10 things to know about Chilcot

Nathanael Williams


Sir John Chilcot presented his main findings of his report looking into the UK governments involvement in the Iraq War


THE largest government document and public inquiry know in UK history was a mammoth task for journalists and observers to sift though. We wade through the bulk of information to break down the main findings of the report.


1. Sir John Chilcot confirmed that within the report, letters and some 29 notes between the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and the former US President George W. Bush will be published with some redactions.


2. Sir John has confirmed the inquiry has published notes from more than 200 Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings.


3. The report revealed examples of poor provision in military kit in the run up to an during missions on the ground in Iraq. 


A reconnaissance party from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery in the al-Faw Peninsular in southern Iraq in March 21, 2003 confirmed the inadequacy of the army's equipment when sending in troops to fight.


This morning, on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Lance corporal Iain McMenemy and Lance corporal Damien Hern spoke about how their kit was an constant issue:


"We were issued with the body armour vest and we were given ceramic plates, one for the front, one for the back and that’s what stops a bullet.


"First week into the combat campaign itself we were asked to give them up.”


4. Family members of deceased soldiers have questioned wether there is any chance for those making political decisions to be brought under legal charges.


Valerie O'Neill, lost her son Kris O’Neill when he was killed in 2007 in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack, spoke to International Business Times UK:


"Tony Blair has to answer for his actions, whether it is in a court of war here or in The Hague. He can't just walk away and say sorry…and go off to his merry life and all his millions. No. In my opinion he should be in the Hague, on war crimes charges"


5.The inquiry spoke to 129 witnesses in its time gathering evidence starting from 2009.


6. Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, 2002-2007 said the invasion wasn’t justified and substantially increased the terror threat to the UK


In her words the intelligence on the threat from Saddam Hussein wasn’t “substantial enough” to justify military action. 


7. It is clear there was no proper plan laid down by the UK, US coalition in how to administer Iraq after the defeat of Saddam’s military forces. 


Sir John stated: “The government failed in its intent to prepare for aftermath of invasion” 


Notable is the account by Emma Sky who as a civilian volunteer within two weeks of landing in Iraq was put in charge of the province of Kirkuk without having an prior experience in governing. 


8. There around 30 individuals who have come in for serious criticism. Many of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Cabinet colleagues (Jack Straw, Geoff Hoon, Clare Short), intelligence heads (Sir Richard Dearlove, Sir John Scarlett) and senior figures at the Ministry of Defence (General Sir Nicholas Houghton, General Sir Mike Jackson). 


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office may also receive some knuckle-wrapping over its Iraq War record keeping but foreign policy was essentially being conducted from No10 during this time. 


9. The decision to invade Iraq began to form post 9/11 and by April 2002 contingency planning for an invasion began.


10. Tony Blair did not establish clear ministerial oversight of decision making within the cabinet or within departments.