Leading Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has warned the US is ‘losing in Iraq’.
He slammed the George W Bush administration’s Iraq policy as ‘disconnected from reality’.
Hagel, a leading Republican Senator who is said to have presidential aspirations, said on Sunday that ‘things aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse’ in Iraq.
He said: ‘The White House is completely disconnected from reality.
‘It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along.
‘The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.’
Referring to the mood of Republican Senators, Hagel added: ‘More and more of my colleagues up here are concerned.’
He made his comments as resistance attacks in Iraq are at an all-time high and as a growing number of US lawmakers have begun calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops.
Responding to Hagel’s remarks on US television Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice revealed just how disconnected the US rulers are.
She claimed: ‘The insurgency is losing the Iraqi people, because the Iraqi people have a different kind of future in mind.
‘That’s why we’re getting more intelligence. That’s why people continue to volunteer for the Iraqi security services.’
Americans are not falling for this line. Recent opinion polls found a huge decline in support for the war, with 59 per cent of Americans expressing disapproval of how Bush was handling the situation in Iraq, and 51 per cent now saying the US should never have invaded the country.
In Iraq yesterday, the resistance continued to strike powerful blows.
At least 13 puppet Iraqi police officers were killed and more than 107 others injured after a car bomb exploded in Arbil, targeting a traffic police training centre.
Guards opened fire at the explosive-laden car as it entered the centre.
But this did not prevent the driver getting past the entrance and blowing up the car inside the centre.
Some of the injured were discharged from hospital, but around 70 others were kept in for medical treatment.
All those killed were newly-appointed traffic police officers.
Also yesterday, fighters detonated a car bomb and fired on Iraqi police and soldiers in Baghdad, killing at least five Iraqi security force members and wounding nearly 20, a US military statement said.