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LONDON – 6th July 2016
Report must not be used to score political points or to stop UK exercising hard power in event of a future conflict that requires our intervention
The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) – a London international affairs and security thinktank originally conceptualised as a response to the debate about the Iraq War raging in foreign policy circles – has welcomed the imminent publication of the Chilcot Inquiry’s report today, but has warned that there is a danger of the Inquiry’s likely conclusions being wrongly interpreted in contemporary foreign policy decision-making.
The chairman of the UK’s inquiry into the Iraq war, Sir John Chilcot, has already said he hopes future military action on the scale of the Iraq War will only be possible with more careful analysis and political judgement. But HJS experts have warned that there is a fine line to tread between the need for accurate analysis and requiring an impossibly high burden of support for any future foreign policy action.
Commenting on the report publication, HJS Executive Director Dr Alan Mendoza said: “Foreign policy decision-making, like the domestic variant, must always be subject to the toughest tests of analysis and scrutiny, and the Chilcot Inquiry will rightly suggest ways this can be improved further. However it would be a fatal error for British security and international interests to be held hostage now to impossibly high standards of absolute proof and overwhelming political support before future actions are undertaken. We wouldn’t expect that of important domestic policy considerations, and it isn’t realistic in the international context. Our leaders must always be held to account for the decisions they make, and the way in which they make them. But we must accept that there will be challenges in the world going forwards that may be paramount to British national interests and that may therefore require British action delivered in a quicker and less united fashion than Sir John Chilcot himself appears to be suggesting.”
Notes to Editors:
The Henry Jackson Society is a think tank and policy-shaping force that fights for the principles and alliances which keep societies free – working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and real human rights, and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world. Henry Jackson Society research and events provide key analysis and insight to policy- makers and the media.
The Henry Jackson Society can provide interviews with experts including the Director, Dr Alan Mendoza
For interview requests, please contact the Henry Jackson Society.
Our previous press releases on Iraq have included the following:
“Inside the Beltway: Was the Iraq War Worth it?” Jamie Fly (2010)
“Iraq: What Now?” Robin Simcox (July 2014)
“Iraq After The War: A Bleak Prognosis” Robin Simcox (December 2011)
“Iraq War: We must move on from questions of legality” George Grant (January 2011)
“What would it take to intervene in Iraq (again)?” Robin Simcox (March 2012)
“The Iraq ‘Surge’” (January 2007)
“How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS” Kyle Orton (December 2015)