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U.K. Army Pushed Blair for Role in 2003 Iraq War, Study Finds

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The British Army pushed Prime Minister Tony Blair to include more ground troops in the 2003 invasion of Iraq against the advice of his officials, according to a study of the relationship between politicians and the military.

Blair had been presented with three options for military involvement, from “Package 1,” which involved giving the U.S. access to British bases, intelligence support and the use of some special forces, through “Package 2”, which included the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, to “Package 3”, which envisioned a ground invasion.

According to a report published today by the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, known as Chatham House, the government went for the broadest option “because politicians feared they would have problems with the British Army if it was left out, and that these problems would find their way into the media.”

The report’s author, James de Waal, said the U.K. needed to introduce standard structures for military decision-making, along U.S. lines, with agreed rules for accountability to Parliament.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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