Anders Fogh Rasmussen said "you can't bomb your way to democracy". Photo: Linda Kastrup/Scanpix
Former Nato head Anders Fogh Rasmussen admitted on Wednesday that Denmark’s participation in the Iraq War could have been better thought out.
“Of course when you look back on it you can say that there were things we could have prepared better. For example: How the new regime will be once the old is gone,” Rasmussen said in an interview with DR journalist Clement Kjersgaard on the programme ‘Vi ses hos Clement’.
“When I look back at the Iraq War in 2003, I think that the thing we should learn is that when you set military operations in place you should carefully think about what the result will be when the old regime falls: What will come in its place?” he added.
Rasmussen, who was the Danish prime minister when the country entered the Iraq War, stood by the decision to go to war but said that Western forces were “too impatient” in their hopes to bring democracy to Iraq.
“I think everyone has acknowledged that democracy is certainly not something you can bomb your way to. Nor is it something you can just come and introduce,” Rasmussen said.
“While we pursue the goal of freedom and democracy, we must also have patience. It takes time. Democracy is more than an election. Democracy is also when a population instils a basic democratic culture,” he added.
Iraq is currently struggling with an insurgence by the terrorist organisation Isis, which has claimed control of large parts of the country.
Denmark is among the international coalition carrying out military strikes against Isis in Iraq.
Rasmussen ended his tenure as Nato’s secretary general last month and now heads up an international consultancy, Rasmussen Global.
A clip from the interview can be seen below, courtesy of DR: