Ex-UK army chief blasts Blair, Brown for letting down forces in Iraq, Afghanistan

Posted By: Abdul Nisar
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London, Sept 5 (ANI): Former British army chief, General (retired) Sir Richard Dannatt, has accused both former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown of badly letting down the country's armed forces during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Telegraph quoted General Dannatt as accusing Brown of being a "malign" influence by failing to honour guarantees on defence spending during his time at the Treasury, and Blair with lacking "moral courage" for failing to overrule his chancellor.

Gen Dannatt's book 'Leading From The front' is reportedly the first major public critique of the Blair and Brown administrations by a senior outside figure who served under both men. He was Chief of General Staff from 2006-09.

"History will pass judgment on these foreign adventures in due course, but in my view Gordon Brown's malign intervention, when chancellor, on the SDR by refusing to fund what his own government had agreed, fatally flawed the entire process from the outset," Dannatt writes in his book.

"The seeds were sown for some of the impossible operational pressures to come. Blair lacked the moral courage to impose his will on his own chancellor," he adds.

He alleged that by early 2009, at a time when the Army was suffering a punishing casualty rate in Afghanistan, he had not had a face-to-face meeting with Brown for six months. Eventually he was forced to "ambush" the prime minister during a chance meeting at a Horse Guards Parade to get his concerns across.

The 1997-98 Strategic Defence Review (SDR), which set out a "good framework" for future defence policy, could not cope with troops being committed to Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time and was "fatally flawed" through being under funded, he added.

The intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, cited as the main reason for Britain joining the United States in the 2003 war, was "most uncompelling". Planning for the aftermath of the conflict was, he said, an "abject failure". (ANI)

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