A former senior US military commander, Anthony Zinni, called for the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over critical mistakes made in the Iraq war.
Zinni, who headed the US Central Command from 1997 to 2000, was asked if anyone should lose their job over how Washington has managed its Iraq policy.
ZINNI: There’s a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the Secretary of State say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policies made back here. Don’t blame the troops. They’ve been magnificent. If anything saves us, it will be them.
"Secretary of defense to begin with," he told NBC's "Meet the Press" program.
"Integrity and getting on with the mission and doing it right is more important than loyalty. Both are great traits, but integrity, honesty and performance and competence have to outweigh, in this business, loyalty," the former Marine Corps general said.
Zinni has called for a high-level shake-up at the Pentagon since late 2003, the same year the United States invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein.
"There's a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the secretary of state say these were tactical mistakes. They were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policies made back here," he said.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said over the weekend that "thousands" of tactical mistakes had been made with regard to Iraq, a statement she later backed away from.
Some 2,333 US troops have been killed in Iraq, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.
© 2006 AFP