UK's Defence chief gags Iraq criticism report

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London, May 28 (ANI): Britain's Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup and other officials have intervened to suppress Lieutenant General Chris Brown's report on the lessons to be learned from the circumstances surrounding the invasion of Iraq, and are banning its release, even in the Ministry of Defence.

"Highly critical comments by a senior army officer asked to conduct a study of the circumstances surrounding the invasion of Iraq have been suppressed on the orders of the country's top defence officials," The Guardian reports.

The study, by Lieutenant General Brown, was commissioned in the light of mounting evidence of the failure to prepare properly for the invasion and its consequences.

It has been reported that the report is being kept away from the Chilcot inquiry over fears that its use as evidence would result in its contents being made public.

Lieutenant General Brown, who was the last Senior British Military Representative in Baghdad in 2009, would not be the first military commander to criticise Britain's handling of the war.

Senior military figures giving evidence to the Iraq Inquiry have time after time expressed frustration at the secrecy, delays and failures experienced in the run up to the invasion and the lack of planning for its aftermath.

"Lt Gen Chris Brown has led a small team in the production of an internal, classified MoD paper examining the Iraq campaign for the purpose of learning lessons for the future," said a Ministry of Defence Spokesperson.

"As part of the routine staffing of such an important piece of work, a variety of military officials and civil servants have provided input during the paper's development," he added.

"Defence is far too important, a matter of life and death, to get too sensitive about potential embarrassment," said Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and commentator on military matters.

The Chilcot inquiry is expected to resume public hearings at the end of June or early July. (ANI)

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