LONDON, AP -Britain”s involvement in the war in Iraq has fueled homegrown terrorism, the former British ambassador to Washington said in an interview published Saturday, sharply disagreeing with statements from Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Sir Christopher Meyer, who sat in on crucial meetings between Blair and President Bush in the build up to the war, also said he felt the decision to go to war in Iraq was the right one, but that he was unhappy about the handling of the aftermath.
"I don”t believe the enterprise is doomed necessarily though … it does not look good. A lot of people think what we are going to end up with is precisely what we didn”t want," he said in an interview published in The Guardian newspaper.
Meyer said "wishful thinking" in Washington led to a lack of planning for what would be needed after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
Meyer is about to publish his memoirs of his time in Washington. He is now chairman of the media watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission.
A series of bombings in London on July 7 that killed 56 people — including the four bombers — were carried out by young Britons of south Asian extraction. The attack was the deadliest in Britain since World War II.
"There is plenty of evidence around at the moment that homegrown terrorism was partly radicalized and fueled by what is going on in Iraq," he said. "There is no way we can credibly get up and say it has nothing to do with it."
He nonetheless opposed an early pullout of U.S. and British troops, saying that to abandon the task of rebuilding Iraq now would leave "the relatives of at least 2,000 American servicemen and 98 British servicemen (who died) with a legitimate question about what they died for."