Chilcot Inquiry: U.K. Failed to Exhaust Peaceful Options Before Invading Iraq

John Chilcot report
Sir John Chilcot presents the Iraq Inquiry Report at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, London, July 6. The U.K.'s invasion of Iraq was "not a last resort," Chilcot said. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The Iraq Inquiry into the U.K.'s participation in the Iraq War has concluded that military action "was not a last resort," its author John Chilcot has said.

The U.K. failed to exhaust all options for peaceful disarmament before joining the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Chilcot said Wednesday.

He added that judgments made by the British government of Tony Blair regarding purported weapons of mass destruction in Iraq "were presented with a certainty that was not justified."

The presence of such weapons was cited by Blair's government as justification for invading Iraq and deposing its then-ruler Saddam Hussein. Chilcot said that preparations for after the invasion were also "wholly inadequate" and that the invasion was based on "flawed intelligence."

During the U.K.'s occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2009, 179 British personnel died. The U.S. lost 4,487 personnel in the war, while estimates of Iraqi casualties vary between 90,000 and more than 600,000, according to the BBC.

Chilcot said that the inquiry did not have the authority to determine whether the U.K.'s invasion of Iraq was illegal, and that such a judgment must be determined by an international court. But he said that the circumstances in which the British government decided that there was a legal basis for the invasion were "far from satisfactory."

The full inquiry, which consists of 12 volumes and some 2.6 million words, will be published on the inquiry's website at 11.35 a.m. BST. The report has taken seven years to compile.