Should Tony Blair be punished for the Iraq War?

We debate the inquiry with former members of Blair’s inner circle, and speak to Iraq’s first post-war defence minister.

More than a decade after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the country continues to become increasingly unstable. On Sunday, nearly 300 people were killed in the worst bombing since the invasion began.

Led by the United States with the support of the British, the war paved the way for a violent insurgency and a sectarian conflict that continues today. Various estimates put the civilian death toll at between 150,000 and more than 300,000. 

The criticism surrounding the government’s decision to get involved in the Iraq war led to a seven-year inquiry by former civil servant Sir John Chilcot, which was released earlier this week.

The long-awaited Chilcot Report found that the British decision was based on “flawed intelligence” and the invasion went “badly wrong”. While the report stopped short of calling former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair a liar, Chilcot said that claims about weapons of mass destruction were “presented with a certainty that was not justified”. 

So is Blair to blame for the Iraq war and its fallout? And should he and former US President George W Bush, the war’s other primary architect, be punished for their involvement? 

In this special episode of UpFront, we debate the Iraq Inquiry with two former members of Blair’s inner circle, Clare Short and John McTernan. 

In the Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan examines evidence arguing that Blair misled the UK Parliament and public into the Iraq War.  And in a special interview, Hasan speaks to Iraq’s first post-war defence minister, Ali Allawi.

Arena – Iraq Inquiry: Does Chilcot go far enough on Tony Blair?

In this week’s Arena, Clare Short debates with John McTernan. Short, a member of Blair’s cabinet, resigned in the wake of the invasion and has since called the Iraq war a “crime against peace”. McTernan, who served as Tony Blair’s director of political operations, is a longstanding and outspoken defender of the invasion.

Reality Check – The Iraq war: Did Tony Blair deceive us?

While the long-awaited Chilcot Report, released earlier this week, issued a damning verdict on Tony Blair’s involvement in the British decision to invade Iraq in 2003, did we really need to wait seven years to realise this?   

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan argues that even without the Iraq Inquiry, there were clear examples of Blair’s deception.

Special interview: Can Iraq’s government defeat ISIL? 

With parts of Iraq overtaken by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and nearly 300 dead after a suicide bombing in Baghdad last week, what responsibility do the architects of the 2003 invasion of the country have for the current crisis?

In this week’s Headliner, we speak to Ali Allawi, Iraq’s first post-war defence minister, about the Iraq Inquiry’s findings and the consequences of the Iraq invasion. 

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Image of John McTernan from Policy Exchange.