Blair Devastated as Army Chief Savages His Approach to Iraq
By Colin Brown, Terri Judd and Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
Saturday 14 October 2006
The authority of Tony Blair was left battered last night as he attempted to play down a rift with the head of the British Army over his unprecedented warning that the presence of foreign troops was "exacerbating" the security situation in Iraq
The devastating assessment by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the chief of the general staff, infuriated ministers and caused alarm in Washington.
However there was widespread backing across the Army yesterday as soldiers of every rank praised General Dannatt for standing up to the Government.
Within hours of his comments being made public, the Army's unofficial website was packed with hundreds of blogs from troops voicing their support. The messages included: "Can Tony Blair recover from this and justify British presence in Iraq, without using the words 'I was wrong ...?'" Another said: "Dannatt gets my vote! Anyone care to disagree with him? We were lied to when it all started and we are still lied to today!"
Army Chief: British Troops Must
Pull Out of Iraq Soon
General attacks government policy that has "exacerbated" security risks.
By Richard Norton-Taylor and Tania Branigan
The Guardian UK
Friday 13 October 2006
General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the army, dropped a political bombshell last night by saying that Britain must withdraw from Iraq "soon" or risk serious consequences for Iraqi and British society.
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.