Washington, Oct 13 (UNI) Criticising the US effort in Iraq as a ''nightmare'', a former top US commander in Iraq said the Bush administration's handling of the war was ''incompetent''.
Addressing military reporters and editors in Arlington, Lt Gen(retd) Ricardo S Sanchez termed the Bush administration's war plan ''catastrophically flawed and unrealistically optimistic'', the New York Times reported.
He said there had been incompetent strategic leadership with respect to the war in Iraq.
The ex-commander said the Bush administration failed to mobilise the entire government, not just the military, to contribute meaningfully to reconstructing and stabilising Iraq.
''National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone. Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat,'' he said.
Gen Sanchez suggested promoting reconciliation among Iraq's warring sectarian factions and building effective Iraqi army and police units as effective steps to a better approach.
He added that the administration failed to chalk out to a detailed strategy and synchronize the military and civilian contributions.
He further said the the administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure.
Now a Pentagon consultant, Gen Sanchez retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq post Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.