- “The legal basis for the war itself was, and still is, controversial. There is a military need, at least, at the outset of operations to reinforce the legal base for deployment by clear, unequivocal and timely direction and explanation.”
So states a leaked UK military report into the Iraq war released to the public by Wikileaks. The sensitive 108 page report, written in late 2006, damns UK and US war planning, which “ran counter to potential Geneva Convention obligations” — and lead directly to the post invasion collapse of Iraqi society:
- “leaders should not start an operation without thinking…it is not enough just to identify the desired end-state”.
The report reveals that Whitehall had been secretly planning the war during 2002. In fact, the Blair government was so paranoid about leaks that it kept the pending invasion (“TELIC”) secret from all but an inner circle of officers and officials until three months before the start of hostilities:
- “In Whitehall, the internal OPSEC (operational security) regime, in which only very small numbers of officers and officials were allowed to become involved in TELIC business, constrained broader planning for combat operations and subsequent phases effectively until 23 December 2002.”
Although the UK wanted UN security council approval, the UK found itself roped to a US ideological agenda and timetable:
- “the UK had to work to a timetable and strong ideological views set in the United States. As one Senior Officer put it: ‘the train was in Grand Central Station, and was leaving at a time which we did not control'”