Former Australian army lawyer says Rumsfeld’s handling of Iraq almost criminal
The Associated Press
Published: May 22, 2007
CANBERRA, Australia: Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s handling of the Iraq war verged on criminal negligence, a former Australian army lawyer turned political candidate said Tuesday.
Col. Mike Kelly, who ended a 20-year military career last week to run as an opposition candidate at federal elections later this year, gave his first television interview about his experiences in Iraq to Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Kelly, who was among the most senior Australian officers in Iraq during 2003 and 2004, was scathing of Rumsfeld’s role.
“If I look at people like Donald Rumsfeld, all I can say is, that verges on criminal negligence,” Kelly told the ABC of Rumsfeld’s failure to acknowledge problems in Iraq.
Kelly — an expert on the law of occupation and peacemaking operations with experience in Somalia, Bosnia and East Timor — said he offered a plan to stop looting and protect infrastructure soon after former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was toppled.
“We knew exactly what needed to be done,” Kelly told the ABC.
“Then Rumsfeld came in and overruled that concept and basically threw it out the window and that was where things really started to go wrong,” he said.
Kelly described disbanding the Iraqi army as “a tragic mistake” which turned thousands of former soldiers against the coalition.
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