Prime Minister Defends British Involvement in Iraq War

BY khenry  March 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM EDT

Gordon Brown; Getty file photo

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stood by his country’s involvement in the Iraq war Friday, refuting charges that the government failed to fully fund the 2003 invasion. Brown called the decision to join the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq “the right decision for the right reasons” in testimony before a London panel investigating the war.

In his four-hour appearance, Brown told the panel that his government increased the defense budget and funded every request made for armored vehicles and protective equipment. (Watch highlights of his testimony.) “His only major equivocation was regret at the way in which he had failed to persuade the Americans to handle the aftermath differently,” the Guardian reported.

The prime minister’s statements mirrored testimony given in January by his predecessor Tony Blair, who served as prime minister when the UK joined the Bush administration to launch a 2003 assault on Baghdad. Brown served as chancellor at the time of the invasion and became prime minister in 2007.

Brown’s decision to back his predecessor on the largely unpopular war comes at a pivotal political moment for himself and his Labour Party. His party, which until recently lagged behind its conservative opposition in the polls, faces parliamentary elections in spring.