Top aide's damning attack on Blair's Iraq war
Daily Telegraph Link
Daily Telegraph Link
A bit late for such stark language?A damning assessment of Tony Blair's lack of leadership in Iraq amid its descent into lawlessness has been made by one of Britain's most senior diplomats.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former ambassador to the United Nations and the first British envoy to Iraq, said the Prime Minister had taken his "eye off the ball" in the crucial first days and weeks after the liberation, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
In the starkest language concerning the failure of the Government to anticipate the insurgency, Sir Jeremy said: "In the days following the victory of 9 April  no one, it seems to me, was instructed to put the security of Iraq first. To put law and order on the streets first. There was no police force. There was no constituted army except the victorious invaders.
"And there was no American general that I could â¦ establish who was given the accountable responsibility to make sure that the first duty of any government â and we were the government â was to keep law and order on the streets. There was a vacuum from the beginning in which looters, saboteurs, the criminals, the insurgents moved very quickly."
His trenchant remarks in a BBC documentary came to light as:
â¢ Tony Blair announced the phased withdrawal of British forces with the return of 1,600 troops of the 7,100-strong deployment.
â¢ The Daily Telegraph learnt that British troops will remain until 2012 â much later than had been anticipated.
â¢ The British withdrawal was seized on by President George Bush's opponents in Washington as evidence that the coalition was crumbling.
Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, is expected to confirm today that Prince Harry will fly with his regiment to Iraq in April. He will be the first royal to serve in a war zone since the Duke of York flew helicopters in the Falklands conflict in 1982.
Pressure on the Prime Minister will intensify today when Lord Hurd, the former Conservative foreign secretary, will call for a high-level inquiry into what went wrong with the failure to plan for the aftermath of the invasion which has claimed the lives of 132 British soldiers since 2003.