British military officials criticize Brown

March 6, 2010 at 2:11 PM

LONDON, March 6 (UPI) -- British military chiefs disputed Prime Minister Gordon Brown's claim he gave the armed forces all the money they needed.

"Every request that the military commanders made to us for equipment was answered," Brown told the Iraq Inquiry Friday, The Daily Telegraph reported. "No request was ever turned down."

The inquiry focuses on spending for the Ministry of Defense in 2004, a year after the British entered the war in Iraq. Former ministers, officials and commanders have testified spending was inadequate that year.

In fact, Gen. Michael Walker, the chief of the defense staff from 2003 to 2006, said his defense chiefs threatened to quit because of 2004 cuts, the newspaper reported.

Another former chief of the defense staff, Gen. Charles Guthrie, wrote in The Daily Telegraph: "To say Gordon Brown has given the military all they asked for is simply not true. He cannot get away with saying I gave them everything they asked for. That is simply disingenuous."

Brown denied he had cut the budget.

"In an ideal world, I know our commanders would like to have even more equipment and spend even more," he said. "But this suggestion that they had their budget cut -- in fact, they had a rising budget."

The Daily Telegraph did not provide amounts of allocations or the total defense budget.

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