Blair committed to Iraq war before exhausting options for peace, inquiry finds

British forces were committed to invading Iraq “before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted”, a seven-year inquiry into the Iraq War has found. In a 2002 letter to George W Bush - declassified and published for the first time - Tony Blair wrote: “I will be with you, whatever.” As a result, the invasion was not the “last resort” presented to MPs and the British public, a report by Sir John Chilcot found. The report also questioned the legal basis for war, said the threats posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction “were presented with a certainty that was not justified” and condemned the planning both before and after the 2003 conflict.

It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged and they should have been

Sir John Chilcot

The long-awaited report went much further than many expected in its condemnation of the way the conflict was handled. Sir John said the UK’s military role in Iraq “ended a very long way from success”. It went “badly wrong, with consequences to this day”. Mr Blair issued a statement defending his actions and saying he “would take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse”. But Rose Gentle, whose son, Gordon Gentle, died while serving in Iraq with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, said:“I hope he (Blair) goes to his bed and thinks ‘What the hell have I done?’ because he will never be forgiven.”

We cannot turn the clock back but we can ensure that lessons are learned and acted on

Prime minister David Cameron