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The interconnected impacts of the Iraq war


Relying on weak intelligence for invading Iraq has had a negative impact on US and UK credibility with several consequences that persist to this day.

20 years on from the fateful decision to invade Iraq, it is generally accepted that the US and UK governments overstated the evidence available for them to justify military action. The central claim to defend invading Iraq was that the country had continued its illicit nuclear weapons programme and had retained illegal stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. None of these claims supported an imminent threat justification nor could any hidden caches of WMD be found by the US Iraq Survey Group after the invasion.  

In the US, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney hinted at additional evidence which could not be shared publicly to suggest that if only people knew what the government knew, they would agree that Iraq posed a significant threat to the West and needed to be disarmed.

In the UK, the Blair government acted similarly, focusing on a narrow interpretation of the evidence provided by the intelligence services and ignoring many of the dire warnings offered by academics and other experts. The Chilcot Inquiry found that the Blair government greatly exaggerated the threat Iraq posed to the UK, and that government arguments were based on the prime minister’s personal beliefs, as well as his promise to President Bush to support the US invasion. 

Relying on inadequate information and a biased analysis for invading Iraq has had a negative impact on US and UK credibility in the international security policy environment and domestically with ramifications that persist to this day.

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