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Reporting from Washington, I'm Laura Trevelyan.
The headlines: A UK inquiry delivers its conclusion on Britain's
It found military action was based on flawed intelligence
and there was no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.
It is and I count of an intervention which went badly wrong, with
consequences to this day. -- and I count.
lies, but accepts full responsibility for
For all of this, I express more sorrow, regret, and apology than
Also coming up: President Obama says he'll keep more than 8,000 troops
And, sentenced to six years in a South African prison.
After a marathon trial, Oscar Pistorius learns his fate
for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
We start in Britain, where a long awaited report
on the country's role in the Iraq war has laid out
The investigation, led by Sir John Chilcot,
found the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein posed no "imminent
threat" and the military action against him was not a last resort.
The report says Britain went to war based on "flawed intelligence".
And this is what prime minister Tony Blair told George Bush
in a letter eight months before the invasion:
A spokesman for president George W Bush told the BBC
he believes the world is a better place
And he went on to praise the UK under the leadership of Tony Blair
But the Chilcot report says the intervention went badly wrong,
Nicholas Witchell has been looking at it in more detail.
For month after month, some of the most senior
figures in the land, ministers, civil servants, military
leaders and intelligence chiefs, came to give evidence.
From their testimony and many thousands of documents,
Sir John Chilcot has distilled his conclusions.
It is on the use of intelligence that he offers some of his most
It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed
They were not challenged, and they should have been.
In the House of Commons on the 24th of September 2002, Mr Blair
talked up the credibility of the intelligence
It is extensive, detailed, and authoritative.
According to Mr Blair, Saddam Hussein could activate his
chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes.
The judgments about Iraq's capabilities in a statement
and in the dossier published the same day were presented
with a certainty that was not justifiable.
Not only was intelligence flawed, so too with the discussions
The Attorney General at the time was Lord Peter Goldsmith,
but it is clear from the report that time and again, the Cabinet
was denied a chance to hear his detailed arguments.
One such an occasion was a matter of weeks before the invasion began.
And so to the chaos of postinvasion planning and another
According to the report, Mr Blair's government
was warned explicitly of the risk that an invasion
would destabilise Iraq and lead to the growth of Al-Qaeda.
And as British forces faced the growing Iraqi insurrection,
the government failed to equip them properly.
We have found that the Ministry of Defence was slow in responding
to the threat from improvised explosive devices and that delays
in providing adequate medium weight protective patrol vehicles should
Britain's invasion of Iraq has been minutely scrutinised.
Sir John Chilcot has found that it was an unwarranted invasion,
based on flawed intelligence, with insufficient discussion
It was an intervention which he said had caused anguish and suffering
The evidence is there for all to see, it is an account
of an intervention which went badly wrong.
Reacting to the Chilcot report, former prime minister Tony Blair
took full responsibility for the mistakes in planning
But he asked the British public to accept that he had
done what he thought was right at the time.
The intelligence assessments made at the time of going to war turned out
to be wrong. The aftermath turned out to be more hostile, protracted
and bloody than ever we imagined. The coalition plan for one set of
ground facts and encountered another, and a nation whose people
we wanted to set free and secure from the evil of Saddam, became
instead victim to sectarian terrorism.
For all of this, I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you
may have no law can believe. -- and you may ever know.
The violence which erupted in Iraq in 2003 has continued to this day,
and the head of the UK inquiry underlined the suffering
of the Iraqi people, including a million forced
As our Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen reports from Baghdad,
the war sent shockwaves across the entire region.
The people of Baghdad and the rest of Iraq are still living and dying
with the consequences of the 2003 invasion.
Security is being beefed up yet again after the bomb that killed
But the fear of a sudden random death is never far away.
When the US forces reached Baghdad in April 2003, pictures of them
helping Iraqis topple a statue of Saddam Hussein went
Hadi Al Jabari started knocking lumps out of the Prince to celebrate
Hadi Al Jabari started knocking lumps out of the plinth to celebrate
Now like many Iraqis, he's nostalgic for the brutal
TRANSLATION: Saddam has gone and we now have 1,000 Saddams.
If Tony Blair was here this morning, what would you say to him?
TRANSLATION: I would say to him, you are a criminal.
Less than an hour's drive from Baghdad, these are Iraqi Shia
militiamen, trained and equipped by Iran,
Chilcot says the British Government ignored a warning that removing
Saddam would offer Iran an opening in Iraq.
Captured IS positions seemed to have been prepared by trained soldiers,
IS commanders include former Iraqi officers who joined
the jihadists when the US and Britain dissolved the Iraqi army.
Not all of the chaos, violence and war in the Middle East
at the moment can be traced back to the invasion of Iraq in 2003,
It was like throwing a great big rock into a pond,
it sent out shock waves, geopolitical, religious,
And 13 years later, they're still crashing around the region.
Warnings about internal strife, regional instability and the rise
of jihadists were also ignored by Number Ten, says Chilcot.
Iraq's sectarian violence spread to Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.
As leaders used and abused Shia Sunni fears to fight for power.
Jihadists were on the attack before the invasion.
But Iraq after 2003 offered Al-Qaeda a haven
and launch pad that Islamic State is still using.
Small numbers of British troops who we filmed on condition
At this base, Australians and New Zealanders
It is a long way from what Chilcot caused the humiliating
It is a long way from what Chilcot calls the humiliating
end of an intervention that went badly wrong,
With me in the studio is former US Defence Secretary and BBC World
the report says the war was based on flawed intelligence, which the US
also bought into, particularly that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction? Indeed. I think the US was the
moving force behind this operation, and the British were, I think,
determined to be with the United States no matter what. If you look
at Tony Blair's letter, that is quoted in the report, a laser very
specifically things that needed to be done. We don't know what the
answers to those were, but we don't think they were done. So I think it
is laid out very clearly. We didn't have adequate intelligence or
adequate planning, and I think the report Stansbury well.
Well, the report is so damning on the matter of that planning, it says
the planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were
wholly inadequate. They were inadequate. There was an
assumption on the part of all of us, those in the Clinton administration
as well as the Bush administration that Saddam had weapons of mass
destruction. However, the Clinton administration came to the
conclusion he posed no imminent threat, and we were determined to
stay out of Iraq last Saddam Hussein invaded Saudi Arabia, or QA, or
attacked Israel. It is easy to say that, the doubling changed after
September the 11th, didn't it? You can see why he thought Saddam
Hussein would be a threat as well. Yes, but they tried to make a link
to 9/11 that was not real. Saddam did not have a nuclear weapons
capability, and I think the rationale was really to displace
Saddam and put democracy in its place, and that has been one of the
biggest lessons we should take from this. Do not try to transplant
democracy in soil that is not fertile for democracy.
Just returning to the Chilcot Report and the reaction to it, the former
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who you knew when you are in the Clinton
Administration, he has said that UK officials felt blindsided by US
officials, particularly Paul Bremer, when he disbanded the Iraqi army.
What do you make of that blindside in?
That is correct. I think it was a mistake to have simply taken out the
Iraqi army rather than trying to perhaps take the top officers and
keep the army in place. But we did not take into contemplation the
consequence of removing a regime with nothing in its place, and with
inadequate resources to make sure they were stability for some time to
come. We are paying the penalty for it to this day. We are learning a
lot about the relationship between President George Bush and Tony
Blair, from the letters unearthed by the Chilcot Inquiry.
Eight months before the amazing, Tony Blair says the George Bush, I
will be with you whatever. Does it surprise you, the closeness of their
relationship? It seems like unconditional support.
Not really, because Great Britain has been with the United States
from... Certainly during my lifetime, and hopefully will
continue in the future. This relationship is special. We have
depended on each other, and I would go back and point out, in Libya, for
example, that was a British initiative, yet the United States
joined in that effort because the British had been with us, even
though our former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates spoke out against
going into Libya. We went nonetheless, because we wanted to be
with them, because they had been with us. That is a relationship
which will continue, but the report gives fair warning. Make sure you
understand all the consequences before you ever take military
action. As Defence Secretary, you know that.
The report is extremely critical, and has the benefit of hindsight,
but just how momentous is that decision, to go to war, when you
take it? We're seeing it play out. The reason
we should always be reluctant to release the dogs of war is that we
may not be able to call them back, and if you look at the destruction
that is taking place today in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen, and certainly in
Iraq, thousands and thousands of people continue to die as a result
of instability. So yes, we have two always make sure that before we ever
go into a country, as we should have and not in Rwanda, but as we did in
Kosovo, to make sure there was no ethnic cleansing on tens and
hundreds of thousands of people, nonetheless, we have to have the
planning, what takes place the day after you going. What is the plan
for state lies in a country that you are attacking? And it is clear that
we did not do their job for Iraq. -- stabilising a country.
Thank you for joining us. More than 150,000 people died
in Iraq during the war and in the years that followed,
among them 179 British For years, many of their families
had campaigned for an inquiry so they could find out the truth
about why Britain went to war. Fergal Keane reports now
on the families' reaction The bereaved have endured
seven years of painful waiting Debbie Allbutt and her son Connor
were on their way to hear Steven Allbutt, husband and father,
was killed in Iraq in 2003. In the last few days,
the trauma has returned. It has brought a lot
of memories back. I had nightmares where he was still
alive, and I saw him in a shop. Just horrible nightmares.
I am just hoping we find out why we went in and why we went
In the quiet of nearby Westminster Abbey, former SAS man
John Brown was remembering his son, Nick, also an SAS trooper.
He wanted answers about the justification for going to war.
We want to know what the enquiry says about the entry,
I know they did not have an exit strategy.
The families came here looking for the truth that named names
The families were invited to meet Sir John Chilcot, and read a summary
of his report. The families came here looking
for the truth that named names Well, they've now had
a chance to consider The families gathered
here trust that we speak The families say they will study
the conclusions and decide whether to launch legal action
against Tony Blair. I'm going back to that time
when I learned that my brother had been killed and there is
one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware
of and his name is Tony Blair. But there was a welcome
for the report's findings What is your reaction
to what you heard? Amazed, I didn't expect it to be
as good an outcome, really. I thought we would have a bit
of cover up or something. Sir John Chilcot has
done us a good job. I'm really, really
pleased with the outcome. It's good news but at the same time
it's bad news as well, because I think if Tony Blair
wasn't the Prime Minister at the time, I think my dad
could still have been here today. The former SAS man John Brown
watched Tony Blair's For all of this, I express more
sorrow, regret and apology. Tony Blair has just apologised.
What does that mean to you? The Chilcot report has not given
the families all the answers they sought, but it has restored
some measure of their faith Now to another conflict even older
than the war in Iraq, whose legacy President Barack Obama says he's
slowing the withdrawal of American Originally, numbers were to drop
from just under 10,00 to 5,500 Mr Obama now plans to leave 8,400
troops in place into next year. Maintaining our forces
at the specific level, based on our assessment
of the security conditions and the strength of Afghan forces,
will allow us to continue to provide tailored support to help Afghan
forces continue to improve. From coalition bases in Jalalabad
and Kandahar we will be able to continue supporting Afghan forces
on the ground and in the air and continue
supporting critical Our correspondent Nick Bryant
joins me in the studio. So, then Obama famously came to
office promising to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly
in Afghanistan. Why is he having such difficulty ending it? He is
worried that of America withdraws to the number he intended, which was
5500, a long way from the 100,000 that were there during the height of
the surge, there was a danger that Afghanistan could again become a
safe haven for terrorists, as he put it, which it was pre-9/11. He said
the security situation there was very precarious, he wanted to give
US forces additional options as they worked alongside the Afghan army in
trying to combat the Taliban and combating terrorism in the country.
And he also pointed out that, for instance, in the last 18 months, 38
American civilians and US personnel have died in Afghanistan. So the
security situation there is far from stable. There is clearly a worry, in
the White House and Pentagon especially, that a precipitous
withdrawal would make that situation worse. So he has kind of
compromised. A lot of former generals in the matadors were
calling for a freeze. He has not done that, but a small reduction in
force levels, to about 8400, rather than the 5500 he was aiming for.
And the UN estimates that the Taliban now controls more territory
in Afghanistan than at any time since 2001. Does the White House
have anything to say about that? What is edgily called for today is a
political settlement in Afghanistan, involving the Taliban. A couple of
invitations had been given to the Taliban. America is working
alongside the Afghan government, China and Pakistan in trying to get
the Taliban to the negotiating table. But those two invitations
have been rebuffed by the Taliban. Perhaps some of the preconditions or
demands America have made are just too tough for the Taliban. They have
called for them to denounce violence, to adopt the Afghan
constitution, with all its protections for women and
minorities, so they want a political process, but again, it seems very
far off at the moment. Thank you very much for joining us.
Now a look at some of the day's other news.
The US Justice Department will investigate the fatal shooting
by police of a black man in the city of Baton Rouge,
There have been protests overnight after a video emerged showing two
white policemen apparently holding the man down and shooting him.
The police say they were responding to an allegation that the suspect
The pound has hit a fresh 31-year low against the dollar as worries
over the UK's exit from the European Union continue
At one point, it dropped below $1.28 before rebounding to $1.29.
Analysts blamed warnings from the Bank of England that Brexit
A court in Spain has sentenced the Argentina and Barcelona
footballer, Lionel Messi, to twenty-one months in prison
The striker was fined more than two million dollars.
His father, Jorge, was also sentenced to prison.
Neither is expected to serve any time in jail as under Spanish law,
short prison sentences are usually suspended.
The South African athlete has been sentenced to six years in prison
for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.
Last year, the court overturned his original conviction
for manslaughter, instead finding him guilty of murder.
Our correspondent Karen Allen reports from Pretoria.
An undignified end for a fallen hero.
Oscar Pistorius is led away to jail to begin his six-year sentence,
For the father of Reeva Steenkamp, whose
testimony revealed how his life had been torn apart,
Inside a packed courtroom, a sense of hushed
expectation as the judge said she had to strike a balance between
deterrence, punishment and the seriousness of the crime.
By its very nature, punishment is unpleasant, it is
uncomfortable, it is painful and it's inconvenient.
It is certainly not what you love to do.
In the result, the sentence that I impose on the accused for the
murder, dolus eventualis, of the deceased, that
is Reeva Steenkamp, is six years imprisonment.
Reeva Steenkamp's parents glance around the courtroom,
almost in disbelief that this day has finally come.
A six-year sentence means that Oscar Pistorius will have to serve
at least three years before being eligible for parole.
He begged the world to believe it had all been a
terrible mistake, the judge exercising considerable discretion.
Now for the grieving family of Reeva Steenkamp,
And for Oscar Pistorius, a tearful embrace from his sister Amy
just seconds before he's led down to the cells.
It's now more than three years since this couple's fate hit the
headlines after the athlete fired four shots through a closed bathroom
In the court case that followed, Oscar Pistorius
was found guilty of manslaughter but a year later it was converted to
In an exclusive interview after court, the athlete's
uncle told me Oscar Pistorius was frightened about
If it's not frightening, I think it would still be stupid.
If you're frightened, your senses sharpen up,
your awareness becomes better, so frightened is good.
This is the prison where Oscar Pistorius
has already spent time for manslaughter.
Today marks the closing chapter of what has been
Oscar Pistorius, once a sporting legend, haunted by
a sense of remorse, now disappeared from public view the service time.
a sense of remorse, now disappeared from public view to serve his time.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has delivered a strong defence
of the 2003 Iraq War in response to a long-awaited report by a public
enquiry. At a news conference, Mr Blair insisted he had not misled the
country or lied to it. Mr Blair said he took full responsibility for any
mistakes without exception and without excuse.
The enquiry has found that the decision to go to war was based on
flawed intelligence and wasn't properly discussed with the British
Cabinet. It said there had been no imminent
threat from Iraq's then leader Saddam Hussein, and peaceful options
for disarming its government had not been exhausted.
From me, Laura Trevelyan, and the rest of the team, goodbye.
Good evening. Many of us had a fine day today. You may have noticed some
spectacular cloud formations, with examples of these wispy clouds in
the atmosphere. In the short-term, weather fronts I were racing in our
direction, spelling some rain, but not an awful lot. In