Mister Bush once said of Lt. General General Ricardo Sanchez, who was in command of U.S. forces in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004:
"Rick Sanchez has done a fabulous job. He's been there for a long time. His service has been exemplary."
The New York Times reports:
In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top American commander called the Bush administration’s handling of the war incompetent and warned that the United States was "living a nightmare with no end in sight."
In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan" and denounced the current "surge" strategy as a "desperate" move that will not achieve long-term stability. ...
"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." ...
Questioned by reporters after his speech, he included the military and himself among those who made mistakes in Iraq, citing the failure to insist on a better post-invasion stabilization plan.
There was a time when "desperate" was the word the administration used to describe the insurgents in Iraq. In fact, Mister Bush himself used that term 35 times between April 2003 and March 2006.
So yet another general has jumped ship. How many is that now? A dozen? Twenty?
In this case, the criticism, nearly a year after he retired from active duty, might be heard in light of Sanchez's own record in Iraq. The general was the one who approved temperature extremes, sleep-cycle reversal, bread-and-water diets and confiscating prisoners' religious items of inmates at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. He personally ordered the use of unmuzzled dogs there, following advice of commanders at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And he also ordered interrogators to pose as officials of countries known to torture prisoners.
That, of course, was in the days when some people still believed the United States wasn't one of those countries.
Sanchez says he is thinking of writing a book. And, based on his talk today, we can expect it will be all about "incompetence" and "mismanagement" and "lack of planning." Not a word about how the reasons for the war were fabricated and the invasion should never have been undertaken in the first place.
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