LONDON - A retired British army general says Iraq's insurgents are justified in opposing the occupation, arguing that the US and its allies should "admit defeat" and leave Iraq before more soldiers are killed.General Sir Michael Rose told the BBC's Newsnight programme: "It is the soldiers who have been telling me from the frontline that the war they have been fighting is a hopeless war, that they cannot possibly win it and the sooner we start talking politics and not military solutions, the sooner they will come home and their lives will be preserved."
Asked if that meant admitting defeat, the general replied: "Of course we have to admit defeat. The British admitted defeat in north America and the catastrophes that were predicted at the time never happened.
"The catastrophes that were predicted after Vietnam never happened. The same thing will occur after we leave Iraq."
General Rose is a former SAS commander and head of UN forces in Bosnia. Last year, he called for Tony Blair to be impeached for going to war on "false pretences". He has written a book, entitled Washington's War, which compares the Iraqi rebels to George Washington's irregular forces in the American war of independence.
When he was asked if he thought the Iraqi insurgents were right to try to force the US-led coalition out, he replied: "Yes I do. As Lord Chatham [the politician William Pitt, the Elder, who, in the second half of the 18th century called for a cessation of hostilities in the colonies and favoured American resistance to the British Stamp Act] said, 'if I was an American - as I am an Englishman - as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms'. The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way. I don't excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting the Americans."
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