'Brown's military funding failure cost British lives' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 06, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 06, 2010

'Brown's military funding failure cost British lives'

Gordon Brown's failure to properly fund the military as finance minister cost soldiers' lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former British armed forces chief said Friday, a newspaper reported.
The accusation piled fresh pressure on Brown, now British prime minister, hours ahead of his appearance at a public inquiry into the Iraq war, where he is expected to be challenged over allegations he cut military funding.
"Not fully funding the army in the way they had asked... undoubtedly cost the lives of soldiers," General Charles Ronald Llewelyn Guthrie told the Times newspaper.
"He should be asked why he was so unsympathetic towards defence and so sympathetic to other departments," said Guthrie, who led the armed forces from 1997 to 2001.
The attack comes amid growing criticism of Brown's role during the 2003 US-led invasion and will heighten fears in his administration the hearing could damage the ruling Labour Party as the general election approaches.
In his testimony to the inquiry in January, the defence secretary at the time, Geoff Hoon, said his ministry had lacked funds for years before the war.
Much of the funding criticisms have focused on the use of lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers in Iraq and Afghanistan, lambasted by critics who claim they were unable to withstand roadside bombs used by insurgents in both conflicts.
Susan Smith, whose son died in Iraq in 2005 in one of the vehicles, also accused Brown Friday of having failed to protect British forces.

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