Monday, October 09, 2006

Ex-minister: Britain tried to curb U.S. on Iraq

With 8,500 troops in Iraq, Great Britain contributes the second-largest force in Iraq.

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The British government tried to rein in U.S. policy in Iraq from the outset of the March 2003 invasion but found itself powerless to do so, a former cabinet minister was quoted on Saturday as saying.

David Blunkett, Home Secretary at the time of the invasion, told newspapers that Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could not diverted from their goal of dismantling the Iraqi Ba'athist government system.

"The issue was: `What the hell do you do about it?' All we could do as a nation of 60 million off the coast of mainland Europe was to seek to influence the most powerful nation in the world," he said in interviews to publicise his new diaries.

"We did seek to influence them, but we were not in charge, so you cannot say that if only the government recognised what needed to be done, it would all have been different. The government did recognise the problem," he added.

"We dismantled the structure of a functioning state," he said, adding that the British view was: "Change them by all means, decapitate them even, but very quickly get the arms and legs moving."

Read the rest at Reuters