Ex-UK ambassador to United Nations says US pushed UK into Iraq war too early

July 7, 2016 2:30 pm

This file photo taken on March
21, 2003, shows a 105mm gun is dropped by a Chinook helicopter to
British 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery on the Fao Peninsula in
southern . ©AFP

A former British ambassador
to the United Nations says the US pushed Britain into invading Iraq “too
early” because Washington believed a UN resolution for the military
action was a “waste of time.”

The Chilcot inquiry into the role of the in the Iraq war published a report after seven years of investigation on Wednesday.
The
long-awaited report said that former British prime minister Tony Blair
overstated the threat posed by Saddam’s supposed Weapons of Mass
Destruction (WMDs), deployed ill-prepared forces to the Arab country and
had “wholly” inadequate plans for after Saddam’s ouster.
The report concluded that the military action was not the last resort.
Jeremy
Greenstock, UK ambassador to the UN in 2003, said on Wednesday that
Blair had wanted a UN resolution for launching the military action, but
senior US officials believed that it was a “waste of time.”
Greenstock noted that he felt Blair had wanted to wait longer before beginning military action.

This
file photo taken on December 22, 2005 shows British Prime Minister Tony
Blair addressing troops at Shaiba Logistics Base in Basra, Iraq. ©AFP”I
felt that at the time, the British felt it at the time, I think the
prime minister felt it at the time, that the Americans pushed us into
going into military action too early,” he said.
He
stressed that it would have been “much safer” to give weapons inspector
six more months to go ahead with their investigation in Iraq.
Blair
had wanted to secure a UN resolution for the war but that US officials
were not committed to it, the former UK envoy to the UN also said.
“The
Americans weren’t genuine about it – but the prime minister was genuine
about it – because he thought there was a chance that Saddam could be
made to back down before we had to use military force,” he said.
“And
George Bush for a while agreed with him. But other people behind George
Bush didn’t agree with him and thought it was a waste of time,”
Greenstock added.

File
photo taken on February 2, 2003 shows an UN disarmament experts vehicle
passing by a portrait of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in Abu Gharib on their
65th day of field inspections in Iraq. ©AFPGeneral
Tim Cross, a British general involved in planning the war, said that
ex-US defense minister Donald Rumsfeld would not listen to the UN or
Britain about the aftermath of the invasion.
The US dismantled the Iraqi army and Saddam’s Ba’ath party without any consultation, Cross added.
However, Paul Bremer, the US administrator to Iraq following the invasion, said that British officials had been briefed about the strategy of dealing with the ruling party.
“That
particular decision was approved by the president of the ,
the secretary of defense, by the joint chiefs of staff of the United
States. It was previously discussed by my national security
adviser with authorities in London 10 days before it was issued – he
received no objections,” he added.

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