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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2010

Chilcot inquiry: Blair - a willing warmonger

IF ANYONE still believes that Tony Blair had to sanction the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 to protect us from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), then the ex-prime minister's recent comments to the BBC would have dispelled that myth.

A long line of top civil servants, government advisers and intelligence chiefs have all readily confessed to the Chilcot inquiry that the government's publicly stated reasons for going to war against Iraq were concocted. Now, Blair admits that he would have gone to war regardless of the existence of WMDs, saying: "I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]".

Blair, guided by his religious fervour, may find it easy to sleep at night, but for the relatives of the thousands of Iraqis and the hundreds of UK troops who died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, his 'frankness' about the reasons for going to war will be of little comfort.

Blair had already said in 2004 that despite the absence of WMDs in Iraq, regime change had 'made the world a better place'. Of course, from the perspective of someone who has made millions of pounds since leaving office that may be true but it's not the case for the majority of people in Iraq who continue to suffer from the consequences of Blair's action.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, along with foreign secretary David Miliband and international development secretary Douglas Alexander, have all been spared any embarrassing appearances at the Chilcot inquiry this side of the next general election.

Chilcot says that the inquiry committee wants to "remain outside party politics" as if any decision by the governing Labour party to go to war somehow wasn't 'party political'.

It seems that Brown has leant on the committee in the hope that his pivotal role in sanctioning the war, and indeed as chancellor in writing the cheques to fund the war, is not exposed, in order to lessen any drubbing at the polls.

Dave Carr

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