October 14, 2007
Sing Along With Sanchez - Minor Update
Former Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez gave a very, uh, interesting speech to the annual convention of the Military Reporters and Editors. It's being played as an indictment of President Bush; but in fact, it's -- oh how I hate to say this about a general who served honorably for three decades -- it's a long and bizarre rant against virtually everybody, left and right, Democrat and Republican who had anything to do with Iraq.
The basic thrust seems to be contained in a single paragraph towards the end: That we should have come in using the Powell Doctrine with 500,000 - 750,000 troops, utterly crushed Iraq, taken command of the Republican Guard, installed an Imperial American proconsul -- preferably, given Sanchez's hatred of L. Paul Bremer, a military man, if you catch my drift -- and then used the Baathist Republican Guard to enforce the diktats of the American leader on the Iraqi people.
He seems most vexed that we haven't somehow brought to bear in Iraq all of our political apparatus -- Sanchez believes that "America" must somehow force the two parties to act in concert -- along with all of our economic might (unexplained), to rein in "the Interagency," whatever that is (sorry about the caps, but I'm not going to waste time rewriting it):
AMERICA HAS SENT OUR SOLDIERS OFF TO WAR AND THEY MUST BE SUPPORTED AT ALL COSTS UNTIL WE ACHIEVE VICTORY OR UNTIL OUR POLITICAL LEADERS DECIDE TO BRING THEM HOME. OUR POLITICAL AND MILITARY LEADERS OWE THE SOLDIER ON THE BATTLEFIELD THE STRATEGY, THE POLICIES AND THE RESOURCES TO WIN ONCE COMMITTED TO WAR. AMERICA HAS NOT BEEN FULLY COMMITTED TO WIN THIS WAR. AS THE MILITARY COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND HAVE STATED SINCE THE SUMMER OF 2003, THE U.S. MILITARY ALONE CANNOT WIN THIS WAR. AMERICA MUST MOBILIZE THE INTERAGENCY AND THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS OF POWER, WHICH HAVE BEEN ABJECT FAILURES TO DATE, IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY. OUR NATION HAS NOT FOCUSED ON THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF OUR LIFETIME. THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS OF POWER MUST GET BEYOND THE POLITICS TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL OF AMERICA. PARTISAN POLITICS HAVE HINDERED THIS WAR EFFORT AND AMERICA SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THIS. AMERICA MUST DEMAND A UNIFIED NATIONAL STRATEGY THAT GOES WELL BEYOND PARTISAN POLITICS AND PLACES THE COMMON GOOD ABOVE ALL ELSE. TOO OFTEN OUR POLITICIANS HAVE CHOSEN LOYALTY TO THEIR POLITICAL PARTY ABOVE LOYALTY TO THE CONSTITUTION BECAUSE OF THEIR LUST FOR POWER. OUR POLITICIANS MUST REMEMBER THEIR OATH OF OFFICE AND RECOMMIT THEMSELVES TO SERVING OUR NATION AND NOT THEIR OWN SELF-INTERESTS OR POLITICAL PARTY. THE SECURITY OF AMERICA IS AT STAKE AND WE CAN ACCEPT NOTHING LESS. ANYTHING SHORT OF THIS IS UNQUESTIONABLY DERELICTION OF DUTY.
(You'll get no sympathy from me; I had to read the entire speech that way!)
UPDATE: Here is a fully corrected version of the transcript from Michael Yon. Hat tip to commenter SlimGuy.
And here is the paragraph quoted above, in Yon's easlier to read, capitalization-corrected, and reparagraphed version:
America has sent our soldiers off to war and they must be supported at all costs until we achieve victory or until our political leaders decide to bring them home. Our political and military leaders owe the soldier on the battlefield the strategy, the policies and the resources to win once committed to war. America has not been fully committed to win this war. As the military commanders on the ground have stated since the summer of 2003, the U.S. military alone cannot win this war. America must mobilize the interagency and the political and economic elements of power, which have been abject failures to date, in order to achieve victory.
Our nation has not focused on the greatest challenge of our lifetime. The political and economic elements of power must get beyond the politics to ensure the survival of America. Partisan politics have hindered this war effort and America should not accept this. America must demand a unified national strategy that goes well beyond partisan politics and places the common good above all else. Too often our politicians have chosen loyalty to their political party above loyalty to the constitution because of their lust for power.
Our politicians must remember their oath of office and recommit themselves to serving our nation and not their own self-interests or political party. The security of America is at stake and we can accept nothing less. Anything short of this is unquestionably dereliction of duty.
We now continue with the original post...
But here is how the Associated Press portrays it:
The U.S. mission in Iraq is a "nightmare with no end in sight" because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency - such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled.
He called current strategies - including the deployment of 30,000 additional forces earlier this year - a "desperate attempt" to make up for years of misguided policies in Iraq.
A quick aside about journalists' ability to read and parse grammatically correct English-language passages. The paragraph from which AP pulled the "nightmare" quoteation above -- in which AP claims that the nightmare is caused by "political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today", actually reads thus:
There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight. Since 2003, the Politics of War have been characterized by partisanship as the Republican and Democratic parties struggled for power in Washington. National efforts, to date, have been corrupted by partisan politics that have prevented us from devising effective, executable, supportable solutions.
(This nice, non-cap version is from a new source I just stumbled across; alas, he includes irritating stage directions and annotations... so nothing's perfect.)
So first of all, a disturbingly large percentage of journalists are retarded or illiterate.
Second, John Hinderaker at Power Line -- who is both intellectually capable and literate -- points out the delicious irony of the AP reporting: The entire first half of Lt.Gen. Sanchez's speech lambasted reporters for reporting "propaganda" instead of truthful news, for the purpose of getting stories onto the front page... but somehow, AP didn't consider that half of the speech newsworthy!
But let's just focus on the part of the speech where Gen. Sanchez attacks all the government people and policies, the only part that AP or any other drive-by news source I've read bothered to report.
Third: Good heavens... what is this obsession that some people seem to have for the idea that we shouldn't have "disbanded" the Iraqi army?
Contrariwise, every general I've heard speak on the subject has said that we didn't disband them: They disbanded themselves, fading back into the civilian population. One presumes this was because the former military personnel thought that -- like Arab conquerers -- we would put them all to the sword.
And are we not talking about the very same army and the same Republican Guard which brutalized, tortured, oppressed, and tormented the Iraqi Shia and Kurds (and even many Sunni) for literally decades? What makes either Gen. Sanchez or AP think that putting those same thugs in charge of enforcing the commands of foreign princes would be a good way to stand Iraq up on its own two feet?
Do journalists, Democrats, and certain old generals suggest we should have squashed Iraq flat, like a steamroller over a banana slug? That we should have utterly annihilated the cities, killed millions of Iraqis, firebombed the rubble, then dispersed the population to die of starvation and disease... and therefore leave them so helpless and shellshocked that they would meekly follow our orders -- as we did to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?
Forward to the past, men! Let's relive the most horrific war in all of human history. It's a disturbing position for a modern-day general to take -- and an incomprehensible one for liberals and the elite media.
But if we were not going to fight a "total war" against Iraq, that meant we would have to show, after conquest, that we were not crusaders or conquerers. And that means we could not assume ownership of Saddam Hussein's engines of oppression... no matter how convenient they might be. If our goal was to create a strong and independent Iraq without us killing five million innocent civilians, then we necessarily had to disperse the Iraqi military (though they saved us the trouble by dispersing themselves).
Finally, I have another problem with the speech itself, apart from the reporting about it: Sanchez is simply not a credible, unbiased witness:
- He only served a single year in Iraq and has been out of the loop since;
- It was at the very beginning of the war;
- He had a bitter and angry relationship with Paul Bremer, the top civilian administrator at the time;
- His career was later torpedoed over the abuses at Abu Ghraib; Sanchez himself says that it was responsible for destroying his career;
- He appears to have been a follower of Colin Powell, who is hardly a model of fair-mindedness about the Iraq war;
And he seems to have a strangely unrealistic conception of how civilian government works... viz:"America's political leadership must come together and develop a bipartisan Grand Strategy to achieve victory in this conflict. The simultaneous application of our political, economic, information, and military elements of power is the only coarse of action that will provide a chance of success."
Which sounds disturbingly like "Why can't Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the entire banking community, the intelligence agencies, and the blogosphere all just get along?"
Reading the speech is like listening to Bo Gritz ramble on, which Friend Lee and I did for four days one evening. At least Gritz did make one joke in the course of his lecture; unlike Sanchez, who sounds as sincere and earnest as a Ron Paul acolyte in the airport.
To try to extract any single piece from this speech's universal critique, while ignoring the rest, is to do both speaker and reader an injustice. (The elite media is unjust. So what else is new?)
I have yet to find a single MilBlogger who defends this speech or the man who made it. Honestly, there is nothing new in this speech, nor does anybody, right or left, emerge unstoned. The Democrats and their "willing accomplices in the media" are once again grasping at the camel's back.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 14, 2007, at the time of 11:32 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/2494
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
I think Sanchez is bitter because Patreaus is doing what he could not do.
The following hissed in response by: RattlerGator
It was definitely a disappointing speech from Sanchez and is being played in the media just as he should have known.
In his defense, and I wish more people would simply come to terms with this -- what Petraeus is doing now could not have been done by Sanchez when he was in place. All of the so-called "mistakes" by the Bush Administration and the military in Iraq were unavoidable.
Yes, that military disbanded themselves -- and thank God for that! I think we still fail to recognize the Russian-Iranian-Saddam Hussein strategy on how to defeat the Americans. And having the military leadership walk away and disappear was definitely part of their master plan. And a clear element in our ranks would have played directly into their hands and given them precisely what they wanted.
Can you imagine Iraq with the Baathist Generals in place suppressing the Shi'a majority? There's no way in hell we would have been able to avoid all-out civil war.
Serendipity counts. Perseverance counts. There will surely be setbacks with this "awakening" but we've made it this far -- no thanks to the punk ass surrender monkeys -- and that, in and of itself, is a triumph.
The above hissed in response by: RattlerGator at October 15, 2007 5:16 AM
The following hissed in response by: SlimGuy
Michael Yon has a post up with the language of the transcript converted to lower case and then proper capitalization applied.
The following hissed in response by: F. N. Owl
"...we should have come in using the Powell Doctrine with 500,000 - 750,000 troops"
Did he explain the logistics of supporting that many troops through the *one* major port available to us, which also had to handle all of Kuwait's needs at the same time?
Remember that Turkey revoked permission to send the 4th Infantry Division in from the north. So the 4th ID was shipped to Kuwait -- but the invasion was launched while it was still in transit, and 4th ID wasn't sent in until the Brits had the port of Basra in hand.
The following hissed in response by: benning
Patrick at Born Again Redneck had an interesting word on this, courtesy of Ed Morrisey.
The above hissed in response by: benning at October 15, 2007 6:06 PM
The following hissed in response by: Fat Man
The following hissed in response by: LarryD
Sigh. World War Two envy. It's not just a military disease, I've seen it in many comments on various blogs. The liberals and Iranians should take note, and take care, this is an impulse of unsophisticated Jacksonism, harking back to the 1800s Indian wars. It's a minor undercurrent today, but ...
If Radical Islam manages to pull off a major attack on the US, this wont be a marginal faction anymore, it'll be a major one, and they wont scruple at mass annihilation anymore than we did back during the end ing years of WWII. Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki.
Of course, part of the frustration behind this is because large chunks of our government and society are not on board, indeed are actively hindering the war effort.
The following hissed in response by: cdquarles
I find it interesting that no one in the Washington tar pit nor the drive-by media remember that it took roughly 10 years to achieve the peace following WWII, and even that was marred by the start of WWIII, as noted by W. Churchill here in the good ol' USA.
Oh yeah, drive-bys, we are still in Korea (50 years +), Germany (60 years +), and Japan (60 years +). Given the realities of modern warfare, we need more semi-permanent FOB's in areas where force will be needed to protect world trade.
The above hissed in response by: cdquarles at October 16, 2007 6:32 PM
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