Geoff Hoon confesses all…
A catalogue of errors over planning for Iraq after the invasion, and an inability to influence key figures in the US administration, led to anarchy in Iraq from which the country has not recovered, the British defence secretary during the invasion admits today.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Geoff Hoon reveals that Britain disagreed with the US administration over two key decisions in May 2003, two months after the invasion – to disband Iraq’s army and “de-Ba’athify” its civil service. Mr Hoon also said he and other senior ministers completely underestimated the role and influence of the vice-president, Dick Cheney.
“Sometimes … Tony had made his point with the president, and I’d made my point with Don [Rumsfeld] and Jack [Straw] had made his point with Colin [Powell] and the decision actually came out of a completely different place. And you think: what did we miss? I think we missed Cheney.”
Giving the most frank assessment of the postwar planning, Mr Hoon, admits that “we didn’t plan for the right sort of aftermath”.