Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Brown distances himself from Blair's war mistakes

Brown distances himself from Blair's war mistakes

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Re: Brown distances himself from Blair's war mistakes

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--- In freeamericanow@yahoogroups.com, "austro_bangla" wrote:Brown distances himself from Blair's war mistakes
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George Jones, Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester in LondonJune 13, 2007
Flight of fancy ... an Iraqi boy dressed to represent a dove performs during celebrations in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City to mark the fourth anniversary fo the founding of the Mahdi Army, Iraq's biggest militia.Photo: Reuters

GORDON BROWN has used a surprise visit to Baghdad to publicly repudiate the way the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, used British security services to make the case for war in Iraq.

The British prime minister-in-waiting admitted for the first time that mistakes were made and pledged to "learn the lessons" of the run-up to the conflict.

Mr Brown was flexing his muscles in an attempt to distance himself from Mr Blair's disastrous Iraq legacy.

He effectively admitted that the publication of a dossier by the joint intelligence committee that exaggerated Iraq's weapons program and a second one plagiarised from the internet were mistakes. In an attempt to end the controversy over the erroneous claim by Mr Blair that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed within 45 minutes, Mr Brown said he had asked the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, to ensure any future intelligence material that was put in the public domain was properly verified and validated.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer - who will take over as prime minister on June 27 - said he wanted a bigger role for Parliament's intelligence and security committee and confirmed that MPs would have a vote on whether the country should go to war, except in the most exceptional circumstances. Sir Gus would set up procedures to ensure that security and intelligence analysis was kept "independent of the political process", Mr Brown said.

In what will be seen as an overt criticism of the way Mr Blair used the intelligence material, which his political aides helped to draft, Mr Brown said: "I have already said Parliament should have a more formal role in issues of war and peace but I think we can go further and learn from what's happened over the last few years."

Mr Brown stood by the invasion of Iraq, which he said was a collective cabinet decision.

After talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and British and US commanders, Mr Brown said he was in Baghdad "to listen, to learn, to assess what is happening".

In what will be seen as an indication that he does not envisage any immediate pull-out of Britain's 5500 troops, Mr Brown stressed that the British Government had made commitments and promises both to the Iraqi people and the United Nations. "This is not the right time to talk about [troop] numbers," he said.

* America's top military commander for the Middle East, Admiral William Fallon, reportedly warned Mr Maliki that the Iraqi Government needed to make tangible political progress by next month to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in the US Congress.
Telegraph, London; The New York Times

Source: Free America Now

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