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Oral evidence

Taken before the Defence Committee

on Wednesday 11 June 2003

Memorandum submitted by Ministry of Defence

 

Examination of Witness

 

AIR MARSHAL BRIAN BURRIDGE CBE, UK National ContingentCommander, Operation Telic,examined.

 

Chairman: Air Marshal, thank you for coming. We have a lot of questions. Inanswer to the first one you can give expression to your MOD management-speakand if you cannot provide the explanation maybe you could get someorganisational charts sent to us. The first question is: can you explain yourrole in Operation Telic and the composition ofyour staff in Qatar?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I was the national contingent commander, so I had operationalcontrol of some 45,000-47,000 British personnel involved in the operation. Thatterm operational control means that I was responsible for allocating them toagreed tasks, tasks agreed by the Ministry of Defence, for their logisticsupport and for their alignment with the US plan. To do that in Qataressentially I could rely on two elements: my own headquarters; then some UKembedded staff, who were members of General Franks' staff; so instead of anAmerican officer doing a particular job, there would be a British officer. Thatgave us the linkage and connectivity between our two headquarters. Then therewas my own headquarters' total of about 350, including the life support ofsignallers, etcetera, but in terms of staff officers about 180.
 
Chairman: What was your organisational relationship with Lieutenant GeneralReith?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: He was designated the joint commander and he ran his headquartersat Northwood in the traditional way in that not only was he charged with beingthe joint commander for Operation Telic but alsofor the UK's operations elsewhere in the world which were going on in parallel.As to our relationship, it is best characterised that he was looking at theLondon end and some of the international aspects away from the theatre, whereasI was looking horizontally at the region of the theatre and downwards.
 
Chairman: It sounds really simple, but it could not have been because you areinter-relating with the UK, with the Americans and the organisational chartmust have been in reality quite complicated. What we should like, if you do notmind, is for you to take the trouble to give us a clearer picture of who wasdoing what, the different functions that were being undertaken, theinter-relationships? That would be really helpful.
Air MarshalBurridge: Would you like me just to take that alittle further now?
 
Chairman: Please do. What we will do, if we may, is ask the next question,because there are some issues to do with the fuller picture we are looking forand that would be quite helpful to us.
 
Mr Cran: The Committee would be quite interested to know where you fittedin to the chain of command, given that, as we understand it, tactical commandof UK forces rested with 3* American generals and UK command authority restedwith the Chief of Joint Operations (CJO). Where did you fit into this rathercomplicated structure?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The CJO, who was the joint commander, had operational command of UKforces. These are prosaic terms, but we are going to have to go through them.He was able to assign different forces to different missions, that is what operationalcommand actually means. I sat below him and I had operational control, so I wasgiven the tasks and the forces and then I just had to match them into theAmerican plan. Tactical command, in other words executing the individual tasks,was held by the UK 2* officers who were contingent commanders within eachenvironment, air, land, maritime. They handed tactical control to theiropposite number who was in all cases a 3* American, who would actually be theperson who owned that part of the plan. I said this was prosaic. It actuallytakes longer to describe that it does to use in practice.
 
Mr Cran: That is quite over-simplified in a way, is it not? You are reallysaying that all you had to do, when the tasks were set out, was to matchresources to them. Were you not able to influence?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Sure; sure.
 
Mr Cran: Just talk us through how you influenced these things.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The role of a national contingent headquarters, my role, probablyrevolves around three areas. Firstly, support; in other words providing thenecessary logistic support and other forms of support to the contingents.Secondly, inform; in other words provide the information that London needs forpolitical decision making or military decision making. Thirdly, influence.Influence is exercised in a number of ways and was in this case. We had spent aconsiderable time planning with the Americans at Tampa and we had embeddedstaff there. We were able, from the bottom up to influence the way the planningwas conducted. We conducted an exercise with General Franks and the CENTCOMstaff before Christmas, which for us was one of a series, but for them wasmission rehearsal. We were able to exercise influence over our analysis of theplan against how it went. On a day-to-day basis he and I would meet for acomponent commanders' conference for one hour a day at least and we would looknot only at what had just happened, but more particularly at what was plannedat about a 48-hour horizon. If I had reservations, either because I felt thatwhat might be planned would be outside the delegations I had been given, orthat from a point of view of joint endeavour it would not be the right thing todo in terms of the way the international community might judge us, then we wouldhave a discussion and invariably he would agree. It is true to say, in thatsort of a coalition, many of his staff would regard us as their conscience,because we see things through different eyes, maybe make a different sort ofanalysis. That was just at my level, but this was going on continually. I hadparticularly good relationships with General Franks' deputy, Lieutenant GeneralAbosaid, who is someone I had known a good eight years ago. Similarly, my staffhad very good relations with the senior staff in CENTCOM, because we had beentogether for a long time.
 
Mr Cran: Just so the Committee can fully grasp what your role was, whatwere the limits of your influence? In the directives you were given about therole you performed where were the boundaries?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Having agreed at chiefs of staff level what the UK's part in theplan would be - and no doubt you will want to talk about southern Iraq and allthat sort of thing - then those were my limits. If it became clear that topursue the mission we would need to do something else, then I would have toask. So the chiefs agreed the plan and that was my blueprint.
 
Mr Cran: Could you tell us about your relationship with General Franks? Ido not mean the personal relationship, I mean the professional relationship onthe one hand and also with the political leadership in London. How did all thiswork together? You had to undertake quite an exercise.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: To start with General Franks and I, because he and I first met inApril of 2002, had seen each other regularly, had swopped views on planningthroughout that time and because he recognised the quality of the thinking thatour embedded staff brought, he regarded us as a very positive aspect of hiscoalition. He also recognised from a strategic political sense the importanceof the UK's part in this as a coalition partner and was very keen to make surethat what he did underpinned that. I thought my relationship with him was verygood; he was willing to listen and when we did come up against points aboutwhich we were at variance, inevitably we were able to resolve them. To answerthe second part of your question, the US political construct or politicalcontrol of the military was very different from ours. As it is under this administration,it is very direct in that it goes from the President, to Mr Rumsfeld, SecDef,and then straight to the commander, General Franks. There is not quite thedynamic using the joint chiefs of staff that I remember under the Clintonadministration when we were doing Bosnia. It is very much a direct daily phonecall and a discussion. Ours is different, of course. My relationship was withGeneral Reith, because he is the Chief of Joint Operations; occasionallythe CDS would call me either to resolve some ambiguity about the perceptionswhich were being drawn in London about what was going on or just to give me abit of confidence or whatever. The Secretary of State's relationship, ofcourse, is with the CDS, so that is how I managed the political side of it. TheSecretary of State came out to see us a couple of times, so I was able to spenda fair amount of time with him and make sure that at least I had given him theimpressions from my point of view.
Q225  MrCran: All of us in the Committee and doubtless you in the MOD are here to learnlessons, if there are any lessons to learn from what happened in Iraq. Inrelation to the various command structures which were set up, are you happywith how they operated? Would you with the benefit of hindsight have anythingchanged and if so, in what way?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I should preface all my remarks with "What you see depends onwhere you sit". From where I sat, I was very happy with the commandrelationships, command arrangements, because they allowed me to focus on what Ineeded to focus on and that was integrating UK forces into a plan and thenexecuting that plan at minimum risk to UK forces. I appreciated very much thatthere would be a great deal going on in London from which I was totallyshielded. That was the basis in our doctrine of why we set the commandstructure the way we do. Something that we will undoubtedly consider as apotential lesson is if we see the likelihood of our participating with theAmericans becoming more the norm than the exception, then do we need adifferent sort of command and control structure which fits a bit more easilywith that direct line that the Americans are currently using. My caution isthat I have seen it done different ways in America. In my view it is verypersonality dependent. You cannot always say that their doctrine looks likethis and that is what they will do. If we modify, we may find that the nexttime it does not work quite so well.
 
Mr Cran: My last question, simply for any future coalition co-operation, isthat there are indeed lessons to be learned, are there not?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Indeed.
 
Mr Cran: Could you just canter over one or two?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: On command and control or more generally?
Mr Cran: Moregenerally.
 
Chairman: We will come on to that later, if you do not mind, or it willconfuse what is already far from simple. You mentioned that you had a missionrehearsal. How many were engaged in that? Was it almost like the real thing? Iam wondering how the structure operated in Gulf War 1, more complicated inKosovo, then you had the mission rehearsal, then you had the thing set up. Whatwould be the relationship between the different structures and how were theymodified? I know you were not in all of the earlier ones. All we are anxious tofind out is how this complex set of inter-relationships and formal and informalstructures and operations all gelled and whether this is a structure whichmight be a model amended for any future operation?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: If we go back to the first Gulf War, at that stage we did not havea Permanent Joint Headquarters, so we earmarked a 4* headquarters whichhappened to be Headquarters Strike Command and earmarked the commander in chiefof Strike Command as the joint commander. Then General De La Billière wasessentially doing my job in theatre. That was pretty much what we followed thistime. Kosovo, different, because it was a NATO operation. The efficiency ofsmall coalitions versus the consensus basis under which NATO operates probablyclouds the difference in efficiency between the structures. In the NATO case itis the process rather than the structure which perhaps made things difficult. Isaid that we did an exercise before Christmas. That was a computer-generatedsimulation of the plan, so it just involved staff officers and seniorcommanders. We modified the plan based on our experiences, but we alsorecognised that the command structure we had created and the linkages whichexisted, were pretty much 95% right. As we did a bit more analysis, we just sawthe occasional place where there was potentially friction, or thecommunications would not jump the air gap, so we needed to put in liaisonofficers to those sorts of places. That is why a mission rehearsal of that sortis very valuable, because if you cannot get the orders to the right people atthe right time, then your plan, if it does not fail, will certainly not beefficient.
 
Chairman: Were you satisfied that the technology for decision making wascompatible with American systems?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No. One of my significant lessons is about that very thing, CISgenerally. We are just about to launch into the defence informationinfrastructure project, which I hope will be the beginning of putting thisright. The US are considerably ahead of us in their command and controltechnology and they use a single secure system for operations and intelligenceand for all participating agencies such as CIA, DIA, etcetera. That really isthe goal as far as I am concerned for war-fighting CIS. We do not have a systemyou can just plug into that. It is called SIPRNET and it is a no-form system,so US eyes only. We had therefore to come up with some work-arounds, forexample in my headquarters I had a small enclave with an American officer operatingthis equipment, so I could get the information, but my staff could not actuallyaccess it themselves. To alleviate that problem, the US provided theinfrastructure for a mirror image of it called XNET and that is slightlyinefficient, because it requires them to transfer the information from onesystem to another and then sanitise it on the way. As it happened, it was not ahuge problem, because the participating nations were just ourselves, Australiaand to a limited extent Canada in planning. We are inside a known intelligenceagreement for sharing intelligence, but if the coalition is big and containspartners with whom we would not normally consider sharing high gradeintelligence, then the efficacy of that system is limited. Big lesson here: notonly the compatibility and connectivity of war fighting CIS, but also therobustness of it as well.
 
Syd Rapson: During the conflict there was a lot of contact between Rumsfeldand the politicians and General Franks, stories around about undue influence inthe operational capacity of Franks. Was there at any time direct contact fromGeoff Hoon, the Secretary of State, with yourself, or were you left to get onwith your responsibilities?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Let me just correct whatever may have been circulating in London atthis time. In terms of military direction, Mr Rumsfeld did not, as far asI am aware - and I think probably I am in a pretty good place to judge -exercise undue influence. As for myself, I was very much left to get on withthings. I was trying to remember just before coming in. The Secretary of Statephoned me once and that was just to give me reassurance that everybody washappy with the way things were going. Yes, I was very gratified to be able towork that way.
 
Jim Knight: Some people would have listened to something you said in responseto Mr Cran's questioning, that you started meeting with Tommy Franks backin April 2002, and may have one or two questions they would want to ask, suchas while you were planning from that early stage, did you have a militarytimetable, did that have a date at the end of it by which you would need tohave started the campaign? They would want you to respond to the charge that ifyou started planning that early, this whole thing was pre-determined and thateverything that went on in New York was a charade and a lot of theatre.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: They would, if that were right.
 
Jim Knight: That is why I put it to you, to give you the chance to respond.
Air MarshalBurridge: I first met General Franks in Aprilbecause I was designated as the UK's 3* deployable commander. On my firstmeeting with him, we discussed Afghanistan, because that was the campaign whichwas going on at the time. I well remember our first conversation. We werediscussing going from what in Operation Telic weknow as phase 3, in other words decisive operations, into phase 4, which wasthe nation building stuff. We spent an hour discussing that on that occasion.We began looking at Iraq planning in the summer. We had no timetable, but itwas put to me that if the UK was at any stage likely to participate, then bestwe at least understand the planning and influence the planning for the better.At no stage did we say "Here is the end date by which we are going to dothis". What we did have was a couple of windows. We said ideally it makessense either to do this in the spring of 2003 or autumn of 2003. When westarted planning, the US forces were still reconstituting after Afghanistan.That was an issue for them: how quickly would they be ready to do anotheroperation of this size?
 
Jim Knight: That is very helpful. I would only ask in supplement to thatwhether there were any other nations involved in any of that early planning whothen subsequently did not want to join the party or was it just a happycoincidence that the same people who were planning in that early stage around acontingency of needing to do something ended up being those who took part?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Only the UK was invited in for planning in the earliest stages andsubsequently Australia. The Canadians were considering what their contributionmight be and in their case quite firmly against the prospect of a secondresolution. They did not participate but observed; in the event, as we know,they chose not to participate.
 
Mr Jones: I listened to you very carefully and you actually used aninteresting word "invited" in. What format did that take? If the onlyones involved in that planning were Britain, the United States and laterAustralia, what would have been the case if we had got a second resolution andwe had had other nations, for example France and others, who wanted tocontribute militarily to this?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: In what terms do you mean "what would have been thecase"?
 
Mr Jones: Clearly what you have described is a lot of pre-planning takingplace the summer before. If we had got a second resolution to authorisemilitary action, it would have involved countries other than just the UnitedStates, Britain and Australia. Where were they in this loop? How would theyhave got into it?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Had there been the conditions in which other countries would havewanted to participate, I have no doubt they would have done, but they would nothave had the degree of influence on planning that we had. Governments take aview. Depending on the size of their contribution, they might say that sendinga battalion to integrate into, say, a British brigade is okay, they feel thatthey can trust the robustness of the planning. If it is a nation which is goingto send a division, they may have a different view. You take a choice. If youfeel you are going to do something, then governments have to take a choice overthe moment at which they are going to become engaged, even in planning, withoutcommitment.
 
Mr Jones: Yes, but you did use the word "invited" in. Who gave theinvitation? Was it the Americans? You said Britain was "invited" in.By whom?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The US. It was their plan.
 
Mr Jones: Therefore, there was no plan at any time to involve other nations.
Air MarshalBurridge: Why?
 
Mr Jones: If you are going to "invite", in your words, a countrylike the United Kingdom to take part in very early planning, up to a year inadvance, clearly plans were being drawn up quite ahead of any resolution in theUN, which clearly excluded other nations, did they not?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, because any other nation could have come on board at any time.
 
Mr Jones: Why were they not invited to take part?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: As I recall, the State Department sent out a letter to embassies atsome stage around September/October - I may be wide on the dates. In just thesame way as at that stage there were 34 coalition members at Tampaparticipating in Enduring Freedom, so the USintent, indeed CENTCOM intent, was to build a coalition for Iraq.
 
Mr Jones: So we were just the nation who responded to the invitation sent toother embassies. Is that what you are saying?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No; no. We started to participate early in June or July, somethinglike that, whereas later they invited other nations.
 
Mr Jones: To whom were these invitations, which other nations?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I could not say off the top of my head, but it was quite a largenumber.
 
Mr Cran: A supplementary, just so I may understand this, because thequestion posed by Mr Jones is a good one. Is the presumption that we areworking under this, that even supposing the United Nations had given itsapproval and it became a UN operation, the fact of the matter is that the Americanswould still have contributed the bulk of the armed forces, perhaps us, perhapsthe French and so on. Is that the understanding that we were all working under?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not sure we would say, if there had been a second UNresolution that it would have become a UN operation. It would have become a UNsanctioned operation or whatever.
 
Mr Cran: That is what I meant.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Okay. The presumption was that the majority of the forces would beAmerican.
 
Mr Cran: Okay. Then I understand your answers to Mr Jones. Thank you.
 
Mr Crausby: Were all UK forces deployed under your command? I am thinking inparticular about Special Forces. Were there different arrangements for SpecialForces?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: There were different arrangements for Special Forces. I hadco-ordinating authority for Special Forces, because command of Special Forcesis kept as high as possible because they are a strategic asset.
 
Mr Crausby: To whom did they report?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The Chief of Defence Staff.
 
Mr Crausby: They reported direct to the Chief of Defence Staff.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Mr Crausby: How did this operate? How did that work with the American SpecialForces?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: They were integrated with the American Special Forces, tasks wereagreed beforehand and they got on and did it. None of this is something thatneeds day to day very fine tuning or whatever in terms of the relationshipbetween forces and their senior commander.
 
Mr Crausby: What do you think about this arrangement? Are there any lessons tolearn about this arrangement with Special Forces?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: In this case it worked well. I have no reason to believe it wouldnot work well in the future. Much of the success of our command arrangements isbecause we all know each other. All the UK commanders have probably sat on thesame courses together, certainly exercised together. Perhaps one of theadvantages of being small is that you do know each other. Personalrelationships are really the glue which holds our command structure togetherand that was very much the case with Special Forces. It was not a problem.
 
Syd Rapson: May I thank you on two counts? One is that when I listened to youon the television discussing issues around the conflict, I believed every wordyou said and I could not do that with all the other commentators. As a cynicalperson I was very grateful for that. I trusted what you were saying as true andit proved to be the case. Secondly, you were able to put down John Humphrieson Radio 4 Today programme, which gave most ofus politicians, certainly me, great delight. Tom Baldwin of The Times in a Times Online article comparedyour putting him down incident with Private Pike. So alongside all theheavyweight stuff, we are very grateful and take great delight in you doingthat. I am sure it was not intended, but that is how it came across.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: You are very generous.
 
Syd Rapson: Your influence is clearly substantial. Not in the planning, but inthe decision making, how influential was the British perspective? We have beentold that on the air tasking orders which the Americans had, they at all times,when you were consulted, took your advice and did not stray from that. What wasthe difference in the British position on targeting and the American's? We havea view sometimes that the Americans are a little bit trigger happy and that isnot true. I know it is unfair. When it comes to the British line, andpresumably yours, I assume - and I am sure most people do - that there are verycareful political considerations and damage limitation considerations. Couldyou expand on that?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The approach to air targeting requires a certain amount of scienceand a certain amount of judgment. The judgments come in the application of thelaw on armed conflict and the Geneva Convention. In looking at any target thefirst thing I would have to do is apply what is known as a discrimination test:is this a military target? Then a proportionality test: what is the appropriatelevel of force to use against this target? That takes into account a number ofconsiderations, civilian casualties, damage to civilian property, things whichare glibly called collateral damage, but also the almost cultural approach youwant to take to a particular operation. In this operation, we wanted very muchto be using minimum force so as to leave the infrastructure of Iraq and alsothe perception of the people of Iraq in tact; so we only did the minimum weneeded to.
 
Syd Rapson: If you were the sole arbiter of the targeting I can understandthat you are following that philosophy. Do I take it that the Americans hadalready chosen a number of targets, had presumably gone through this process,but decided to take them in, then you came along and said, through the filtersystem, that they could do number one, but not number two? What is theessential difference between you and the Americans if you are using the GenevaConvention?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Because of those two things I have said so far and the third ismilitary advantage, that there must be a discernible military advantage. Thefourth is that you must take all feasible precautions in making your judgments.Those are judgments. An American or another Brit, might take a different viewin applying those judgments. In coming to my conclusions - and I shall answeryour question about how a target list is put together - I very much worked onthe basis that the world will judge us by our conduct in phase 3. Maybe becauseI am European, I had a different view sometimes from the Americans. If we areattacking a target with a UK platform, aircraft, then I have to approve it. Itcannot be attacked unless I or someone to whom I have delegated approve it. Ifwe are attacking a target using an American platform, but from a Britishfacility, Diego Garcia or Fairford, I have to approve it or someone to whom Ihave delegated. That is quite formal, legalistic, everybody understands that.Where I believe the interesting bit occurs - and I think this is where we addedconsiderable value - was in saying yes, okay, this is an American target,American platform, no British involvement, but actually let me just say howthis might look viewed in Paris, Berlin or wherever. As for creating the targetlist, we use a methodology and, again, our embedded staff in CENTAF, the aircomponent, were deeply engaged in the methodology we use called strategy totask. We ask ourselves what the strategy is that we are applying. If we say,for example, that the centre of gravity as far as Iraq is concerned is theregime, then we will say our strategy is to disable the regime command andcontrol. We then produce an audit trail down to targets which contribute tothat Not, as people might think, just looking at a big photograph of Iraq andsaying that is a good target, this looks quite good, that looks quite good. Itis not like that. It is built up in a logical way in order to achieve yourstrategy; otherwise it would not be efficient for one thing.
 
Syd Rapson: May I ask what might seem a simple question? I apologise for thatand it is not trying to catch you out. If the Americans were the sole countryinvolved in the war on Iraq and we were not there to give our specific adviceand you in particular had not given those careful decisions over targeting,would you assume that it would have been a much more widespread action and morecollateral damage and more destruction would have taken place without theBritish influence?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, I could not make that assumption. The US works within theframework of the international community and the same comment would come byanother means ultimately. I am sure you are referring to an article whichappeared on the front of The Times which I wouldnot dignify with any evidence. No, I do not think it would have made a hugedifference, but they may have been slower to pick up on the way things mightlook in the international community.
 
Chairman: How influential were we really on American decision making? Didthey say, "Thank you for coming along. We need you politically, but youare only providing six per cent of the air assets so you get six per cent ofthe influence". Reassure us that we were not simply there for the ride.Can you give us some examples of where you were able to effect an influence ondecisions?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: We very definitely were not there for the ride. On the air side weflew seven per cent of the sorties, but we provided a larger proportion ofprecision guided munitions than did the Americans. We provided nichecapabilities on the air side that the US was lacking in, particularly tacticalrecce. On the land side some 25 per cent of the combat power wasBritish. If you consider the line-up of the land forces just before we crossedthe start line, there were 116 Challenger 2s there just in one brigade. Ourbrigades are big and very powerful with a lot of combat power. That wassignificant. They respected that; they respected that. As for areas where wewere able to exercise influence, we were able to exercise influence on some ofthe targeting aspects, some of the weapons selection and I am afraid I cannotgo into details on those two things in this forum. In the context of how weshould deal with urban warfare, the way in which we continually should rememberthat the end state is not to lay waste to Iraq, it is to get Iraq returned to afunctioning country as quickly as possible.
 
Chairman: Perhaps you could drop us a note in due course, when you can givemore consideration to your reply, because it is obviously quite sensitive. Itwould be quite helpful if you could give us some further examples, maybe insome greater detail. We will now ask some questions on the preparation andplanning.
 
 PatrickMercer: We have touched on the planning of the wargenerally already. During the planning and preparation phase there is obviouslya technological mismatch between British forces and American forces which weare trying to narrow. How much did that influence the British contribution tothe planning process?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I shall see whether I can answer that in a particular way and thenyou can tell me whether I have answered it. The technological gap on the airside is very small indeed. The fact that we have been operating in northern andsouthern watch, Operation Resonate for 12 yearsalongside the Americans, the fact that we train together on red flags andthings, means that we are well integrated and the technology gap is relativelysmall. I suppose the maritime side was not really put to the test, but for thetasks envisaged, if anything the technology gap was in the other directionbecause for minesweeping, for example, we very much took the lead. We had somegreat mine clearance technology. On the land side, provided you use units of areasonable size, that is a division, which stands alone, then the need to jointhings up is less of a problem than it would be if you used individualbattalions or whatever. Because we had a defined area, a defined forcestructure, it was not actually a huge problem.
 
PatrickMercer: That begs another question which I shallnot go into at the moment. I am interested in the force structure there,because it was not a cohesive division which was sent, but we will come ontothat later, if we may. The Pentagon referred to the campaign as one of"shock and awe". What does the term mean?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: "Shock and awe" is a term which I think was coined in1996 and I cannot remember by whom. There are two air power gurus, John Boydand John Warden. One of them coined this term "shock and awe". It isnot a term which I actually recognise. You may know that we planned and foughtthis campaign as an effects based campaign and as I went through the taskaspect of how we do targeting, that was at the heart of it. Shock, yes, it ispretty shocking, if you are a regime, when you lose your command and controlstructure very quickly, because you feel absolutely alienated. It is prettyawesome to be near any of these weapons.
 
PatrickMercer: Was it just a sound bite?
 
Air MarshalBurridge: Yes, Ithink it was a sound bite which got rather regenerated in Washington and it maywork for the internal US audience, but it was not very helpful elsewherefrankly.
 
PatrickMercer: Sitting back here a number of people weresurprised when the war started on the night of the fourth/fifth. There was asuggestion that the programme had been moved forward somewhat. They weretalking about taking out targets of opportunity and decapitating the regime andall these other phrases. How surprised by this decapitation operation were you?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Not in the least.
 
PatrickMercer: Did it pose any particular problems for youabout how you approached either that operation, that discrete part of theoperation, or later parts of the operation?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No. As ever, as good campaign planners, we look at a number ofoptions which might present themselves and we had been planning for such aneventuality for a number of days. I might say on timing that we recognised thatSaddam had expectations about how this campaign would proceed based on hisexperience of previous campaigns. The only way we could achieve tacticalsurprise was to do it a different way.
 
PatrickMercer: Indeed we were witness to a bit ofmisinformation when we were taking evidence at an earlier session which wasextremely interesting.
 
RachelSquire: There is a saying that no plan survivescontact with the enemy. Was the war plan significantly altered as the campaignprogressed? If so, when and how?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: We modified the plan beforehand based on our experience of runningit through the war game. When it was executed, it ran as expected. The only wayit changed was that Baghdad itself fell in a rather inelegant way withoutneeding to engage in urban warfare, which was the last part of the plan; thatthere would be a need to deploy forces into Baghdad little piece by littlepiece and get this jigsaw taken in an incremental way. In the event the3rd Infantry Division went into the centre of Baghdad and just stayedthere. Otherwise the plan ran.
 
Rachel Squire: Was there something which particularly surprised the coalition?What was that?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: We knew Saddam's strategy. He believed that he could survive this.He believed that with a combination of circumstances he could achieve the sortof international condemnation of the coalition and the fracture of domesticpublic support. I believe he felt that those were achievable; we shall neverknow but I believe. We knew about the Baghdad defence plan over the years,ranging back more than ten years. We had seen how they would seek to defendBaghdad, but we also knew that they would not let us just drive straight upthere, so they would want to delay us and it is that delay which is significant,because that is the period in which he assumed that there would beinternational condemnation and public support would evaporate. I think our viewwas always that he had two potential strategies. The first was to use chemicalweapons, probably against the civilian population, probably in Basra, hugenumbers of civilians suffering from chemical weapons would have been a major,major problem and would of course have fixed us. We would not have been able tomove; we could not have ignored that. But that would go against his strategybecause he would lose the moral high ground and it would be counter productive.The second thing was to delay us by using irregular forces and that is what hedid. Were we surprised by that? We were not surprised that he did it. I wassurprised by how much he did it, because the judgment, which was impossible tomake, was the extent to which he had front-loaded those southern cities withthe Baath militia, with the Al Kud with the Saddam Fedayeen and the extent towhich actually they had moved some small groups of Republican Guard down there.He chose to face us with irregular forces using asymmetric methods, fighting incivilian clothes, using human shields extensively, profligate with the lives oftheir own people, using ambulances as armoured vehicles. He knew thatculturally that is quite difficult for us to deal with because it is high riskto the population whose hearts and minds we are trying to secure. These peoplehad been on Iraqi television in the months leading up to this, so it was quiteclear that they had some utility in this sort of way. My surprise was theextent to which he had front-loaded those southern cities and I think that whenthe analysis is done we might see that Baghdad was ill defended because a lotof this stuff had come forward.
 
RachelSquire: In the meantime he tried to maintain thepublic facade through the infamous Minister for Information that everything wasgoing famously.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Indeed.
 
Chairman: Following on from this question about plans not surviving contactwith the enemy, from where we were looking half way through things looked asthough the wheel was coming off. The big argument which American journalistslargely got wrong was that the wrong force had been sent: it was too light,there were not enough of them. Was there any anxiety at that time, where theexternal pressure from the media and the chat shows and maybe people who weremore authoritative began to make you wonder whether the force was the rightsize, was the right shape and the plans were capable of surviving without moremodification?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Sorry, what was the actual question?
 
Chairman: Did the panic generated in my house reflect in yours?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No.
 
Chairman: Did you think that everything was all right?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Chairman: Was the force that was sent the right one? It was not as heavy asthe experts told us. There is an argument that Franks was over-ruled and infact it was the Secretary of State who said no, we are going in light. I knowit is rather sensitive and you would not be disloyal to your colleagues, butcould you give us a flavour of this sort of argument and how it impinged onyou?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes. We were convinced thatthe regular army would not fight and that was pretty obvious from theirdispositions. In many ways the divisions to the north-east of Basra wereconfigured as though they were fighting a war with Iran. In fact most haddeserted and those who had not deserted were not going to fight. But we werenot talking about a conventional armour to armour piece of manoeuvre warfare.What we had were very long lines of communication with these irregular forcesable to apply irritation, but it was only irritation. Maybe if we are going to talkabout the media, I can explain how counter productive it is to describe everypinprick as a major haemorrhage.
 
Mr Howarth: Oh yes; we certainly are.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Interestingly, in those first three days of the campaign, as I wasmentioning with regard to assessing the impact of irregular forces, that iswhen we, as theatre commanders, re-calibrate. Von Moltke said "the planwon't stand contact": in fact it does. What you do is just re-calibrateand that is what we were doing. We saw that because we were there, three orfour days, we were over that and we were off and running again. Of course thereis a lag as this gets to capitals and is chewed around on chat shows. It wasquite interesting just to see that delay. The force mix in terms of combatpower was right.
 
Chairman: You are saying really that your intelligence was pretty good, youthought they were maldeployed. But if intelligence were that hot, we would nothave made some of the mistakes which were made subsequently. What would have happenedif you had committed a light force, a fairly small force and you had realisedyou had the assessment wrong and there was more bottle in the Iraqis? It couldhave happened and you would have been left with a lot of egg on your face.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Forgive me, what mistakes were you referring to.
Q268  Chairman:What I am saying is that if you had misjudged the Iraqis and it turned out thatthey did have more fight in them - yes, you were right, but it was potentiallydangerous - if you took a force of such a kind anticipating the Iraqis wouldnot fight much and if they had, then you would have had the wrong force and youwould have had limited ability to correct that.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Forgive me, but you are ignoring the impact of air power. Theeffect of modern air power in post-modern warfare is overwhelming, absolutelyoverwhelming. Some 700 sorties a day could be used in counter land operations.This is one of the aspects we will study. Von Clausewitz always told us that ifyou are going to invade somebody's country go at three to one.
 
Q269  Chairman:You did it the wrong way round.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: We did it the other way round but von Clausewitz did not have theunderstanding of air power. Air power was decisive in the manoeuvre battle.
 
PatrickMercer: Could I just refer back to the question ofthe mix of forces? I was talking about technology gaps and you said as long asthere is a critical mass - I am paraphrasing - in your organisation you do notneed to worry too much about it. I have to accept that. You referred to thedivision you deployed, but it was not a conventional division and one third ofit was found by the Royal Navy, one was a light infantry organisation and onewas an armoured formation. It struck me at the time that there was very littleredundancy above brigade level and indeed former colleagues of mine have saidthat 16 Brigade was actually fixed by the enemy, they had no armour andtherefore their utility in terms of the fight for Basra was pretty small. Assumingthat other organisations were available, was the mix of that division right? Ifyou could wipe the slate clean, would you have configured it in a differentway?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: There is a bit of a chicken and egg about your question in that forthe task anticipated that was a good force without a doubt. I do not acceptthat 16 Brigade were fixed because they are air mobile and in fact we had aplan which may have required them to move north and we could do that. So therewas sufficient flexibility across those capabilities to allow us to do what weneeded to do. I am not quite sure what you meant about redundancy above brigadelevel. Are you suggesting combat support was not sufficient?
 
PatrickMercer: One of the difficulties which was discussedbefore, and it was only theoretical, was what would happen to this Britishdivision? This was when the idea was that we might be coming from the north.Would it be strapped onto the side of an American division or American corps?The answer was no, because it was not a coherent armoured division, nor was it,if there were such a thing, a marine division or an airborne division orwhatever. So each brigade was discrete, the ability to reform after casualtieswere taken, which mercifully did not happen, was extremely limited. Clearlyvery difficult if you lost a Warrior battalion to replace it from a RoyalMarine brigade. It struck me that actually it would have been a much moreuseful organisation to have a couple of armoured brigades, preferably three. Comment?
AirMarshal Burridge: As the circumstances actually arose that is not right. Armour isbrilliant in manoeuvre and actually it is very good in urban warfare too,without a doubt, but there will come a time when you have to dismount in orderto proceed. So what is the point of moving lots of armour around only todismount?
 
PatrickMercer: But the forces you used to dismount werelargely armoured forces.
Air MarshalBurridge: Ultimately; but as you yourself said,there were two other brigades which were by definition dismounted.
 
Mr Jones: You said earlier on that you had a lot of intelligence about thecomposition of the Iraqi armed forces and you mentioned some deserting andthings like that. At what stage did you plan for the possibility that they woulduse chemical and biological weapons?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: We planned that in from the outset. Do you mean at what stage inour planning or at what stage did I think?
 
Mr Jones: Your intelligence. What did your intelligence lead you to believe?Where did you think they would possibly use chemical and biological weapons?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: There was a considerable amount of analysis, most of it pointed toa line in the sand somewhere south of Baghdad and probably the Karbala Gap,about 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, where the Republican Guard divisionswere lined up. Most intelligence assessment felt that if chemical weapons weregoing to be used that would be it.
 
Mr Howarth: You said that not too many surprises came your way, but in anarticle in The Times before the conflict startedyou clearly flagged that one of the concerns that the high command had was ofour troops being sucked into urban hand-to-hand fighting in Baghdad itself.Albeit that you say that you found early on that Saddam Hussein had frontloaded his forces in Basra and the southern cities ---
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I think; I do not know.
 
Mr Howarth: From our perspective here there was the hiccough when it looked asthough the supply line was so long that it was hugely vulnerable to asymmetricattack. The next thing did seem that we were going to be sucked into Baghdad.Why did that not happen?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I suspect that we disrupted his command and control very early onand I think they simply lost the ability to mount any sort of coherent defence.They were also surprised by the speed of advance, particularly from the KarbalaGap up to Baghdad airport and one task force from the 3rd InfantryDivision in going to Baghdad airport even went through Baghdad itself. I just thinkthey were incapable of responding.
 
Mr Howarth: At what point did you deduce that you were not going to face thatvery intensive hand to hand combat?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Probably the second night that US forces were at the airport, thenthe 3rd Infantry Division mounted a thrust and went into the centreof Baghdad to the square where the unknown soldier monument is. From thatpoint, looking at the response to that, it was clear that what we were facingwas just another version of Basra, in other words irregular forces, Baathists,this sort of thing, no special Republican Guard whom you could expect to fightand fight properly. Certainly just a re-run of Basra, albeit in a moredifficult set of circumstances.
 
Mr Howarth: Did you have a contingency plan, had your siege of Stalingrad,which you had forecast in The Times, come about?Did you feel confident that you had enough people, indeed the Americans hadenough people, enough forces on the ground to be able to deal with thateventuality had it happened?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It is hard to say. Even looking at the plan as we expected it inreasonably favourable circumstances, but nevertheless the sort of thing you aretalking about, it would have taken a long time. It would not have been quick.
 
Rachel Squire: You have already made some comment about equipment and the rightscale and mix of forces. Is there any particular mixture of forces andequipment which for you stands out as needing improvement or revision orre-examination after the experience of Operation Telic? You also mentioned SIPRNET as an area which needs to be improved.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Our fighting equipment, bearing in mind we had a fairly extensiveurgent operational requirement programme which brings it up either to a higherlevel or changes it or whatever, taken together our fighting equipment was verygood. A couple of areas where I should like to see change: one is incommunications, information systems; the other is an aspect of logistics wherewe are not yet fully invested in a logistic tracking system which tells us, inthe same way as a global logistic company would know where every bit of theirkit is in transit, we have not yet got that system embedded. That is an area onwhich I place considerable emphasis.
 
Rachel Squire: May I ask you your view on whether you consider that the Britishbrought something unique to Operation Telic andif so, what?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, I do. The quality of our campaign planning and the thinkingthat goes into it made a significant difference. I think the elegance withwhich we were able in the south to move from high intensity, high manoeuvrecombat into peace support operations and humanitarian aid, the way in which the1st Armoured Division dealt with Basra, was really elegant.
 
Rachel Squire: Thank you. I think there would be widespread agreement with that.
 
Jim Knight: The Americans were working at the level of a corps in their HQ,while, given the scale of the British contribution, you and your staff wereoperating at a division level. To what extent were you therefore able tooperate as a true part of the American network, benefiting and embracing thefull spectrum of American capabilities?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I was not operating at anything other than the operational level ofwar; in other words, I and my staff were alongside General Franks. If I catchyour drift correctly, you are wondering whether I was sitting over a divisionfighting a divisional battle. That is not the case. I was sitting alongside acoalition partner who was fighting a multi corps battle. The extent to which wewere able to optimise our contribution was unhindered.
 
Jim Knight: So you and your staff were really able to track and influenceeverything that was going on across the whole piece.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes; absolutely.
 
Jim Knight: Not simply the British piece.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, but we paid special attention to British activity because thatwas what London would need to know about. No, we are part of a construct at theoperational level that is fighting an entire campaign.
 
Mr Cran: Could we come to the legitimacy of the operation we are talkingabout, not from the point of view of international lawyers, because you and Iare not that commodity at all, but I mean from the point of view that therewere considerable reports before, during and indeed after the operation thatBritish public opinion was pretty divided about the operation and whetherBritish troops should be committed or not? Was this something which concernedyou and your commanders or not?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I personally had no doubt about the legality of it.
 
Mr Cran: I do not really mean the legality. I accept what the AttorneyGeneral says; I cannot argue.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: If we use the term "appropriateness" perhaps, is thatwhat you mean?
 
Mr Cran: I mean the fact that British public opinion was clearly dividedand there were considerable numbers of people who simply felt that we shouldnot go into this operation without the cover of the United Nations. That is reallywhat I mean and whether that concerned you.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, it concerned me that we were going into an operation and ifthe IRCM polls are to be believed, with about 33 per cent publicsupport, which is an unusual feeling for UK armed forces. I had an inkling,which was borne out by experience, that actually the troops on the ground,sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines, were unaffected by that. What concerned methough was the effect that this would have on dependants, nearest and dearest backat home, the extent to which that group of people are already under stress andthen this additional load is on them and the way in which that might permeateforwards. Actually it did not and, as we know, public support during the combatphase went up to about 80 per cent according to The Guardian poll. We try to have faith that when we go to war the Britishpublic traditionally supports its armed forces and deals with the politics orwhatever later.
 
Mr Cran: To get the clear signal from you, this was not a morale issueamong the troops and there were no significant numbers, or maybe none, amongour troops who wished to be repatriated because they did not want to be part ofthis.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, it was not a morale issue and I am not aware of anybody sayingthey were not going to participate.
 
Mr Cran: One final question, because you have been very clear in youranswers, is simply the question of weapons of mass destruction. A discussion isgoing on and we are trying to find them and all the rest of it. In so far asthe military have a view about any of these things was this part of yourthinking too? Did this legitimise the operation for the armed forces or did itplay absolutely no part? You took your orders from government and that was it.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It would be nice to think we were that single-minded. The notionthat our government decided on the legitimacy of this operation on the basis ofdisarming Iraq was something that we in the armed forces could and did identifywith.
 
Rachel Squire: Coming back to aspects of military planning and the avoidance ofcivilian casualties, I know you have already said you used minimum force toprotect the people of Iraq and defend the infrastructure. You also said thatthe world will judge us by our conduct in phase 3. Certainly the statedcampaign objective was to demonstrate to the Iraqi people that the quarrel wasnot with them and that their security and well-being was a concern of thecoalition forces. Would you like to make any further comment on the way inwhich the coalition forces delivered violence, aggression, to the battlespacewas affected and influenced by that stated and very clear objective?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It informed everything we did in that from kinetic targetingthrough to the way in which we dealt with urban areas. If you take Basra as anexample, and I have described that as very elegant, the most inelegant piece ofurban operation I know is Grozny. We always wanted to be at the elegant endbecause it was very, very much uppermost in our minds that we needed that. Thereason I said the world will judge us on our conduct in phase 3 is becausewe need them on board for phase 4, as we are seeing. It was very importantto me to ensure that phase 4 was doable, in other words there was acountry which was very rapid to regenerate and that it would be a large taskand would require the contributions of other nations. Clearly our conduct couldnot be in any way deemed to have put off other nations joining us forphase 4. Another aspect comes to mind and we have talked a lot aboutkinetic targeting, dropping bombs, but we have not talked about informationoperations. The balance between achieving an effect - and this is an effectbased campaign - using non-kinetic methods, information operations, leaflets,radio, all that sort of thing, versus kinetics is again an aspect that wasdifferent about this campaign, because we used a lot more non-kinetic methodsto achieve an effect because we did not want to convince the people of Iraq thatwe were anything other than on their side.
 
Rachel Squire: Talking about targets and so on, can I come on to ask you aboutthe list of targets to be attacked and the way in which I gather they areheavily scrutinised by legal advisers. That was something I was first madeaware of when the Committee visited Operation Saif Sareea. I never thought that you would have lawyers out with you in thecommand tent before. Can I ask you how comfortable the military command waswith what our witnesses described last week as the "heavy lawyering"of the target set, that is the continuing requirement for legal clearance forindividual targets and how that operated in practice, especially as lawyers arenot generally known for giving you an immediate response within three secondsflat.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I feel extremely comfortable with the construct we use embracinglegal advice because it protects me and it protects the person who isdelivering the weapon. I think it is absolutely vital. We train our lawyers as operationallawyers, so they do get lots of practice at how to deal with targets, so theydo learn to do it quickly. Personally I would only have to clear targets whichmight be deemed difficult, because otherwise I would have delegated simplertargets to lower levels. The actual construct I use for target clearance isthat I create a targeting board of which I am the chair and, because I am theperson who has the personal delegation, I have the final vote, I am the finalarbiter. Sitting on that board with me is my lawyer and my political adviser.My political adviser is actually a senior civil servant whose job it is toreflect the policy and ministerial interest and between us we take each targetin turn, we go through those tests which I mentioned earlier onproportionality, take a legal view, take a policy view and then come to adecision. That is how it actually works. It can take a long time to do onetarget. If you think there is some information missing or you do not understandwhy that deduction has been made or you need to go back and look at the audittrail, that is what we do. I am very happy and most of us operators areentirely happy about having a lawyer alongside.
 
Rachel Squire: Clearly you were happy about how it actually worked in practice.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes. If I may just digress a moment, we have some experience goingback from the first Gulf War and then through the Bosnia air campaign and thenthe Kosovo air campaign, Desert Fox, norther andsouthern watch, where all those things were different but they were relativelylow tempo. The decision making required in those cases was relatively sedate.It was never going to be like that in Telicbecause the whole point, the way the campaign plan was put together, was togenerate a multitude of mass effects to overwhelm the command and control ofthe regime. This was going to be fast and furious, high tempo, high manoeuvre.I was gratified that our system in this country allows delegation down topeople like me to allow us to do that. I think it worked well.
 
Rachel Squire: Can I come back to your earlier answer when you were talking aboutthe information operations and the decision on when to use those? Howsuccessful have you found them to be?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It is very difficult to apply measures of effect to informationoperations. We are really only just learning this and one of the lessons out ofthis will be to understand more about how to deliver the effect and it probablyis a question of needing to do it over a long period and how to discern andthen measure you have achieved that effect. Essentially in most casesinformation operations are seeking to influence the decision making of anindividual: fight, not fight, blow up oil wells, not blow up oil wells. It isvery difficult to say that the leaflets which said "Do not blow up oilwells" were the pivotal factor as opposed to loyalty to my company orwhatever. These are the things we have to get into now because this is right atthe heart of effects based warfare.
 
Chairman: I cannot remember whether you gave the answer to the question: onhow many occasions did you veto an American decision to attack a specifictarget?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I think we agreed that we would provide you with a classified noteon that.
 
Chairman: Fine; thank you. What about having made your decision on a targetand the adviser said "Fine, go ahead" and the lawyer said "Fine,go ahead", then when you made an evaluation of the target you said"Oops"? On how many occasions did you find that the decision made wasin fact the wrong decision, that there were individuals around who were notbelieved to be there or it was a wrong decision? How did you evaluate what youhad actually authorised once you had seen the battle damage assessment orwhatever terminology you use?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: You cannot really. Battle damage assessment provides you with thedegree of damage to where you drop the weapon. If you have caused considerablenumbers of civilian casualties, then the other side will use that and the mediawill portray it. Actually being in a position and from a battle damageassessment point of view be able to assess casualties is difficult. When I wentto Basra the first time and just looked at some of the targets we had hit, Iwas taken by the degree to which there was minimal collateral damage. Usingprecision guided weapons on single buildings which, when you place the aimpoint right in the middle of the building, the way in which they collapsecauses very little damage on the outside. There will be a weapon effects teamgoing in at some stage soon, but they are not in a position to measure civilianlosses. That is a forensic job really.
 
Syd Rapson: I have the impression that some pilots were able to react tothreatening situations and attack those targets virtually free-lance. Iunderstand one wedding party was attacked at one stage. Your orders to pick outand specifically choose targets on political and legal advice seems to be verygood, but is there another overlay of pilots who are able to react tocircumstances they find if they are flying over a particular area, they arelocked on and they can then attack without asking your permission?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not recognise the example you gave about a wedding party. I doin Afghanistan, but not in Iraq. The law of armed conflict applies: if you arefired at then self-defence can apply. In close air support, for example, thetargets are fielded forces and fielded forces do not go through the targetingregime which I have just discussed. There are similar constraints on the persondesignating the target who then has to go through that distinction,proportionality argument.
 
Mr Howarth: Youwere and are subject to the International Criminal Court; General Franks wasnot and is not. You will have seen that there are people in Belgium - you mayask what the Belgians are for - who are apparently seeking to bring actionunder the International Criminal Court against certain people involved in thiswar. To what extent did the knowledge that you were and are subject to thisCourt have any bearing on the way in which you and your colleagues took intoaccount the very onerous responsibility laid on you for choosing these targets?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Not at all, because if my conduct was outside the constraints ofthe Geneva Convention or the law of armed conflict, then I would stand chargedin the UK courts. If there were anything I might have to answer to theInternational Criminal Court on, I would already be answering in a UK court.
 
Mr Howarth: So your view on these attempts to bring legal action is presumablypretty dismissive.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not dismiss lightly anything like that. I am just making thepoint that UK law is perfectly adequate to deal with these aspects.
 
Mr Howarth: So we do not need to be signed up to the International CriminalCourt.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I could not possibly comment.
 
Mr Hancock: May I ask you about the Iraqi air force and when you were firstconscious of the fact that you would not encounter them in combat in the air?Was there at any time during the early part of the campaign a decision to takeout planes of the Iraqi air force which might not be in Iraq?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: We never say never about whether the Iraqi air force is going to fight,but it was quite clear from day one, when they did not launch anything againstour attacks that they were not going to fight that day. Their level ofpreparation indicated actually that they were probably not going to fly at all,but you never know. You did not know, for example, whether they would usecombat aircraft in an asymmetric attack, which was always a possibility. Noconsideration was given to taking out Iraqi aircraft which might be in othercountries. Frankly I do not know whether there are any in other countries.
 
Mr Hancock: Were you aware of where they were actually located?Air MarshalBurridge: In Iraq?
 
Mr Hancock: Yes.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes; yes.
 
Mr Hancock: Did you take out all of the planes?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, not all but some. They went to extraordinary lengths in somecases to preserve them; they buried aircraft for example, something I havenever seen before.
 
Mr Jones: You talked earlier on about the intelligence assessment of whetherthey were prepared to fight or not. There was a lot of talk leading up to thewar about the problem of the Republican Guard. What actually happened to theRepublican Guard?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Hard to say. What we can say is that a significant proportion wereprobably killed during the period just before we went into Baghdad. There wasan enormous amount of air effort going in to writing down their combat power. Alot of them deserted. A lot of them just melted back into Baghdad when theyworked out what was likely to happen next. I cannot say any of those things forsure.
 
Mr Jones: Is this going to be one of the assessments you do afterwards?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, I imagine so; it would certainly be interesting to know.
 
Mr Hancock: Was there a presence of the Republican Guard around Basra?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Mr Hancock: In any degree of strength which made you believe they were goingto make a fight at Basra, if not outside the city then inside the city?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: There was a presence of Republican Guard in Basra but in smallnumbers. The way in which they were used was to re-motivate the regular armyand very sad this was.
 
Mr Hancock: By killing them?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, they killed their families, they held their families hostageand invited the regular army from 51 Division, which was the Basra division, toget back into their equipment and face the enemy, that is us. Ill disposed fordoing that and you may remember an action south of Basra where a column oftanks came out, not configured to fight an all-arms battle, but came out intothe face of our fire power. That is the way we saw the Republican Guard beingused.
 
Mr Hancock: Were you satisfied then as the overall British commander that theintelligence you were getting was enabling you to safeguard the interests ofyour troops, that you were aware where resistance was going to be met fairlyaccurately?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes. For me as a commander it is all about risk and my job is toreduce the risk as much as possible. If that means that I over-defend,providing it is not at the expense of manoeuvre and progress then obviouslythat is what we would do. The key thing to remember is that it is the bigcombat power you need to worry about, the armoured divisions coming at you. Theintelligence on those was pretty accurate.
 
Jim Knight: I want to move on to the post-conflict, phase 4, is that whatwe call it?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Jim Knight: The Chief of Defence Staff came to see us this morning and talkedto us about something he called the three-block war and that coming more intoour doctrine and our thinking about merging together the war fighting the peacemaking and the peace keeping. Our witnesses last week claimed that the size ofthe force was inadequate to maintain law and order once the combat phase wasover and that many troops were expecting post-conflict work to be carried outby other follow-on forces. Do you agree with that?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Could you just repeat the second half of your question?
 
Jim Knight: It was put to us that many troops - and the 7thArmoured Brigade was used as an example - were expecting the post-conflict workto be carried out by other follow-on forces and they were surprised that theywere doing that now themselves.
Air MarshalBurridge: I am surprised they are surprised.
 
Jim Knight: Do you think the force was too small to carry out thepost-conflict work?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It is very difficult to make a judgment on that beforehand. If Imight rewind a bit, one of the things which did surprise me, but not in amilitary sense, was the degree of fear which was rooted in the Iraqi people andthe extent to which, particularly in the south, where they had had theexperience of rising up in 1991 and then had been put down in a very draconianfashion, there was real deep fear in their eyes. What is difficult to predictis what happens when you take away the strictures which are causing that fearand what that is going to mean to human activity, how the human being is goingto respond. As we saw, there was significant looting, although perhaps not asmuch as the media made out, both in Baghdad and Basra. Could we have predictedthat? I do not know.
 
The Committeesuspended from 4.32pm to 4.56 pm for a division in the House.
 
Jim Knight: You were wondering whether we could have predicted the situationonce the regime fell. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and clearly we have thebenefit of it. I would put it to you that it is possible to have predicted thatthere would be the sorts of unrest and the need for a security force. It wassuggested to us, for example, that about half way through the operation to gointo Basra, our forces got wise to it and sent for senior police personnel whoarrived two months later because there was that realisation. Equally, when wewent to Washington, we discussed this back in February with figures from theBush administration and we had lots of reassurance which has not really come tomuch. That is my comment on which I would very much welcome your comment.
 
Air MarshalBurridge: Myquestion was rhetorical: could we have predicted with any degree of accuracywhat would happen? As for converting in terms of force density from warfighting to that sort of tight security, that is not a trivial task and theforce densities are very, very high, I think. I make that judgment because ifyou look at these major disruptions of summits, for example, I just happened tonotice that the G8 summit in Athens was on at about the time that Baghdad wasbeing problematic and they had 15,000 policemen in a very small part of thecentre of a city. I am not sure we understand enough yet about what forcedensities are required. If you say you have to be in a position to secure everybuilding, then that takes a huge number of forces. This is something I think itwill be necessary to think through.
 
Jim Knight: In your pre-conflict planning phase, to what extent did you thinkthrough the post conflict work and thereby design your force accordingly?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It was clear to us, particularly the UK because we were in thesouth, that phase 4 type activity would have to begin almost immediately. Wewere quite clear that there would be a need to provide water and medicalsupplies, that was fairly obvious from easily gained intelligence, that theywere the sorts of things which would be required. Also, that we would have tostart distributing humanitarian aid and normal peace support and peace-keepingtasks. To that end, we constructed a separate part of the campaign plan, orGeneral Brimms did, which we called phase 3B, which was designed to deal withthis and match troops to task in order to do that. In the event that is indeedwhat did happen.
 
Jim Knight: Was the assumption that the Iraqi civilian infrastructure and tosome extent the military infrastructure could be converted very quickly andvery easily and was that a false assumption? When we were in Washington we gotthe impression that there was some thinking that you could take about 50 peopleout of the top of the Baath party and everything else could continue prettyhunky dory and a lot of the armed forces might come over as units rather thantrickle off home as they did in the end.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: That would have been nice and certainly that was the left end ofthe assumption. Somewhere in the middle was most likely. I think we thoughtthere would be a percentage of the regular army that would be available to beorganised, for example, so they could take on tasks. In the event there wasnot, because they all deserted.
 
Jim Knight: So the forces were expecting to undertake policing, humanitarianassistance, reconstruction work from when they were deployed.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Jim Knight: May I finally ask about the relationships with other UK governmentdepartments such as DFID and how well that role worked? In particular DFID'sability to function is defined very closely in statute, is there sufficientflexibility for them to work with you and to fund things so you can get yourlogistics of your humanitarian supplies through, for example, with theirsupport?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: There is a gap, which is nothing to do with DFID, in the UKcapability. I shall come back to that. By and large, the construct for theDFID/MOD interface is okay. We had DFID advisers both with one division and inthe humanitarian operation centre in Kuwait and they are the experts on thissort of thing. They were able to use their expertise to make this all work.Funding can be a different matter because that is between departments. I said therewas a gap. There was not a humanitarian crisis in southern Iraq: what there waswas an infrastructure crisis because the water, electricity etcetera had notbeen maintained for a very long time. A lot of it had been destroyed in theIran/Iraq war and subsequently some of it in Gulf War 1. It strikes me thatwhat we would like to have called on, as military people, was some civilianorganisation that could come in and in a big way fix electrical grids, in a bigway can fix water. We do not have that and I do not think many nations do. Thatwould have made a big difference. In dealing with the infrastructure in Basra,we reached a plateau ultimately beyond which we could not go with our expertiseor without quite significant investment. When you are into hearts and minds ofcourse, doing that quickly gives you great leverage.
 
Jim Knight: And using NGOs?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Jim Knight: The message we got back here was that they were being frustratedin their efforts to get out there and do the job they wanted to do.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It is UNSECORD who declare an area permissive or not. They declaredthe area permissive. I think some of the NGOs were frustrated by some of thebureaucracy of getting across the border, but I am not aware that any werefrustrated in a major way about simply not being able to operate, because someof them were in there from day one doing magnificent work.
 
Jim Knight: In summary, this phase 4 work, which is not complete by any means,certainly the transition from war fighting into this sort of area, is an areawhere we can look particularly carefully for lessons learned. There are gapsand things we could do better.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Sure, both in capability terms, the doctrinal aspects, intellectualaspects, yes.
 
Jim Knight: And across the coalition.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes; sure.
 
Mr Hancock: I was interested to read about the Americans having oil workers,engineers to secure the oil fields and have them working again fairly quicklyand they were actually in Kuwait prior to the action taking place. I am alittle surprised that someone did not anticipate that the water and electricitysupplies would be fundamentally important to getting the local population onthe side of the coalition forces and that there were no people available,engineers, for you. If they were there to get the oil fields working prettyquickly, why was it not part of the planning of the immediate aftermath to makesure the right personnel were available to get the water and electricity workingagain?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: If I may just correct you about oil, there were contractors thereready to deal with oil fires, but there were no contractors there ready to dealwith the regeneration of oil production. That was handled by the same overarchingcontract.
Q323  MrHancock: I have read quite recently and I am sure I saw on a televisionbroadcast close to the end of the war that these engineers to work in the oilfields were actually in Kuwait waiting to go into Iraq and went in fairly quicklyafter they were secured. They were not flown from the States or from Europe,they were actually there waiting to go.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not aware of that. In order to get power running in Basra, wehad to get oil moving because there are three major power stations: one isoperated by crude oil direct from the oil field; one is operated by gas and oneis operated by diesel and gas. So we had to get a refinery going and be able topump crude oil. There was civilian expertise available to do that, but I amtalking a couple of people, not huge numbers. We simply did not know how badthe infrastructure was, how bad the electricity supply was and how bad thewater supply was.
 
Mr Hancock: Did your intelligence tell you that you would not have had the supportof the local population early on because of what had happened to theinfrastructure and that they were going to be significant problems for thelocal population?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The major problem for the civilian population in southern Iraq wasin 1991, the fact that they rose up with the expectation of coalition supportwhich was not there and they suffered the consequences in a very bad way. Thatwas the major driver as far as the people of Basra were concerned.
 
Mr Hancock: I have just been passed a note; this is not a trick question. Thesuggestion is that engineers were there but the security environment was toodangerous for them to operate in and that there was some nervousness aboutwhether or not they could be properly protected; cars were being stolen andshot at, etcetera. Is there any truth in that, that engineers to do the workwere actually there but we could not properly protect them?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not aware of that; no, I am not aware of that.
 
Chairman: Perhaps you could find out and drop us a note.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not sure I have the competence to answer that question.
 
Mr Hancock: Were you not faced with the dilemma of not being able to protectengineers?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Sorry; I can answer that question. I thought you were asking fornumbers of engineers.
 
Mr Hancock: No, I am asking whether you, as the senior British officer, wereasked to protect these people and your advice was that you could not do that?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No. I can answer that now. I was not asked specifically about oilcontractors, but the mission was to provide a secure environment and we hadPowerGen come over and advise us on the electricity system at about this time.
 
Mr Hancock: Within your command area you had no engineers capable of puttingon the water or electricity supplies faster than they did and if they werethere the reason they did not do it was not because you could not guaranteetheir security?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, security was not the issue.
 
Mr Hancock: It was not an issue.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No; no.
 
Mr Howarth: Turning to the situation in Basra, to what extent was the UKassigned Basra because we could not have logistically sustained a force at agreater distance from Kuwait?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: A number of factors applied when it came to designating an area forUK forces. The first was that original planning had assumed a northern option.When we changed from a northern to a southern option in early January, then ourtime lines for deployment changed and the time it would take for us to arrive,bearing in mind that we did not know when this was going to start because atthat stage the progress through the UN to a second resolution was indeterminatereally. So we had to construct a plan that would make full use of our combatpower, but would be sufficiently flexible not to constrain timing. That is thefirst point. The second point is that there is a limit to UK's logistics whichyes, we could have taken an armoured brigade further north, but it is alimiting factor, there is no doubt about that.
 
Mr Howarth: Was it ever a realistic proposition that we could have enteredfrom the north, given the length of the supply line we would have had tomaintain and, as Paul Beaver suggested to us, it would have taken every RoyalEngineer in the Army to sustain it.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: From a logistics standpoint it would have been very challenging,but the arrangement under which we would have gone there is that the US wouldhave provided most of the logistic support. It is a very long line ofcommunication through some difficult country.
 
Mr Howarth: It was actually rather fortuitous that there was a change of planin January which put us in the south with that very much reduced supply line.
 
Air MarshalBurridge: It reduced the logistic risk.
 
Mr Howarth: You told us that had the original plan been adhered to, then theUnited Kingdom forces would have been supported by US logistics. That wouldsuggest that no problem of inter-operability was ever envisaged between UnitedKingdom and United States forces, radios and communications and all the rest ofit. The idea that there was a problem of inter-operability was not one of thereasons why the UK was assigned Basra on its own.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: That is correct.
 
Mr Howarth: You were perfectly confident throughout the operation thatinter-operability was working well.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, because provided you use your forces to make them a sufficientsize, a division is ideal, then most of the inter-operability problems areinternal, because you are a national division that is not a problem. If you tryto mix and match units within a brigade, for example, then you are givingyourself the most testing circumstances.
 
Mr Howarth: Is there not a message for us arising out of this, which is thatbecause of our logistics capability, there is a limit to the kind of operationsin which we might be able to take part in the future?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Sorry, could you say that again?
 
Mr Howarth: Our limited logistics capability - great people, it is not theircompetence, it is the size of them - could be a serious limitation in thefuture when conducting such operations.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, I do not see it as a serious limitation. It is a factor you usewhen deciding what tasks you are going to do and how you are going to do them.The area that I believe is lacking in our logistic set-up as it stands is thisbusiness of asset tracking which I mentioned earlier. From the point of view ofbalancing logistics with combat power, then they are reasonably well balanced.The two shift around as different things happen, but there is no suggestionthat we have a degree of combat power which we cannot deploy anywhere becausewe do not have the logistics to do it.
 
Mr Howarth: What we are talking about here is something specific which is thelines of communication of the logistic support. What you were saying was thatif we had come in from the north, we would in all probability have had to relyon the United States.
Air MarshalBurridge: Yes.
 
Mr Howarth: The fact that the line between Kuwait and Basra was short enabledus to do it on our own.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: And indeed assist the Americans.
 
Mr Howarth: I am therefore suggesting to you that in the future the lesson isthat we are going to have to confine ourselves, on our own, acting without acoalition, to an operation which does not strain our logistics capability.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: That is inevitable, but that does not particularly attenuate thecombat capability that we can deploy. I am just saying that if you choose linesof communication of 600 miles through Turkey, that is testing, testing foranybody.
 
Mr Howarth: It is even more testing to go from Kuwait to Baghdad in one hop,is it not?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No; no, it is not, that is not testing.
 
Mr Howarth: I am sorry, I have lost the logic of that. Can you explain?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Because there are eight-lane highways which go from Basra toBaghdad.
 
Mr Howarth: So it was the mountainous terrain.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, the quality of the roads, the mountains, the weather.
 
Chairman: You said the decision was taken in January to go south. If youcould drop us a note and tell us the exact date, it would be quite helpful. Howwas it made? Who made the decision?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I can do that now. The decision came initially out of discussionbetween the PGHQ and CENTCOM. Throughout that period at the end of Decemberpeople were assessing the likelihood of Turkey agreeing to UK land forces goingthrough Turkey. Given the circumstances, people involved in planning recognisedthat making that assumption was getting higher and higher risk and I think weall understand the Turkish position and have no difficulty with it. To say weshould start planning now to go south emerged late December and early January.The chiefs of staff took it at a meeting as a proposition and endorsed it andthe Secretary of State probably announced it some time around 20 January, butit was that timescale.
 
Chairman: There are reports that much equipment worked well, some equipmentworked less well. Could you give us a provisional assessment, obviously not thedefinitive word but from your impression of what appeared on one side of theline pretty well and what on the other side?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Necessarily big hand small map. Challenger 2 worked very well,desertised and up-armoured. AS90 worked well. I suspect, when you talk toGeneral Brimms - and he will know and I will not - that the degree ofmanoeuvre he required out of his artillery was probably not huge, so maybe itwas not under huge stress. SA80 worked well. On the air side, the Tornado GR4was magnificent, very flexible; the raptor pod, the new recce pod were superb.Storm Shadow, very impressive. The enhanced Paveway 2 and 3 which we introducedon the lessons learned on Kosovo were very impressive. The mine clearanceeffort too was very impressive. On the negative side, what did not work? I goback to CIS and the difficulties over the robustness of our communication andinformation systems and the number that we have to do stove-pipe jobs. I hopethe defence information infrastructure project will start to remove that.
Q346  Chairman:When do you think the MOD will be in a position to give us a fairly definitiveassessment?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Through the lessons learned process that will take to the end ofthe year, but I understand there is an intention to do some first impressionstowards the end of July.
 
Chairman: Were you aware of some supplies not arriving in time for the startof combat operations?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Which ones?
 
Chairman: I am just wondering which ones you thought.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Ammunition.
 
Mr Howarth: Shall we give you a list which has been put to some of us?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: If you wish?
Mr Howarth: Body armour. I was with the Royal Engineers last night and theywere saying combat clothing, desert clothing, was not there. If it was there,it was just in time. Ceramics for flack jackets. What are your comments on justthe three?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It was when you said arrived in time. Actually I cannot say whetherit arrived in time. What I can say is that some stuff did not get to units intime, which is really what matters.
 
Mr Howarth: That is your asset tracking point.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes; indeed. It is asset tracking and priority in that the highestpriority was to get the ammunition in the right place. It is certainly truethat as far as desert clothing and things like that is concerned, our planningassumptions do not hold in stock the level that we needed for this operation.Contracts were let, most of that got to theatre, clothing anyway, and wasdistributed or close to it by the time combat started. I could not say the sameabout boots because I noticed when I was in Basra on 23 April that there werestill some people without desert boots and they did subsequently arrive.Ceramics? This is something that the audit of logistics is going to have toshow. We redistributed ceramic plates for body armour from rear units toforward units to make sure that those in harm's way did indeed have it. Why itdid not arrive in the first place, not all of that I suspect was coming out ofthe logistic system: it may have been unit stocks and the lack of tracking ofthose unit stocks. In other words, when they deployed, our lack of ability totrack precisely what was in each container and where each container was may beat the root of that. I say "may be" and that is what the logisticanalysis will have to show.
 
Mr Howarth: You mentioned that some of the stuff which was supplied to therear parties, particularly to the medical services, was taken off them andmoved up to the front.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Mr Howarth: I have been told that people were having flak jackets taken offthem to go to the front when they were still under the threat of Scud attacks.Without going into great detail, the question really is whether this does nottell us that we need to do more about our planning assumptions.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I could not agree more. I shall just enlarge on that. It istempting to say that whether you are wearing green combats or desert combatsdoes not alter your ability to function until the temperatures go up. Where Ibelieve this applies is in what we call the moral component of fighting power.All of us have to have something inside of us which makes us fight and this isall about esprit de corps, it is all abouttraditions, it is all about badges, it is all about those things which are thehandrails in the steep and scary places. I think that being equipped properlywith what might be relatively low technology stuff is important in that moralcomponent.
 
Chairman: One of the more high salient items of procurement which are notimmensely complicated are army desert boots. I am not blaming you, but surelythe lessons of the last Gulf War and then Saif Sareea should have indicated tosomebody inside the Ministry of Defence the number of feet requiring boots andsizes required. It seems truly absurd, if you are fighting in the desert in hotweather, that boots did not arrive in time. It was not like sending Tomahawkmissiles. It is a fairly simple process. You must have been attacked endlesslyby journalists for this delay and omission. Have you got to the bottom of wherethe failure was?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I think the logistics organisation would say that we held the stockappropriate for the planning assumptions and that additional boots wereordered, in fact I know that is what they will say: additional boots wereordered and were sent out. I was in Basra on 23 April and people were stillwearing black boots. Boots were just arriving in theatre at that point andultimately they were distributed. It goes back to this asset tracking thing. Itis all very well getting stuff there quickly in extremis, but unless you can actually track it carefully, it is difficult.
 
Mr Jones: I have heard what you said about asset tracking, but we had awitness, Paul Beaver, before us last week and he said the real problem wasjust-in-time ordering which created the problem. He said that there would be atleast one soldier alive today if just-in-time did not apply, that is SergeantRoberts of the Royal Tank Regiment, because his body armour had not arrived.The other issue he raised was the lack of hand grenades and the problem withthe Swiss Government refusing an export licence for just-in-time delivery. Doyou have any comments to make on that?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not aware of that, no.
 
Mr Hancock: So you did not know that the hand grenades could not come becausethe Swiss Government would not release them.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, I did not.
 
Mr Jones: What about the comments on the just-in-time system and thecomments around Sergeant Roberts?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not aware that the inquiry has been published.
 
Mr Jones: That was not the point he was making. What he was saying was thatthe problem was not one of asset tracking. He was making suggestions along twolines, one about the body armour and the second about hand grenades. Theproblem is the fact that because of just in time, that is not keeping stocks,in one case this led to this individual dying who did not need to.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: What I am saying is that I do not know the outcome of the inquirythat says whether Sergeant Roberts was wearing body armour or not.
 
Mr Jones: I do not want your comment on that, but in terms of just in time,do you have any thoughts?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes. If you adopt a just-in-time concept against planningassumptions then you are introducing risk. If you believe that your planningassumptions are less than robust, then that risk could be significant.
 
Mr Jones: What about the issue of hand grenades and the Swiss Government?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not aware of that.
 
Mr Jones: At all?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No.
 
Mr Jones: Could you drop us a note?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Nobody in the command chain below me said they were inadequatelysupplied with hand grenades. There could be a logistic stocking issue, but asfar as combat was concerned in theatre that was not an issue which was raised.
 
Mr Jones: For the purposes of our inquiry, could you drop us a note toanswer some of these points for us?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes; sure.
 
Mr Jones: He said that we did not have sufficient hand grenades and our handgrenades were ordered on a just-in-time basis from a Swiss company. The SwissGovernment decided it would not allow the export of hand grenades to soldierswho were going to fight a war. Presumably you can only have them in Switzerlandif you are not going to fight a war.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Okay, we will provide you with a note.
 
Chairman: On the problems as well of ordering desert clothing from Romania,Indonesia and body armour from South Africa and Belgium. This was the evidencewe had last week and if you cannot supply a note, obviously we will get backlater to somebody who was closer to this.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: They are very legitimate questions, but really for someone in thelogistic trail.
 
Chairman: Despite your position we cannot land every problem on yourshoulders.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Thank you, Chairman.
 
Mr Hancock: Were you satisfied that when troops were in harm's way they weregiven the maximum possible protection that was available to front line soldiersin the British Army?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, because no commander told me otherwise and they would have.
 
Mr Hancock: You are absolutely sure about that.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No commander told me otherwise.
 
Mr Hancock: So no front line British soldiers were not properly equipped withflak jackets and the correct ceramics during this campaign.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, I cannot say that.
 
Mr Hancock: None of your subordinates brought to your attention the fact thatthey did not have that. So your superior had given a direct order that noBritish forces should be engaging the enemy without that protection.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No commander in the field raised that issue up the command chainand they would have done.
 
Mr Hancock: And since the war it has not been raised with you as a problem.
Air MarshalBurridge: No.
 
Mr Howarth: Were any items provided by the United States or did the UnitedStates depend on us for any logistic support? We know that they providedrations and lavatory paper at one point, but I think we take the view ofGeneral Jackson on that one. Are there more significant items which theyprovided?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Blue force tracking, the kits that fit to vehicles as part ofcombat identification. I cannot say that we did not share weapons or ammunitionat some point, I simply do not know. Blue force tracking would be the one itemI would highlight. Some of our CIS, because they provided us with some XNETterminals and we provided some of our own. What did we provide for them interms of equipment? We assisted them logistically in moving fuel and things. Ido not know whose fuel it was we were moving.
 
Mr Howarth: But we did the moving?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Mr Howarth: Because we are quite good at that.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Mr Howarth: On the blue force tracking which is the kit which enables theidentification of friend or foe, you know that has been a big issue here. Areyou confident that the kit which was then made available at the last minute isnow going to be provided across our armed forced?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not know that; I simply do not know. I do not control theequipment programme.
 
Mr Howarth: You were the commander when we took blue on blue and you mustfeel, on behalf of your men, a sense of disappointment, if not anger, that wesustained such a high proportion of our casualties to blue on blue. Are you nottherefore making a very strong recommendation to those responsible for thedishing out of the kit that this kit be provided PDQ?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: What I feel and what I know are different things. I do not knowwhat priority currently, on day three back at work, this is being given. What Ifeel is that it is very important, but technology is not all of it. What Iwould like people to understand, not only this Committee but also those engagedin providing solutions, is that there is a balance here. Technology provides agreater and greater chance of avoiding these tragic sorts of accidents, buttechnology alone will not work. There has to be training, there have to beprocedures, etcetera. That same technology is allowing us to drive our tempoup. This is the first operation that I characterise as post-modern warfare. Thedegree and speed of manoeuvre and the tempo that was achieved was startling andit is technology which allows us to do that. If the tempo goes up, the risk ofblue on blue goes up. So technology is driving both sides of these scales. Itis important that people understand that and do not think we will arrive at atechnological solution and that will be that. It will not be. Yes, I feelstrongly about these aspects.
 
Chairman: Were there any occasions where the late arrival of equipmentcompelled you to delay or cancel operations?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, but it was close.
 
Chairman: Could you tell us which?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Challenger 2. A magnificent effort by Alvis-Vickers in modifyingChallenger 2s, really very good indeed. The juxtaposition of the UN discussionand what that meant for time lines fortuitously met the technical andengineering time line for Challenger 2. By the time we were ready to go, we hadfour battle groups all modified.
 
Chairman: That was immensely helpful to the Americans in the circumstances,because our percentage of heavy armour was much more significant.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Indeed.
 
Jim Knight: I am tempted to follow that up by asking how much cannibalisationwas required to get the Challenger 2s up and ready but I want to go back to theIFF because that is so crucial to interoperability. If we cannot operatealongside each other without killing each other then the rest is meaningless.We have been told that US forces were not issued with recognition charts forBritish vehicles and, as a result, UK forces in the field had to attachreflective tapes to their vehicles to make them appear the same as US vehiclesat night. Is there any truth in that and if so, how could such a basic issue ofcoalition co-ordination have been overlooked?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not know. I cannot validate the comment that they were notissued with recognition tables or whatever. Yes, we did put reflective tape onand I would have done that anyway to decrease the risk.
 
Jim Knight: Huge Union Jacks being requested from home?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, this was reflective tape in a V and thermal panels and a light.These are the standard visual recognition symbols that we use.
 
Jim Knight: We go back to the position that you were not in the end satisfiedwith the way it operated and you would be hopeful that we can resolve that.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The one point I perhaps should have made earlier is that technologydrives us in a particular direction, gives us greater tempo, maybe gets nearerto a solution for combat identification. Whenever there is a human in the loop,then the unknown of how a human being will react under stress or under certainconditions is a total unknown. That apart, yes, I was satisfied that thecombination of measures we had on this occasion was sufficient, but when we seethe inquiries into the fratricides which took place, in most cases it is thehuman in the loop, training, procedures, etcetera, where the investment has tobe made, but sadly you can never eradicate that.
 
Mr Hancock: Do you think you were close enough to this campaign? With thegreatest respect, it appears that some of the responses about what washappening on the ground did not actually come back to you. Were you satisfiedthat the chain of command that your commanders were bringing back to you was anaccurate reflection of what was going on on the ground?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes. I was commanding at the operational level of war, alongsideCENTCOM, also clearly looking after British interests. What a tacticalcommander regards as a problem that he is able to solve through his logisticchain or whatever may not come to my notice, nor should it.
 
Rachel Squire: Focusing on the military campaign, the British armed forces movedquickly to take the al Faw peninsula but it seemed to take rather longer tosecure Umm Qasr. Would you like to say why that was?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The al Faw, except for some initial defensive forces, wasrelatively lightly defended. Umm Qasr was the first occasion where we cameacross irregular forces. Having to deal with irregular forces who fight in anasymmetric way, putting the population at risk in the way they did, is a verydelicate operation. There were actually quite a lot of irregular forces in UmmQasr, so it had to be dealt with bit by bit.
 
Chairman: People watching television and listening to the radio, thoughtthat the timescale for the final push into Basra was rather elongated. It isvery easy reading newspapers and watching television to try to outguess thosepeople on the ground making the decisions, but can you give us some indicationof the factors that were taken into account before precipitating the attack?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The overriding factor was to reduce risk to the civilian populationof Basra. In order to do that - and this is a facet of urban warfare that wehave always known about - you need very, very good and granular intelligence ofwhat is going on on the ground. Interestingly in some of the work I have beendoing in a previous existence, conceptually we were pursuing an almost totallytechnological solution to that, but actually human intelligence is the key.Building up using human intelligence and fusing that intelligence so that youknow, in the case of Basra, how many of these irregular forces there are, wherethey are operating from, what impact they are having on the population, whatsort of situation of this part of the population versus that part, all takestime. In this case it is significant because those irregular forces areactually applying force on the population. So getting the moment right, wherethe ability of those irregular forces to do anything is limited, is preciselywhat General Brimms was able to do.
 
Chairman: Did we learn anything from the Americans in Baghdad or did they learnfrom us in Basra the way to go about this kind of action?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The two are different. Basra, smaller city self-evidently, Shiaarea, pretty homogeneous in terms of the population and anti-regimeessentially. Baghdad, big city, mixture of population, centre of the regime.The feelers of the regime were felt very directly by the people of Baghdad. TheUS recognised that the way we did Basra was - I will not characterise it asideal - a good outcome. They were not able to apply quite those same methods,although they did learn from us on the need for a very accurate intelligencepicture, built up through HUMINT etcetera.
 
Chairman: If the intelligence was that good, it appears as though thestories coming out about the uprising were a little premature, putting itmildly. Did you think there was an uprising at the time, when it was reportedthat we had one?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It is loose language frankly. What was going on was that a numberof policemen were invited to shoot a number of the civilian population andrefused. Then the Baath militia came along and shot the policemen. Somethingaround that. That caused a commotion and that was reported as an uprising. Youalways have to be circumspect about these things because you look at a map andask where it was and it is in one particular small bit of Basra. It was not ageneral uprising. Yes, I think people were using loose language at that stage.To characterise it as an uprising was incorrect.
Q388  MrHancock: You talked about having good intelligence and the intelligence networkthere. I asked you earlier about the Republican Guard's disappearance fromaround Basra. On the chemical and biological weapons, what was yourintelligence telling you? If these weapons were going to be used against you,how were they going to be delivered?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: In terms of where they were going to be used, the most likelyposition was at a radius south of Baghdad, some say 100 kilometres, somesay slightly less. Probably the most likely delivery mechanism would be byartillery shell.
 
Mr Hancock: When did your on-the-ground intelligence tell you that this wasnot going to be the case, that you would not reasonably expect to be attackedwith chemical or biological weapons? When did you effectively tell your menthat they no longer had to wear their suits?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Bear in mind that it was US forces who were engaged in that area Ihave talked about.
 
Mr Hancock: Are you seriously saying that there was no intelligence whichsuggested that any of our forces in and around Basra were at any timethreatened with the use of chemical weapons?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, what I have said is that the most likely use was by artilleryshell.
 
Mr Hancock: What were you being told about British forces?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: My responsibility is to reduce risk, so whilst ever there is acapability, or we believe there is a capability, to affect UK forces withweaponised chemical and biological weapons, then we take that as a given.
 
Mr Hancock: When were you satisfied that the intelligence you were getting wassufficiently robust for you to have confidence that was not going to happen toBritish forces and you ordered them no longer to wear their chemical protectionsuits?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: At the time that the Americans had broken through to Baghdad.
 
Mr Hancock: It was not until then. You were satisfied then that there wasstill a risk somewhere along the line.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, and that is why people carried suits and all the rest of it.
 
Mr Hancock: Yes, I understand why they carried them, but I could not quiteunderstand when in the timing of all of this, you were satisfied as the Britishcommander, that British forces in and around Basra were no longer potentiallyat risk from these weapons and those troops were told that they no longer hadto wear their suits.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: As I said, at the point at which we broke through to Baghdad.
 
Mr Jones: I want to ask a question about precision guided missiles andbombs. Obviously more were used this time than ever before in a campaign.According to the figures of the US Air Force the RAF deployed 6.2 per centof the aircraft in the coalition and flew 5.9 per cent of the sortiesbut delivered only 3.4 per cent of precision guided missiles.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not recognise those figures.
 
Mr Jones: You do not recognise the figures?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No. Tell me again the percentage of precision munitions?
 
Mr Jones: According to the figures we have been given the percentage is3.4 per cent of the precision guided munitions and1.3 per cent of unguided munitions. Why is there that disparity?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not know. I do not recognise the figures. Given that overallabout 40 per cent of the effort was counter land, it is possible that theyare slightly distorted by the amount of close air support that each side did.It is true to say that some units were better able to co-ordinate close airsupport than were others. If there is a preponderance of British aircraft, saywith 5 Corps, who were not quite as good as the 1st MEF, forexample, then they would be returning with weapons. I cannot interpret thosefigures on the hoof, I am afraid.
 
Chairman: We will move on then. As you mentioned close air support, we willask a question or two on that.
 
Syd Rapson: You had to rely upon the US forces for close air support. Is thatbecause we did not have the ability to do it ourselves?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: All the air power was integrated. Whatever proportion was allocatedto close air support, could either be British or American aircraft. There isone distinct difference and that is the US Marine Corps are configured asrelatively light forces and they do not have indigenous deep fires, that is, alot of artillery. They have very little artillery. Their equivalent ofartillery is the Marine Air Wing F18s. They live together very intimately andtheir ability to do close air support, both the ground forces' ability tocontrol it and the air's ability to integrate with it, is very impressive, veryimpressive indeed.
 
Syd Rapson: Does that give you hope for the future that we can reconfigure theway we do things in line with the American Marine Corps? They have moreaircraft than the Royal Air Force, have they not?
 
Air MarshalBurridge: Aboutthe same. It is worth looking at. A lesson out of Afghanistan, which we asairmen took away, is that we really needed to get better at close air support.In Afghanistan we were finding that we were using close air support forstrategic effect and in high manoeuvre, high tempo warfare, the relationshipbetween air and land is now much, much more important. We recognise that and westarted to revise our procedures, look at our doctrine, consider how we couldtrain better. This experience has re-emphasised that and added impetus to that.We need to look at the way in which we can emulate the procedures and thesuccess that the Marine Corps have. Some people will say that if you haveBritish forces on the ground then you should have Royal Air Force aircraftproviding their close air support. If revising our procedures and looking atthis model drives us that way, then so be it. We do have to be sure that if weare in a coalition the right amount of air power is used for the high prioritytasks at any one time and that is quite difficult to do.
 
Syd Rapson: With the pooling of the air power and drawing from that pool, wereyou happy with the timeliness of the reaction to support British forces?Presumably if it was the Marine Corps doing this it would have been fast, butwere you concerned that there was a delay?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: On occasions there was a delay, but by and large the landcommanders were content. There will always be individual instances where therewas a delay.
 
Syd Rapson: There was also a tragic accident when the Sea Knight US helicoptercrashed. They immediately grounded all their aircraft for an investigation intowhat caused it and a signal went out. We carried on flying our aircraftregardless. Was that consciously done or were we taking risks as a Britishforce in carrying on flying, or were the Americans right to stop everythinguntil they found the cause?
AirMarshal Burridge: It is for the US to decide how they respond to accidents. As amatter of policy, that is how they react to accidents. Due to some very, verygood hot planning by the Joint Helicopter Command, we were able to fill thatvacuum without undue risk.
 
Syd Rapson: I always assume that the British are much more careful in flyingaircraft if there is a suspected problem. In this case you are saying that theAmericans are far more careful about their aircraft incidents than we are.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: They throw a big switch and say stop flying until we understandthis in case we cannon it up. We retain flexibility in the sense that we lookat the priority of the task, and this was a high priority task, and balance itagainst the risk and make judgments. I was not part of the decision-makingprocess with the Americans on how they reached that conclusion.
 
Mr Howarth: It was put to me by one of the commanders in the last couple ofdays that the advantage of having the coalition close air support was that theAmericans brought a greatly extended range of aeroplanes to provide that, theA10 and the Cobra, and we were reliant upon the Lynx. It was also put to methat the advantage of having a dedicated Royal Air Force close air support forBritish ground forces is that they have been accustomed to working together.There are clearly difficulties either way. Given your experience, what wouldyou say to us would be the lesson that you would derive from the Iraq war interms of close air support? Is this something where yes, we should be moreprepared to rely on coalition support, or no, we should in future call first onthe Royal Air Force and then call on other coalition partners to assist?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: All other things being equal, if we nationally lay down ourprocedures, fund our training, fund the equipment required for close airsupport, if we could live in a vacuum and know that always in coalition warfarewe would have the right amount of air power for the right amount of groundforces and we were able to emulate successfully the procedural excellence thatthe US Marine Corps achieved, then clearly we would do it nationally. But thereis a danger in that in that it might not be possible to organise things thatway in a big coalition. It might also mean inefficient use of air power. If wewere to go back 30 years when we were starting to look at the introduction ofthe Harrier, the way in which air power might need to be penny-packeted wasconsidered. Ultimately we decided that aircraft like that ought to be a corpslevel asset. It may just be that my views on post-modern warfare and hightempo, etcetera, mean that we have to go back to thinking along those lines. Ido not know. We need to study it certainly.
 
Mr Howarth: I think it is a key issue. Can we move to the role of the media,which I did suggest some hours ago that we would be coming to? Obviously it isa key factor in this campaign and those of us here have been following it veryclosely indeed on the television and it has played a major role. How far do youfeel that an accurate picture of the conflict emerged during the major combatphase of operations?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Given that much of what was being seen on television and beingwritten in newspapers was based on the testimony of embedded journalists, thenthe description of individual events should be pretty accurate, with one majorproviso and that is the loose use of language. I was horrified at howprofligate with language some of the embedded journalists were. You mayremember a Sunday morning when 1,000 people started coming out of Basra to thesouth over one of the bridges and they talked about poor people being caught incross fire. They were not caught in cross fire, they were being machine gunnedby the Baath party militia. Nobody was firing back. It is a word. Logisticnightmare. Humanitarian crisis. Words that fall readily off the tongue butactually do not accurately describe what they are seeing. The second point,even taking all that, is that what I think was lacking, and I have given a lotof thought to how this might be redressed, was a decent method of putting thatinto context. I go back to the point I made earlier where there was a tendencyfor a pinprick to be reported as a mortal haemorrhage, the notion that thingswere bogged down, all dreadfully inaccurate. Had there been a better method ofplacing those things in context, then a more accurate picture would have beenpainted. I contrast that with the way the media reports the City of London,with real expertise I think.
 
Mr Howarth: Some people in the City might disagree with you.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I think by and large they would say that at least the technicalunderstanding is there. I think individual events, barring language, wereaccurate, but the analysis of it - with a few notable exceptions: the FinancialTimes is particularly good and The Times is quite good - by a lot of the populist papers and much of thetelevision was wide of the mark because it lacked that context.
 
Mr Howarth: You made some pretty trenchant criticism and for the benefit ofthose who do not recall it, though I am sure most people will, perhaps I canjust remind you. You said at one point during the campaign that the UK mediahad lost the plot, they stand for nothing, they support nothing, theycriticise, they drip, it is a spectator sport to criticise anybody or anythingand what the media says fuels public expectation. Do you still stand by thoseundoubtedly trenchant remarks?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes. They are long-standing views based on the enormous length oftime I have spent in the public sector and the leadership development work I doin the public sector. I believe that the position that the UK media has taken,for a number of reasons, is extremely counter-productive as far as individualmotivation goes.
 
Mr Howarth: May I congratulate you for standing by your words? I have to saythat I agree with most of what you said as well, but that is not relevant atthe moment. Given that the media are with us, they are going to be a permanentfeature in combat operations. You cannot un-invent them, they have become moreand more sophisticated, they can provide immediate coverage for the viewingpublic. What would be your advice to your successor, were there to be anoperation next year?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: You are right that embedded media are here to stay. In fact onbalance probably the use of embedded media was just positive. I see the needfor us to provide the ability for all these little reports to be put intocontext. Either we do that in theatre or in London or wherever, but I do seethe need for people who understand military things to interpret events and tobe able to put it into context. We have never thought about doing this beforeand there are operational security implications in having real expertsinterpreting events. However, given that we went into this campaign with33 per cent public support and given the need to generate greaterpublic support, then the media become such an important aspect that as themedia are here to stay perhaps the time is right to change our approach. It issomething we are giving great thought to.
 
Mr Howarth: Would your message to Fleet Street editors be that, given thepropensity of the United Kingdom to engage in military operations, they have aduty to ensure that a cadre of their reporters is properly trained, doesunderstand, going back to the old days when all the newspapers had defencecorrespondents instead of just a few of them who do now.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: What I would say to editors is that you have a duty to deal in factwith knowledge and apply balance. That drives us very much in the direction youhave indicated, that there has to be real expertise. I go back to my parallelwith the City of London where financial journalists tend to be people whoreally do know their business.
 
Mr Howarth: May I just flag up one final point on this? I represent a garrisontown, as you know, Aldershot. It was pretty hard for the families to see thisimmediate representation of battle where their husbands, their sons, werefighting for their lives and for their country, yet the rest of the nation wasgoing to parties, watching football, going to the pub and all that sort ofthing. I wonder whether you have had any feedback as to the difficulties thatthe troops had in managing the enormous pressure which was placed on thefamilies as a result of this constant stream of information 24 hours a day.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I said in answer to an earlier question that one of my concerns atthe outset, given the lack of public support, was that that would beparticularly felt by the dependants, people back here. Yes, my experience isexactly the same as yours. People have said to me that this was really, reallydifficult. If we make a decision not to have embedded journalists, it would notreally make much difference now. The technology exists, people can make theirown arrangements and do, as we saw. I am afraid it is here to stay. The bestapproach for us is to try to get the strategic context right. You will neverget away from the impact of the visual image and that is even more importantnow in this very competitive media industry that we have. You will never getaway from that. We do have a requirement to get it set into proper context, butI cannot give you an answer to the fact that there are going to be the lovedones of 45,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen who are going to be watching thisthing and feeling very differently about it than the rest of the population. Isimply cannot.
 
Mr Jones: Cluster bombs have been in the media quite a bit and we had awitness last week who suggested that cluster bombs were used in urban areas ornearer urban areas. Can the use of such weapons ever be justified?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: You are talking about US weapons.
 
Mr Jones: Yes.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I can think of one or two sets of circumstances where you may havea large amount of armour penetrating one of your lodgements or whatever, but itis hard to see where cluster bombs would be the weapon of choice in most urbanwarfare for me.
 
Mr Jones: Were they actually used in populated areas?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I can only speak for the UK weapons and they were not.
 
Mr Jones: In terms of where they were used, both by ourselves and theAmericans, do we have reliable information on the locations where they havebeen used? Has any estimate been done for clearing afterwards?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I can only speak for UK weapons. Yes, we do have reliableinformation as to where they were used. As for the estimates of clearance, I amnot aware of an estimate. What I will say is that cluster bombs are just one ofthe huge unexploded ordnance problems that exists in Iraq, because there was somuch Iraqi ammunition everywhere, so much.
 
Mr Jones: Has a programme been put in place to try to clear that ordnance?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes, so I understand.
 
Mr Jones: Is there a concentration, for example, particularly on unexplodedcluster bombs because of the emotive nature of the interaction with civiliansand things like that, or is it just part of a general policy for all ordnance?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I am not competent to answer that. It is beyond me. I handed overcommand on 9 May.
 
Mr Jones: Would it be possible to ask the MOD to provide a note?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Yes.
 
Mr Howarth: Prisoners of war. How did the arrangements for prisoners held bythe coalition distinguish between prisoners captured by the United Statesforces and those captured by our forces?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: How did we distinguish?
 
Mr Howarth: How did the arrangements distinguish?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: With the help of our able lawyers on both sides we put together amemorandum of understanding as to what it meant to be the detaining power. Inother words, if a UK unit takes prisoners of war they are the detaining power,regardless of who actually provides the prisoner of war cage or the guarding orwhatever. So we laid down the legal process, I signed it and General Abosaidsigned it on behalf of the US and that formed the basis of our joint activity.
 
Mr Howarth: Were all those captured by British forces administered by theBritish or were they transferred to the Americans?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Ultimately transferred to the Americans.
 
Mr Howarth: Basically, all those who are now left have been transferred to theAmericans.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I would be surprised if there were any left, other than twodifferent categories: internees and detainees. Under the Geneva Convention, atthe cessation of hostilities you have a duty to release prisoners of war,repatriate prisoners of war without delay.
 
Mr Howarth: So the United Kingdom and the United States have now repatriatedthem back into the community, unless, presumably, they are deemed to be ofsufficient ---
 
AirMarshal Burridge: Some were criminals, some were picked up for criminal activity, sothey do not come under the heading of a prisoner of war. They nevertheless weredetained. Others who were irregular forces or potentially have a case to answerfor crimes of concerns, as they are known in America, war crimes etcetera, thenthey are detained. I think I am right in saying that the ones for whom we arethe detaining power are actually in Basra.
 
Mr Howarth: How many do we detain or have we detained as at today? Any idea?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, I could not say. I gave up command on 9 May. I could find outif you needed, but it would be different tomorrow.
 
Mr Howarth: What about the Americans? How many do you think they havedetained?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: I do not know.
 
Mr Howarth: You were our commander, the United Kingdom force's commander atthe time when Tariq Aziz gave himself up and other leading Iraqis either gavethemselves up or were captured. To what extent have we had access to thosepeople and to what extent are they under United States custody?
Air MarshalBurridge: They are under United States jurisdictionbecause the United States is the detaining power.
 
Mr Howarth: They are the detaining power for the whole of Iraq.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: No, no. The detaining power is whoever captures the prisoner and inthose cases they were captured by American forces.
 
Mr Howarth: When you heard that Tariq Aziz had been captured, were youconsulted by General Franks and did you discuss it with him "That'sfascinating. Perhaps he can give us some information. What are we going to doabout it"? Or was this entirely within the American remit.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: It was entirely within the American remit.
 
Mr Howarth: Is that satisfactory?
 
AirMarshal Burridge: The degree to which intelligence sharing goes on between theagencies is outwith my purview and it may be that the CIA/SIS tie-up deals withthat.
 
Chairman: Thank you very much for your lengthy and helpful appearance beforeus. We are probably months away from producing our very objective report, wherethere will no doubt be one or two criticisms of the Ministry of Defence,nevertheless I think I can speak on behalf of all the Committee, not just thosewho are here, in saying that our affection for our armed forces at all levelsis undiluted and you can be particularly pleased and proud with what you didand those who are working under your command. Thank you very, very much for allthat you have done.
 
AirMarshal Burridge: You are very generous with your comments. I was but one part of avery good team.
 
Chairman: Perhaps when you have the opportunity you will be able to say thatnot all politicians are very difficult. Our admiration is undiminished.Whatever mistakes were made, it will not alter that overall assessment. Thankyou very, very much.

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