Friday, October 13, 2006

Army chief: British troops must pull out of Iraq 'soon'

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Army chief: British troops must pull out of Iraq 'soon': "In a blistering attack on Tony Blair's foreign policy, Gen Dannatt said the continuing military presence in Iraq was jeopardising British security and interests around the world.

'I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq, but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them,' he said in comments that met with admiration from anti-war campaigners and disbelief in some parts of Westminster.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Gen Dannatt, who became chief of the general staff in August, said we should 'get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems'.

He added: 'We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views of foreigners in their country are quite clear.

'As a foreigner, you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren't invited ... by those in Iraq at the time. The military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in.

'Whatever consent we may have had in the first place, may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance.' He added that planning for the postwar phase was 'poor' and the aim of imposing a liberal democracy in Iraq had been over-ambitious. He was more optimistic that 'we can"

And, while we are on the UK, there was a curious omission from the just-released human rights report where Hezbollah was featured but Israel was not.

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