Former Australian PM Howard defiant in the face of Iraq War criticism

In a almost two hour-long news conference, the former prime minister said he still believes he acted in "good faith" and that the decision was the "hardest, most momentous, most agonizing" one he ever took.

The long-delayed Chilcot report insisted Saddam posed "no imminent threat" at the time of the invasion, and the war was unleashed on the basis of "flawed" intelligence.

"Military action at that time was not a last resort".

Howard made the remarks in response to the release of Britain's Chilcot Inquiry, which concluded that the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had relied on flawed intelligence in making the decision to go to war. "It always bothered me but I believed that the decision to go into Iraq was justified at the time and I don't resile from that".

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has called for John Howard to "hang his head in shame" over his involvement in the Iraq War, which he says brought "the spectre of terrorism and racial strife" to Australia.

"But if you're saying to me do I apologise for the decision that I took, the core decision?"

Mr Hammond will appear before the influential Commons select committee on foreign affairs as the impact of Sir John Chilcot's searing indictment of the build-up and execution of the war rocked the political and intelligence establishment.

In a December 2001 memo, among more than 30 such notes released with the Chilcot report, Mr Blair said to Mr Bush that he would be "with you, whatever", before setting out some of the conditions he believed the United States would need to meet to attract support, including seeking United Nations authorisation.

Families of some of the 179 military personnel killed in Iraq described the former PM as a "terrorist", and Jeremy Corbyn offered an apology on Labour's behalf for what he described as "a stain on our party and our country".

Mr Howard said it was clear the Saddam Hussein regime wanted to resume its "WMD" program, while Tony Blair said he would invade Iraq again if he was put into the same situation.

But he said he could not apologise for the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power - and said history will "take a different view" on the war and its aftermath.

After being asked about Mr Blair being tried as a "war criminal" on the BBC's Daily Politics show, Mr Galloway said: "I don't think it would be war criminal".

The spokesman said all options were being considered, including asking those responsible for the failures identified in the report to "answer for their actions in the courts if such process is found to be viable".

Stephen Nolan has said he is "deepy offended" after a war hero called him a "shock jock" on his programme while discussing the Chilcot report.

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