General attacks ‘flawed’ U.S. Iraq policy: Tensions between allies rise to fever pitch
By Rupert Hamer, Defence Correspondent 02/09/2007
A second British General has attacked America’s “fatally flawed” policy in Iraq, ratcheting up the tension between the two allies on the issue.
Major General Tim Cross – the most senior British officer involved in planning post-war Iraq – said he raised serious concerns with former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld BEFORE the invasion.
But he says his worries were dismissed out of hand.
The comments follow ex-Army chief General Sir Mike Jackson’s attack on Mr Rumsfeld as “intellectually bankrupt”.
General Cross, 56, said: “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.
” I had lunch with Rumsfeld in Washington before the invasion in 2003 and raised concerns about the need to internationalise the reconstruction of Iraq and work closely with the United Nations.
“I also raised concerns over the numbers of troops available to maintain security and aid reconstruction. He didn’t want to hear that message. The US had already convinced themselves that Iraq would emerge reasonably quickly as a stable democracy.
“Anybody who tried to tell them anything that challenged that idea – they simply shut it out.” The general, who was deputy head of the coalition’s Office Of Reconstruction And Humanitarian Assistance in 2003, added: “Myself and others were suggesting things simply would not be as easy as that.
“But he ignored my comment. He dismissed it. There is no doubt with hindsight the US post-war plan was fatally flawed – and many of us sensed that at the time.” General Jackson calls Mr Rumsfeld’s postwar plan “intellectually bankrupt” in an autobiography. And he described Mr Rumsfeld’s flippant claim that “US forces don’t do nation building” as “nonsensical”.
Yesterday General Cross, who retired from the Army earlier this year, said he backed everything General Jackson had said. And that view was shared by Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell, who said: “There was no plan for what was to happen after a military victory. British military personnel are paying with their lives for that lack of foresight”
Former Tory defence secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Major General Patrick Cordingley, who led the Desert Rats in the 1991 Gulf War, also backed the general.