Army chief calls for pullout from Iraq: Rift opens between military and government

From The Independent

Tony Blair has received a public warning from the country’s most senior military commander that the British presence in Iraq is threatening disaster there and in the UK.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, who took over as Chief of Staff six weeks ago, has warned the commitment to Iraq “exacerbates” problems faced by the UK in other parts of the world. He urged Mr Blair to give up his ambition to see a liberal democracy established in Iraq and settle for a “lower ambition”, warning that British troops were not invited into Iraq and the time when they were welcome has passed.

The Times reports that the comments from General Sir Richard Dannatt that he wants his forces to leave Iraq sometime soon have met with overwhelming support on the Army Rumour Service website.

MOD Oracle has more:

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.

In an interview on BBC radio this morning the General went even further – pleading that the army must not be broken by a continuation of government policy in Iraq.