The head of the British Army during the invasion of Iraq has condemned America’s postwar policy in the country as “intellectually bankrupt” and “very short-sighted”.

In an unprecedented attack, General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff, said that insufficient troops were deployed to control the country after Saddam Hussein’s downfall, and he criticised the decision to disband the Iraqi Army and security forces.

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Sir Mike blamed Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, for much of the fiasco and said that his claims that American forces “don’t do nation-building” were “nonsensical”.

He criticised the Bush Administration for handing control of postwar Iraq to the Pentagon, and claimed that Mr Rumsfeld discarded detailed plans for post-conflict administration that had been drawn up by the State Department. “All the planning went to waste,” he said. Mr Rumsfeld, who he labelled “intellectually bankrupt”, was “one of the most responsible for the current situation in Iraq”.

Sir Mike added that Washington relied too much on military power rather than nation-building and diplomacy in fighting global terrorism.

His outspoken attack, made in his forthcoming autobiography Soldier and reported in The Daily Telegraph, highlights the tension between British commanders and the Pentagon in the run-up to war and its aftermath in 2003. It is likely further to inflame tensions between Britain and the US over the war.