US will lose war, says former UN inspector

March 26 2003 at 06:42PM

Lisbon - The United States does not have the military means to take over Baghdad and will lose the war against Iraq, former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter said.

"The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win," he told private radio TSF in an interview broadcast here Tuesday evening.

"We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable," he said.

"Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost," Ritter added.

'It is a war we can not win'
Stiffening Iraqi resistance as US-led forces close in on Baghdad have prompted questions about the strategy to use precision air power and a smaller, fast moving ground force to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Some military analysts have said there are not enough allied troops in Iraq to take control of Baghdad, where Saddam Hussein's elite troops are said to be concentrated, and that the planning of the war was overly optimistic.

But British Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament Wednesday the United States and Britain believe they have "sufficient forces" in Iraq and London was not planning to send reinforcements to the country at this stage.

A combination of bad weather and heavy fighting in central Iraq has slowed the advance of coalition troops marching on Baghdad.

Ritter resigned in August 1998 after accusing both Washington and the United Nations of not doing enough to support the weapons inspectors.

Since leaving the UN weapons inspectors team he has become an outspoken critic of US policies towards Iraq. - Sapa-AFP