International

UK PM Brown: Iraq Was 'Right Decision, Right Reasons'

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended the Iraq War as well as the resourcing of that nation's troops there during a four-hour appearance at the inquiry investigating the war's genesis.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told an inquiry that the Iraq War was the

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives to testify before the Iraq War inquiry. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

His appearance came as his Labor Party's standing in a recent opinion poll appeared to be improving with parliamentary elections expected to take place in the spring.

It also followed an appearance by Brown's predecessor as prime minister, Tony Blair, whose testimony was similar to Brown's.

Reuters has culled what it believes were Brown's most important responses. A sampling:

WAS THE WAR RIGHT?

"I believe this is the gravest decision of all, to make a decision to go to war."

"I believe we made the right decision for the right reasons."

"At the end of the day it was impossible to persuade him (Saddam Hussein) that he should abide by international law.

"My feeling was and still is that we cannot have an international community that works if we have either terrorists who are breaking these rules or in this case aggressor states that refuse to obey the laws of the international community."

PRE-WAR FUNDING

"I said immediately to the prime minister that the military options that were under discussion, there should be no sense that there was a financial restraint that prevented us from doing what was best for the military."

DECISION TO GO TO WAR

"In March (2003), right up until the last minute, I was hopeful, as I think the whole country were, that we would reach a diplomatic resolution of these issues"

IRAQ VS AFGHANISTAN COMMITMENT

"Nothing in Iraq suffered because of our commitments to Afghanistan or any other arena."

RECONSTRUCTION

"We are learning that where there has to be intervention or where there is a failed state or where there is a conflict-ridden state, there is such a thing as a just peace."

"I never subscribed to what you might call the neo-con proposition that somehow at the barrel of a gun, overnight liberty or democracy could be conjured up."

"We couldn't persuade the Americans that this had to take the priority that it deserved.

"I regret this. I can't take responsibility for everything that went wrong."

"The lessons that have been learnt inside Iraq have now been applied in Afghanistan in the policy that we are pursuing now."

FINANCIAL IMPACT

"I think we managed to meet the requirements of Iraq and Afghanistan without having to cut other services.

"I think the effects of the Iraq invasion were far less than, for example, the effects of the global financial crisis on the economy."

WERE ARMOURED VEHICLES PROVIDED WHEN ASKED FOR?

"Every request that military commanders made to us was answered. No request was ever turned down.

"Once these new vehicles were asked for, they were offered and the money paid."

SPENDING

"In total, Iraq has cost the Treasury something in the order of eight billion pounds .... on top of a rising defence budget."

IRAN'S INVOLVEMENT IN INSURGENCY

"You have got attempts from Iran and al Qaeda to make their mark in Iraq but you've also got the Sunni insurgency and you've also got the tensions between Sunnis and Shias so it's notwholly an external problem"

PERSONAL RESERVATIONS?

"Nobody wants to go to war, nobody wants to see innocent people die, nobody wants to see your forces put at risk of their lives, nobody would want to make this decision except in the gravest of circumstances ... I have said that I think that it was the right decision, made for the right reasons"

BROWN'S ROLE IN GOVERNMENT PRE-WAR

"My role in this was not to second guess military decisions or options, my role in this was not to interfere in what were very important diplomatic negotiations."

DECISION TO GO TO WAR

"In March (2003), right up until the last minute, I was hopeful, as I think the whole country were, that we would reach a diplomatic resolution of these issues"

"This became a test of whether the international community was prepared to deal with problems in a post Cold War world where instability was becoming more and more apparent."

LESSONS TO LEARN

"I do think we have lessons to learn however. The first is we have been fighting two wars and it essential that we have the proper structures and decision making.

"We won the battle within almost seven days but it has taken us seven years to win the peace in Iraq."

CONCLUSION

"As far as the international community is concerned there is progress, there is recognition that America and Europe must work more closely together, we've had international institutions likethe G20 that are now stronger."

"Obviously the loss of life is something that leaves us all sad, the loss of life particularly after the success of the initial military operation to remove Saddam Hussein is something that leaves me very sad indeed."

"War may be necessary but war is also tragic in the effect it has people's lives."

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