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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

  • 4:02 AM
LONDON, March 14--Top British officials warned Prime Minister Tony Blair that the US plan for postwar Iraq was a mess and outlined major blunders made once the coalition took control, leaked memos revealed Tuesday, AFP reported.

John Sawers, Blair’s envoy in Baghdad immediately after the March 2003 invasion, sent a series of confidential messages to London in May and June of that year, The Guardian newspaper reported, citing the memos themselves which were obtained by the co-author of a new book on the war.

Michael Gordon co-wrote “Cobra II: the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq“ with General Bernard Trainor.

Extracts of the book have also been published in The Guardian.

In the memos, Sawers reportedly described the US postwar administration in Iraq, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as “an unbelievable mess“.

He said: “Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals“ were “well meaning but out of their depth“.

On May 11, 2003, just four days after arriving in Baghdad, the British diplomat sent a damning memo to Blair’s key advisors titled: “Iraq: What’s Going Wrong“.
He wrote: “No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis.“

Sawers, who is now political director at the Foreign Office, said urgent action was needed by the United States, noting: “The clock is ticking.“
Major General Albert Whitely, the most senior British officer with the US land forces, reinforced the grim message in a separate note weeks later that suggested the US-led coalition was in danger of failure.

“We may have been seduced into something we might be inclined to regret. Is strategic failure a possibility? The answer has to be ’yes’,“ he said.
Sawers and Whitely said a decision by Washington to cut troops after the invasion was one of the biggest blunders of the occupation.
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