Sir John Chilcot has today finally given his report into the Iraq War which started in March, 2003, concluding that there was no need for the United Kingdom to go to war at the time.

Tony Blair

Tony Blair

In his statement he said: "Military action in Iraq might have been necessary at some point. But in March 2003; There was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein; The strategy of containment could have been adapted and continued for some time; The majority of the Security Council supported continuing UN inspections and monitoring.

He added: "Military intervention elsewhere may be required in the future. A vital purpose of the Inquiry is to identify what lessons should be learned from experience in Iraq."

Noting that lessons can be learnt from the mistakes made, he said: "Above all, the lesson is that all aspects of any intervention need to be calculated, debated and challenged with the utmost rigour.

"And, when decisions have been made, they need to be implemented fully. Sadly, neither was the case in relation to the UK Government's actions in Iraq."

Speaking about casualties caused by the war, he explained: "The invasion and subsequent instability in Iraq had, by July 2009, also resulted in the deaths of at least one hundred and fifty thousand Iraqis - and probably many more - most of them civilians. More than a million people were displaced. The people of Iraq have suffered greatly."

He also said how more than 200 British citizens had died as a result of the conflict, with many more injured: "This has meant deep anguish for many families".

"Service personnel, civilians who deployed to Iraq and Iraqis who worked for the UK, showed great courage in the face of considerable risks. They deserve our gratitude and respect."

Sir Chilcot also paid tribute to Sir Martin Gilbert who passed away last year, who he said "brought a unique perspective to our work until he became ill in April 2012".


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