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Leaked Iraq report 'shows Government failure'.

Summary: It has been reported that a leaked government report on "lessons learnt" after the Iraq war reveals "appalling" failures.

It has been reported that a leaked Government report on "lessons learnt" after the Iraq war reveals "appalling" failures, that left the British Army ill-equipped for battle and the subsequent occupation.

The documents, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, emerged just two days before the start of the public inquiry into the UK's involvement in Iraq, chaired by Sir John Chilcot.

They are reported to contain classified interviews in which Army chiefs describe how troops were exposed to "significant risk" because of a "rushed" operation "lacking in coherence and resources".

Plans for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 did not include "detail once Baghdad had fallen", which allowed insurgents to exploit a "notable loss of momentum" in the post-war period.

Operations were also reportedly dogged by kit shortages, from body armour that failed to arrive in time for battle to a lack of desert boots and chemical weapons protection.

Some troops apparently had their weapons confiscated by airport security when flown to war on civilian airlines and were forced to carry their equipment as hand luggage.

The report also highlights an Army weighed down by bureaucracy: "The overall impression is of headquarters which were large and busy, but which produced relatively little output. Deployed HQs contained too many people, busied themselves with too much nugatory planning and did not run well internally."

Although analysis of the war phase describes it as a "significant military success", it was one achieved against a "third-rate army".

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Nov 24, 2009
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