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Breakfast with Frost
Robin Cook MP, former leader of the House of Commons
Robin Cook MP, former leader of the House of Commons

On Sunday, 23 March Sir David talked to the head of the British forces in the Gulf, Air Marshall Brian Burridge, former Prime Minister John Major and former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

The programme also included an interview with the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres.

The Sunday newspapers were reviewed by Ann Leslie of the Daily Mail and Piers Morgan, editor of The Mirror.

Tell us what you think about the programme by using the form at the bottom of the page.

On today's programme, the head of the British forces in the Gulf, Air Marshall Brian Burridge, confirmed to Sir David Frost that and RAF aircraft missing over Iraq had been "engaged" by an American Patriot missile battery.

Speaking from Central Command headquarters in Doha, Qatar, Air Marshal Burridge said: "This is a sad moment but we will put it behind us as quickly as we can in a military sense and carry on to our objective."

He also confirmed reports of some heavy fighting near the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, where he said coalition troops were coming under fire from "small pockets of determined men". He said these were probably regular soldiers, deployed to "put some backbone" into the Iraqi resistance.

Air Marshal Burridge said Iraq's initial war plan was probably to maintain a "fortress Baghdad", but he said he suspected the Iraqi leadership was "in significant disarray at the moment".

Click on the highlighted links to read the full transcripts.

The former Prime Minister John Major - who took Britain into the first Gulf War - said he was deeply saddened by the news of the friendly fire incident involving the RAF plane.

"I think that is very tragic, I'm desperately sorry" he told Sir David. "These things have happened in war before. When people refer to the fog of war in many ways they speak literally and this may be another tragic illustration of that. I think the loss of anyone in military conflict is invariably desperately sad, but I think there is an added dimension when it happens in these particular circumstances and that will be felt not just by the families of the peopole on the plane that has been shot down, but also I think throughout the ofrces of the coalition."

Robin Cook - who resigned from the Cabinet last week because he could not support war without a second UN Resolution - said of the incident that he hoped "immediate action will be taken to learn the lessons and make sure this cannot be reapeated."

Mr Cook told Sir David that he will not be "going away" and will continue to speak out on a variety of issues from the backbenches of the House of Commons.

"There is a lot of issues that I would wish to address there," he said. "I want to make sure that we continue to develop a radical, progressive agenda."

Mr Cook said he made up his mind that he would have to resign if Britain went to war without a fresh UN resolution while spending three days walking in Norfolk with his wife Gaynor.

"I decided then that if we ended up without international agreement and going to war, I could not stay."

He added: "My own view was that we had not exhausted the process of the UN inspections. I was very interested to see last week Hans Blix (chief UN weapons inspector) saying that impatience took over ... I think it would have been far better if we had let those inspections continue."

Mr Cook said the targeting of coalition bombing had been impressive to date. But he cautioned: "We should never lose sight of the fact that half the population of Baghdad are under 14, they are young children, and they are being exposed to this risk."

He concluded: "We can be easily seduced by the technical accuracy of the weapons and forget that they are programmed by fallible humans."

The Sunday newspapers were reviewed by Ann Leslie of the Daily Mail and Piers Morgan, editor of The Mirror - who vowed that his paper would continue its opposition to the war.

"I think you can rally behind the armed forces who are bravely giving their lives - and we have seen that today - whilst continuing our position un-hypocritically saying that we didn't agree with this last week and we don't agree with it now," he told Sir David.


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