Iraq Inquiry: Welsh families given report findings

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Media captionRobert McFerran said he wanted the truth to come out

Welsh families who lost loved ones in the Iraq War are being given details of a seven-year inquiry into the conflict.

Sir John Chilcot said the UK chose to join the invasion before the peaceful options to disarm Iraq had been exhausted.

Fourteen servicemen from Wales died in the conflict.

The inquiry also concluded that circumstances on the legal basis for war were "far from satisfactory".

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Media captionSir John Chilcot: "The UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted"

Delivering the main conclusions, the inquiry also found:

  • The judgements about the severity of threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction - known as WMD - were presented with a certainty that was not justified.
  • Intelligence had "not established beyond doubt" that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons.
  • Policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence assessments. It was not challenged, and should have been.
  • The UK government failed to achieve the stated objectives it had set itself in Iraq.

Robert McFerran from Connah's Quay, Flintshire, lost his son Peter in July 2007 after a rocket attack on Basra airbase.

The 24-year-old senior aircraftsman with No 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment had been resting before a patrol when the missile hit.

"I'm hoping they are going to tell the truth," said Mr McFerran, ahead of the report's publication.

"Tell the truth about how they came about to go to Iraq, why they decided.

"The truth will come out. If it doesn't, then I'm going to be very disappointed - very disappointed."

Mr McFerran, a former member of the RAF himself, said he believed Mr Blair should be held to account for the conflict.

"The buck stops with him. He took this country into a war without a mandate from the UN or anybody else."

The former prime minister was one of those who gave public evidence to the Iraq Inquiry back in January 2010, and again a year later.

He mounted a robust defence of his decision to take the UK to war, describing the former Iraqi leader as a "monster" and a threat to the world.

In later evidence, he also said he regretted "deeply and profoundly the loss of life" during and after the war.

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Media captionKim Howells: 'Range of reasons' for Iraq War

The former Foreign Office minister and ex-Pontypridd MP Kim Howells said he believed the invasion was never just about claims over weapons of mass destruction.

"I didn't feel it was one reason we went into Iraq - I think we went into Iraq for a whole range of reasons," he said.

"Saddam Hussein was a vicious, fascistic dictator.

"I'd been brought up in Aberdare to believe that you should always do everything you can to oust fascist dictators."

But he also accepted there were failings and questions to be answered.

"The problem, of course, is that if the intelligence was 'cooked' then people like me have a great deal to regret.

"What I certainly regret about the Afghan war and the Iraq war is really the incompetence that we allowed in the command of our armed forces."

In total, 179 British personnel died during and following the conflict. A further 5,791 were injured.

Many of the families of British servicemen and women killed in Iraq have travelled to London for the publication of the report.

Among them is Theresa Evans from Llandudno, in Conwy county.

She lost her 24-year-old son Lance Bombardier Llywelyn Evans, a member of the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, in the opening hours of the war, when the Sea Knight helicopter carrying him and US personnel crashed south of the Kuwait border.

Image copyright MOD

She said her son was not convinced by the arguments for going to war.

"He wasn't happy with what was going on," she said.

"He never really believed and he said that on many occasions on the phone: 'What are we doing here, mum?'"

Mrs Evans said she had "mixed feelings" about the report's publication.

"Apparently we will be sitting in a room and we've got an hour or so to read the report before we come out of the room and they are going to speak to the media," she said.

"Yes, I am nervous. I'm going to try my best not to break down.

"And hopefully in those pages there will be the truth. I would like to know the truth."

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