A Leader Using Ones Military Soldiers
Tony Blair was warned on the eve of the war in Iraq that a prolonged operation in the country would do “long term damage to the Armed Forces.”
02 Jul 2010 Senior ministers told the then-Prime Minister that Britain would have to manage its deployment in Iraq carefully to avoid putting harmful excessive demands on the services.
The warning was made in classified documents published by the official inquiry into the Iraq war.
The inquiry also heard more evidence from officials that by keeping thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously for several years, ministers broke Ministry of Defence guidelines on the Armed Forces.
The inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, released part of a letter sent to Mr Blair on March 19, 2003, by Jack Straw, then foreign secretary, and Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary.
In the letter, the ministers told Mr Blair that the British deployment would have to be scaled down quickly.
“It will be necessary to draw down our current commitment to nearer a third by no later than autumn in order to avoid long-term damage to the armed forces,” the letter said. “Keeping more forces in Iraq would be outside our current defence planning assumptions. Continued