Former Iraq Commander Slams Bush Admin; GOPers Attack

Sanchez Condemns Iraq Strategy
Tim Shipman
The Telegraph (UK)


America's former commander in Iraq has issued a damning indictment of the war, branding President Bush's government "incompetent" and "negligent" for presiding over "a nightmare with no end in sight."

Lt-Gen. Ricardo Sanchez denounced the Bush administration's "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan" and said: "There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders."

He denounced the current surge strategy as just another "desperate attempt" to put the situation to rights, by a government "that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war."

General Sanchez, who was the US commander in Baghdad for a year after the 2003 invasion is the most senior officer to make a public criticism of the war.

He told a gathering of military reporters near Washington that US diplomats as well as politicians and generals were to blame, saying civilian officials have been "derelict in their duties" and guilty of a "lust for power."

During his time in Baghdad, Gen. Sanchez clashed with Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator blamed for disbanding the Iraqi Army and fuelling the insurgency.

In sharp words for President Bush, he said: "From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan to the administration's latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronise its political, economic and military power.National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone."

He also accused the Bush administration of failing to "communicate effectively the reality to the American people" of the situation in Iraq.

Gen. Sanchez retired last year after being replaced in Iraq in 2004 for presiding over the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal -- though he was cleared of any wrongdoing in that affair. He now works as a Pentagon consultant training generals.

He has been accused of failing to take steps in the early post-war phase to combat the growing insurgency.

A White House spokeswoman refused to comment on the allegations but said: "We appreciate his service to the country."

Republicans Attack Sanchez for Speaking Truthfully About Iraq
The Alaska Report


Republicans are upset that the former coalition commander in Iraq, Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, has spoken out against the Iraq war and that he said the Bush administration's bad decisions have cost American lives with their "lust for power."

Republicans are upset that the former coalition commander in Iraq, Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, has spoken out against the Iraq war and that he said the Bush administration's bad decisions have cost American lives with their lust for power.

Sanchez ripped the Bush administration for "incompetent strategic leadership" and said that the United States is "living a nightmare with no end in sight."

Sanchez told reporters that American political leaders have cost American lives on the battlefield with their "lust for power."

Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN's Wolf Blitzer "Every time we talked to General Sanchez, we got pushback - we have enough troops, Guard and reserves aren't being strained," adding the war "got out of control under his watch."

But Graham and Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Sanchez failed to raise those concerns while in uniform.

McCain rips Sanchez too

One day following Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's denigration of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, responded with deference for the former General and conviction for the current Iraq strategy.

"I have great respect and appreciation for Gen. Sanchez's service to his country and the military. I am very grateful for it," McCain said.

"The fact is I had face to face discussions with Gen. Sanchez when he was in Baghdad about how I believed that the strategy was failing, and he testified before the Senate armed services committee that the strategy was succeeding - the flawed Donald Rumsfeld strategy that I knew was doomed to failure."

"When I argued for the strategy that we're using now, he did not agree with that."

McCain repeated his respect and appreciation for the Gen. Sanchez despite differing views on Iraq strategy.

"I think the record shows that one, while he was in charge he was supporting of a failed strategy and number two, is that he did not support, at that time, the strategy that I believe is succeeding."

AlterNet is making this material available in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
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