THERE’S a saying that a week is a long time in politics – and the ongoing Brexit farce would seem to confirm that – however, for some that is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the seven years they’ve had to wait for the Chilcot Report.

After such a long wait many people expected an establishment whitewash, with no serious criticisms of the actions of the then UK Government in sending troops to Iraq.

To the surprise of most people, myself included, that wasn’t the case.

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The Chilcot Report is a damning indictment of a Prime Minister who was determined to go to war simply to look good to the US President.

I won’t pretend I’ve read all 2.6 million words contained in the 12 volumes of the full report plus the 100-page summary, but what I have read and what has been reported so far has confirmed all the fears that everyone had over the Iraq war.

Tony Blair was told beforehand by thousands of people marching across Glasgow, Scotland and the whole of the UK that his war was not in our name. Others told him of the long-term dangers and increase in terrorism that his war would generate. Despite all this Blair pushed ahead. Ignoring the Cabinet system, he relied on a few cronies to help him justify the decision he had made earlier – to back Bush, irrespective of the lack of coherent intelligence supporting the war. Chilcot made it clear: Blair jumped on the Bush war bandwagon "before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted".

The phrase "I am with you whatever" will no doubt become familiar to students of politics, and it will also make its way into the public consciousness.

It will live on in infamy alongside Richard Nixon’s "I am not a crook".

Tony Blair had made up his mind that, no matter what evidence there was, he was going to drag the UK into war and put UK service personnel at risk. His actions, according to the Chilcot Report, undermined the UN’s security council’s authority. When he didn’t get the legal advice he wanted, he simply told his legal advisers to change their opinion. The report even highlights the supine nature of the Blair Cabinet – when the Attorney General changed his tune, no members of the Cabinet asked why. In one move the UK’s system of Cabinet governance was overruled by a Prime Minister and his clique of advisers. Blair withheld access to legal opinion from his Cabinet, yet they didn’t seem to bother!

If the planning for the war was pre-determined, and backed up only with dodgy dossiers, that was more than the attention given to what would happen once Saddam was removed from power. Blair must have known the US plans were useless, yet instead of trying to hold the US back to try to win the peace after the war, he simply ignored this in his rush to get troops on the ground to support the Americans.

As the Chilcot Report stated, Blair’s government “failed to take account of the magnitude of the task of stabilising, administering and reconstructing Iraq”.

Blair’s reaction to the report was also quite startling. He has had three months to prepare his defence.

He had clearly briefed enough people to work the TV and radio stations to support him. It was also clear that quite a few on the Labour benches in Westminster were still trying to protect Blair’s reputation – or maybe their own. The failed coup against Jeremy Corbyn also looked like part of a long-term strategy to avoid open criticism of Blair from within Labour.

Then came his speech to the press. The quavering voice, sounding just like he was about to break down at any moment, almost as if you believed he cared about the badly equipped troops he rushed to war, many of whom would never come back. Just when you might have thought maybe he does feel something about the death and destruction he has reaped across the Middle East, something else happened. Up popped his then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, being interviewed by one of the TV stations. Not only were the same lines repeated but so too was the tone of voice, the quiet, careful almost quivering voice of someone who was deeply troubled by the situation. Then you remember Blair had three months to develop his response, to practice his lines and to make sure everyone else backing him knew what to say.

Contrast this with the families of the 179 service personnel who were killed in Iraq. To most of the public this was just another news story, another story of how a politician lied to the public to get what he wanted. To these families though this was bringing it all back to them, making them re-live the hurt, despair and anguish that they felt when they were first told a loved one wasn’t coming back from Iraq.

They didn’t have months to prepare for the report coming out or the ranks of lawyers, spin doctors and PR consultants that Blair no doubt relied upon. All they had was their combined dignity, courage and rightful anger at what they went through. They wanted answers, they wanted to know why Tony Blair sent their loved ones to a war without proper equipment or supplies.

Why did he let them use Land Rovers designed to protect troops from stones and bottles in Northern Ireland into a war zone with UIDs and highly armed "insurgents"?

Why did their loved ones have to buy basic equipment like boots themselves?

Why was there no plan on what to do when Saddam was deposed?

The Chilcot Report has provided some of these answers but has also opened up further questions. Can we really just let the whole issue rest now? Politics is about making tough decisions and one of the toughest must be when you decide to send your troops out to a war.

Surely you would only do this as a last resort, surely you would make sure they had the best supplies and equipment available to increase not only the chance of success in any conflict but also the chance of all your troops returning home? Surely you would have a credible plan in place for what to do once you had deposed a country’s leadership?

Unfortunately, Tony Blair put a promise to a US President ahead of all of those issues. I find it hard to disagree with the comment from Sarah O’Connor, the sister of Sergeant Bob O’Connor who was killed in Iraq in 2005, when she described Tony Blair as the “world’s worst terrorist”. One hundred and seventy-nine service personnel never returned from Blair’s bloodlust in Iraq. The Iraqi people are still suffering years later, with estimates of up to half a million civilian deaths and over one million people displaced. Terrorist groups from Al Qaeda to Daesh have grown and inflict their terror across the globe as well as in Iraq, where only last weekend 250 people were killed.

When the report was released to Parliament, it felt a bit like Budget Day – people were scrambling to find the gist of the report and what can make a good headline, but as time goes on and people have the time to properly read through the millions of words, that’s when we will get the real insight into what happened. However, it would be hard to understand why, with the information we already have, there is no form of accountability for those named in the report.

It’s time Tony Blair faced the consequences of his actions.