» Friday, October 22, 2004


Asked if additional British forces would be deployed once Black Watch’s tour of duty was over, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Chief-of-the-Defence Staff, General Sir Michael Walker, had made the position clear during his interview on the Today Programme this morning. Put to her that both the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary had underlined that the deployment of Black Watch would be a specific time-limited operation, the PMS again drew journalists’ attention to General Sir Michael Walker’s interview this morning in which he had said, “The activities may not have ceased but we can certainly be certain to remove the Black Watch from the task”. Asked if the General had been indicating that other British troops would be sent to the area to replace Black Watch, the PMS said no. The General had been trying to be helpful by answering a hypothetical question and had simply been making the point that such a scenario could occur if it was considered necessary. Asked from where the additional troops would come, the PMS cautioned journalists against getting too ahead of themselves. The past few days had seen endless rounds of questions about Black Watch. Now that we had an answer, journalists wanted more. It was important to take things one step at a time. Put to her that General Walker had said that the resources would be found if there was a need to replace troops, the PMS pointed out that the General had also gone on to say that they would be found within the Multi-National Force. She advised journalists to look at his words carefully, as well as the comments of the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary from this week. In answer to further questions, the PMS pointed out that Black Watch hadn’t even been deployed yet. We were straying into hypothetical territory which wasn’t at all helpful to anyone. Asked if it was reasonable for MPs to assume that they had been given the impression that Black Watch had been deployed for a specific time-limited operation, the PMS said that she was unable to comment on what MPs might or might not think about this issue.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. The response to the kidnapping and murder of British subjects should be to send more troops.

    Comment by Don Cox — 23 Oct 2004 on 6:30 pm | Link
  2. Why? We shouldn’t be there in the first place. Sending more troops to Iraq to try to stop the killing would be like trying to put a fire out by pouring on more petrol.

    Surely the sensible thing to do would be to withdraw all of our troops as then there would be no need for these people to kidnap and murder British subjects.

    Another alternative would be to replace all troops with a UN force because then there would be no point in the kidnappers taking people from any one country.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 23 Oct 2004 on 7:02 pm | Link
  3. 1) Mr. Blair acts like a man who has set his own hair on fire and is trying to put it out using a hammer.

    2) When they said "the Black Watch will be home by Christmas", I don’t remember them specifying which Christmas.

    3) If Mr. Blair had not sent troops into Iraq and had (instead) used the US/UK Sanctions as a bargaining tool instead (for example by agreeing to drop the Civilian Sanctions) then we would not have needed to have sent any troops (says the UN Official Denis Halliday … and I for one am prepared to believe him). Therefore no hostages would have been taken, and the genocide inflicted on Iraqis (including 5,000,000 children) would not have occurred. In that case Mrs. Hassam’s humanitarian efforts would have been given a boost. By the way, Mrs. Hassan (Irish born, Iraqi by marriage) claims to be an Iraqi, not British … and who are we to argue with her?

    Comment by Veronica Chapman — 24 Oct 2004 on 8:21 pm | Link
  4. I can not understand what kind of war is going on in Iraq. was it against Saddam or against muslims? Where are the missiles and other stuff that Mr. Blair claimed to be the property of Saddam. I guess Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush are the real threats to the world peace. They should be dealt like Milasovic. Iraq was not a bad place to live in Saddam’s era but now even US Secretary of state and president Bush give surprise visits to Iraq just to make sure Mr. Bin Ladin doesnt trap them. God is great. Look at the most powerful men in the world and they are so scared of a mouse(osama bin ladin). I dont think they will be able to catch him.

    Comment by Kamran Riaz — 5 Oct 2005 on 5:41 am | Link

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