THE Chilcot Enquiry into the Iraq war is taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre opposite the Houses of Parliament.
We have been calling for an inquiry into the war in Iraq since 2006 because there are important lessons to be learnt and I am pleased that everyone is now able to hear what really happened in the weeks running up to the decision to go to war.
I did support military action by the international coalition in Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein posed a credible and real risk to international peace and security, and on the basis of the information that the Prime Minister presented to the House of Commons. But I have been dismayed to learn that the claim that weapons of mass destruction were 45 minutes from British territory was misleading. The casual way they were added “to provide colour” is deeply disturbing.
We were right to support the war in Iraq, but the great difficulties of uniting and securing such a country were seriously underestimated and mistakes were made that made the tasks of bringing stability and peace much more difficult. This costs lives, which I greatly regret.
There is a lesson in all this. If you plan to go to war you must also plan for peace.