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Coalition should 'admit defeat and leave Iraq'

By Richard Holt

05/04/07 "
Telegraph" --- - A former commander of the British Army has said that Britain and America should "admit defeat" and withdraw from Iraq.

General Sir Michael Rose also said he understood why insurgents were attacking coalition forces and said he believed they were right to try and force invading troops out of the country.

Sir Michael, who led British Forces in Bosnia, has written a book comparing the insurgents' tactics with those of George Washington's forces in the American War of Independence.

Asked on BBC2's Newsnight if he thought the insurgents were right to try to get the American forces out of Iraq, he said: "Yes I do.

"As Lord Chatham said, when he was speaking on the British presence in North America, he said 'if I was an American, as I am an Englishman, as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms'.

"The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way. I don't excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting the Americans."

He added: "It is the soldiers who have been telling me from the front line that the war they have been fighting is a hopeless war, that they cannot possibly win it and the sooner we start talking politics and not military solutions, the sooner they will come home and their lives will be preserved."

Asked if that meant admitting defeat, he said: "Of course we have to admit defeat.

"The British admitted defeat in North America and the catastrophes that were predicted at the time never happened. The catastrophes that were predicted after Vietnam never happened.

"The same thing will occur after we leave Iraq."

Sir Michael recently criticised the behaviour of the 15 naval personnel captured by Iranian forces in Iraqi waters.

He said the sailors should not go into battle "as if they are on a Mediterranean cruise".

Last year Sir Michael called for Tony Blair to be impeached over the war in Iraq.

He accused the Prime Minister of misleading Parliament and the public about his motives for going to war, saying that although the emphasis was on removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction, Mr Blair "probably had some other strategy in mind".

Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007

 

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