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Dossier on Iraqi weapons was 'marketed rather hard' to justify the war, says retired Army chief

By Rachael Burnett

Published 05/07/2016

Comments: General Sir Mike Jackson
Comments: General Sir Mike Jackson

Intelligence on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction may have been “marketed rather hard” for political reasons ahead of the 2003 war, according to the general who headed the Army at the time.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s publication of the Chilcot Report into the conflict, General Sir Mike Jackson said “the jury is still out” over whether the invasion had proved worth the cost.

Sir Mike — who was an adjutant in Northern Ireland during Bloody Sunday — was speaking as relatives of some of the 179 Britons killed in the Iraq War said they will boycott the inquiry over fears of a “whitewash”.

The two million-word report, six years in the making, will be unveiled by Sir John Chilcot tomorrow.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister when Britain went to war, has said he will not make any comment until the report is made public.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicated the former Labour leader will not be liable for prosecution, reiterating its conclusion 10 years ago that the decision to go to war is not within its jurisdiction.

But the court said it will look at the report’s findings before deciding whether there is a “reasonable basis” to begin an investigation.

A number of MPs are expected to try to use an ancient law to try to impeach the former Prime Minister once the findings are published.

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said there “has to be a judicial or political reckoning” for Mr Blair’s role in the Iraq conflict, while shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the “processes” of how Britain ended up at war must be examined “so we never ever get into this tragic, tragic mess again”.

Asked whether he felt politicians lied to him about the case for war, Sir Mike said: “No I don’t believe I was misled.

Pressed over whether he lies awake at night wondering whether the war was “worth it”, Sir Mike said: “I’ve had that question in my mind from time to time, yes.”

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