Northern California Record

Saturday, August 17, 2019

U.S. Department of Justice disallows admission of Iraq Inquiry in civil suit against the former Bush administration

By Michelle de Leon | Oct 14, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected the submission of the Chilcot Report, barring the documents from reaching the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit as supplemental evidence in the ongoing case centered on the Iraq War.

The documents would have been crucial to the petitioners of the Saleh v. Bush case, which is a class-action lawsuit against the George W. Bush administration. The petitioners in the legal battle allege that the Iraq War had been a premeditated plan by the U.S. government to instill a change in regime in the Middle Eastern nation. The suit named Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz as defendants.

The Chilcot Report, also known as the Iraq Inquiry, was the British public inquiry released to evaluate the nation's role in the Iraq War. Upon its publication, it was revealed by Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the inquiry council, that there were peaceful alternatives available at the time the Iraq War was waged. According to the report, Saddam Hussein was not recognized as a serious danger to the British. There also was unwarranted certainty on the presentation of intelligence reports linked to the weapons of mass destruction.

Then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair shaking hands with President of the United States, George W. Bush, after they conclude a joint news conference at the Camp David | PD-USGov/Wikimedia Commons

The Chilcot Report revealed that the United States and the United Kingdom failed to heed the authority and guidance of the United Nations Security Council. The nations used unsatisfactory justification in waging the Iraq War and the 2003 bloodshed in the country was unnecessary, the report stated. 

“We have concluded that the United Kingdom chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort,” said Chilcot in a statement. “The United Kingdom military role in Iraq ended a very long way from success. We have sought to set out the government’s actions on Iraq fully and impartially. The evidence is there for all to see. It is an account of an intervention which went badly wrong, with consequences to this day.”

Sundus Shaker Saleh, the lead plaintiff in the case against Bush, echoes the same sentiments. In court papers, the defendants are alleged to have waged a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003. In effect, the Bush administration also purportedly conspired and committed the same crime against the Iraqi people – the same group of individuals the West aimed to protect during the war. Saleh has said the defendants should be held liable for committing crimes against peace in accordance with the Nuremberg Principles.

The goal of the petitioners is to convince the Ninth Circuit to oppose the ruling of the Northern District of California regarding the case. In December 2014, the district court dismissed the case and stated that the defendants were protected under the Westfall Act, which means that they were immune to civil lawsuits since the actions they took at the time fell under the scope of their government duties.

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Organizations in this Story

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit U.S. Department of Justice U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California United Nations Security Council