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Iraq War Inquiry: 'Regret' Not Warning Tony Blair Enough

By jimstaro - Posted on 19 January 2011

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Advisers 'regret' not warning Tony Blair enough about dangers of invading Iraq

Evidence to Chilcot inquiry reveals concerns by senior ministerial advisers over weakness of intelligence and case for war

Sir Stephen Wall, the former head of the cabinet’s European secretariat, told the Chilcot inquiry he regretted not advising Tony Blair to consider more seriously the views of the anti-war French president Jacques Chirac. Photograph: Jacques Brinon/AP

19 January 2011 - Former senior ministerial advisers have told the Chilcot inquiry they regretted not warning Tony Blair enough about the dangers of invading Iraq and the weakness of intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

However, Matthew Rycroft, a private secretary in Downing Street, told the inquiry that the US policy on the issue was a "juggernaut". He said: "Even if the prime minister had wanted to push the juggernaut in a completely different direction, I suspect he would not have been able to and he didn't want to turn it around anyway."

His evidence, originally given in private, was released by the Chilcot inquiry yesterday. Sir Stephen Wall, head of the cabinet's European secretariat at the time, told the inquiry he regretted not advising Blair to consider more seriously the views of the anti-war French president Jacques Chirac. "Chirac knew about war," Wall said.

He said he had heard the French president recall how, as a young soldier in Algeria, he had seen a boy blown up by a mine. Chirac's warnings that 10,000 Iraqi civilians would die was "not just rhetoric... It was a serious view", Wall said. {continued}

He forgot to tell Blair that war kills innocent people. In the case of Iraq everyone was innocent of the crime being committed on them. Saddam may well have been guilty of many other crimes, but why did we help the people like we are helping the people of Tunisia? Are we helping the people of Tunisia?

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