Fresh UK attack on US Iraq policy
[i]A second key British general has criticised US post-war policy in Iraq.
Maj Gen Tim Cross, who was the most senior UK officer involved in post-war planning, told the Sunday Mirror US policy was "fatally flawed".
His comments came after Gen Sir Mike Jackson, head of the Army during the invasion, told the Daily Telegraph US policy was "intellectually bankrupt".
John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, dismissed Sir Mike's criticism as "way off the mark".
The Ministry of Defence played down the comments by Sir Mike, now retired, saying he was entitled to express his opinion on his former job.
'Lack of detail'
Maj Gen Cross, also retired, said he had raised serious concerns about potential post-war problems in Iraq with the then US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
But he said Mr Rumsfeld "dismissed" or "ignored" the warnings.
"Right from the very beginning we were all very concerned about the lack of detail that had gone into the post-war plan and there is no doubt that Rumsfeld was at the heart of that process," he said.
There is no doubt that with hindsight the US post-war plan was fatally flawed and many of us sensed that at the time
Maj Gen Tim Cross
"I had lunch with Rumsfeld in February in Washington - before the invasion in March 2003 - and raised concerns about the need to internationalise the reconstruction of Iraq and work closely with the United Nations."
Maj Gen Cross, 59, who was deputy head of the coalition's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, said he also raised concerns over the number of troops available to maintain security in Iraq.
"He didn't want to hear that message," he said. "The US had already convinced themselves that following the invasion Iraq would emerge reasonably quickly as a stable democracy."
He added: "There is no doubt that with hindsight the US post-war plan was fatally flawed and many of us sensed that at the time."
In an interview published on Saturday, Sir Mike told the Telegraph that a claim by Mr Rumsfeld's that US forces "don't do nation-building" was "nonsensical".
He criticised the decision to hand control of planning the administration of Iraq after the war to the Pentagon.
We should have kept the Iraqi security services in being
Gen Sir Mike Jackson
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.
Politicians from across the spectrum have come out in support of Sir Mike's comments, made ahead of the serialisation of his autobiography in the Telegraph.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Conservative former foreign secretary and defence secretary, told the BBC that Mr Rumsfeld was "incompetent".
However, Mr Bolton told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that Sir Mike had "read into a version of history that simply is not supported by the evidence".
"And I can see where he'd have a parochial view from the military perspective. I don't think he saw some of the larger political debates.
"I'm not saying that we got it right in Washington because I've made my own criticisms. His just happen to be way off the mark, very simplistic, I think in a sense limited by the role that he had."
He said it was important to know whether Sir Mike had raised his concerns when he first had them.
The Telegraph also reports that, in his autobiography, Sir Mike says the US approach to fighting global terrorism was "inadequate" as it focused on military power rather than diplomacy and nation-building.
The US Department of Defence said: "Divergent viewpoints are a hallmark of open, democratic societies."
A spokeswoman for the US State Department said she would not comment on Sir Mike's views.
His comments follow a series of critical remarks from US officials about the British attitude towards Iraq.
BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said Sir Mike's comments may put further strain on the British-US operation in Iraq. [/i]
A modern age Andersen tale relating "truth seen by the eyes of an elderly"?