Family members of the 179 British soldiers killed in Iraq have waited an excruciating seven years for this day.
The long awaited British inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq has been published. Led by former senior civil servant John Chilcot, the report took over seven years to prepare and runs over two million words.
Some of those family members, who gathered outside of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, said they felt vindicated by the Chilcot Report’s conclusions.
But not Bob Wright.
“It’s several years now since my son was killed,” he told Global News. “We’ve learned to cope with it. I was hoping that this (the Chilcot Report) would bring us closure. But it’s not closure.”
Wright’s son, Stewart, was a Royal Marine Commando. He was killed on July 26th, 2007, just four days shy of his 30th birthday.
Wright said his son went to Iraq to stop Saddam Hussein from unleashing his weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
In March 2003, then Prime Minister Tony Blair made a passionate plea, urging British Parliament to act without the United Nations’ approval. Blair warned that Saddam had WMDs, and could activate them in just 45 minutes. But today, the Chilcot Inquiry concluded that Blair oversold the credibility of that intelligence, which was flawed and uncertain.
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That, said Wright, makes Blair a war criminal.
“He is a smirking bigot. He should be banned from holding high office anywhere in the world.”
But the Chilcot Report, while damning, is not legally-binding, meaning Blair and others government officials will likely escape criminal prosecution.
The International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over the British government’s decision to invade Iraq. Some British MPs have called for Blair to be impeached, using an ancient law that dates back to the days when British Parliament acted as a court. But even if MPs voted to impeach Blair, the result would likely be symbolic.
As a result, Wright and his wife sum up the 2.6-million-word Chilcot report in one sentence: “What a total waste of time.”