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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 September 2007, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
UK general attacks US Iraq policy
US army photo showing troops on patrol in Baghdad (31 August 2007)
Sir Mike said US anti-terror strategy was "inadequate"
The head of the British army during the Iraq invasion has said US post-war policy was "intellectually bankrupt".

In a Daily Telegraph interview, former chief of the general staff, Gen Sir Mike Jackson, added that US strategy had been "short-sighted".

He said former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was "one of the most responsible for the current situation".

The Ministry of Defence said Sir Mike was a private citizen who was entitled to express his views.

The US Department of Defense said: "Divergent viewpoints are a hallmark of open, democratic societies."

Sir Mike told the Daily Telegraph that Mr Rumsfeld's claim that US forces "don't do nation-building" was "nonsensical".

We should have kept the Iraqi security services in being
Gen Sir Mike Jackson

He criticised the decision to hand control of planning the administration of Iraq after the war to the Pentagon.

He also described the disbanding of the Iraqi army and security forces after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as "very short-sighted".

"We should have kept the Iraqi security services in being and put them under the command of the coalition," he said.

Mehdi army

The Telegraph reports that in Sir Mike's autobiography Soldier, which is being serialised in the paper, he said the US approach to fighting global terrorism was "inadequate" as it focused on military power rather than diplomacy and nation-building.

General Sir Mike Jackson

In the book, Sir Mike also said Mr Rumsfeld had refused to deploy enough troops to uphold law and order in Iraq and had rejected plans for administering Iraq drawn up by the US State Department, the paper says.

The criticism comes as the US military said an order from radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to his Mehdi army militia to freeze operations for six months would allow coalition forces to concentrate their attentions on al-Qaeda.

A US statement said the instruction would mean fewer kidnappings, killings and attacks.

Sir Mike, who is now retired, also defended the record of British troops in Iraq after claims by US officials that UK forces had failed.

He said: "What has happened in the south, as throughout 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 that their state of 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. It remains just in Basra for that to happen."

His comments follow a series of critical remarks from US officials about the British attitude towards Iraq.

'Strain on operation'

US military adviser Gen Jack Keane said last week that American commanders had expressed "frustration" over the prospect of UK withdrawal.

Divergent viewpoints are a hallmark of open, democratic societies and that tradition is part of the military culture and ethos
US Department of Defense

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said Sir Mike's comments may put further strain on the British-US operation in Iraq.

Sir Mike's criticisms were backed by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative foreign secretary and defence secretary.

Sir Malcolm told the BBC: "I think one of the most fundamental criticisms is not just that Rumsfeld was incompetent - which he was - but it was actually his boss, George Bush, who actually made the extraordinary decision to put the Pentagon and Rumsfeld in control of political nation-building after the actual war ended."

A spokeswoman for the US State Department said she would not comment on Sir Mike's views.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said Sir Mike's remarks reinforced his view that British troops should leave Iraq as soon as is practically possible.

He told BBC News 24 that Sir Mike was "a man well known for speaking his mind and not afraid to ruffle American feathers".

Last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote to Mr Campbell, rejecting the Lib Dem leader's call for a timetable for withdrawing UK troops.




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The criticism by General Sir Mike Jackson



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