Martin McGuinness: McChrystal told me Iraq was mistake

Former  U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

Former U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says the retired US General Stanley McChrystal recently told him he wouldn’t have authorised the 2003 invasion of Iraq had he been US President and that the country is worse off now than it was under Saddam Hussein.

Mr McGuinness said he asked the former US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) chief about his involvement in the Middle East during a Chamber of Commerce dinner in Derry. He made the comments when asked by SDLP MLA Seán Rogers what he and First Minister Peter Robinson are doing to improve “the plight of Christians in the Middle East and in Africa.”

Mr McGuinness replied: “I think that the powers that be in the world are, obviously, contemplating how it should be dealt with, but I have a very strong view that the invasion of Iraq provided the opportunity for many groups in Iraq and the surrounding region to plunge that country into even worse turmoil than it was under Saddam Hussein.”

The Deputy First Minister said General McChrystal told him he wouldn’t have invaded Iraq in 2003 if he had been President George W Bush, stating: “I recently attended a Chamber of Commerce lunch in Derry, where General Stanley McChrystal, who led the US participation in Iraq, made what I thought was a very compelling contribution to the debate.

“He sat down beside me at the lunch table, and I asked him whether, if he had been President of the United States, he would have authorised the invasion of Iraq...and he said, ‘Not in a million years.’”

“He said that Iraq is worse now than it was then. So, we have only a limited ability to deal with these situations.”