Peters: Chilcot report shows NZ must reconsider involvement in Iraq

A defiant Tony Blair defended his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, following the publication yesterday of a devastating report by Sir John Chilcot which mauled the ex-prime minister's reputation and said that at the time of the 2003 invasion Saddam Hussein "posed no imminent threat".

"Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country".

Chilcot's report noted that the Blair government's public statements about Iraq's supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction were "presented with unjustified certainty".

"What I can not do, and will not do, is say we took the wrong decision", he said, insisting that the world was "a better place" after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

As relatives of British soldiers called the television performance a carefully choreographed act and one called Blair the "world's worst terrorist", he went on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday to admit that not many believed his expressions of regret over Iraq.

Britain took part in the 2003 Iraq war on the basis of flawed intelligence and before peaceful options for disarming Saddam Hussein's regime had been exhausted, a long-awaited inquiry has ruled. I don't believe, based on the information available to me, that it was the wrong decision.

"They were misled by a small number of leading figures in the government who were committed to joining the United States invasion of Iraq come what may and were none too scrupulous about how they made their case for war".

Helen Clark, pictured earlier this year, made the right decision not to send New Zealand troops to Iraq, Labour says.

"I began to feel that actually what was happening was that I was hearing Iraq Report Mark II - one that was completely different to the report Sir John Chilcot has just published", said Bacon, a former police officer.

Asked whether he should offer an apology to military families, Mr Howard said: 'Obviously I am sorry for the wounds or injuries that anybody suffered.

"But it isn't correct to say we had made some irrevocable commitment to war", he said.

But Blair said the report vindicated his "hardest, most momentous and agonizing decision", Reuters reports. "They were not challenged, and they should have been", he said.

Despite these findings, Mr Howard joined his former British counterpart Tony Blair, in defending his role in sending Australian troops to war.

As a first-term National MP in 2003, Key slammed the Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labour-led government for failing to join the war, saying the country was "MIA" and had failed to back its traditional allies. "He was talking about the Chilcot Report and what happened in Iraq and he did not mention legalities and he didn't mention people who did wrong".

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