Chilcot to apportion Iraq blame far beyond Tony Blair’s inner circle

British Army troops take position near a crowd of protesting former Iraqi soldiers after stones were thrown in the southern Iraq city of Basra in this January 6, 2004 file photo. © STR
Blame for the Iraq War will extend far beyond Tony Blair’s inner circle to include senior intelligence and defense officials and top ministers at the time, reports suggest.

Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry report had been expected to focus on Tony Blair’s inner circle, but may spread far wider, according to an anonymous source who spoke to The Guardian newspaper.

While Blair is still expected to be the focus of criticism, other figures who may come off badly in the report include Sir Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

Also likely to be criticized are former International Development Secretary Clare Short and a number of other senior officials from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Cabinet Office and the Foreign Office.

The inquiry, which began in 2009, has come under growing criticism itself after years of delay due, the Chilcot team claims, to the so-called Maxwellization process, in which those criticized in the report can contest what is written about them.

Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his own frustrations about the delay recently, as have families of soldiers killed during the war.

Writing in the Independent on Tuesday, Iraq veteran James Wharton said if the Chilcot inquiry found the Iraq War had been illegal he would return his medal to Tony Blair.

READ MORE: Chilcot inquiry: ‘UK bowing down to US’ 

Like most, I’ve now passed the point of impatience and feel nothing short of abject annoyance with the seemingly endless delay on this report, mostly due to ‘the Maxwellization process, Wharton, a former Household Cavalry soldier, wrote. “As I cast my eyes over a medal I wonder whether I should keep at all, that feeling only deepens.

He added: “If the outcome of this inquiry is that hundreds of thousands of us did occupy Iraq illegally, I will personally send Tony Blair my Iraq medal. He can have it back.