Perhaps the most damning conclusion stated in the Chilcot Report — the twelve-volume review issued today of the UK's participation in the post-9/11 invasion of Iraq — is buried toward the end of the Executive Summary.
824. The following key findings are from Section 17:
- The Inquiry considers that a Government has a responsibility to make every reasonable effort to understand the likely and actual effects of its military actions on civilians.
- In the months before the invasion, Mr Blair emphasised the need to minimise the number of civilian casualties arising from an invasion of Iraq. The MOD’s responses offered reassurance based on the tight targeting procedures governing the air campaign.
- The MOD made only a broad estimate of direct civilian casualties arising from an attack on Iraq, based on previous operations.
- With hindsight, greater efforts should have been made in the post‑conﬂict period to determine the number of civilian casualties and the broader effects of military operations on civilians. More time was devoted to the question of which department should have responsibility for the issue of civilian casualties than it was to efforts to determine the actual number.
- The Government’s consideration of the issue of Iraqi civilian casualties was driven by its concern to rebut accusations that Coalition Forces were responsible for the deaths of large numbers of civilians, and to sustain domestic support for operations in Iraq.
The Report of the Iraq Inquiry, No. HC 264 (06 Jul 2016), at 128–29 (emphasis added).
"With hindsight" my ass: Don't confuse us with long-established international law (well known to every commissioned officer), or facts, or even the search for facts — we have careers to protect. One almost expects Malcolm Bloody Tucker to have been in charge of something... oh, wait a minute, that was based on the shenanigans of the Blair government...