Browne: Iraq deaths affected me

By staff

Britain’s former defence secretary has admitted to the emotional affect of British losses during the Iraq war.

Des Browne, defence secretary from 2006 to 2008, said he found it “difficult to come to terms” with the casualty rates.

He told the Iraq inquiry five British soldiers died in the country within the first 24 hours of him taking the job.

“I found it very difficult to come to terms with the deaths of our people in an operational environment,” he said.

“I found it difficult to personally deal with the losses of our people.”
The attacks did not affect UK strategy however, he insisted.

Another former minister, John Hutton, also appeared before the panel in the afternoon, where he confessed the procurement of armoured vehicles was “a total shambles”.

The meeting comes as reports over the weekend indicated huge legal opposition to the war from within the Foreign Office.

Two prominent figures who were uncomfortable with the war will appear tomorrow.

Michael Wood, a former legal advisor to the Foreign Office, will appear before the panel just ahead of Elizabeth Wilmhurst, a deputy legal advisor, who quit in protest at the war.

At least three separate bomb blasts hit Baghdad this morning, killing at least 36 people and reminding observers of the inquiry that the after-effects of the invasion continue to be felt in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as ‘chemical Ali’, was executed by hanging, the Iraqi government announced.