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tv   British House of Commons Debates the Chilcot Report  CSPAN  July 18, 2016 12:42am-3:30am EDT

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best. $13 trillion debt. >> all about donald trump. i think his issues and his policies on foreign trade and how unfair it is to trade with china and the way we trade with them is unfair. i like to even that out. i also love his policies on immigration. let's build a wall, let mexicans come on over, but legally.
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i want to signal my understanding that the publication of the report one week ago will have been a difficultnd no doubt moment for those who lost loved ones in iraq. even as we examine the detail of the report that they note that the house will never forget sacrifice of those who lost their lives during the conflict. we will never forget the service in the sacrifice of the thousands more who suffered life-changing injuries and we reconfirm to them today our determination that they will get
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the care they need for the rest of their lives. i hope the survivors and relatives of the fallen alike will have taken comfort from the assiduous and detailed examination of the war tree found in this report. the sacrifice of our service people demands nothing less. more than 13 years since the invasion of iraq began and 10 years since the conservative party and others first called for it and after gordon brown commissioned it the report tries to answer the current questions that have dominated the debate about the war in iraq and the events that preceded and followed it. did the united kingdom decide to go to war on a mistaken or false premise? were all the decisions leading ando the war properly taken informed by proper consideration
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of legal advice? was the operation to invade iraq properly planned and executed? did the government of the day for see the aftermath? providedarmed forces with proper protection and equipment for their task. digesting fully the contents of this report will take weeks level of days. 13 volumes and 2.6 million words the committee takes us in painstaking detail through the decision-making and government from 2001 on the possibility of military action first arose and 2009 when british combat troops finally deposit -- departed iraq. they set out the conclusions they have reached including the ofdling use and presentation secret evidence.
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>> this admittedly to date debate is taking place. there are millions of words to be read. >> right honorable members would have been dismayed if they had had an opportunity to put on record their reaction to the chilcott report. the first words of the very
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first paragraph of the report spell out the enormity of the undertaking and thus the gravity that should have attended all the preparation and execution. in 2003, for the first time since the second world war, the anted kingdom took part in opposed invasion and full-scale occupation of a sovereign state, iraq. the reading of sir john's report suggests flaws and errors and omissions abounded. i will try to summarize these key findings that he makes. the two issues essential to the case tony blair put forward were saddam's failure to comply with the obligations imposed by the un security council and the message the international community would send if those obligations were not enforced.
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the threat to international peace and security for the weapons of mass destruction that he argued were at saddam's disposal. an report identifies ingrained beliefs of the government that the intelligence community that saddam hussein's change chemical and biological warfare capabilities and were determined to preserve any enhanced capabilities and was pursuing an active and successful policy of deception and concealment. there were good reasons for this belief. given the past actions of saddam hussein's regime. his past uses of chemical weapons against kurdish forces. his refusal to comply with un security council resolutions.
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mr. blair was being advised by the chairman of the joint intelligence committee that iraq possessed chemical or biological means to deliver them, and the capacity to produce them. says, is clear that policy on iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. and no stage was the proposition that they might no longer have these weapons identified and examined by either the joint intelligence committee or the wider intelligence community. in the kc synnex in the house of commons on the 18th of march 2003. mr. blair also argued that there was a link between international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. together constitute a fundamental assault on our way of life. it wasn finds that while
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reasonable for the government to be concerned about the proliferation of terrorism there was no basis in the assessment to suggest that iraq itself presented such a threat. the use ands to presentation of intelligence in particular the government's dossier on iraq's weapons of mass destruction published on the day of the commons debate on the 24th of september 2002 sir john finds that there is no evidence that the information was improperly included. or that number 10 improperly influenced the text. the gic accepted ownership of the dossier. the judgments presented in mr. blair's statement to the house with ay were percentage certainty that was not justified.
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clear thatave made the assessed intelligence had not established beyond doubt either that iraq had continued to produce chemical or biological weapons or the ability to develop nuclear weapons. on the much debated question of the legality of the war. the inquiry has not expressed a view on whether military action was legal. resolved bynly be improperly constituted court. the government is refusing to release confidential information about the inquiry. it is impossible to rule on whether the invasion was illegal. the government's refusal finds in the face of an information tribunal it means the public what is going on with
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the nature and the scope of the inquiry. will the government reconsider its position to release this the governments in considering this report will look at all these matters. that is not the reason that -- sir john has declined to rule on the legality of it. the inquiry is not constituted in such a way nor does it have the necessary skills and qualifications to make that judgment. that is precisely my question. tribunal hason ordered the release of the information of the inquiry was so refined. not a criticism of chips
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or john killed -- sir john chilcott but a criticism of the current government. >> sir john himself identifies the lack of qualification of the members of his panel to reach that decision. it could only be resolved by a properly constituted and internationally recognized court. the honorable lady will know that a huge number of documents have been declassified and made available in this process. it is not possible to declassify every document. although the attorney general advised that there was on balance a secure legal basis for military action the circumstances in which was ultimately decided that there was a legal basis for the u.k. participation were far from satisfactory. that militaryear
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action was not undertaken as a last resort. there were other diplomatic steps that could have been taken to see compliance by the regime. by moving to a military solution wasuickly, the u.k. undermining the un security council. >> the comments of robin butler before the publication of the report. there was never a question that he had to deal with. why would the government release the documents that might give the public and parliaments a idea that the inquiry was not qualified. sir john chilcott has not
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identified the lack of information as the reason why he has not rule on the legality of the war. visit lack of appropriate skills in the part of people in america. the government in looking at the report of the iraq inquiry and it will take some time to do that will consider all these matters, including questions that the right honorable gentleman is raising about any further documentation. >> the report's masterful and its descriptions.
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but look at it the political context. does he agree with me that the background was quite clearly that the americans and the blair government wished to invade iraq in order to change the regime and get rid of saddam hussein. that would be a legal regime change. all this desperate desire to find evidence and to persuade themselves that there were weapons of mass destruction. and that he wasn't cooperating with inspectors. and that there was a risk of terrorism. motivated by a desire to get the attorney general some basis on which he could say was legal. report ising of the that it does indeed identify toime change as an objective
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be legal under u.k. law. the suggestion is that through a people of groupthink involved in this process came to see regime change as a means to deliver the legitimate objective which was compliance with the un security council resolutions. a fair reading of the report suggests that that is just not something that can be spelled out. >> i hope i will be able to assist the foreign secretary. i understand his point. having had the advantage she did not of being part of the government when these discussions were taking place i can tell you that as we got closer and closer to this decision on repeated occasions mr. blair stressed the
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government that the resolution calling for saddam hussein to comply with eu inspectors and if he did so comply then there would be no military action. this terrible man who certainly did commit atrocities in a mass scale did not remain in power. that was a downside we would have to accept. to the rightteful honorable lady for giving us that insight. she was on the front line of where this debate started. the things that comes out clearly from a reading of the report. it is the misalignment of the u.k. government and the united states government. as it was legally entitled to do. on the issue of operational ofnning, planning and defeat iraqi forces proceeded quickly.
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the troops performed very well a fact of which we and they should be proud. decidedish government to restrict access to our exporters turkish territory. turned out to be a good deal less formidable than many of us had imagined. asshould have an as great preparing for the aftermath. it was said before the committee 2003 that you do not engage in military conflict that results in regime change, unless you are prepared to work in the that the to ensure country is stable and the people are properly looked to. -- looked after. the government was not in a position to have satisfactory plan strawn up and preparations no post-conflict
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challenges. ,nderstanding the challenges the needs to administer a state anda minister security -- administer security, the government assumed the u.s. thed be responsible for post-conflict plants and that the plans would be authorized by the security council and that the u.n. would play a major role in the international community would share the burden. government found the expected not to have to make a substantial commitment to post-conflict administration and it concludes that the failure to anticipate
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to the point of regime change, it is important that what was report on tony blair's report to parliament. "i have never set out for regime change." theek later, that is why weapons of mass destruction are the justification for action. >> it goes without saying that the ministers and members should the truthful in the utterances to parliament and the ministerial post makes that clear. on the reconstruction efforts, it is found that the united
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kingdom failed to prepare for the reconstruction programs and that the lessons that have been learned through previous reviews of post-conflict reconstruction stabilization's were not applied. implementation had a significant and lasting negative impact on iraq. the top the three tiers would have been better. had the u.k. not acted on the -- equipping and resourcing of british troops, it governmentat the
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failed to match resources to the objectives and undertook concurrent operations in iraq and afghanistan. they exceeded planning assumptions. in part of the consequence, the role ended a long way from success. to meet u.k. forces should not have an tolerated and the response was slow to the developing threat with improvised explosive devices. at the end of this, it is found 2009 did not of meet objectives and it fell short of strategic success. the findings relate to decisions at the time and the arrangements and processes in place. who are ministers,
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they need to answer for their actions and this government should not apportion blame or revisit those actions. it will ensure that the lessons and willre learned lead to changes being implemented in the future. the government has not stood still while waiting for findings. there are a number of important reviews before this, including and the inquiry into the death of dr. david kelly. and, the intelligence incident charity committee of oath houses. lessons have an identified and changes have been implemented. a great deal of work has been done.
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theould he judge that post-war conflict reconstruction in libya would have lessons learned? that these things are different. , there was an occupying power that shared responsibility for the occupation of commission and we were in control of the territory and exercising all the functions and responsibilities of the government. the result of the decisions taken had british boots never on haveround and we did not this within our capability that we should have done. >> let me summarize the important lessons from the
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report. taking military action should always be the last result -- resort. it is ensuring that future administrations are unlike the. how the government is conducted matters. record-keepingh is serious and widespread and the coalition government will ensure that there is proper
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decision-making. the chairman and the relevant ministers will be alongside senior officials and it was , ledted by the secretary by the national security advisor and it ensure that all parts are joined up across whitehall and beyond. we have a system that ensures propery issues on challenge and discussion with the legal advice full explained and considered and proposed stress tests for positions that were formerly recorded. for six years, as an educational permanent member as a defense secretary, it seems, to me, highly improbable all that the process of is this 2002-2003, could be repeated now.
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-- the process of business through 2002-2003 could be repeated now. >> this should be somebody who is independent and legally all in the area. >> the attorney general's office is with expert lawyers and the attorney general produces advice on the basis of the advice provided to him and i have no that it is impartial and it gives advice and we have to change course.
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conspiracy. too far. we moved to a different course of action and i can tell from recent past advice of the attorney general that causes us to think again in a different direction. the third lesson. that point, it is officialsto note that from the government legal services aren't present to hear the conversations and give advice, where necessary to stop the formalpurpose of process of decision-making.
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often complex and it is necessary to discuss the decisions taken to consult the departmental lawyers and ministers to explain it and challenge it. the third lesson to draw from the inquiry is that the culture at the heart of government that welcomes challenges and strongly held convictions is essential to that the regime retains chemical warfare two abilities. at the center of a government, it is ensuring that people around the table feel free to speak their mind without
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jeopardizing their careers and is the greatest contribution they can make and i'll pay tribute for the way where he has done that over the last six years. planning for the aftermath is vital to successfully deliver the objectives. is combinedto plan with a flawed assumption that leads to the chaos that we saw on the ground and we will know this will be the case when the conflict is in each and. and,hallenge is enormous under the government, we have conflict, stability, and stabilization fund and it is rising to 1.3 billion and
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building on the success of the cross-government stabilization unit for the post-conflict situation and the deployment of x staff. -- of expert staff. thathing i feel keenly is armed forces must always be properly equipped for the tasks that we asked them to do. ensure that we commit the resources to meet the ambitions from the nationals charity structure. we have eliminated what we inherited from the defense procurement budget and we meet the need no -- the nato spending. invest 170 billion
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over the next decade. i am proud of these decisions and we should be clear that decisions to send troops to a is butnt engagement except will in some and that no government should ever allowed to have again. there are more lessons to be drawn from the inquiry and they are too many to fit into a single speech and will be drawn out today and tomorrow. there also lessons and conclusions that we could and should avoid. dismiss thet importance of solidarity when the common security interests are threatened. obama and john kerry have
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relationshipe between the united states and the united kingdom is special and they share culture and history. america is the principal ally and partner around the world and the partnership remains vitally important for the vital security and prosperity. it does not mean that we should blindly follow foreign policy or fail speech. about the value of the relationship and it is a legitimate factor to be taken into account inform policy decisions, protecting and enhancing the special relationship makes britain safer . to concludewrong
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that we cannot trust the analysis and the judgments of the intelligence community. knoworeign secretary and i the decisions that are made to keep the people safe and i know that there are risks they have to take to do so. the intelligence is really black and white and it always comes with a calibrated morning on confidence level -- calibrated warning on the confidence level the user should attach to it. communications and reforms put in place have separated processes from the policymaking that flows from it and policymaking machinery is in better shape than it was, as a result of this and other reforms. that wed not conclude
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have lost the ability to compete across the world. rather, it was the failure of palos in desha policymakers -- it was the failure of policymakers. most importantly, we must not include that military intervention in another country is always wrong. andintervention in kosovo sierra leone and that ali showsion in m circumstances where it is appropriate and, just two days 21st anniversary of a massacre. we must knowledge times where the international community
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ened andave interv did not. despite the risk of action and failures of the past, britain must not shrink from military intervention when the security step away fromr the role on the world stage. our commitment is the testament the unitedolve and kingdom stands united in the terrorism andued we will continue to help the people as they reassert the territorial integrity and build a better future for the children. decisionno greater
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that a prime minister can take. putting themselves in harms way on our behalf and the decision to invade iraq was among the most controversial in the most recent history. it is right to seek to learn the lessons from the mistakes that were made to make sure they were not repeated in the future. it has been a long time coming and most agree that it is thorough and exhausted and it does not pull its punches in the analysis and the lessons are clearly drawn and ambiguous. as set out earlier, i'm confident that lessons in the report have been learned and the necessary responses have been implemented. in the weeks and months ahead, as we examine the report in
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greater detail, the government will rule if further steps are required. a decision to wage war is not reversible and it must be diligently made with regards to due process and legal obligations. it must be properly prepared for and people must be properly protected. the aftermath of war is unpredictable and ugly. it must be planned for and systematic he executed. subject to this, we should be clear that we will not res ign from the use of military force. we have none a great service in pointing the way to ensure the
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proper use of force. the rest is up to us. >> the question is if the house has considered report. i call emily thornberry. >> thank you. he has made it clear in his speech. reflect on the report and have a duty to apologize for the mistakes made all of the panelists and the servicemen and lives andlost their the civilians who are still dying today. if there is a great danger that
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we face, it is that all of the lessons have been learned and i listened to what they said about this and i am concerned from statements that were made. it concerns me that i would have to draw that the mistakes made in iraq could not be made again and, listening to be prime statement, he seems to pick up the lessons that were he felt the lessons have been learned and that the actions taken, such as the national security council and have fix theund problems that have arisen. allow me to read what i actually said to stop i'm, didn't that the things
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identified and that the necessary reforms are implemented. ahead,weeks and months the government will look further at additional steps are required. that i believe that there are further lessons that need to be learned and i hope to address some of those. i will not spend time repeating the factual findings that were made. theink that looking to future is what we need to do and we need to be looking at the lessons to make sure that we do not make those mistakes again. it seems that there are more and i like toons outline some of the things in it has beennd
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making mistakes and we have been making those mistakes and i will explain why. found was that there was no deliberate attempt made. the intelligence on which the war was raised was flawed and it was not learned. was the lesson learned? they had military action in syria and it contrasted to iraq and the military action was not to include the deployment of ground troops. ask whether she is aware of the attempts to call a contempt motion against tony blair and does she agree with me
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that this does not give grounds? >> i think that this is a serious point that i hope members will consider. in my view, the question is whether or not they were deliberately misled and the intelligence may have been concluded he did not the house was deliberately misled. that, if this house was what to make findings of facts and try to act on those, they would be moving away from the previous times when this is true and has been used. is instrument has been used. there has been no admission of
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deliberately misleading and, if i may just finish, if the house attempted to make a factual finding, it would be a kangaroo court. peopled not be allowing to represent and speak and it would fly in the face of the established principles of justice that we have and, for those of us who are interested in the human rights act, the right to the trial. been preemptive on what she said and it seems proclaimed theey importance of conventional european rights and suggested a theess that cannot meet requirements under any circumstances.
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agreed with the gentleman and i hear the people saying things and, on certain print. we agree and the concern is to make sure that our colleagues to are -- >> disagreeing with the leader on the matters. ad the privatee notes from the former prime minister to the united states and compare them to the public and parliamentary report? do you find these consistent?
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and statements were considered over a lengthy time and the person who wrote it was a man of rate standing and thoughtful. -- of great standing and thoughtful. my view is that there are lessons to learn from this report and, in my view, there are lessons to be learned that go further than focusing on one individual and what may have happened many years ago. what is important is what is happening now and making sure that government makes correct decisions. is that what you were saying earlier on?
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no, what i am saying is that we have always upheld the example of hastings 200 years ago and he was tried by judges and given that and i do not draw that, for us to conclusions in a way that they is cached le to >> in that case, can the theorable lady tell us for former minister could be tried in? >> what may happen or may not happen with the former prime minister is not within my view attempting to draw
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lessons from chilcot. it is important that i address ms. thornberry: and leave it to others to take such legal action as they think is appropriate and it will be for them to take it to the proper court and for the proper courts to decide it. i do not think he can constitute ourselves as a proper court in the great traditions of our country. i can't remember where i was. [laughter] ms. thornberry: last year, the government authorized military action in the area in contract-- in syria. the deployment of ground troops was it out. that means to rely on local forces in said. we were told at that stage that there were 70,000 moderate syria, rebels which would help defeat daesh. many of us were skeptical about that 70,000 figure.
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i was one of them. the 70,000 figure was produced by the joint intelligence committee and the government declined to say which groups were included in that figure, where they were, what their definition of moderate was or how we could be sure that all of these rebels were signed up to the coalition brush military strategy or how they were going to get to the battlefield in order to be able to fight the battle. all of the questions mattered. as the government itself acknowledged, no military could succeed without forces on the ground. time will tell whether or not those 70,000 moderate rebels existed and whether they were in the position to be up to fight the battles which it was claimed they were going to be able to do. i have to say, it does seem to me, there was a parallel to be drawn between the intelligence relied on in relation to the 70,000 figure and flawed intelligence that has been
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relied on in the past. it is important for us to learn a lesson from iraq 12 years earlier. serious questions have been raised about intelligence which underpins decisions that we make, and in my view, once again, parliament has simply been asked to take on trust what the government says about intelligence. there are further issues. the lack of the ability to challenge internally. made clear that the cabinet members lacked the opportunity, the information, or the encouragement to challenge the case being made to them. the prime minister says that his national security council had fixed all of that. if that is right, then why is it that the joint committee on national security strategy says that the nsc has so far proved reactive body"a rather than a strategic one which seems to have lost us an opportunity." that is important.
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that criticism is important. we should not the completion in not bee -- should complacent in the face of such criticism. huge unjustifiable misgivings of senior military figures about the impact on our defense capabilities, nor is there any evidence of the nsc doing anything to chauncey inadequate planning in the aftermath in libya. while making progress and small ways, the nsc has failed to address the front of the problem which is that there is a culture in white fall of overly optimistic groupthink which exposure to independent views can help to challenge. it is not good enough to say it has been fixed because it has not. -- i am giving the honorable gentleman some evidence as to how i know that there is overly optimistic
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groupthink. because of the decisions, i have more i will go into during the speech. of course, i will. >> the honorable lady is completely wrong in her analysis of how the nsc approached the strategic security defense review in 2010. the papers were put before members of the national security council. i was one of them. we spent weeks reading the best advice. andcountry found itself in the 30 billion pounds black hole in the defense budget but by the last government, we made our decision. the idea that some expertise was lacking before the national security council is completely wrong. it is certainly my view, i spent six months doing defense. although i spent a great deal mercy myself in it, i do not just rely on my own views coming out of it as to what a disaster the first strategic view.
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it's not just me. there were senior military figures. they were very concerned about what the cut to the military budget was doing to our capability. it is my view that the second strategic defense review spent a great deal of time catching up to holes. mr. mitchell: once again, she is wrong, mr. speaker. at the table were the most officials. they were part of the discussion, they were not locked out. ms. thornberry: the honorable gentleman has had his opportunity to put his views on the record. if it hasiew that been fixed in the way in which the right honorable gentleman has stated, than without begetting ourselves into a position whereby we swing backwards and forwards on our military budget, we make cuts
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and holes in our defense capabilities and spend the next time time to catch it. hat's trying to -- trying to patch it. >> it was a most unpleasant conservative a having to make cuts in our armed forces. the truth was that the budget itself a threat to our national security and we had to take action. defense had to take some of those cuts. where was the right honorable lady if not in december? ms. thornberry: moving a long ways from the lessons that need to be drawn from chilcot. the honorable gentleman and i have discussed on many dictations -- occasions. our be quite happy to take this at another time. i don't want to spend the entire afternoon discussing.
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had brought in outside perspectives from time clearly nothas done so and us to deal with the underlying problem. i think there is another issue. the lack of challenge in parliament. the other potential source of charge to the government was our parliament. while there were vigorous debate and the house, and the mpc voted that the case had not been made .p.'s who had voted that the kids about the made. although there were more lab sufficient to not stop it. we look at the 2013 vote against a,king military action in syri
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many peoples that it was a watershed moment that cemented the convention that was ever the views of the executive. it is this house that had the final say. a broad to approve mandate for the use of military force with no clear long-term plan. it was all too -- to be approached. members of all sides of the house exercise a healthy degree of skepticism. at the same time, the government it exercise house, a healthy degree of skepticism and they were right to do. at the same time, the government had increasingly taken advantage of loopholes to intervene in more conflicts with less oversight. it has developed military capability which they refused to say which circumstances it might be used or when parliament might be informed. it's increased investment in drugs and special forces at a time that has been so much cuts
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to other parts of the armed forces. it has shown a willingness to use both as a means of intervening and complex to which the u.k. is not a party including the use of special forces, and in doing so, the government seeks to bypass not just parliamentary support of these interventions, but any form of parliamentary oversight as well. the development -- let me just finish my point. the development of hybrid warfare developed, demand new mechanisms to make sure it is held to account. all parties on both sides of the house should be working on how we develop these new mechanisms in order to be sure the executive is held to ac count. least an argument , it is rather emasculating
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because it does not hold the government to account. we are somewhere in favor of bringing some sort of u.k. war powers act. ms. thornberry: i think there has been a continuing debate about this and i think so long as we can be confident that a decision made in this house will not been need to be taken up off to the courts for the judges to eventually make the decision about whether or not we go to war or not, which i with days entirely appropriate. we can ensure that we keep control of, and it ensures that the parliament, when it is come to for usbe to address our views. i think that is right. i do not think, and i understand it is a system that we have at the moment, and what i am a way,ed about is, in although the convention continues to develop and strengthen as time goes on, it
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executive tohe decide whether or not we bring this to parliament. as time goes on, there is an argument to make, to put it onto a more formal basis. danger of a court intervention. it is a moot point, and when we need to continue to look at. i will take another. thend very grateful for honorable ladies strategic lesson and modern combat disability in the armed forces. i'm very interested it in her description of the use of special forces in almost combat capabilities. i think it serves with very -- most foreign departments are considered mere to combat even if they are training roles because of the pressures on them. noble interpretation that hybrid warfare is something that may not continue to exist. we are getting into a rather bizarre discussion, if you will
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me, if the honorable lady will forgive me, on the strategy and use of armed forces when surely the focus should be on the legality and the appropriate as of the deployment. one does sort of feel that it might be better to stick to the area that this house is qualified to talk about rather than to play armchair general and can we know what i wanted to areas. ms. thornberry: i think it's very important that we look to tomorrow's problems. it is likely the special forces will be used increasingly. i think that the idea that we will be sending special forces into libya in a training capacity, i agree with the honorable gentleman. exactly how that might end up being a cause i combat role, presumably if these training forces are to be in the be a, they will be in a camp, they may be in a part of a libya that is allegedly supposed to be safe, they will need to be guarded, who will be guarding them, we can see how this slippery slope can began to be slid down.
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it does seem to me that although it would be inappropriate for a decision to send special forces or trainers into a particular area, that if we can have parliamentary scrutinydecision r secret service, and there is a way in which, that the behavior mi5, it does seem to me to allow aour wit similar form a possibility when it comes to special forces. i have written about this issue. andhe oversight of the ifc from the members of the i've see, the oversight of the icy exercise -- ifc over the intelligence committee is always post the fact. the only kind of oversight that would be meaningful over special force deployment would have to
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be before the facts. that would be a very different proposition. i'm grateful to the honorable gentleman for his question. i am not actually expecting that the the 4 special forces are used. at that they have before a committee of parliament. should be that there some form of accountability and that there should be some explanation. i felt that it was embarrassing should the democratic deficit that we have in relation to hybrid warfare, when one read in the papers that the king of jordan was gossiping with congressman and america about our special forces in a way that we have not even been told about and the when in this house had officially been told about, that seems to me, the deficit that we have in this country, and i think that we should learn lessons from chilcot, which is
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learn lessons about accountability, about not simply trusting the executive to get the decision right, and we should make sure that there is more accountability and we are on our toes and prepared to modernize our structures as necessary to reflect the change in nature of warfare going into the 21st century. i can go back. i'm so sorry. mr. speaker, let me go back to the speech. when we were talking about the element of hybrid warfare and ways at the executive should be held to account, i do believe all parties should be working together on that. another point was raised about american-british relations. chilcot made it clear that american-british relations would not have been harmed had the u.k. joined, had the u.k. not joined the us-led coalition. that was not a basis to join the invasion. indeed, in my view, that was another lesson we have not learned. in 2013, there was pressure from the united states playing a 'sjor role in the government
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rush to intervene in syria. it became obvious that the u.s. , thatstration intervention hinge on the success of the prime mr. persuading parliament. -- prime minister persuading parliament. it would certainly damage the anglo-american relationship. view, the relationship endured. we have got over it without any adverse confidences. it serves as a reminder, it serves as a reminder that our lives with the united states rests on stronger foundations and an expectation of a questioning compliance with american wishes. hear, hear. also valid to
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listen to the words of those assett whogeneral mat pointed to the damaging impact that vote would have on the enduring commitment and the enduring understanding between the u.s. and the british militaries, which you must also recognize that just as though many threats build up that special relationship, undermining its spread by thread also weakens it. i'm quite sure that there are american generals were very disappointed and would not agree to the british being involved in vietnam. we got over it. our relationship is strong enough to them the word differences of opinion. if we are to be good friends, good friends trust each other to disagree at times. i think it is important we do that. thatsyria vote made clear parliament understood this and it also suggested that they government did not.
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this is one of the reasons that it is such a tragedy in my view that cut to the foreign office weakenedas institutional knowledge of the world. is important for us to have a proper understanding of the world. for hundreds of years, we have had insight into the world that other countries have not and we have a leadership role and we can have a different voice than the americans because we will have a different understanding. for us to have 16% cut in the foreign office year on year, and to be hollowing out the institutional knowledge, has been a tragedy. the honorable gentleman has intervened twice. i'm taking a very long time. i really ought to get on with it. chilcot says that tony blair ignored warnings about the sectarian violence that swept a swept iraq.
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we are still very much living with that mistake. the lesson has been learned. looking at the intervention in libya, it is clear it has not. we focus onafi, toppling the regime. the british government seemed surprised that once that goal had been achieved, he turned their fire on each other. libya werens in more tribal than interventions in iraq, it has been the same. as factions which found themselves in the minority refuse to knowledge the result of legitimate. they would have warned the government that this would happen. such warnings were readily available and in the public domain, had informed and impartial advice had been sought that itwould be clear
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could often was a huge risk -- quaddfi had been toppled, they were not listen to until it was too late. there is a parallel to be drawn between our intervention in libya and our understanding of what would happen next and our listening to experts and what happened in relation to the first intervention in iraq. if i had taken intervention, of course i will. first of all, the intervention in libya was at the request of the arab league, who i would suggest has an insight into the region and it would count as those who knew what was going on. i understand the analysis she is making. doesn't that lead her to the
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conclusion that toppling any desperate always runs the risk of creating chaos and confusion despot always runs the risk of chaos and confusion? that is the nature of despotism. is notmond: this game over yet, but i predict libya will end up about better place under could of ms. thornberry: it is my view that it is not legal to intervene in a country in order to topple a regime. moreould not in any event elite be intervening in a country unless we can have some form of strategy that will ensure that the country that we leave is in a better state than when we first arrived. was involved in libya's intervention. ado not think that there was
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blinding of oneself to the potential problems that might come from that intervention. i really don't think that at all from my memory. the second thing one has got to bear in mind is that the trigger for the intervention was the fact that colonel quaddafi was about to kill tens of thousands of his own citizens. it was that which prompted the u.n. resolution, security council resolution which provided the legal basis for the intervention. some of the really difficult decisions that we have in these areas, even questions of legality do not come into it. i certainly would not be willing to characterize that intervention as having been wrong in the circumstances that prevailed at the time. >> hear, hear. ms. thornberry: i herewith the honorable gentleman says. the point that i am trying to make is that it was a game about information that was available that could have informed the way
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in which the intervention was made and then once the initial intervention was made, what happened thereafter. how the dangers that were manifest an obvious were protected against. that is important. i do not think that happened. that is a lesson that we can get from chilcot, that we can get from iraq, that is a much more important than any prior relation to tony blair or not tony blair. if i may move on, the other issue which i think is important is postwar planning. that has been touched on. this is my final point, mr. speaker. chilcot devastatingly, highlights the total absence of adequate planning for what would happen after the war. what the long-term strategy was for iraq, if ever there was a mistake that should never be repeated, it is the idea that we go into another military intervention with no idea of its consequences, no plan for the
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aftermath, no long-term strategy, and yet, and yet, it has the exact hallmark of all the outgoing prime minister's interventions. again, again, we can see the evidence in libya. the prime minister in the words of president obama "became distracted." regime havedafi been overthrown, and arduous test the postwar reconstruction, it was all but ignored. risen with factionism and violence. that thisrned space created was an invitation to a churchestablish edict foothold on the libyan coast. it is a stain on the government that has only begun to pay any real attention to them as it had left in libya once that terrorist threat from daesh became too urgent to ignore.
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i'm not sure that she suggests she has said anything about chilcot tossed finding about the circumstances about which we ultimately decided there was a legal reasons for u.k.'s participation. far fromhey were satisfactory. i'm sure she will agree with me and endorsed the view given earlier. the attorney general gave independent and impartial advice. initially resisted the it. viewhe been able to form a as to what was that changed the then attorney general's mind? ms. thornberry: there it is. with the this aspect honorable lady, it is important that anyone taking the role of that theyeneral those
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are the only person in the cabinet you can say to the prime minister, "no, you cannot do that, it is not legal, you were not allowed to, no." the burden of that is a heavy burden. it is one that needs to be exercised by people of great courage. it is about the rule a lot. it is about the fact that no one is above the law. i think that is a lesson that to learn and they need to be confident and capable of being able to stand up to their leader because i think that that is an important point. another lesson. one other thing i would say in relation to international law is that britain has always been a leading light in the development of international law. much of international law has been a result of documents we adherenceed and our
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to international law has been an important part of the development of it. one thing that has been prided as a result of the intervention in iraq and indeed intervention since has been that the law that we do need to have, and we do need to have a clear law in relation to in what circumstances you can be in or cannot have not developed as well as it might have if there had not been the temptation to into whatss the fact is understood as the law. i think it is a great -- i know that my friend was sitting behind me, the right honorable is a bigr the central fan of rtp. the iraqy sad effect war had on the development of rtp which he was attending to
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develop at the time of the iraq war. it was held up as -- back, the lessons on long-term planning from a rock. were they learned in libya, i would say absolutely not. you cannot form a country into a western-style democracy. in conclusion, mr. speaker, we cannot turn the clock back. we cannot correct the mistakes that were made. we cannot bring back the lives of those in power loss. we cannot undo the chaos we created. thean and we must stop mistakes being repeated. unfortunately, whatever his rhetoric and whatever his well-meaning intentions, too often the outgoing prime minister has repeated exactly the same mistakes in his own military interventions relying suspect intelligence, and failing to plan for whatever happened afterward. it is hoped the new prime the chilcotl study
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report, not as a commentary on decisions made in the past, but as a guide to future decisions she will have to make. let us hope that she does. let us hope that she does so, and that as she takes on her new and onerous responsibilities, we wish her well. hear, hear. mr. speaker, the decision to invade iraq was the most disastrous decision in my lifetime. greatly contributed to the extraordinary problems that have persisted in the middle east and the wider world ever since and it will continue to have tragic consequences as i fear for some years to come. i think, personally, we all only that to sir john for what will undoubtedly be the best analysis on how such an appalling blunder
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came to be taken. i certainly have not had a chance to get much beyond the executive summary into just a little bit of the rest. i think it will take a long time before anybody in this house get through all the millions of words we have had produced. i think the lessons from this inquiry based on the iraq war will in fact be a benefit to specialists in particular, those in the military, intelligence service, and politicians, ministers, shadow ministers, and those who hold the government to account, for many years to come. to follow-up on his extremely formidable findings, which i'm sure are correct, there is a role in this house to get to consider as we are, the political aspect. sir john chilcot has examined the formal records, the meetings, the processes. he has analyzed those in terms of looking at what happened, and
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why it was arrived at. he is not a politician. i think this house of commons and the ministers involved can look at this from a slightly we reach eyes the way decisions and what does it make us want to reach this decision it go wrong, particularly so as the collective system of government is concerned, and accountability, through parliament to the wider public is concerned. chilcot is mr. john not a politician. he can actually on his own just answer that wider perspective for the future. pointgin briefly with one that the right honorable lady made in saying how irrelevant i think it has been to try to turn all of this into a witchhunt against celebrity individuals
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who were involved at the time. it is one of the great failures of political debate of our day, as far as the media and the world is concerned, the recent referendum debate was largely the dave and boris show. i think it is quite pointless to say, let's persecute tony blair, he was in charge, are we going to censure him? is he going to be prosecuted as a war criminal? the one thing does make that clear is that nobody has committed any crime. as one who was present at the time, i have absolutely no doubt that nobody at the time on any believedis passionately they were acting in the public interest. one of the great things about tony blair was he did believe passionately what he was doing at the time. it was very evident on the floor
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of the house. he never had a doubt about what he was doing. i am not surprised the continued to protest as strongly as he does. he has not changed his mind. was cementing he our alliance with the americans. he was absolutely key to our security. he actually thought the british contribution was going to help the americans with the planning and the advocacy and so on. justrmly believed that removing saddam hussein was a virtuous act which would make the world a better place. he still does. now, that is the bit where he gets more passionate, the regime change, because he really thinks, and is probably right, i agree with him, that he got rid of an evil regime. itself aactually in totally adequate achievement.
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he certainly believe they got weapons of mass the structure. he is still going on. i remove the thinking this is the last man still living who still believes they are going to find weapons of mass deception weapons of mass destruction in iraq. it was increasingly obvious that no such material was going to be found. pursuing tony blair is a complete irrelevance. -- [indiscernible] >> i agree with him about the dangers of focusing on just one person. we do need to focus on him, but we need to focus on the system. i worry about the way in which he appears to be letting off that one person from any real responsibility. blair misled the house about the position of the french. in fact, motion to the house, he
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said it does not prove possible because one permanent member of security council may claim its intentions to use whatever the circumstances. that, the french were on the phone with tony blair thing that you are deliberately misrepresenting our vision. time and again, this is happening in the chilcot report. the hookt let him off completely. he is not the first politician to make a mistake. he will not be the last. no, no, no. i'm being diverted. if he believes the french, he believes the french. they were not able to excite a veto in the security council. it was a mistake at the time to try to blame the french entirely. they were never going to get a majority in the security council. no, no, no, no, no. >> order, order.
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the house must come to order. mr. clarke: at this point, he is not giving way. house muslims than -- >> the house must listen. members of which to argue about the french visa in 2003 must argue amongst themselves. mr. clarke: what the politicians want to do was very key. i did follow these events with some care. i had one advantage. not the access to what was going on exactly inside the government but i did know a lot of americans as well as british politicians. i knew quite a lot of the key american neocons. them on friendly terms. i was arguing the merits of the invasion of iraq sometime before the debate ever started here.
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i think that is quite an important background to this question. in the bush administration, the key policymakers wanted to invade iraq immediately after 9/11. 2001, they were going to invade iraq. there was not the slightest doubt about it. a rather naive, idealistic approach, i think, which thankfully shocked me. they got the previous administration had not used american military power for all the benefits it could produce in the world. they were going to use military power for good. they thought they would be greeted as liberating heroes when they arrived in baghdad and this regime.prove wouldtually thought -- win the election that would be
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held thereafter. i met mr. shallowby once or twice. he was going to be in charge, but he would need supervision. ,here would be a u.s. general constant comparisons made with general mccarthy, general macarthur turning imperial japan into democracy after the war, the importance of denazification, following hit undergo gyou had to bahasa vacation -- debaathification after iraq. my thought all the time is that one of us is not on the same planet. a fairly hostile view to this. the point is, moving on, if i thatenough in 2001 to know
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the bush administration was going to invade iraq, i am quite , andin tony blair knew quite sure of the british military new, and i had a long time to work out how they were -- how theyan in were going to join in. they did not need is for military purposes. they could defeat the iraqis without our military assistance. they did not rate our military that highly. our special forces and intelligence, they thought were good. we were a very valuable political ally. the presentation of what they were doing they thought would be greatly improved if the british, of all people, could be the heart of the alliance. tony blair was very enthusiastically keen to join
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them. be 8:00 theories, but he quite clearly thought that getting rid of saddam hussein's regime was one of the best conservation to could make -- bestaqi people contributions he could make to the iraqi people. when you read these mysteries, you ask, what was the snag for tony blair on the government? i feel confident. i knew enough about what was actually going on at the time to buy the area's to feel pretty confident about this. for tony blair, who wanted to take part, it seems had already told george bush that he would, george w. bush, that he wanted to take part. it was not legal for the united kingdom to take part in a war being launched for the purpose
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of changing the regime in another country. he received that advice, i think every lawyer in the place has agreed that was undoubtedly right. i know somebody here said that was not the view of the -- that the americans took. american neocons are not so impressed with international law. their constitution does not constrain them. i once had a key american official tell me that we have all the legal authority we have to invade. we have a large majority in both houses of congress. and that was it. but of course, they were so keen to have the british that they were there to give some time to tony blair to tackle this problem of whether it was lawful for him to take part and to work out some bases upon which the british could join.
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so far, i think the motives of all these people were virtuous, that they believed all this. they were making the world a better place by removing a western,d installing a pro-american, pro-western, pro is really, democratic government in a liberal society. pro-israeli, democratic government in a liberal society. he had used against his own people years before, whether they had all been disposed of, and whether you could actually demonstrate he was a continuing threat to cut if you could demonstrate he had weapons of mass destruction, that they were a threat to british interests, his neighbors, and that he was not cooperating with weapons inspections and so on, then, and
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if you got a u.n., and if you got a u.n. resolution, then you had a legal they for invading -- legal base for invading. once they realized that that was the perfectly worthy, well-intentioned mindset of most of the british people taking part in this process to intervene, i think anyone can understand why some of these extraordinary processes took part. i personally believe that the american administration actually invasion for a month or a few to give, two months is , my right honorable friend, to give the british more time to get through this convoluted legal stuff.
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ae impatient american use version of that at the time, which they had got to get through before they could join in. , the the problem occurred americans, they went along to the u.n., got resolution 1441, and he began to lose patience. they reached the stage where they were going to invade in and they could not wait any longer. , those blair government that knew what was going on, had to speed the thing up a bit, because they realized that if they were not careful, they were going to fail to get there in time. was surprising was the report of the advice i actually got from the jic, which really surprises me.
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they actually did eventually produce enough intelligence that and was believed no doubt by those putting it in the report for the attorney it is obvious,k quite reluctantly to be persuaded that there probably basisasis on this-- a on this. troopsdy knew that the were already in battle positions out there in the middle east, and were about to go ahead with the whole operation. we should learn the political lessons. one of the first lessons was that i think an ever-increasing to actually get into the position where you could , everyone could
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engage in wanting to be persuaded that various things were correct and various steps had been taken which if they had ,ubmitted themselves to slower more challenged, and considered consideration would have led to a different conclusion. so what in my opinion is the outline at least to the political lessons from this? the first is, the american alliance should not be entered into blindly. i will only briefly say that i am a passionate believer that our alliance with the united states is crucial to this country's future security and our role in the world as tony blair is. there is not a trace of anti-americanism in what i am saying. it is one of the most valuable features of our foreign policy. that does not mean that blindly, wrong, that you
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can let yourself the american wishes toof the day do. we might have a president trump. it is a question worth bearing in mind. i actually do agree with the right honorable lady, you do not destroy the american alliance. in may damage it for a month or two if you do not go along absolutely with what the president wanted to do. the other thing, it is clear in chilcot, it is plain from how the minister behavior the time. i share all the support for them in and applied in them that ideps me in these -- and pr in them that keeps me in these debates. they always want to take part in any military activity in which the americans want them to join. very considered
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advice. it always comes down to "we must ask the americans to let us make a contribution." if you're a trained military man, you believe you change for the purpose of using your military force in the national interest, worthwhile objective, you cannot help but thinking this is our moment, this is the great action i have got to take part in. similarly with the intelligence services. they prize the relationship with the americans above all relationships they have with the outside world, and so, they are dependent on operation. please. anxious to they are anxious to do what they think they're american colleagues wish to do. when you have, in this case, a prime minister and the government that wants to enter the war, then everybody is extremely anxious to find the
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facts to be convinced of the situation, to enable the prime minister to do what he wants, and to go ahead. i think that is actually an essential point that it requires a politician like me to make it. it does not appear in the page of the report. i think that answers a lot. i do think, in the time we are talking about, there were not enough diplomats involved. there was not enough looking at the expertise of the foreign office. of arabists. they were ideologically more sound. americans did not like the foreign we got in the office because they kept complicating things by talking about tribes and different sorts of muslims, which is their
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policy makers in washington thought were not relevant in the in era of western democracy which they were going to take the country. more temperature marc i apologize to my honorable for -- more time? i apologize to my honorable friend. the attorney general was obviously giving the right advice. sitting alongside a very tough attorney general who would not give the advice that he gave the prime minister sometimes wanted. quite a few others i remember serving with, i agree with what the honorable lady said. that is what the attorney general is for. goldsmith is perfectly all right. he must have felt so exposed that in the end, he gave in to the temptation to say, "well, just about." just make my point. i'm sorry i have taken longer
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than i intended. the big thing that matters, it matters very much, we are having a change of government today. how does cabinet come into this? actually, government process. what about accountability to parliament? it was obvious at the time, it to obvious if you listened the foreign secretary, publicly, it was obvious to half the labour party, cabinet government was not working properly in the government of tony blair. government,he margaret thatcher got keener on keener. he got into things like iraq. parliament, same thing.
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both were seen as hurdles. when you have got your policy, how are you going to get it through cabinet? how you going to get it passed parliament -- past parliament? we should all agree that that is not the mindset that people should be in. they should be setting the proposition, replicating it to cabinet, and with proper information, listen to it being debated and examined by people who are got time to do so. got time to do so. parliament should be consulted when it can be, given proper information, and you should not rely on clever timing of the debate and the work of the whips to get yourself through to say afterwards that you have a democratic endorsement. i have not got time to apply all the strong --
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circumstances at the time. if you beat it with my arguments in time, the tollett report i think -- that the chilcot report feeds what i think as someone who participates in debate. military action is difficult. there is no point in politicians being lightheartedly irresponsible. you cannot do it. there will be occasions where theone is just attacked british interests, and you have got to fight back. he took cabinet and prominent afterwards. any sense of what cabinet, any sense of what parliament will of course endorse. years, our allies had taught us they were going to invade iraq. it had been planned, worked on, discussed. the reason that there was not full cabinet discussion and wasly parliamentary debate
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because you might not get it them. them -- it past if we did not start debating and parliament until february 2003. wasactual final key vote when the troops were in the field, which is a lot of conservatives off voting against it he might otherwise have voted against it. our boys were about to go in to action the next day, which is what occurred. some of that has been addressed. the national security council is a hugely beneficial innovation, my friend, my right honorable friend, the outgoing prime minister, probably already the extra minister who brought it in. ex-prime minister who brought it in. it is a lot better than it was. , i think myrnment right honorable friend, can they
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ensure the adequate time is given to discuss things? adequate information is given in advance? cabinet government is not moving quickly from item to item, that you have actually had some papers beforehand to allow you to consider it and the national security council, certainly, it defensevaluable, the and intelligence people are there. i congratulate the prime minister. some of the best discussions i took part in were in the national security council. >> hear, hear. totalarke: with my approval. i think it could be improved sometimes because there are occasions when it was really brought there and explain. it would have sailed through with an anonymous majority -- enormous majority. a year later, you could not find a member of the public who had
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ever met anybody who agreed with the invasion of iraq. of betterht information, people suddenly realized it had been a terrible error. as it happens, there are people sitting here, i remember organizing some of the opposition on the day i spoke in february. we voted against it, we spoke against it, i have looked at my speech, and i am very sad to say i think a predicted quite a lot of the consequences of what was going to go ahead. again, ifee, "never we can avoid it." it is a big subject, it is no use reading the report and saying we should just look at the intelligence. we should look at how government is run, how does parliament organizes itself, and how we get sensible accountability to the commons.
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>> hear, hear. speaker, they are still pertinent today. we should remember that they are nothing compared to the wounds of the families who lost service people and the british staff were killed and the 200,000 iraqis, thousands of american wounds are still raw and open. we should look back at the march,on the 18th of 2003. i will start with a number of things we do not always remember. we all remember robin cook's brilliant resignation speech of the day before. the thing was done
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measured contribution on the day of the debate. in public opinion that that stage was actually in favor of war. , wee who spoke against it were not given a particularly easy time. i look at the car of charles day againstt war. he was one of the more principled epithets of the toast of baghdad which was flung at some of us who opposed the war. i say this to members not to just say that members like the honorable member who argued against it have been vindicated. but to remind people of the nature of context of the debate we were in. members in this parliament who were members of
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that parliament on the 18th of march, a little over a quarter of members of this parliament were actually present and voting in that particular debate. people remember and understand the context if we are to understand the feelings y democracy, not referendum, that they illustrated about iraq. i've also been checking the rest of them. i think economically say -- i can honestly say i have not caught the times newspaper ever on, but i'm off and going to put it today because i thought their headline, the first paragraph in the report last thursday hit the mark absolutely. mr. salmond: under the headline "blair's private war," they a potentiallyt illegal war in iraq, the chilcot
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report concluded yesterday. it would be impossible in reading the chilcot report not to look at that personal level of accountability as well as the wider context of the legality. the rest of his speech illustrated why it is largely about tony blair, and the chilcot report, more importantly -- let me quote from summary. it is normatively in -- it is backed enormously in the full report. the sequence of decision-making made from december to the immediate onset, it wasn't just soft on government, but if it was, it was a very small soft indeed, because the crucial alliances of this country were made with the prime minister and
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very, very few of his advisers. chilcot finds not even a cabinet committee discussed these crucial decisions, listed in pages 58 and 59. for example, the first of which, the decision at the beginning of december, 2001 to work with president bush to deal with iraq as part of phase two of the war on terror, despite the fact that there was no evidence of any iraqi involvement or active links to al qaeda. right through to the policy at the end of 2003, where the inspectors found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction and there was only limited support for the second resolution in the security council. all of these crucial decisions made without even reference to a cabinet, without consultation. when the deputy prime minister
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concluded this weekend in a way that chilcot wasn't allowed to do either because his lack of specialism that the war was illegal and apologized for it, he actually should have been wasogizing for that this allowed to happen over a sequence of 15 months, where one individual was able to take these decisions without any kind of collective responsibility. >> i'm very grateful to the honorable gentleman. say thathilcot also shouldrm of government be discussed in a professional forum and shouldn't be recorded -- they didn't have the specific point of evidence. >> i am dealing with findings of chilcot, that there should have
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been a collective discussions by appointed committee or a small group of ministers of oat a senior-level. helps, 409 58, if it . continue and perhaps i will give way later. i will not conduct a debate with people yelling from a sedentary position. if the honorable gentleman wants to give way later he will, and we will see how things go. the honorable gentleman has been able to give evidence that chilcot would have concluded otherwiset. -- that chilcot would have concluded otherwise. this is the conclusion of the chilcot inquiry itself, and s weres why the sign
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right to describe this in the way they did. blair's private war. as for this places collective responsibility, i fundamentally disagree with the right honorable member. if a parliament is to hold future executives to count, it's not just a question of changing the process of decision-making, and i accept some changes have been made. concept thatt that confidence mistakes could never be repeated again. explains,ree it fully for example, why this country, never mind its allies, spent much more time bombing libya that anything for reconstruction, and that might be a lesson which hasn't been learned.
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but the change that must be had, not just in terms of government process, the changes in terms of parliamentary accountability, and the most fundamental point of parliamentary accountability is parliament deciding whether they have been misled or not. my contention -- >> on the question of libya, the fact is that libya was already in brutal civil war before -- that'sorces what was happening. the question he's got to answer what would he have done to help those women and children in benghazi? but would he have done to help them? >> probably not supplying arms to people like that over a
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period of time, not doing oil deals, where gaddafi might be there. let me make my speech. that wasn't the point i was making. i was talking about the lesson of restriction, not about the argument of the conflict, a lesson the free construction. i think it's a clear point to make, to point out the fact that this country spent 13 times as much bombing libya as we did in aiding the reconstruction of libya. that might be a lesson about the aftermath of conflict, which the foreign secretary -- the point i was going to make. this was not just the process of government or parliamentary accountability. the most fundamental point -- in the past, we have held people accountable for more effete scandals. misleading parliament due to nationalizing a company, as i
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remember. and these are important, and that line of accountability is absolutely crucial, but how much more important is a line of accountability in peace or war, or thousands or hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives as a result of the decisions made by the executive? my contention would be that chilcot as a huge array of evidence of a lack of parliamentary supplement, and the one thing that was being said by the president of the united states, quite a different thing was being said to parliament. that doesn't take place over a single speech or a single parliamentary statement, although the knee-jerk run-up to the war gives ample and detailed examples. for example, as my friend indicated, misrepresentation of the situation in the united nations. how do we know it was a misrepresentation? because chilcot published what
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was being said within government and we compare that directly to what was being offered to this parliament as an expiration. but the process of parliament being told one thing while george w. bush was being assured of quite another, a single statement over 15 months, and it is ampl demonstrated in the evidence presented to chilcot, and we now know why he fought so strongly to have this private memoir as part of the overall review of the report. the right honorable gentleman really pointed to regime change and the difficulty that regime change could not make the war legal and generally understood in national terms. that is amply demonstrated in the private memoirs from tony blair to george bush. december, 2001.
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any link to 11 september is at presenty tenuous, and international opinion would be reluctant outside the united states or the u.k. to support immediate military action, nor for sure that people want to be rid of saddam, so we need a strategy for regime change that builds over time. but in december, 2001, at the same time, charles kennedy, pursuing the prime minister in question, was told that the two including -- the pursuit of international terrorism in all its different forms. that is a matter for investigating the finances of terrorism. the house was told that stage two of the war on terror was not an assault on iraq, far lesser
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regime change, but a pursuit of international terrorism. the towo things are totally incompatible. one thing that george bush in private, another to this parliament and the people of the country. issueat of course is the moving into 2002, which was amply picked up after the chilcot report reported. whatever," 28you july, 2002, to george bush. the former prime minister explained this, saying that the idea of "whatever" didn't give an unconditional commitment to stand with the united states in war. i'm not sure i fully understood that explanation. but crucially, neither did john chilcot. and neither did jack straw,
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official member of the administration. memoirs were also published, and in march, 2003, he wrote to blair. "when bush graciously accepted your offer to be with him all the way, he wanted your life, not debt," referring to not the mortal danger of the troops or civilians, but politically, that the prime minister would be alive. was under no illusions whatsoever about the commitment being given to george bush, and neither were tony blair's own advisors, who advised him to take it out of the memoir, and certainly it was george bush or his advisors or secretary of state colin powell. concludes that mr. blair's note, which had not been
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discussed or agreed with colleagues, sent the u.k. on a path leading to diplomatic activity with the participation of military action in a way that would make it very difficult for the u.k. subsequently to withdraw support from the united states. but that was not what was being told to parliament at the same time. parliament was not told of assurances to george w. bush on military action. the prime minister was only striving for peace, that he was trying to find any way to avoid a conflict. saddam,was all up to whether he chose peace or conflict. and that deliberate misrepresentation of what was being said to the americans at what was being said to parliament continued into the very onset of war itself. memoir, quoted by
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my honorable friend, when blair was telling parliament, even in "i never put out justification for action as regime change." he was quoting george bush only a few days later. iraq's weapons of mass destruction is the immediate justification for action. reading him of saddam is the real crisis." was not a matter of one man. that man was the prime minister.we are told it was about processes of government, but it was the prime minister who dictated the process of government and prevented processes of checks and balances, and above all it was a prime minister who prevented this house from having information it required to take a reasonable judgment .
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that one of week the defenses of intervention in iraq was a counterfactual argument. what if saddam hussein had stayed in power? there is another counterfactual argument i've had in mind. what if the international coalition that was built to deal with al qaeda in afghanistan had been held together? what if the hundreds of billions of dollars that was wasted in the iraqi desert, what if they had been applied to making a real success of the rebuilding of afghanistan? what if the justification for a totally legal international intervention, which this country took part in, have resulted in a
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genuine benefit, and that bass of coalition, which extended even to approval from the palestinian liberation organization, that massive coalition has been able to that it directly applied to the reconstruction and allowing of a country the investment required to be a shining light of a genuine international intervention? the united states of america in a way never stronger than it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was never more respected, because it had suffered under the terrorist atrocity. if an evermore broader coalition had brought that instead of this meandering into iraq on a private vendetta for the president of the united states with his closet an advisors aiding and abetting a british prime minister who prevented
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this parliament from having the information it required to hold him to account. i once told the former prime minister that he would answer to a higher law than this parliament, and i believe that to the absolutely true. but in the meantime, this parliament, at this stage, should hold him accountable. not because it's a matter of pursuing the former prime minister, but because it will demonstrate and illustrate that, even retrospectively, if the parliament is systematically misled, they shall not put up with it. it is part of the change we're going to make, not just in the processes of government to force responsibility, not just the lessons of reconstruction, but the essential changes of parliamentary accountability, which if we make, we will say
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legitimately that this can never happen again. >> mr. dominic greene. >> thank you, mr. speaker. it's a pleasure to follow the right honorable member from gordon. thisarned friend in debate. there is no doubt that they have clear advantages over me in that both of them, of course, opposed the notion in the house in 2003, which initiated our military action in iraq, where as i supported it, something which i have to say i have come to very much regret. i supported at the time because i was, indeed, persuaded by the arguments put forward by the prime minister, at the time when mr. blair, with great eloquence, talked about his views of saddam hussein being a real and present danger in an immediate context, and that this justify taking military action against him,
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even without going back for a further resolution of the united nations security council, relying on the previous resolution, which i have to say there was considerable evidence that saddam hussein had serially breached, certainly in terms of his noncooperation. and on that basis, i voted for the motion, as did many other honorable members still present in this house today. chilcot's report highlights how the decision-making processes of government can become distorted under pressure of events. and indeed, i'd like to think that i'm always a little bit it, that the distortions are so considerable in relation to the report that they highlight at this functionality within the heart of the government that i hope may have
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been exceptional to him. therer all that, i think are plenty of cautionary tales in this house today which we can look at in current context just as much as they would have been looked at the time. but the point seems to be rather well made and i won't repeat it. that is because mr. blair has formed, in his view, a very strong resolution that we should support the united states, including in removing saddam hussein from the regime change, that the entirety of the processes of government were then skewed in order to achieve it, and had been mischief disregarded all the evidence that might be available to contradict whether this was in fact the right course of action to take, whether it was intelligence information, or for that matter whether it was a
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thorny problem of legality, both of which i want to touch on briefly this afternoon. so far as the question of the intelligence is concerned, those of us who have been in government and served on the national security council as i have, or indeed in my current role as chairman of the intelligence and security committee, know perfectly well that intelligence often obtained at great risk and with difficulty can only be what it is, which is a tool for decision-making. it may be mistaken. you can't prevent that in a human society, and you cannot guarantee that its interpretation will be correct. i have to say that my impression during my time of government was that the intelligence agencies, and indeed the joint intelligence committees, now goes to very considerable lengths to point out the limits to which intelligence can properly be put, a lesson i
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suspect arrived from this experience. but the civil fact is that one can only research on ead sir jon chilcot's report -- is truly breathtaking, and it makes very troublesome reading. i hope very much, and i want to say anything more about this, that those within the agencies who now do the work will read report in sir john's order to remind themselves of how, in fact, personally reasonable -- perfectly reasonable intelligence could be misused for the purposes of justifying a theory. and then, i'm afraid, was misused by mr. blair when he came to address this house in the defining moment before the war was sanctioned by this parliament. the certainties that were engendered were never present,
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and indeed, if the intelligence had been looked at correctly, and my right honorable friend made a very good intervention last week about this, when he said that if we had actually taken the time and trouble to read some of the background information available, we might have doubted some of the certainties being expressed. i think he was absolutely right, and i think that's another burden which members of this house who participated will have to bear. so much then for the intelligence. what about the process of legal advice? mr. speaker, i have been at the heart of trying to provide legal advice to government when i was a law office. my right honorable friend the solicitor general is on the front bench, and he has been involved in those processes. often, and lawn whichs know this, advise cannot in any way be certain. legal advice is exactly what
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it says it is. in some cases, particularly when one is dealing with international law, the question as to whether or not you are on the right side or the wrong side of international law is an intensely gray area precisely because there is no ultimate tribunal to determine those issues, and yet at the heart of the british governments doctrine of ethics is that we have to act lawfully at all times. and it is, for the law offices, we try and steer the course. what shines through to me, reading the chilcot inquiry report, is not, as some critics have said, that lord goldsmith, as attorney general, abandoned legal objectivity, because i have read the chilcot inquiry and looked at these passages carefully, and it seems to me
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that he for so those criteria as best he possibly could. he was drawn into a process which in itself was utterly because it cherry picked whatever bit of the advice he provided which suited those who want to present it and then sold it in that way both for the cabinet who never properly inquired or scrutinized it at all and ultimately to the public. i give way. >> i think the gentleman. does he really think that the attorney general met all his duties? the report itself refers to the final question to tony blair, which is that it was answered perfunctorily, about whether the conditions have been met. surely he could be a little more pressing than just accepting before changing his views. >> i simply quote from paragraph 810 of this summary, and i'm sorry i don't have the executive summary. "a central part of the basis for
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military action, without a further resolution of the security council, there is strong evidence that iraq has failed to cooperate fully with thusesolution 14-41, failing to take the final opportunity. the attorney general understood unequivocally the prime minister's view that iraq has committed further material as this is a judgment for the prime minister, hthe attorney would be grateful for confirmation that this is the case." mr. speaker, it is important to understand one of the big changes that has probably taken place between 2003 and today, in how long this advice will be secured. my impression, and i hope i have iss right, reading chilcot,
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that in practice the attorney general was only provided with sketch backgrounds of a factual analysis on which his legal opinion was being sought. which i canerence tell the house, without giving away state secrets, is that law officers are now being asked to advise on the effectual basis which evolves a serious problem of international law. they will receive briefing as good as, and potentially better if they demand it, than that which would be provided to the prime minister. so they would have to make an independent assessment of their own. but i have to say, it is quite clear that in 2003, and perhaps even before then, that this was not the practice that was being adopted. it was not have government worked. officer,ctice, a law whilst being placed in a
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position where he had reasonably to take on trust, particularly the prime minister. i want to make clear -- i cannot make a judgment on whether lord goldsmith's advice on the seventh of march was right or not, but he set out, correctly in my view, the alternative interpretations available for resolution 14-41. i simply make the point, as i made earlier in my intervention, that there are areas of international law wish raise massive difficulties for the interpretation. we stuck, asle, some jurists would argue, to the principle that no military intervention can take place without a un security council authorization, then the united kingdom doctrine, which is a weather stoppage one,
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intervening on the basis of humanitarian necessity, would never have happened. i chuck back into the pool of the debate that this house has had in trying to understand some of the complexities. but of course, memo that gets away from the fact that the debate would have likely been very different within the cabinet if lord goldsmith's ad vice, in its original form, had been properly presented, circulated, and discussed. if any of us know who has been in government, the process by which you moderate each others'opinions is by challenging them, and if you don't have a process of challenge, then you shouldn't be surprised that at the end of the day, people simply end up rubberstamping decisions because it appears to be convenient to do so. one of the interesting features of being in coalition was that i
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quickly came to realize that because there were some members of the financial security council or cabinet not the holding to the prime minister at all, it actually raised the level of challenge in a manner that one might think was necessary, when in fact it is single party government. a very interesting reflection on some of the problems. and when you have prime minister who was a dominant figure after five or six years in government, and a triumphant second mandate, it becomes even harder. mr. speaker, those are my thoughts, looking on these two principal issues. there are lots of other issues in this report, but i think it is one of the most compelling reads i have had. i'm not sure i'm going to be able to get through the whole lot, but i'm am certainly going to try to read much more of it. can i just say two final points? firstly, to the right honorable
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member from gordon and his accountability should lead to somebody being held at least in contempt of this house, as mr. blair has i simply sayrly, to him, that justice as some people were talking about 806, contemptn 1 proceedings in parliament are based on findings which have been made in an external tribunal, which meets article six compliance, is going to be in practice very difficult, and i would strongly recommend that, tempting as such a route might suggest itself to be, the practical difficulties are likely to make it impossible to follow, and i say that in all sincerity. i give way -- like to borrow with the right honorable gentleman has just said. i'm not quite clear in what we
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consider that the formal prime minister's -- former prime minister's rates are being determined in the contempt motion as i understand it. it's a breach of privilege, it's not a determination of civil rights or obligations. it's not a criminal charge or contempt of court. i'm wondering if he could elucidate what he thinks article is engaged. >> it depends, i suppose, what sanctions this house wishes to follow. but in addition to that, i think there is a second issue. wherey have examples somebody says one thing to this house and, in front of the tribunal or court of record on evidence, says something different. and the house can look at those two things juxtaposed and
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conclude that the house was misled in evidence that it was given. that, if i may say so, might well have found a finding of breach of privilege for contempt, although that still leaves the question unanswered as to sanctions. but i do understand the point. but in this case, if i may say, i'm not giving some definitive statement, i'm simply saying what is in my mind appears to be the difficulties that are likely to calm from trying to pursue this particular course of action. on the whole, i would like the reputation of this house to stand enhanced by the way we approach the chilcot inquiry report and its aftermath. i'm always wary of suggesting or counseling a course of action that might lead to the very opposite of what is intended. i thank the honorable gentleman. i hold his expertise in the
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highest regard, but he has said it was important that the reputation of this house is enhanced in the outcome of this report. surely the reputation of this house will not be enhanced if there is not any attempt to hold the former prime minister -- >> hear, hear. i listen to what the honorable and learned lady says, and this is a matter that can perhaps be debated, but i simply counsel caution. the truth is that the prime minister has been examined at the court of public opinion, and i suspect the judgment of history, and i think that it is likely that the judgment really pretty unkind to the way in which this was carried out. whether this house feels that it wants to do more immediately is a matter that we can debate at
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another time. can i then turned finally -- the point being made, the outcome of this process in the middle east middle east is a place of massive dysfunctionality, maybe if we hadn't intervened in 2003, and we would find ourselves with another pattern, of war and bloody conflict based on a whole series of disintegration's of the social fabric of the area, which has been going on for some time, and that we can see manifested in the current conflict, which i done think it's necessarily entirely due to our intervention in 2003, but has elements inherent to the societies themselves. but i do worry very much, and it has colored my view is a politician ever since, that it has had a terrible effect on public trust in us and our
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institutions in this country, itselfng that carries all the way into the brexit referendum and its aftermath. i do think that we have much to learn from this very sorry episode, and the nugget i derive is that we have to have open debate. we must avoid simply treating politics as presentational gimmicks, because if we continue doing it, and it has become a sort of habit in modern western society because the development of social media, the development of the press, the way in which we communicate ideas, if we continue doing it, we are going to ruthlessly undermine sensible decision making and the ability to come to the right conclusions by debate, which is absolutely
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the heart of what this house should be about. >> hear. >> thank you, after speaker. -- mr. speaker. i want to start where the right honorable speaker ended, by saying that there is much to learn from the chilcot report, and one of the things that concerns me most -- and it's very early to say so -- but it is far from clear to me that we are going to learn the things we should. in the morning of the chilcot inquiry publication, i listened to the radio and i heard a number of commentators and saying onethis house after another, of course, we all know what happened. it was a simple script.
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tony blair knew there were no weapons of mass destruction; he deliberately lied to the house of commons about the intelligence about whether there was intelligence to suggest that there was such a weapon. he had a secret pact made with george bush long before to commit us to war in all , and that war itself was illegal because there was not a second united nations resolution. and it does seem to me that this is the right moment to point the that i think this is fifth of the inquiries and to happened in 2003 and before, and after invasion, and as far as i recall, none of them have verified that incredibly simple script, nor does it seem to me that the chilcot inquiry simply confirms it. cceptsquiry team a
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that when mr. told this -- that when the prime minister told this house that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction, he believed it to be true. he was not making of the intelligence, he was not telling this house anything other than what he believed to be true, let alone inventing a lie, which seems to be implied, and indeed the report points out that the basic case that saddam hussein had both retained weapons of mass destruction and that he had the intent to develop more, given the opportunities, or that the intelligence committee -- one of thed most important things is the degree to which whole swaths of people whose professional judgment was involved were indeed mistaken. back continued to be the case right up to and beyond the
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invasion of what chilcot makes clear, that the joint intelligence committee has continually reported those to the then prime minister into the cabinet. there was no evidence that intelligence was improperly concluded in the dossier or improperly influenced, and that this inquiry is not questioning mr. blair or his legitimate role in advocating government politics. that is what i think is important to bear in mind, especially as one listens to some of the details and determined attempts to create a different impression. sir john chilcot also pointed out that, along with the dangers the intelligent communities saddam hussein presented, they
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believed, and again i am hussein that "saddam could not be removed without an invasion." and that also they thought to be relevant. of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we all know that the intelligence community and the then prime minister were wrong, but we didn't know it then, and , what oure intelligence believed was by almost every other measurement, every other intelligence service which is no doubt why the security council resolution was carried unanimously. the j.i.c. said the
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intelligence on iraq's weapons of mass destruction were sporadic. three weeks later tony blair said "we know he has been developing these weapons; we know these weapons constitute a threat." how do we not know the time, and how is that consistent? >> i'm familiar with this exchange in this instance, and in some way this is usually important. is it not the impression that the public are being given? and the right honorable gentleman is striving every day to give them. they are giving the impression that the intelligence services intelligencet -- then prime minister knew there were no weapons of mass destruction and liberally misled the house. that was not true, it was never true. thettempt to read that into record can't possibly be justified.
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we did not know it anthen, and most people firmly believed in saddam hussein's intentions. the further allegation, the one tout the secret commitment, hear the honorable member from gordon, quoted in the background, i agree with him entirely, that it was a mistake, and a tremendous mistake. however i don't read into it the sinister feeling that he reads into it, nor indeed that the chilcot inquiry -- to my mind, if this had been a conversation rather than a written memorandum, it was something along the lines of, look, i am on your side, but if we are to take action, there are things that have to be addressed, we have to go to the united
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nations. and certainly chilcot acknowledges that it was mr. blair's intent to get the president to go through the united nations, that he pursued that with determination, and that he had success in doing so against the advice of allies. >> the lady will find that chilcot found it much more significant, which is why he said it would be difficult to draw support. but how does she explained her own colleague's memoir to tony blair, when bush graciously accepted your offer to be with him all the way? can the honorable later give her exultation? >> it was better to ask my former colleague, but having been the recipient of his notes, i will suggest that what he was doing was ironically quoting back to the prime minister what he didn't think the prime minister should have used, and
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he was right about that. and then there's the question of legality, and it has been said here before, and no doubt will be again, that chilcott was not pronounced on the gallery of the proceedings. he criticized the processes and he does say a second resolution was needed. there is an enormous amount of dispute about this matter, and the former attorney general touched on it. he had the question of the attorney general. one of the things i am pretty sure i have said before, it is quite -- whether or not we needed a second resolution has been gone over ad nauseam. it has been discussed at length.
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the cabinet has had extensive verbal reports from the event foreign secretary and prime minister about the progress of discussions in the security council, about the desire to have a second resolution, about how things were going into was objecting, very much in detailed terms about how that process was taking place. the views of the then foreign office legal advisor in london have been very much quoted and given to the chilcott inquiry. all the focus has been on that advice of the foreign office in london, although it was interesting, the former remarks, about how unclear international noise, and how it is not always an easy matter to interpret, which it is certainly not. but what i have rarely seen quoted at all or referenced in
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any way is that someone else gave evidence to the inquiry about legality of resolution 14-41 and whether u.n. resolutions were required. that was at the head of the foreign office legal team at the united nations. day-to-dayose dealings or with the security council, and presumably equivalent people in the handling of negotiations and who gives them legal advice about the detail of what resolutions man and so one. an he confirmedd what consistently the former foreign secretary told the foreign cabinet, that the russians and the french in particular had tried to get an explicit believee into 14-41 to a second resolution before any
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military action could be undertaken, even though as drafted it used the word "final opportunity," and talked about serious consequences if he did not comply. those discussions, we were told, advisor, told the chilcot inquiry that those discussions were noted, and there was a strong attempt to insist that it was carried, but in the end, the russians and french accepted as a second resolution,he carried unanimously with the vote of the syrian government, which is a remarkable thought in today's circumstances. the accusation has also been discussionsof these that the attempts to get saddam hussein to conform to the u.n. resolutions was in some way false, that there was no intention, no risk for saddam
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hussein, that the intention from the beginning was military action. the thensaid early on, prime minister repeatedly warmed the cabinet that if saddam hussein did indeed choose to comply with the u.n. resolution, he stayed, and said that would be an outcome that many would deplore and would regret. but it was repeatedly pointed out to us; if he complies, no military action, he stays in power. yes. thank you. i want to sit point out the fact that in the chilcot report, he quotes the head of the mi six at the time, telling tony blair that the u.s. was deliberately setting the bar "so high that
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saddam hussein would be unable to comply." this idea that when he was standing in the house of commons on the day of the vote, that it was still going to be a case to comply, that there was still time, that was wrong. the bar was set deliberately high so that he cannot comply. >> hear. >> yes, i know that reference. they worriedat time i accept that it appears difficult, but if he had shown any intention of complying, and given any move to admit, one is a series of tests proposed to show whether or not he was complying, all of that was redacted by the french and by saddam.
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that is where we are. that is a warning. original series of accusations. but to that original story and the further accusations, one coming from the chilcot report itself, taken when it was not a matter of last resort. that we could have held back longer it it could have been addressed. third, that the events taking place in the middle east are all as a result of the iraq shouldn, and that too allow the consequences of all of us who voted for the invasion. on this question as to whether or not it was a last resort, it is a point that was also made by
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my late right honorable friend robin cook. case restmake that their argument on the continued effectiveness of containment asked by sanctions. of the things that nobody seems to mention anymore is that after this time it was very widely and seriously believed that containment was weakening, that containment was seeking to be effective, and certainly, anyone who was around new there was an enormous and growing campaign against the sanctions which were helping to keep in place a hoped-for containment. honorable members will recall the process that needs to take place on a continual basis across the road in parliament square. the we have forgotten; that was not at the beginning of protests against the war, that was a
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protest against the maintenance of sanctions on saddam hussein. to be fair to the people who undertook it, on a legitimate and understandable basis, saddam was stealing the money that was being given to see the iraqi people, and so consequently there was growing poverty and hardship in iraq. it was understandable that people should be against the sanctions, but they were, in the campaign against the sanctions was itself growing. >> i'm grateful to the right honorable later. she mentions the significance of chapter 20 in the executive summary, which says quite clearly that this was not a last resort. the importance of that is fundamental to the definition of a just war, and if we accept that assertion by chilcot, to corrobory is that it was not adjusted for.
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stuff, itvolumes of is that simple sentence in the executive summary that bangs it up. >> i did realize that was what it meant, although i have the lawyer,on -- i'm not a but i thought it was religious rather than a military or legal concept, although i do understand it in those terms. question ofom the -- justor not this because it wasn't a last resort, can i say that after the invasion evidence was found that, indeed, saddam hussein had been in further breaches u.n. resolutions of what we understood at the time of the invasion, breaches of which we were unaware when he made this statement in this house on
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missile development, which have been forgiven, and which people were not aware. aq the butler report, "if ir is ever given ballistic anti-clearly intended to reconstitute long-range delivery systems, and those systems potentially were for use with weapons of mass destruction." it's not a simple matter of containment was working. there were breaches. saddam hussein was not trying to take things forward in terms of weapons development, as we discovered once invasion had taken place. the second point on this is the argument that we could have held off. accept thei have to verdict of chilcot, that it was not impossible, but again,
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appointed to which no one know touches was the circumstances in which by then everyone found themselves. very, veryps in difficult, on pleasant, and incredibly dangerous circumstances. troops who were expecting hourly, daily potential attacks by chemical and biological weapons, which everyone believed he possessed. if it is a simple matter of saying there is no need, if you were going to take action, you have to start military preparations, and by that point they had advanced to such an extent -- of course, ultimately, you could argue, and no doubt people will, that those troops could have been withdrawn, the what kind of signal with that have sent to saddam hussein or
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the rest of the world? it seems to me that it would have given him a signal that he was free to resume the operations he had done in the past, whether it be against the e againstas he had don iran. these things are not as simple as is sometimes assumed, although i completely accept the argument made -- one of the lessons we should learn is that we should be wary of letting military concerns drive the political decisions, and that brings me back to my principal thesis, which is that there is lcot from which we could learn, but only if we do not divert ourselves. that brings me to the final issue, mr. speaker, that i want address, the final
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accusation, the accusation that everything that has happened in iraq, syria, or across the middle east, have all emerged thatthe invasion of iraq, it was all due to a dreadful miscalculation. let us say that it was. let's accept his premise. i don't think he argues, and i certainly do not accept, that everything terrible is happening now or has happened since in the middle east as a result of that invasion, and i think it is grossly irresponsible. there are clear anger is that people feel against the then government, against the then prime minister, against the war in iraq. it is grossly irresponsible to say to the evil men of isil, daesh, or al qaeda, that they are off the hook for the blame of any of the terrible things they do because it is all down
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to us. it is no good to people making noises, because we all know that is exactly the kind of argument people would make. all this stuff is done to the mistakes of the west, and everyone else is a result. no one should be absolved of responsibility for the things they themselves advocate or do. i do not seek to resign from the responsibilities. i voted in this house for the iraq war. i regret it bitterly the events that have occurred, but i do not pretend the decision i made was mine. >> the republican national convention, from cleveland, starts today. watch live, every minute, on c-span. listen live on the free c-span radio app. it is easy to download from the
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