WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On Wednesday, Sir John Chilcot revealed a report on the United Kingdom’s role in the 2003 war in Iraq. The report concluded that the UK decision to join the war was based on flawed intelligence data and assessments.
“What we [the United States] can learn is that you need to challenge the assumptions that people have before you act and that you basically also need to look at the [intelligence] sources,” Korb said on Wednesday.
One of the problems in Iraq, Korb continued, was that US intelligence relied on unverified sources like “Curveball,” an informant who provided false information regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons program.
The Chilcot findings, Korb noted, should make US officials more skeptical about intervening militarily in other countries, especially if there is no ultimate objective.
“Before you intervene make sure you have an end game,” Korb lamented. “I think we learned that, for example, with Libya. It was one thing to get rid of [Muammar] Gaddafi, but then what comes next?”
The US military used to have a checklist first used by former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, Korb explained, which General Colin Powell eventually made famous, that included very basic questions that needed to be answered before getting involved in a conflict.
That is why the Reagan administration, he pointed out, decided not to get involved in Lebanon’s civil war in the 1980s, realizing the United States was not prepared to pay the cost.
After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Korb argued, these rules of thumb were forgotten while some people argued, wrongly, that the United States now needed to get rid of Hussein to prevent the next 9/11.
Chilcot headed the committee that examined the case for war presented by then-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government. Blair claimed the 2003 conflict was necessary to prevent the development of weapons of mass destruction by then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.