US policy labelled 'intellectually bankrupt'

LONDON - British and American officials did not adequately plan for the postwar situation in Iraq, according to excerpts from a British military report carried in a British newspaper.

The report, entitled An Analysis of Operation Telic (the code name given to operations in Iraq), said the US-led coalition's mission in Iraq was hampered by poor planning and inadequate resources, and that British concerns were ignored by American commanders, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

"The evidence shows that too little planning was done for Operation Telic, particularly on the non-military side, and that too few resources, both human and financial, were allocated to the postwar situation," the paper quoted the report as saying.

The report, which the paper said had been drawn up late last year, said British efforts in Iraq were hampered by their status as junior partners in the coalition which invaded the country in March of 2003.

The British were committed to an ideologically-driven US timetable, one officer wrote, according to the paper.

"The train was on Grand Central station, and was leaving at a time which we did not control," the officer said.

In another apparent dig at the US, the report said while some coalition countries respected Britain's experience in the field of counterinsurgency, others "did not want to hear about Northern Ireland or colonial struggles".

The report also criticised British commanders, calling them "hopelessly optimistic" and saying the British had failed to capture the Iraqis' "hearts and minds."

Britain's Ministry of Defence declined to respond to the story, saying it did not comment on leaked documents.

Critics of the invasion of Iraq have argued that the US did little to prepare for the postwar situation there, relying on optimistic assumptions the government would remain intact without Saddam Hussein's leadership without serious insurgency happening.

Official documents carried by the British press over the past few years have suggested British officials had been concerned about the state of US postwar planning.

A 2002 briefing paper given to Tony Blair and later leaked complained US military plans were "virtually silent" on the subject of the postwar occupation of Iraq.

Even more damaging charges were levelled by retired General Sir Mike Jackson, who led the British army during the invasion.

In comments published earlier this year he said US postwar policy in the country had been "intellectually bankrupt". - Sapa