Posts Tagged ‘General Sir Mike Jackson’

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to blame over Iraq war, says Army report

June 29, 2009

By Rupert Hamer | The Mirror/UK, June 28, 2009

Tony Blair visits gaza (pic: Getty)

A secret report by Army bosses to be presented to the Iraq war inquiry blames Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for the botched occupation of the country.

The dossier – prepared for ex-military chief General Sir Mike Jackson – criticises then Chancellor Mr Brown for withholding funds to rebuild Basra for FIVE months after our troops went in. And the 100-page document attacks Mr Blair for “uncritically” accepting flawed US plans for the March 2003 invasion, which led to tens of thousands of deaths, including those of 179 British troops.

The report – Stability Operations in Iraq – will not be officially made public because the inquiry’s head, Sir John Chilcot, ruled all documents will remain secret.

But the contents have been leaked to the Sunday Mirror.

We can reveal that a lack of cash for the operation meant British troops sent to fight in Iraq:

Used mobile phones to communicate in combat because radios did not work.

Were forced to leave wounded soldiers on the battlefield for an average of two-and-half hours before getting them to a field hospital.

Needed more “spy in the sky” aircraft to track rebel fighters.

Lacked machine guns, night- vision equipment and grenade launchers when protecting supply convoys.

Were in danger of breaching the Geneva Convention by having so few resources. The convention says occupiers must provide vital services such as humanitarian aid and water.

In a broadside at the then PM Mr Blair, the report says the battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis was lost because of a lack of planning and the five-month delay in starting to rebuild their country.

It says: “The failures to plan… seriously hindered Coalition chances of stabilising post-Saddam Iraq. The lack of improvements to essential services and the standard of living together with disorder meant many locals who were ‘sitting on the fence’ were not persuaded to support the Coalition.”

It was only after riots in Basra in August 2003 that Mr Brown agreed to release £500million for reconstruction work, the report says.

And it contradicts six years of Government spin which claimed ordinary Iraqis backed the “liberation”, saying troops “found themselves fighting insurgents without clear support (from local people)”.

MOST DAMNING CONCLUSIONS:

Flawed US plans were rubberstamped by Blair

Brown blocked vital funding for five months

It took mass rioting in Basra to make him pay up

Chaos lost us the battle for Iraqi hearts & minds

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Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: They lied about Iraq in 2003, and they’re still lying now

December 23, 2008

Gordon Brown has been spinning his own fairy tale of Baghdad

The Independent, UK, Dec 22, 2008

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Triumphalists are getting off on Iraq again, intoning hallelujah songs as they did after staging the fall of Saddam’s statue then again and again, sweet lullabies to send us into blissful sleep and wake to a new dawn. The composers and orchestrators – Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Straw, Hoon and Rice – still believe history is on their side.

Bush visited his troops at Camp Victory in Iraq this month and said: “Iraq had a record of supporting terror, of developing and using weapons of mass destruction, was routinely firing at American military personnel, systematically violating UN resolutions … Iraqis, once afraid to leave their homes are going back to school and shopping in malls … American troops are returning home because of success.” Only one shoe and one without a sharp stiletto was hurled at him by Muntadar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi who begged to differ.

Gordon Brown, also in Iraq, spun his own fairy tale of Baghdad, where everyone is living happily ever after and British soldiers come home proud heroes. The reality is that some of our soldiers are broken – physically and mentally – fighting this illegal and unpopular war and that too many did terrible things in the land of endless tears. General Sir Mike Jackson now blames the Americans for their “appalling” decisions. And yet he too insists the campaign was a success.

Even the choral backers of Bush and Blair, once oh-so-influential, sound tinny now, out of tune. In a new book, The Liberal Defence Of Murder, Richard Seymour names many usually enlightened individuals who cheered on the disgraceful crusade and have now gone silent. Others who supported the adventure have escaped through passages of ingenious exculpation. Most Tories, for example, now say they were hypnotised by the Government’s false dossiers.

Really? Even hard-of-hearing Mrs Kirkpatrick down the road – she’s 79 – understood that we were being deceived. The UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Scott Ritter both told us there were no WMDs. Ken Clarke said this weekend: “I opposed the Iraq war. I’m not sure whether anybody believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to anybody. Most American spies didn’t believe that, most British spies didn’t believe that and most of the Foreign Office didn’t believe that”.

Nor did the Opposition but it still backed Blair because Conservatives love wars and one against a swarthy potentate was irresistible.

So to Iraqis, the beneficiaries of our noble “sacrifices”. This week Nahla Hussein, a left-wing, feminist Kurdish Iraqi, was shot and beheaded for her campaigning zeal. Fifty-seven Iraqis were blown up in Kirkuk. Christians in Mosul are being savagely persecuted and sharia law has replaced the 1959 codified entitlements given to women in family disputes. Women in Iraq have fewer rights today than under Saddam. Yes, there is some normality in parts but tensions between Shias and Sunnis are explosive. When troops are withdrawn next year, expect more bloodshed. The resources of Iraq, meanwhile, are being plundered.

For these blessings, one million Iraqis had to die and their children still suffer from illnesses caused by our weapons and our war. Five million Iraqis are displaced and, of these, the US took in 1,700. It is easier for an Iraqi cat or dog to gain entry to the land of the free. Try Baghdad Pups, which offers (for a hefty fee) to get the adopted pets of US soldiers into America. In 2007, 39,000 Iraqis sought refuge in the EU countries and we took in 300. Sweden, which has no responsibility for the havoc, gave refuge to 18,000.

I have been talking to exiled Iraqis in London. One young man has a child whose mother killed herself after giving birth during the war. He both loves and hates this country, as did Bilal Abdullah, the NHS doctor convicted for dreadful plans to blow up people in the UK. A beautiful Iraqi woman told me her nephew gave plastic flowers to our soldiers when first they went into Basra. Last year, they shot him dead, mistaking him for an enemy.

On Friday, I met an Iraqi artist, Yousif Nasser, whose studio has become a hub for other exiles, artists, musicians and the mentally ill seeking art therapy. A gentle, melancholic man, he showed me his series titled “Black Rain”, enormous works depicting the violence in Iraq: “There are no bodies, only pieces, bits, of a little bit of this and that. People don’t buy my pictures – they are too dark. How can I tell you what has happened to my country? I have no words, only these images.”

I have words, too weak and inadequate to carry the rage felt by millions at the renewed arrogance of the villains who first devastated Iraq and now garland themselves. Lies, lies and now delusion. There is no glory to be salvaged in this desert.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk


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