Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"UK had no idea in Iraq aftermath, says Col Tim Collins"

. . . reports the BBC here. An excerpt:

"[. . .]The UK government and military leaders had "absolutely no idea" what to do after invading Iraq, a prominent veteran of the 2003 war has claimed.

Part of the problem was "obsequious" officers telling ministers what they wanted to hear, said Col Tim Collins.

And he called on the Iraq inquiry to recommend action to end this culture.

He was speaking as Sir John Chilcot's Iraq inquiry team visited an Army base in Tidworth, Wiltshire, to hear evidence from former front-line troops.

Col Collins, who gained worldwide fame for his eve-of-battle speech to his men in the Royal Irish Regiment, said his troops lacked a clear understanding of the reasons for war.

"I don't think anybody had any idea why it was we were going to do this," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. [. . .]

[. . .] He said the prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, and US President George W Bush had given Saddam Hussein "an offer he couldn't understand" and even the Iraqi dictator probably did not know what he was required to do to avoid war.

"I rather thought that there would be some sort of plan and the government had thought this through and I was clearly wrong," he said.

"When I gave my now notorious talk to the Royal Irish, I was trying to rationalise for those young men what was going on from my standpoint. As it turned out, it had a wider appeal because nobody had any idea why this was happening.

"It became very apparent to me shortly after crossing the border that the government and many of my superiors had no idea what they were doing." [. . .]

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