US former President George W. Bush defends decision to invade Iraq following Chilcot report

July 7, 2016 5:53 am

President
presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to British Prime Minister
Tony Blair at the White House in Washington, DC, January 12, 2009. (AFP
photo)

Following the release of the
British Chilcot Inquiry report into the Iraq war, former US president
George W. Bush has defended the decision to invade Iraq together with
the UK in 2003.

Bush said on Wednesday that the world was a better place after the ouster of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussain.
The
remarks came hours after the publication of the lengthy inquiry, led by
Sir John Chilcot, into the UK’s role before, after and during the war
in Iraq.
The 2.6 million-word Chilcot report said that the
invasion of Iraq was not the “last resort” action presented to British
MPs and the public. It added that there was no “imminent threat” from
Saddam at the time and that the intelligence case was not “justified.”
The
report also said former British prime minister Tony Blair overstated
the threat posed by Saddam’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction
(WMDs), deployed ill-prepared forces to the Arab country and had
“wholly” inadequate plans for after Saddam’s ouster.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses a news conference in London on July 6, 2016. ©AFPBush’s spokesman Freddy Ford said in a statement that Bush was hosting wounded military veterans for a bike ride in his ranch in Texas on Wednesday.
“Despite
the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged
previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is
better off without Saddam Hussein in power,” Ford said.
“There was no stronger ally than the United Kingdom under the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Blair,” he added.
Some
179 British troops were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009, when the
UK decided to withdraw its forces from the country. Families of the dead
soldiers have said their loved ones had died unnecessarily.
Speaking
at a news conference after the release of the Chilcot report, Blair
once again said his decision to involve the UK in the invasion was
“right,” noting that he did not agree with the idea that those
who died or were injured in Iraq “made their sacrifice in vain” as they
had played their part in “the defining global security struggle of the
21st century against the terrorism and violence which the world over
destroys lives, divides communities.”

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