Global Policy Forum

Insurgents 'Right to Take on US'

May 3, 2007

Insurgents in Iraq are right to try to force US troops out of the country, a former British army commander has said.

Gen Sir Michael Rose also told the BBC's Newsnight programme that the US and the UK must "admit defeat" and stop fighting "a hopeless war" in Iraq. Iraqi insurgents would not give in, he said. "I don't excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting." The total number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq stands at 147.

'Admit defeat'

Sir Michael has written a book drawing similarities between the tactics of insurgents and George Washington's men in America's War of Independence. He told Newsnight: "As Lord Chatham said, when he was speaking on the British presence in North America, he said 'if I was an American, as I am an Englishman, as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms'. "The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way."

He said it was time to bring troops home. "It is the soldiers who have been telling me from the frontline that the war they have been fighting is a hopeless war, that they cannot possibly win it and the sooner we start talking politics and not military solutions, the sooner they will come home and their lives will be preserved." This meant the UK government would have to admit defeat, he added.

"The British admitted defeat in North America and the catastrophes that were predicted at the time never happened," the ex-Bosnia UN chief said. "The catastrophes that were predicted after Vietnam never happened. "The same thing will occur after we leave Iraq."

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