LONDON (AP) Britain’s Gulf War commander said today that air strikes alone would not be entirely effective against Iraq.

Using “the rather blunt weapon of a single strike military force… has never worked in history,” retired Gen. Sir Peter de la Billiere told BBC Radio 4.

“You usually have to have balanced forces if you want to achieve a military objective. These will not be balanced forces and are likely to have side effects which will be very unwelcome,” he said.

De la Billiere said he believed the West probably had an idea where Iraqi weapons were being stored, but air strikes would not be fully effective _ and a ground attack was out of the question.

The West does not have the necessary forces in the region and it would take months to put troops in place, he said.

De la Billiere spoke as U.S. and British leaders warned that time was running out for a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over U.N. weapons inspections.

The United States and Britain have aircraft carriers in the Gulf preparing to launch air strikes if necessary. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said today that any attack to open Iraq’s suspected weapon sites would be “significant.”

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