Saturday, October 13, 2007

General Sanchez Calls Iraq A Nightmare

Yet another General speaks out against the war in Iraq. Sanchez, the former top General in Iraq, calls the situation there a failure of national political leadership.

Sanchez joins a long line of Generals (and other former top officials) who have spoken out about the war effort in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

However, I have not seen a former General speak out so strongly about Iraq as General Sanchez. Typically the former Generals will temper their remarks, even when speaking against the policymakers. Sanchez was placed in an almost impossible position when he took over command in Iraq in 2003. By then the stage was already set for failure. In fact, the stage was set for failure by invading in the first place. But Sanchez was left to clean up the mess left by Bush's yes man in the field General Tommy Franks. But he had too few troops to deal with the situation there-- the increased looting, lack of political control, an insurgency that was still in its infancy...but had been evident in Iraq for years.... and it was somehow overlooked by policymakers. But when things began to take a turn for the worst, Sanchez became the convenient fall guy for the failings of Bush & Co....and for an invasion that was ill advised.

The following is from the BBC

A former US military chief in Iraq has condemned the current strategy in the conflict, which he warned was "a nightmare with no end in sight".

Retired Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez also labelled US political leaders as "incompetent" and "corrupted".

He said they would have faced courts martial for dereliction of duty had they been in the military.

The best the US could manage under the current approach in Iraq was to "stave off defeat", Gen Sanchez warned.

"There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," he said, addressing journalists at Arlington, near Washington.


A catalogue of political misjudgements had paved the way for the insurgency after the fall of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to Gen Sanchez.
He blamed the US disbanding of the Iraqi military as well as the failure to set up civilian government quickly and cement ties with tribal leaders.

The White House this year injected an extra 30,000 US troops into Iraq in the hope of stemming sectarian violence and sowing some political stability.

But Gen Sanchez branded this so-called "surge" strategy a "desperate attempt" to make up for years of shortcomings.

The White House responded by pointing to the report by current commander Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who said the situation was difficult but marked by gradual improvements.

White House spokesman Trey Bohn said: "We appreciate his (Gen Sanchez's) service to the country... As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have said, there is more work to be done, but progress is being made in Iraq."
Gen Sanchez was commander of coalition forces in Iraq for a year from mid-2003.
He retired last year in the aftermath of the scandal over detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.


A "failure of the national political leadership" is responsible for the “nightmare” of the Iraq war.

“If some of America’s political leaders were in the military they would have been relieved or court-martialed long ago”

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