British Generals Criticize Rumsfeld on Iraq
Sunday, September 2, 2007; 12:30 PM
LONDON-- The general who headed the British army during the 2003 Iraq invasion said that former U.S. defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's handling of postwar Iraq was "intellectually bankrupt" and pointed to Rumsfeld as "one of those most responsible for the current situation in Iraq."
Mike Jackson, the British former chief of general staff who retired last year, strongly criticized Rumsfeld and the U.S. postwar effort in Iraq in his new book, "Soldier." The Daily Telegraph is to begin serializing the book Monday, after publishing some excerpts and an interview Saturday.
Jackson's stinging comments come at a time of growing tension between the British and U.S. military efforts in Iraq. Britain has been Washington's closest ally since the war began in 2003, but the military relationship has frayed, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under growing pressure to speed the reduction of British troops in Iraq.
Jackson criticized President Bush for putting the Pentagon in charge of the postwar administration of Iraq rather than the State Department.
"All the planning carried out by the State Department went to waste," Jackson wrote. He said the Pentagon did not deploy even half the troops it would have needed for a country the size of Iraq.
He said Rumsfeld and those around him took it as "an ideological article of faith that the coalition soldiers would be accepted as a liberating army."
Jackson also characterized Rumsfeld's claim that U.S. forces "don't do nation-building" as "nonsensical."
In another newspaper interview Sunday, a second retired British general also slammed the United States over its Iraq policy, saying that it had been "fatally flawed."
Tim Cross, a retired major general and the most senior British officer involved in the postwar planning, said he had raised concerns about the possibility of Iraq falling into chaos but said Rumsfeld dismissed the warnings, the Associated Press reported.
"Right from the very beginning we were all very concerned about the lack of detail that had gone into the postwar plan and there is no doubt that Rumsfeld was at the heart of that process," Cross said in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.