Thursday, September 13, 2007

DoD postwar planning

From The Times

September 13, 2007

Washington 'misled' Blair over plans for postwar Iraq

Greg Hurst, Political Correspondent

Britain's outgoing Ambassador to Washington has accused the Bush Administration of misleading Tony Blair over its much-criticised plans for the reconstruction of Iraq after the invasion of 2003.

Sir David Manning, who leaves his post at the end of this month, said that Britain was left in the dark as Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defence Secretary, overruled the plans for postwar Iraq drawn up by Colin Powell and the US State Department.

"There were plans made and deployed in the State Department, but in the end the State Department wasn't allowed to take the job," Sir David told the New Statesman.

"I did not know that [Rumsfeld's Defence Department] was going to take over the running of the country. We didn't have any sense that that was about to be the way postwar Iraq was going to be run."

Sir David, who at the time of the invasion was a key member of Downing Street's unofficial war cabinet as the Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser, also claimed that Mr Blair never wanted to go to war in Iraq and instead wanted a diplomatic solution.

"I don't think he ever wanted to go by the military route," Sir David said. "He accepted it might come to this, but he always wanted to do it in a different way. I've always believed he would much rather it hadn't taken place."

His comments follow claims in Washington that President Bush was taken aback by some of the decisions in running postwar Iraq, such as dismantling the Iraqi army.

Paul Bremer, who headed the coalition provisional authority which ran Iraq after the invasion, produced documents that appeared to show that he told Mr Bush that he planned to dissolve Saddam's military and intelligence structures, and was informed he had the President's full support.


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