8.8 Retrospective Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq
A retrospective analysis of the decision to invade Iraq, with extra material and hindsight, endorses this book’s original conclusions.
Sir John Chilcot’s Report of the Iraq Inquiry was published on 6 July 2016, almost two years later than Edition 2 of this book. It was commissioned to examine the British government’s conduct in supporting America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. It took nearly 7 years to produce and it is huge (2.6 million words) but its separately-published Executive Summary is only 150 pages. The latter’s paragraph numbers are cited in the following comparisons with Patterns of Power: Edition 2.
The Chilcot Report did not disagree with any of this book’s previous conclusions, but the two documents each contained material that was missing from the other. The comparison between them is divided below into three sub-sections:
● The different scope of the Chilcot Report is examined (8.8.1). Its scope was both broader, including the conduct of the war, and narrower, being confined to a UK perspective.
● The many areas of alignment with the Chilcot Report are itemised (8.8.2).
● The Iraq war ‘dodgy dossier’ of intelligence reports played a role in parliament’s agreement to the invasion (8.8.3). It was not in the public domain in 2014.
A further subsection has now been added, (8.8.4), to provide retrospective analysis of the decision to invade Iraq with the hindsight of the 20 years that have elapsed since then. It adds further support to the conclusion that it was a disastrous decision that was reached by sweeping aside governance checks and balances. Some material on the invasion of Afghanistan is included, as that was driven by the same political impulses and had similar appalling results.