Washington: A former top US commander has launched a scathing attack on the leadership of the Iraq war, describing it as “incompetent'' and a “catastrophic failure''.
Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, who was in charge of US forces in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, said that the best the US could hope for in the “nightmare'' conflict was to stave off defeat.
He also said that the US could not afford to pull out of Iraq because of the regional instability it would cause.
Speaking to military reporters, Sanchez is reported to have said: "There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders.
"America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve 'victory' in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism.''
The general, who retired in 2006, also criticized the recent deployment of 30,000 extra soldiers in a bid to stop the escalating violence in the country.
He said it was a "desperate attempt by an administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war."
"There is no question America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," he added.
Sanchez also blamed the White House Security Council, which was previously headed by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, describing them as a “catastrophic failure'' and took aim at the political in-fighting which dominates Congress.
He added: "America has not been fully committed to win this war. Partisan politics have hindered this war effort."
Finally, Sanchez said the US government made huge mistakes in disbanding the Saddam-era military, failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and failing to quickly establish a civilian government.