Tuesday 20 February 2018

As Britain is convulsed by anger, Iraq is already ancient history in the US

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Rupert Cornwell

John Chilcot and Donald Trump have one thing in common. In their utterly different ways, they share misgivings about what happened in Iraq.

Britain went to war on the basis of flawed intelligence "before every peaceful option had been exhausted," and military action was "not the last resort," the former civil servant has soberly concluded. Speaking at a campaign rally a few hours before Mr Chilcot's report, Trump - who has declared the world would be "100 pc better off" if the likes of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were still around - conceded the Iraqi dictator might have been a bad guy. "But you know what he did well?" asked the Republican presidential candidate. "He killed terrorists. He did that so good."

But there the tenuous similarities end. Britain yesterday appeared convulsed by fury and vindictiveness, largely directed at one man, Tony Blair. Here in the US, by contrast, the Chilcot report has generated so far nothing but deafening silence, despite its being the most compendious postmortem yet on the biggest single foreign policy blunder by the US since Vietnam.

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