British army chief attacks US as 'intellectually bankrupt' over Iraq
Peter Richards | The Guardian | September 1, 2007
The former head of the British Army has attacked US postwar policy, calling it "intellectually bankrupt".
General Sir Mike Jackson, who headed the army during the war in Iraq, described as "nonsensical" the claim by the former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that US forces "don't do nation-building". He has also hit back at suggestions that British forces had failed in Basra.
Mr Rumsfeld was "one of the most responsible for the current situation in Iraq," Gen Jackson says in his autobiography, Soldier. He describes Washington's approach to fighting global terrorism as "inadequate" for relying on military power over diplomacy and nation-building.
Last week General Jack Keane, a US commander just returned from Iraq, said the security situation in southern Iraq was "deteriorating" and there was "general disengagement" by the British military in Basra. But Gen Jackson told the Daily Telegraph, which is serialising his book: "I don't think that's a fair assessment.
"What has happened in the south, as in the rest of Iraq, was that primary responsibility for security would be handed to the Iraqis once the Iraqi authorities and the coalition were satisfied their training and development was appropriate.
"In the south we had responsibility for four provinces. Three of these have been handed over in accordance with that strategy."
He is also critical of the decision to hand control of planning the administration of Iraq to the Pentagon, and said disbanding the Iraqi army and security forces had been "very short-sighted".
The Pentagon said divergent views were a "hallmark of open, democratic societies".