Former General Says No Hope For Change in Iraq, Washington
13 October 2007:
Ricardo Sanchez had to retire from the United States' military before he had balls enough to criticize his nation's mission in Iraq. But the former lieutenant general who led troops in Iraq for one year says the occupation has no forseeable ending.
Sanchez, 54, blamed President George W Bush and both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the State Department for lack of leadership, failed planning, and for shortcomings that gave birth to so-called insurgents following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
"There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," Sanchez said.
The White House meanwhile hit back with the standard line that everyone is entitled to hold a personal view, but press spokesperson Trey Bohn said the United States is clearly winning in Iraq and the focus of attention is not on the past but upon making further progress. Bohn reminded the press that military general David Petraeus is the one in charge and has a different view of Iraq than does Sanchez.
Sanchez stepped out of the military in 2006 and completed his service in Iraq two years earlier. His career, he said, was a casualty of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, which if you recall involved a handful of military personnel (mostly men) who were hitting up Iraqi male prisoners for sexual pleasure.
He told the press his troops and mission in Iraq had been severely handicapped by the State Department and other agencies both of which had not been participating in the Iraq mission during his tenure. In May 2003, President Bush declared victory in Iraq and the following month Sanchez took command, but governmental agencies left the military high and dry.
"There is nothing going on today in Washington DC that would give us hope" for change, Sanchez said. Nonetheless, leaving Iraq would not be an option he said, and the United States has no other choice but to stay the course until further notice.
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