Chilcot report: Were the people of Britain lied to?

George W Bush and Tony Blair in 2003 (Reuters)
George W Bush and Tony Blair in 2003 (Reuters)

The findings of a seven-year investigation into Britain's invasion of Iraq in 2003 will soon be released.

Around 180 British soldiers died in the US led invasion and subsequent operations, and now their families will finally get to hear why.

In 2003, then-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair eagerly pushed his country into the invasion, on the promise that the Saddam Hussein regime was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

Millions of his fellow Britons opposed the invasion, while it was also strongly opposed here in New Zealand, with Helen Clark's Labour government claiming there was no evidence to suggest there were any nuclear or biological weapons in Iraq. France and Germany were also opposed.

Australia committed 2000 military personal to the invasion, and two would be killed.

The invading countries found no traces of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and while the Hussein regime was toppled, the vacuum in power led to yet more corruption, war, and the rise of Islamic State (IS).

The Chilcot report, ordered by then-UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2010 was only supposed to take one year, but constant delays in gathering testimonies from weapons inspectors and Britain's secret intelligence service have seen it become one of the most drawn out and eagerly awaited official documents in UK history.

The report is timely, given that the death toll from the suicide bombings in Iraq this week have risen to 250, the highest death toll from an attack since Britain and her allies invaded 13 years ago. It's estimated up to a million Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion, and the country is still battling for the most basic stability in government and infrastructure.

There are currently 143 New Zealand military personal in Iraq helping to train government troops to combat IS fighters. The Government recently extended their stay in Iraq to November 2018.

The questions most Britons would like answered from the Chilcot report: did their Prime Minister deceive them into following the US into invading Iraq, and if so, what was really behind it?