Chilcot outlines the terms of reference for the inquiry and explains the panel’s approach to its work. AFP / POOL / MATT DUNHAM
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LONDON: Thirteen years after British troops marched into Iraq and seven years after they left a country that's still mired in violence, a mammoth official report is about to address the lingering question: What went wrong? Retired civil servant John Chilcot Wednesday will publish his long-delayed, 2.6-million-word report on the divisive war and its chaotic aftermath. The U.S.-led conflict killed 179 British troops and some 4,500 American personnel. Opponents of the war hope Chilcot will find that Blair agreed to support President George W. Bush's invasion and then used deception to persuade Parliament and the public to back it.Chilcot's inquiry held public hearings between 2009 and 2011, taking evidence from more than 150 witnesses – including Blair, who has served as an international business consultant and Mideast peace envoy since he stepped down in 2007 .The inquiry has analyzed 150,000 documents and cost more than 10 million pounds ($13 million), but its report has been repeatedly delayed, in part by wrangling over the inclusion of classified material – including conversations between Blair and Bush. Blair says he won't comment on the report until it is published.Anti-war activists hope Chilcot will find the conflict illegal, opening the way for Blair to be prosecuted for war crimes.
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