Tony Blair didn't lie to us about Iraq, says key Chilcot inquiry witness

Chilcot: 'Tony Blair was right to stand by the Americans', says former army officer

Chilcot has said Tony Blair was not straight with the public about the war

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tony Blair didn't lie to his people and was right to stand by the Americans on Iraq, says a retired British Army officer who served as a key witness to the Chilcot inquiry.

Sir John Chilcot, who led that inquiry into the Iraq war, has claimed Blair was not straight with the public about his decisions surrounding the campaign.

But Major General Tim Cross, who was part of the agency responsible for drawing up plans for postwar Iraq and provided expert testimony to the Chilcot investigation, believes the ongoing criticism of Blair is unfair.

"I do not believe that Tony Blair lied," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "I do believe that he genuinely felt that this situation (Iraq) had to be tackled, and this was the right time to do it."

Critics of Blair believe the Iraq invasion has directly led to the recent political vacuum in the country, and the rise of Isis.

But Cross said: "All choices carry consequences. Not choosing to do something carries a consequence as well.

"If [Blair] and the Americans had decided not to do anything and Saddam Hussein had decided to use chemical weapons...the world would be up in arms about it.

"I think [Blair] was right to stand by the Americans. If he hadn’t done so there would have been, again, follow-on implications to that decision."

"There are some who say this was not the last resort [however] this is after 12 years 13 years of engagement in Iraq, when do you draw the line?"

He suggested that Chilcot's overall message is perhaps that Blair's "emotional intelligence overtook him," but then politicians such as Theresa May are accused of lacking such intelligence, so politicians cannot win.

Listen to the full interview above