Tony Blair covered up British military plans for a full Iraq invasion throughout 2002, claiming at the time that Britain’s objective was “disarmament, not regime change.” This and many other damning details are revealed in hundreds of pages of secret government reports obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.
Full transcripts include classified interviews with frustrated British Army commanders and Whitehall officials. Commanders wrote dozens of “post-operational reports” and the Army compiled two “overall lessons learnt” papers.
According to The Telegraph, the leaked report condemns the almost complete absence of contingency planning as a potential breach of Geneva Convention obligations to safeguard civilians. Coalition forces were “ill-prepared and equipped to deal with the problems in the first 100 days” of the occupation.
Blair’s lies to Parliament and the public, widespread problems with the Army’s supply chain and radio systems, and poor planning for “once Baghdad had fallen” are now confirmed in the public eye.
Particularly egregious are statements Blair made to Parliament in the build up to the invasion. On Sept 24, 2002, Mr. Blair told members of the British Parliament, “In respect of any military options, we are not at the stage of deciding those options but, of course, it is important — should we get to that point — that we have the fullest possible discussion of those options.”
The Telegraph reports, however, that according to leaked documents, “formation-level planning for a deployment took place from February 2002.”
The documents quote British Maj. Gen. Graeme Lamb, director of special forces during the war, as saying: “I had been working the war up since early 2002.”
Former Whitehall civil servant Sir John Chilcot is due to begin an inquiry into Iraq this week. Many of the leaked documents will very likely be seen by Chilcot’s committee, but it is unknown whether the tribunal will publish them.
Relatives of the dead, senior military officers and a few members of the press hope the Iraq Inquiry will not be a simple whitewash.