Project PI, Dr Owen Thomas, appeared on an episode of the SPIN podcast in 2019, created by the secrecy, power and ignorance research network, to discuss the Grenfell Tower fire and broader issues of state scandals, wrong-doing, and cultures of secrecy.
As Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry findings are published, we should resist what’s become the easy refrain: “Blair Lied. Thousands Died.”
If we actually want to learn from what happened, we should recognise that Tony Blair has been remarkably consistent in his view that the removal of the regime was necessary, whether or not Saddam Hussein actually possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Blair, it seems, genuinely believes that the war was in our best interests because it may have prevented an unlikely (but not impossible) catastrophe. This way of thinking has not gone away.
Olivia Noden, University of Exeter
In present-day society, the United Kingdom’s participation in the Iraq War typically incurs criticism, both from the British public and mass-media publications. These criticisms have been louder and more prevalent in the public domain since the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry in 2016 which delivered a damning verdict on Tony Blair’s decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, at the time of Blair’s decision, the majority of UK newspapers supported the Prime Minister as he committed troops to the Iraq bilateral invasion. Despite this, reflections on the UK invasion have rarely addressed the role of the UK media in advocating the moral case, or humanitarian responsibility, of the intervention.
This spring, the Ministry of Defense acknowledged enlisting the RAF and other coalition planes to engage in air raids across the Makhmur (or Makhmour) mountains, an independent region to the north of Baghdad. The mountains contain a series of limestone caves, thought to be a favoured Isis hideout by British intelligence services. These air attacks targetted the caves to destabilise the Isis stronghold in the Makhmur region and demonstrate a sustained interest in regaining control of north Iraq. The Guardian reported that the number of civilian casualities killed in the spring 2021 air raids have not been authenticated as the cave complexes have yet to be cleared by Iraqi ground forces.