BRITISH troops did not need to go into traq, Jack Straw told the Chilcot inquiry yesterday.
On the last day of the public inquiry into the war, the former foreign secre¬tary said he told Tony Blair that British troops could stay out of the conflict.
Mr Straw said a ‘perfectly straightfor¬ward alternative’ to war was to help with any post-war effort along with the Spanish and Italian forces.
He repeatedly warned Mr Blair that a policy of regime change would be `palpably illegal’.
`I made that point in quite categorical terms to the prime minister on more than one occasion,’ Mr Straw said.
`I came at this issue from a different perspective to the prime minister. How¬ever, I ended up at the same point as the prime minister — let me make that clear — and backed the position that he and the cabinet and the House of Commons made to take military action,’
He ended by saying: ‘I want to express my deep sorrow for the loss of life in this conflict — notwithstanding the fact that I also happen to believe the military action we took was justified.’ The inquiry, launched in July 30, 2009, has twice heard evidence from Mr Blair and a host of military leaders. Sir John Chilcot said he would be taking months to complete his report.
Source : Fred Attewell (Metro Newspaper 03/02/2011)