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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Iraq deception....

....or how Britain was taken into a war it did not want for reasons that later turned out to be bogus gets a good airing in this morning's Sunday Telegraph, which publishes details of secret papers that reveal:

Tony Blair, the former prime minister, misled MPs and the public throughout 2002 when he claimed that Britain’s objective was “disarmament, not regime change” and that there had been no planning for military action. In fact, British military planning for a full invasion and regime change began in February 2002.

The need to conceal this from Parliament and all but “very small numbers” of officials “constrained” the planning process. The result was a “rushed”operation “lacking in coherence and resources” which caused “significant risk” to troops and “critical failure” in the post-war period.

Operations were so under-resourced that some troops went into action with only five bullets each. Others had to deploy to war on civilian airlines, taking their equipment as hand luggage. Some troops had weapons confiscated by airport security.

Commanders reported that the Army’s main radio system “tended to drop out at around noon each day because of the heat”. One described the supply chain as “absolutely appalling”, saying: “I know for a fact that there was one container full of skis in the desert.”

The Foreign Office unit to plan for postwar Iraq was set up only in late February, 2003, three weeks before the war started.

The plans “contained no detail once Baghdad had fallen”, causing a “notable loss of momentum” which was exploited by insurgents. Field commanders raged at Whitehall’s “appalling” and “horrifying” lack of support for reconstruction, with one top officer saying that the Government “missed a golden opportunity” to win Iraqi support. Another commander said: “It was not unlike 1750s colonialism where the military had to do everything ourselves.”

The paper says that the leaked documents bring into question statements that Mr Blair made to Parliament in the build up to the invasion: On July 16 2002, amid growing media speculation about Britain’s future role in Iraq, Mr Blair was asked: “Are we then preparing for possible military action in Iraq?” He replied: “No.”

They raise many other questions about the way that the British people were deceived about this war. With the Chilcott Inquiry due to start public hearings next week many will be expecting it to look at all of these aspects of the war and report publicly on them. Failure to do so will condemn that inquiry as a whitewash. We must now wait and see what emerges from it.
Anyone reading your blog should also click on the "They Work For You" website, full details are given therein of those who voted for the Iraq War.
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