Blair and Brown accused of underfunding army

THE former head of the British Army has accused former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of forcing the military to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan without adequate funding.

Gen Richard Dannatt said in book extracts published yesterday that Blair “lacked the moral courage to impose his will” on Brown, who was his Treasury chief and succeeded him as Labour prime minister in 2007.

He accused Brown of having a “malign” influence on funding of the Iraq and Afghan campaigns.

“History will pass judgment on these foreign adventures in due course, but in my view Gordon Brown’s malign intervention... by refusing to fund what his own government had agreed, fatally flawed the entire process from the outset,” Dannatt wrote.

Extracts from the book were published by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Dannatt told the newspaper in an interview that trying to get the government to understand the pressures the army was under was like “pushing a rock up a steep hill.”

He also was quoted as saying that the campaign in Afghanistan would have to be completed by 2014 or 2015, because “you couldn’t ask an organisation to go on taking this level of casualties for 10 years”.

Dannatt was head of the army from 2006 until 2009.

He was later an adviser to the then-opposition Conservative Party.

The new government has said the military faces cuts as part of plans to reduce Britain’s deficit.

Former foreign secretary David Miliband, rejected Dannatt’s criticisms: “We have armed forces fighting in some of the most dangerous parts of the world with the best equipment they have ever had.”


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