CHILCOT: Cambridge notables at the centre of Iraq fiasco
Oxbridge educated elites screw everything up *again*
Battle of the Valencians – Chilcot gives Cambridge chills as prominent figures are implicated in scandal and intrigue.
Former Pembroke Master and ex-MI6 Head Sir Richard Dearlove has been condemned for his role in sending Britain into Iraq by an inquiry chaired by Pembroke alumnus Sir John Chilcot.
More than seven years after it was first announced, the immense 2.6 million word report has finally been published. It’s unanimously decided that there was no need to go to war in March 2003 as Saddam Hussein didn’t pose an imminent threat. Peaceful strategies of containment could have been adopted and continued.
The report also found that the government underestimated the consequences of the invasion and failed to achieve its stated objectives. 179 British personnel died in the Iraq War. Chilcot found the war “ended a very long way from success”.
The Iraq policy was made “on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments” which “were not challenged – and they should have been”. The report concluded that the intelligence community worked on the assumption that Saddan had WMDs and “the flaws in the construct and the intelligence were exposed after the conflict”.
The Secret Intelligence Service led at the time by Sir Richard Dearlove, who was Master of Pembroke from 2004 to 2015, failed in its responsibility to ensure ministers “were informed in a timely way when doubts arose about key sources and when, subsequently, intelligence was withdrawn”.
However, former Prime Minister Tony Blair was the central focus of criticism in the report, coming under fire for abusing Cabinet process and failing to establish ministerial oversight of planning. It was said that September 2002’s ‘dodgy dossier’ was “grounded in what Mr Blair believed” rather than in what the intelligence was presenting.
While “there is no evidence that intelligence was improperly included in the dossier or that No 10 improperly influenced the text”, the Joint Intelligence Committee, which included Dearlove, was criticized for failing to make clear to Blair that the intelligence didn’t “establish beyond doubt” that Saddam Hussein had WMDs.
Chilcot has reported that Blair told George Bush in 2002 “I will be with you, whatever”. In 2003, Blair was confronted by a rebellion within his own ranks, with 121 Labour MPs voting for an amendment that said the case for military intervention was “as yet unproven”. Chris Smith, Dearlove’s successor as Pembroke Master, helped lead the Labour insurrection, tabling the amendment in Parliament and voting against the war.
Cambridge Professor and Iraq expert George Joffe told Middle East Eye before the report’s release that he had warned Blair that “simply removing Saddam” would not solve the problem and that “Iraq was an extremely complicated state”.
It seems all’s not fair in Dearlove and war…