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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 23:18 GMT 00:18 UK
Reaction to call for UK Iraq exit
British soldier on Iraq street patrol
Sir Richard's believes UK troops in Iraq are stretched
The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems".

Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, has said the British should "get out some time soon".

His comments have prompted a wide range of views, some of them reflected here.

MAJOR GENERAL PATRICK CORDINGLY, FORMER COMMANDER OF DESERT RATS DURING 1991 GULF WAR

"I think it is a very brave thing for him to say. I do agree. I think there comes a time when you have got to let Iraq get on and look after its own security.

"Training has gone on to get the police and army forces working, there has to be a time when we do pull out.

"Maybe the General is thinking that if we had a few more troops in southern Afghanistan we might tip the balance there."

DOWNING STREET

"It's important that people remember that we are in Iraq at the express wish of the democratically elected Iraqi government, to support them under the mandate of a UN resolution."

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

"We have a clear strategy in Iraq. We are there with our international partners, in support of the democratically elected Government of Iraq, under a clear UN mandate."

ROSE GENTLE, MOTHER OF SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ

"It's absolutely brilliant, I'm glad someone has finally said something.

"We have said all along that our boys are not helping by being out there, they are causing it. I'm glad the Army has stood up for itself.

"I hope Tony Blair sees sense now and brings our boys home, because it's their lives that are in danger.

"I'm just really delighted that Sir Richard Dannatt has stood up and spoken out. He is protecting our boys.

"We have been saying for two years this needed to happen and I think military families have done a good bit."

LIAM FOX, SHADOW DEFENCE SECRETARY

"It has always been the case that our presence has been a recruiting tool for extremists.

"We have always known that our presence on the ground will be used by fundamentalists and men of violence to recruit people into their ways."

SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL, LIB DEM LEADER

"Senior military figures who were always doubtful about action in Iraq and its aftermath are becoming increasingly anxious about our role and the risks involved.

"There is no doubt however that there is a slide towards civil war. Time is running out.

"There is a desperate need for a new strategy led not by the US, but by the UN, providing for a peace process with a reinvigorated reconstruction programme and concerted international and regional engagement."

DOUG HENDERSON, LABOUR MP

"I think it's extremely remarkable and somewhat amazing that the chief of staff should make such a public statement about government policy seemingly without the endorsement of the government - and it raises quite a serious constitutional issue about whether the elected politicians are making the decisions or whether the armed forces are making the decisions.

"One can only assume that Sir Richard has made his views known privately and that they've been ignored and I think the government needs to very quickly make it clear what the position is."

ANDREW BURGIN, STOP THE WAR COALITION

"He has articulated what we have been saying for a long period now: that the presence of the British forces is exacerbating the security problems in Iraq itself.

"We would be honoured to invite him to speak at the next Stop the War demonstration.

"He has made a very powerful case for the troops to be withdrawn from Iraq and he is exactly right.

"This leaves Tony Blair completely isolated and following on from the report that showed more than 650,000 people have been killed in Iraq, these are the final nails in the coffin of Tony Blair's war in Iraq."




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