Veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are calling for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to indict former Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes. They spoke to RT about their sense of “betrayal” over the Blair-era Iraq War.
At the Westminster rally to mark the publication of Sir John Chilcot’s report, after a seven-year investigation into the 2003 Iraq conflict, military veterans told RT of their disgust at the circumstances surrounding the war.
Dan Taylor, 28, served in Iraq in the artillery. He is now a member of Veterans for Peace, a growing group of ex-services anti-war campaigners.
After reading aloud from the platform the names of five Iraqis and five UK soldiers killed in the war, Taylor told RT: “I think Corbyn will indict [Blair] and he needs to. The question is, is there support behind him to do it?”
He also said the Chilcot report must now be “torn to pieces. We need to look at what isn’t said. I suspect it will be heavily redacted and it has taken far too long.”
Taylor also said the recent row in the Labour Party between leader and long-time Iraq War opponent Jeremy Corbyn and the self-proclaimed ‘moderate’ wing of the party was “a last-ditch attempt to save their skin. Their ship sinks with Blair. It will be the final nail in a very sick coffin.”
One veteran took to the stage to address the crowd, telling them the lowest ranking soldier to sit before the Chilcot Inquiry was a general. He lamented that not a single serviceman or woman who actually fought the war had been called to give evidence.
RT spoke to another veteran named James, formerly of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW).
“Betrayal,” he said, when asked how the veteran community feel about Iraq and Chilcot.
He said the way forward is “naming and indicting those responsible, in the administration, the lawyers, the judiciary.”
The veteran also said it is critical to find out “who they are, why they did it, why they ignored the public, the UN inspectors, the evidence.”
He said other former soldiers he knows “feel anger that they were sent to a war not in defense of the country. A war of aggression for oil.”
He also touched on another facet of the war, that of poor planning, saying that veterans were still embittered by the fact there was “no kit, no logistics, friends and comrades died due to kit.”
“Even when there was a public outcry, they still didn’t get it,” he added.