Howard slams America for bloody aftermath in Iraq

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John Howard, the Australian prime minister who sent troops to support United States and British forces in the Iraq invasion a decade ago, has criticised American handling of the bloody aftermath of dictator Saddam Hussein’s overthrow.

In a speech in Sydney yesterday to mark the tenth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, Mr Howard said disbanding the Iraqi Army “was a mistake” and that efforts to remove Saddam’s Baath Party from civil service “went too far.”

“The post-invasion conflict, especially between Sunnis and Shiites which caused widespread bloodshed, did more damage, in my judgment, to the credibility of the coalition operation in Iraq than the failure to find stockpiles of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction],” Mr Howard said.