Britain's Prince Andrew attacks Bush over Iraq

Tue Feb 5, 2008 9:48am EST

(Adds White House declining comment, paragraph 9)

By Kate Kelland

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Andrew launched a sharp attack on Tuesday on U.S. President George W. Bush for failing to listen to Britain during the conflict in Iraq.

In a newspaper interview before 10-day visit to the United States to support British business, the prince, fourth in line to the throne, said the aftermath of the Iraq war had left Britons with a "healthy scepticism" about what was said in Washington.

"If you are looking at colonialism, if you are looking at operations on an international scale, if you are looking at understanding each other's culture, understanding how to operate in a military insurgency campaign -- we have been through them all," he said. "We've won some, lost some, drawn some," he told the International Herald Tribune.

"The fact is there is quite a lot of experience over here which is valid and should be listened to."

The prince, who also has the title Duke of York, said that while Britain remained the number one ally of the United States, the post-war situation in Iraq had prompted many to wonder "why didn't anyone listen to what was said and the advice that was given".

"(There are) occasions when people in the U.K. would wish that those in responsible positions in the U.S. might listen and learn from our experiences," he said,

He added that, after all, it was the Americans who had asked for advice: "It's not as if we had been forcing that across the Atlantic."

The prince's comments were seen as a break with protocol in Britain, where tradition normally forbids members of the royal family from intervening in politics.

In Washington, a White House spokesman declined to comment on his criticism.

Prince Andrew served in the British navy for 22 years and was a helicopter pilot during the Falklands war with Argentina in 1982 in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

He described that experience as one that changed him "out of all recognition" and had given him a different view of life.

Now, as a full-time trade envoy for Britain, Andrew said he realised "the real people who are actually making the United Kingdom what it is are the people who are doing business". (Editing by Andrew Dobbie)