Army officer seeks double apology for Iraqis and families of troops killed in conflict

The British Government should apologise to the Iraqi people and families of British troops killed in the conflict, an Army officer said.

Captain Doug Beattie, who was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Irish Regiment, said it needs to be recognised that Iraq has “suffered terribly”.

The 50-year-old from Portadown in County Armagh said the Chilcot report “spreads the jam of blame” across many people and organisations.

Mr Beattie, now an Ulster Unionist Party MLA, recalled troops being “woefully unprepared” but “in absolutely no doubt whatsoever” that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction.

“One of the things which did surprise me slightly is that there was a genuine belief on the part of the intelligence service, and Tony Blair, and the Cabinet, and the Government — a genuine belief that there were weapons of mass destruction, and I don’t know where that really comes from.”

However, Mr Beattie said the British Government and the British Ministry of Defence has some apologising to do: “I think still we need people to acknowledge that Iraq has suffered terribly, that we need to apologise to the Iraqi people and we need to apologise to the military families who lost loved ones and to the soldiers who fought and carry the scars,” he added.

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