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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Iraq invasion 'will mean long war'
George Bush and Tony Blair
Lord Bramall questioned the US' war motives
One of Britain's most experienced soldiers has warned the government against an attack on Iraq.

Former chief of defence staff Field Marshall Lord Bramall told the BBC there was a risk Britain could be dragged into a long Middle East war.

Evidence produced to support an attack against Saddam Hussein had so far been "sparse", he said.

And he questioned whether US motivation was based on revenge after 11 September.


You don't have licence to attack someone else's country just because you don't like the leadership

Lord Bramall
He told BBC Radio 4's The World this Weekend: "Maybe they (the US) are still being carried along with the same wave of emotion and a feeling of revenge."

He drew parallels with the UK's ill-fated attack on Egypt in 1956, after President Nasser seized the Suez canal.

Lord Bramall said: "This is a potentially very dangerous situation, in which this country might be swept into a very, very messy and long-lasting Middle East war."

'It stinks'

Britain's top-ranking member of the armed forces between 1982 and 1985 added: "You don't have licence to attack someone else's country just because you don't like the leadership.

"Nowadays, you are supposed to get UN backing for all this.
Saddam Hussein
Saddam: Echoes of Nasser?

"Some lawyers will say you already have that, because Saddam has defied certain UN resolutions, but I think the moral question is not an open-and-shut one."

Labour backbencher George Galloway was travelling to Baghdad on Sunday for talks with members of the Iraqi administration.

Speaking on the same programme, the Glasgow Kelvin MP said: "We have a political dispute with the Iraqi leadership and we have killed one million of their children under sanctions.

"We're planning a quarter-million man crusader invasion of their country because that particular dictator doesn't obey our orders.
George Galloway in Baghdad, 2001
Mr Galloway has protested against sanctions

"I just think that is completely immoral. I think it stinks."

Last week, Iraq offered to hold technical talks in Baghdad on the possible resumption of UN weapons inspections.

The last inspectors left in 1998 claiming they were not getting free access.

The US rejected the latest Iraqi offer and said the removal of Saddam Hussein was part of its objective.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"Several plans for military action have already been drawn up"

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04 Aug 02 | Middle East
03 Aug 02 | Middle East
02 Aug 02 | Middle East
02 Aug 02 | Politics
01 Aug 02 | Politics
30 Jul 02 | Americas
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