Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The Chilcot Inquiry criticized former British foreign secretary Jack Straw for his role in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. (Photo: Chatham House/flickr/cc)

Key Player in Iraq War Credits Brexit for Distracting From Chilcot Inquiry

'The only silver lining of the Brexit vote is that it will reduce attention on Chilcot,' said former U.K. foreign secretary Jack Straw to Colin Powell

Deirdre Fulton

Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw, a key player in the invasion of Iraq, expressed relief in July that the political brouhaha over Brexit would distract from the damning contents of the Chilcot Inquiry into the United Kingdom's role in the war.

"The only silver lining of the Brexit vote is that it will reduce medium term attention on Chilcot—though it will not stop the day of publication being uncomfortable," Straw wrote in an email to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, obtained by the hacking group DC Leaks and provided to The Intercept and other news organizations on Tuesday.

The email, dated July 4, came two days before the release of the 2.6 million-word Chilcot Inquiry, which showed that the invasion of Iraq was decided well before all peaceful resolutions were exhausted, proving—as critics have long-contended—that the disastrous intervention was a war of choice.

The Brexit vote, in which the majority voted to leave the European Union, took place June 23.

As The Intercept reports, "In anticipation of coming [Chilcot] press coverage, Straw asked Powell to review a statement in a Word document he drafted."

Powell responded, advising Straw to share the statement with Powell's successor as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and saying he would also show former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

And, The Intercept adds:

He showed skepticism towards a part of Straw's statement which claimed that an additional United Nations resolution prior to the conflict would have avoided the invasion. He wrote back to Straw, "I can't agree or disagree with your judgement that a second resolution would have prevented conflict. I doubt it, but I don’t know." (In Straw's final statement released to the press, the claim remained.)

The two men didn't correspond again for almost a month, at which point Powell emailed Straw with birthday wishes.

He noted Straw had been "quiet since Brexit" and appeared to confirm Straw's prediction, writing: "I assume the report has faded away in the avalanche of other news."

"Didn't amount to anything over here [in the United States]," Powell added.

Other emails contained in the Powell leak show the former secretary of state calling Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a "national disgrace;" criticizing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign for using him to justify her use of a private email server at the State Department; and discussing former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his handling of the Iraq War.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg Pleads Guilty to 15 Felonies, Set to Testify Against Trump Organization

The former executive will serve only five months on Rikers Island if he testifies in the upcoming criminal trial of the business.

Jessica Corbett ·

Sanders Blasts 'Rigged Economy' as Chipmakers Cut Investments After Big Handout

"Intel announced it will be cutting back on plans to increase jobs by $4 billion while increasing dividends for its wealthy shareholders," the Vermont senator wrote on Twitter.

Jake Johnson ·

Argentine Unions Lead Mass Demonstrations for Higher Wages, Lower Prices

"We can't continue with this level of inflation where every day we keep losing parts of our salary," said one labor leader.

Kenny Stancil ·

Outrage as Israeli Forces Raid, Shutter Offices of Top Palestinian Rights Groups

"Israel continues to persecute Palestinian human rights and civil society groups with the clear aim of silencing any criticism against it."

Jake Johnson ·

Economists Fear Fed Minutes Show Central Bank Bent on 'Unleashing Mass Unemployment'

Continued interest rate hikes "risk a recession throwing millions out of work," a pair of experts warned.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo