Errors in Iraq

I have to wonder whether anything worthwhile will be learned from the Chilcot inquiry (your report, 20 January) after hearing former defence secretary Geoff Hoon speaking on a radio news bulletin.

Mr Hoon believes the allies should have been quicker to send civilian experts to run the country after Iraqi resistance collapsed. This is clear proof he still hasn't understood what went so badly wrong in the aftermath of victory. The fatal mistake was to immediately disband the country's armed forces and police, which should have been turned to work for the allies. This not only created a security gap, but put hundreds of thousands of disaffected, unemployed men capable of using arms on to the streets.

Tony Blair famously had little regard for history, and George Bush was simply ignorant of how the world works outside of the United States. Even if the armed forces were disarmed, the police remained necessary. Indeed, in their conquest of Europe during the Second World War, the Nazis were always careful to maintain the existing administration and police. It is impossible to step in and run a country from a standing start.

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No doubt there were members of the armed forces and police who had a lot to answer for while serving Saddam, but these could have been identified and their actions investigated later.

As it was, we rescued the country only to plunge it into chaos and create a bloodbath.



South Queensferry