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Britain memo worried U.S. lacked planning on Iraq

12 Jun 2005 13:55:08 GMT

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) - A memo produced for British Prime Minister Tony Blair eight months before the invasion of Iraq expressed concern any occupation of that country would be "protracted and costly," The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The briefing paper indicated top British officials viewed the Bush administration as inevitably invading Iraq but said "little thought" had been given to "the aftermath and how to shape it," the Post reported, quoting from the eight-page memo.

Blair's staff produced the July 21 memo in preparation for the prime minister's meeting with his national security staff two days later at Downing Street.

"A postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise," the memo said. "As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

The minutes of the subsequent Downing Street meeting were published by London's Sunday Times on May 1 and have come to be known as the Downing Street Memo.

That memo complained that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." U.S. officials and Blair denied that assertion last week.