office also heard faint drumbeats—emanating from the Pentagon—about overthrowing Saddam.

By the summer of 2001, as the CIA sent reports to the White House about an impending Al-Qaeda attack on U.S. soil, the administration turned more of its attention to Iraq. (Senior Pentagon officials argued to Bush that the CIA was misreading the intelligence, and that Osama bin Laden was not a threat but instead was running a false flag operation for Hussein.) At the time, Western military planes were patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq as part of the U.N. arms control agreement signed by Iraq in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Since Saddam’s military forces might shoot down the surveillance aircraft at any time, Bush gave the nod to a new plan on how to respond: Rather than merely launching a recovery mission, the American military would instantly mount a major offensive against the Iraqi capital. The British were stunned at the scope of the Baghdad bombing targets listed by the Americans. “We should strongly advise the Americans against their proposed strategy: It is politically and legally all wrong,” Stephen Wright, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office deputy under the secretary of state for defense and intelligence, wrote in a memo.




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