Part 2: After General Patraeous, What General Sanchez said about the war in Iraq: “A NIGHTMARE…No end in sight…”
YOU HAVE READ THE HEADLINES: In a speech last Friday, GENERAL SANCHEZ –for four years the head of the war in Iraq– EXCORIATED THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION:
From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administrations latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize the political, economic and military power, Sanchez said.
Continuing changes to military strategy alone will not achieve victory, rather it will only stave off defeat, he said.
The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable.
LET ME REPEAT GENERAL SANCHEZ’s WORDS: For this “…CASTROPHIC FAILURE…THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.”
The General went on: (the added emphasis is mine)
*Even now, the U.S. government has YET to launch a concerted effort to COME UP WITH A STRATEGY TO WIN IN IRAQ, Sanchez said. Such a strategy should involve political reconciliation among Iraqis, building up the Iraqi security forces and getting Iraq’s regional partners.
*Sanchez acknowledged that U.S. officials have adopted that idea, but added that they do NOT have the necessary nonmilitary resources to carry it out.
*And it is NOT synchronized, and there is NO enforcement of the strategy, he said.
[ Interdiction: In my own view, these last three paragraphs constitute an important overall assessment of the two-pronged military & political Surge. We can admire General Petraeous and still think that he played (maybe unwittingly) a part in pulling the wool over our eyes.]
In his speech on Friday, Sanchez went on to say that he realized there were serious challenges to the U.S. military’s strategy in Iraq as soon as he became the top military commander in Iraq.
WHY DO WE NOT HEAR FROM THE MILITARY?
Asked why he did not speak out about his concerns, Sanchez said general officers TAKE AN OATH to carry out the orders of the president while in uniform.
SANCHEZ EXPLAINS WHY CURRENT OFFICERS DON’T SPEAK UP:
The last thing that America wants, the last thing that you want, is for currently serving general officers to stand up against our political leadership, he said.
BUT THEY CAN STEP DOWN:
However, general officers do have the option of stepping down IF they disagree with the country’s leaders.
SANCHEZ’s DILEMMA…THEN: (An honorable but arguable one, in my view)
Sanchez said he felt he could not resign and go public with his reservations while he was in Iraq, because he feared that move could further jeopardize troops serving there.
HOW SANCHEZ SEES IT NOW:
I think once you are retired, you have a responsibility to the nation, to your oath, to the country, to state your opinion, he said.
1. TO MR. BUSH:
What say you, Mr. Bush? Your top general says you are inept, incompetent, and dangerous, and by implication, hypocritical, in that you are not telling us the truth.
2. TO OUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN:
It is your collective indecisiveness and lack of resolve to stand up for what is right that allows this war to continue. “Saving your own skin” in the next election, IF it is still an option now, is fast disappearing as one. Spinelessness is not a vote-catcher.
3. TO US AMERICANS:
As General Sanchez put it: “The Administration and the Congress…must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.”
Make a change. Change your behavior. Tell your representatives. If –like a lot of people– you’ve been Out Shopping since March 2003, skip one or two trips and tell those folks that you are changing, want to change. Tell them what you want.
I believe that if we insist on answers and on action, we will get it.
We are at the tipping point. But we need to change, to crossover, to express the unease we have kept to ourselves, if the balance is to tip.
And here’s the most important point: ultimately, this war is not Mr. Bush’s war –even though it would not have happened without him. It is OUR WAR. Like one of your kids getting into trouble on the internet, you’ve been paying the bills and looking the other way. The trouble your kid gets into is your responsibility.
Now is the time for your intervention. Now is the time to make the change. Now is the time to “ground the irresponsibles”. Now is the time to say: “ENOUGH” –powerfully and reasonably.
I actually have more respect for those few people who, after all this, are still for the war, than I have for those who have been in denial and looking the other way, or now are getting upset because the war hasn’t been successful.
But now is the time to stop it. To stop Our War.
Do not be intimidated by all that pro-war talk of “victory” or “quitting” or “precipitous withdrawal” or “emboldening Bin Laden etc. This is all pure junk.
Mr. Bush himself rejected the formula for Victory –the Shinsecki/Colin Powell formula for Victory: OVERWHELMING FORCE, 2-3 times the number we sent.
And Mr. Bush is himself the Great Emboldener of Bin Laden, in that he refused to go after him, to catch him, to kill him.
Once we have all decided to stop the war, we can discuss how best to stop it, how best to get out.
That is a separate discussion.
Remember: the key is to make a personal change that tips the balance. To make the change that gets the message across: to those around us, to our representatives, and to the White House.