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Is Tony Blair a war criminal?
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Tony Blair was led by false information

Blair believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and was acting in the interests of the world. Tony Blair is not a war criminal.
Tony Blair United Kingdom War


In the aftermath of the Iraq war, it was revealed that the intelligence that led the UK to engage itself in this war was greatly flawed. Does this false information allow to make a case for Tony Blair being unaware of what was really happening and thus not being a war criminal?

The Argument

The Chilcot Report which is also known as the Iraq inquiry was launched to shed light on the basis of the involvement of the UK in the Iraq war of 2003. This effort was instigated by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. According to this report, British intelligence services have delivered flawed information on the alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in hand of the then President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. The report negatively assesses the ability of certain senior officials of the MI6 and the Joint Intelligence Committee to handle the suspicion of Hussein disposing of WMDs that pose an international threat to peace. I t is pointed out that there was not enough consideration of the possibility that Hussein shed the WMDs which was later revealed to be the case. Tony Blair based his decision-making on this flawed information that was provided to him by his own security services. After assessing the dossier that was presented in September 2002, he announces to the public that he can “establish beyond doubt” that Saddam Hussein is continuing to produce weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This conclusion which is seen as an imminent threat to global peace served as the British justification to go to war. It can thus be considered that Blair acted in his best intentions when he was led to believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat due to the intelligence that was provided to him. One can assume that he was not aware of the flaws of the report at the time at which he made the decision to go to war in Iraq along with the United States. Under this line of reasoning, Blair shouldn’t be held responsible for the devastating consequences of the Iraq war.

Counter arguments

The flawed intelligence that was presented to Tony Blair was knowingly presented in a way that would make it seem as though going to war is the only possibility. Incriminating factors for Blair are that the Chilcot report accords him personal responsibility, especially for allegedly ignoring certain important facts in the dossier of 2002. Blair is not independent from the production of the intelligence that he used as a justification; he authored the foreword of the 2002 dossier which shows his implication. The entire assessment of the 2002 dossier conveys the impression of an intelligence that has severe blind spots for certain facts and that seeks to make a case that allows to go to war. Even if Blair was presented with false information, it does not justify the breaches of the UK with International Law to conduct an intervention into a sovereign state.



Going to war on the basis of false information excuses the perpetuator.


[P1] The intent of a person is to be assessed on their intention according to the information that was available to them at the time that the decision was made.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] A person’s actions should be assessed on their consequences and not their initial intent or the information is was based on.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 3 Nov 2020 at 15:13 UTC

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