British prime minister promises public inquiry into Iraq war

March 17th, 2008 - 7:03 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
London, March 17 (Xinhua) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised a full-scale inquiry into the military action in Iraq, The Independent newspaper said Monday. “There is a need to learn all possible lessons from the military action in Iraq and its aftermath,” Brown said in a letter to Sunder Katwala, general secretary of the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society.

Brown’s remarks were a significant break from his predecessor Tony Blair, who steadfastly refused to hold an inquiry into the war, the newspaper said.

But Brown insisted that it was not the right time for an immediate investigation because the situation in Iraq remained “fragile” and British troops were still trying to bring stability to the country.

“There will come a time when it is appropriate to hold an inquiry,” he said.

“But whilst the whole effort of the government and the armed forces is directed towards supporting the people and government of Iraq as they forge a future based on reconciliation, democracy, prosperity and security, we believe that is not now.”

“Despite the progress made on the security, economic and political fronts in Iraq, the situation remains fragile and could easily be reversed,” Brown added.

“At this critical time it is therefore vital that the government does not divert attention from supporting Iraq’s development as a secure and stable country.”

Blair’s former chief of staff Jonathan Powell had admitted the British and the US governments seriously underestimated the scale of the task before them in 2003, and had warned it could take “decades” to bring calm to Iraq.

Thursday marks the fifth anniversary of the Iraqi war. Britain has about 4,100 soldiers deployed in Iraq.

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