Friday, 19 December 2008

Iraq Withdrawal: Inquiry Needed!

Laura Sandys press release

As someone who was publicly against the invasion in Iraq I am pleased on one level that we are withdrawing from an adventure that we should never have been involved with.
My concern for the Iraq War however does nothing to detract from my admiration and pride in what our troops have done in very difficult circumstances – and my deep regrets at those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The government is now promising us a public inquiry in the how we ended up at war with the Americans in Iraq. This is not before time with all the “phoney” inquiries that have been conducted; we now need a real in-depth analysis of why and how we were taken into Iraq.
I would also very much like to ensure that the inquiry covers one additional point that has been lost in the midst of time and in my view needs total clarification.
What powers over the British military did the British Government under Tony Blair relinquish to the Americans? Whether explicit or implicit it appeared from the front line that Blair allowed Rumsfeld to take decisions that impacted our military and their conduct. I know of a British officer who was in reality fired by the Pentagon; there were many examples of British military commanders’ decisions being over-ridden by the American high command. Even in the Ministry of Defence in London, decisions taken in the interests of our armed forces were frequently “checked” by the Pentagon. The fundamental question is was the British Military an autonomous force able to put its own interests first or had Blair handed our men over to Americans command. I would like to hear what Rumsfeld says about that!

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