Friday, October 12, 2007

Another General Denounces Bush and the Iraq Fiasco

Retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez took a swipe at the aWol Bush maladministration and their inept, incompetent and inconsistent management of the occupation of Iraq. The United States is “living a nightmare with no end in sight.” He warned. “After more than fours years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism.” General Sanchez was speaking to a gathering here of military reporters and editors.

The remarks were made during one of the first public speeches Sanchez has given since leaving the Army late last year. He blamed the administration for launching and mismanaging a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan”and he denounced the current “surge™” strategy as a “desperate” move that will fail to establish long-term stability.

General Sanchez is the most senior in a string of retired generals to harshly criticize the administration’s conduct of the war. Asked following his remarks why he waited nearly a year after his retirement to outline his views, he responded that that it was not the place of active duty officers to challenge lawful orders from civilian authorities. General Sanchez, who is said to be considering a book, promised further public statements criticizing officials by name.

“There was been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding later in his remarks that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

The White House had no initial comment.

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Sanchez is speaking out, in the face of the slime machine, even though he knows full well that he has an Abu Ghraib problem that will make him a target of vicious criticisms and accusations that he is trying to shift blame for his own shortcomings to the poor, hapless president. Although Sanchez was cleared of wrongdoing in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal by an Army investigation, he became a symbol of an occupation that was botched from the get-go.

Look for accusations that he has an axe to grind, that he is seeking revenge against the president who opted not to nominate him for a fourth star and effectively ended his career, forcing him into retirement.

Taking questions from reporters after his presentation, he included the military command structure, himself included, among those who exercised poor judgment and made tragic mistakes in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He lamented the failure to insist on a post-war stabilization plan.

Still, the bulk of his criticism was directed at the Bush administration and their failures of leadership. He lambasted them for failures to mobilize the entire U.S. government and not just the military in the reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Iraq. “National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone,” he said. “Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat.”

He accused the administration of failing to craft any kind of strategy that went beyond military force. “The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable,” General Sanchez said.