October 13, 2007

Sanchez' Message

It seems that half of the message retired General Richard Sanchez intended to deliver missed the cut at most newsrooms, and with most bloggers. Typical among the reports of his blistering oration is the front-page treatment given by the Washington Post's Josh White, the entire first half of Snachez' speech -- found in its entirety here -- gets reduced to a single paragraph at the end of the story. Why? Well, it turns out that Sanchez considered his first target the media itself, which he blames for a large part of the problems he sees in Iraq (via Power Line, reformatted by me to normal case):

Almost invariably, my perception is that the sensationalistic value of these assessments is what provided the edge that you seek for self agrandizement [sic] or to advance your individual quest for getting on the front page with your stories! As I understand it, your measure of worth is how many front page stories you have written and unfortunately some of you will compromise your integrity and display questionable ethics as you seek to keep America informed. This is much like the intelligence analysts whose effectiveness was measured by the number of intelligence reports he produced. For some, it seems that as long as you get a front page story there is little or no regard for the "collateral damage" you will cause. Personal reputations have no value and you report with total impunity and are rarely held accountable for unethical conduct.

Given the near instantaneous ability to report actions on the ground, the responsibility to accurately and truthfully report takes on an unprecedented importance. The speculative and often uninformed initial reporting that characterizes our media appears to be rapidly becoming the standard of the industry. An Arab proverb states - "four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity." Once reported, your assessments become conventional wisdom and nearly impossible to change. Other major challenges are your willingness to be manipulated by "high level officials" who leak stories and by lawyers who use hyperbole to strengthen their arguments. Your unwillingness to accurately and prominently correct your mistakes and your agenda driven biases contribute to this corrosive environment.

All of these challenges combined create a media environment that does a tremendous disservice to America. Over the course of this war tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for America because of the tremendous power and impact of the media and by extension you the journalist. In many cases the media has unjustly destroyed the individual reputations and careers of those involved. We realize that because of the near real time reporting environment that you face it is difficult to report accurately. In my business one of our fundamental truths is that "the first report is always wrong." Unfortunately, in your business "the first report" gives Americans who rely on the snippets of CNN, if you will, their "truths" and perspectives on an issue. As a corollary to this deadline driven need to publish "initial impressions or observations" versus objective facts there is an additional challenge for us who are the subject of your reporting. When you assume that you are correct and on the moral high ground on a story because we have not respond to questions you provided is the ultimate arrogance and distortion of ethics. One of your highly repected fellow journalists once told me that there are some amongst you who "feed from a pig's trough." if that is who I am dealing with then I will never respond otherwise we will both get dirty and the pig will love it. This does not mean that your story is accurate.

Given that, it seems highly ironic that the journalists covering the story attempted to cover up the acidic, biting, and mostly accurate criticisms of their own performance in this war while giving front-page treatment to Sanchez' criticisms of the political structure at the same time. If Sanchez has such credibility and standing to bring this kind of criticism to bear on Washington, why didn't the Post and other news agencies give the same level of exposure to his media criticisms as well? He basically accuses them of cynically selling out the soldiers to defeat American efforts to win the war, and made sure that those accusations came first before his assessment of the political failures, but you'd never know that from the Post.

The Post then goes on to obfuscate a key part of the second half of Sanchez' speech. While he criticizes the Bush administration in sharp terms, Sanchez blames the Democrats in equal measure. He calls out partisans on all sides for exploiting the war for their own political benefit rather than the good of the nation, and blames the lack of range for strategic options on the corrosive debate that has hamstrung the range of choices.

And most importantly, none of the press has managed to pick up on this key sequence in Sanchez' broadside at the American political establishment:

America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos that would endanger the stability of the greater Middle East. If this occurs it would have significant adverse effects on the international community. Coalition and American force presence will be required at some level for the foreseeable future. Given the lack of a grand strategy we must move rapidly to minimize that force presence and allow the Iraqis maximum ability to exercise their soveriegnty in achieving a solution.

Iraq is still a vital national interest to the United States. We have a responsibility to get it right, and our political establishment needs to unite to find the grand strategy that serves that purpose rather than their own selfish desires. In fact, Sanchez made clear that the media has to do the same as well. Unfortunately, the media doesn't have the guts to report that honestly.

UPDATE: Don't miss Bruce Kesler's post on this speech.

UPDATE II: I love the spin this post is getting in the blogosphere. Yes, obviously Sanchez ripped the Bush administration -- the media had no trouble reporting that part of the speech. He also ripped the Democrats for playing partisan games and making it impossible to generate the kind of strategy needed to win in Iraq. The media didn't bother to report much of that, and it didn't report his primary focus in the speech on the media themselves for reporting the war dishonestly from the beginning. That's what I was noting in this post -- what the media left out. I also did something the media didn't do, which was to link to the entire speech.


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Comments (101)

Posted by sashal | October 13, 2007 8:42 AM

The problem I have with the general is that he criticizes Bush for “incompetence.”

The Wehrmacht in WWII was very “competent.” They accomplished “victories” that astounded the world before the sheer insanity of Hitler’s megalomania guaranteed their defeat. Competence in pursuit of an immoral goal is a vice, not a virtue.

The insane, neocon wet dream of making the Middle East part of Washington’s hegemony cannot yield good results, whether the military strategy is competent or not.

Posted by Angry Dumbo | October 13, 2007 8:45 AM

Facts all come with points of view. If the facts don't fit the msm's pov, then the facts are cut out of the story.

All the facts that fit our pov is the msm motto.

Posted by CDR Salamander | October 13, 2007 8:57 AM

Lt. Gen. Sanchez has added some friction and noise to the discussion, but very little light. He has, rightly, pointed to problems with the State Dept and other parts of the US Gov. as well as the media. He also stated, as you post ends, that we need to stay to the end in Iraq. In the middle, however, he is all over the map. He continues to lay blame all around while at the same time disgorging a lot of "it is hopeless" verbiage that helps no one.

It would be better for Lt. Gen. Sanchez, and the US effort as a whole, if he spent more time focused on his performance and his efforts during his time in Baghdad - and expended less effort throwing rubbish in the path forward of the present Commander in Baghdad. He needs to understand that it isn't about Lt. Gen. Sanchez, USA (Ret.), but about Gen. Petraeus, USA, Commander MNF-I. Well, that's my take.

Posted by Monkei | October 13, 2007 8:58 AM

I just what we have here is just another case of another "phoney" soldier talking out of school.

Hopefully Captain, when you are talking about our leadership figuring out a way to do it right, you were thinking about BOTH parties ... what I see know is just simple plain politics from one side who says it was a mistake and wanting to lay blame, to the other side who is willing to defend their mistake while not admitting blame. As long as those two conditions are still being used there is no end in sight and blaming the MSM is just another sick, dumb excuse by those in power. It was that way during the Clinton years and is now by the Bush administration.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 9:16 AM

RE: Monkei (October 13, 2007 8:58 AM)

The real significance here is not so much what Sanchez said of Iraq policy though that's important and we need consider/evaluate his professional point of view. What is of special note is what was selectively reported as the essential kernel of truth to his speech. It seems the administration policy of war in the Iraq theater will be given lots of hot air while his lede critique of the "professionals" tasked with reportage will sit at the bottom of the bag as an old maid. An industry so needing of critical introspection of its own behavior can bury its report card out of whim. It chooses not to report on its own failure, something increasingly contributing to the disdain we news consumers have for legacy media and journalists.

Ed and commenters even began addressing this almost in eerie anticipation a few posts ago in CLC First Panel: Defending the Blogosphere.

Posted by Bob | October 13, 2007 9:21 AM

I think it's *excellent* that you're highlighting Sanchez's criticism of the media, Ed. And I'm sure you'll be giving equal weight to his withering denouncement of the Bush administration's handling of this war, too. Thank you for being an honest Republican!

Posted by starfleet_dude | October 13, 2007 9:23 AM

I think the media is beside the point, and that events in Iraq would have gone almost exactly the same whether the MSM was 100% supportive or 100% negative.

The American people would be just about as fed up too with the war after four and a half years U.S. occupation of a divided, strife-torn country.

Iraq wasn't a threat to us during Saddam Hussein's reign, and it won't be after we leave either. We'll still be able to buy the oil too.

Posted by Jeff from Mpls | October 13, 2007 9:28 AM

The MSM is very good at reporting phony cross-burnings, phony rape accusations against the Duke Lacross team, phony stories of war atrocities.

They can't confront the America of 2007, so they attack the America of 1960.

Why? Because these are the images that folks associate with the glory days of the once-great democrat party. But those glory days were last century.

I for one am glad they're so transparently shilling for the radical left. No ambiguity whatsoever in what they're doing.

Posted by Tom Shipley | October 13, 2007 9:30 AM

The former general in charge of Iraq calling the war policy "catastrophically flawed" and a "nightmare with no end in sight" is without a doubt the story of the speech. That's the lead. That's the headline. That's the bulk of the story.

Reporters do no report on speeches based on the sequence of what is said. They report on what's newsworthy. A general criticising the media is really nothing new. That being said, they did report on that aspect of the speech as well... "honestly" despite your contention.

And his assessment that we cannot withdrawl is even more damning to this administration. And it's something the democrats are starting to realize (at least the presidential front-runners). The closer they get to the white house, the more they realize that pulling out of Iraq is going to be a lot more problematic than they cared to admit while campaining.

And this is thanks to Bush's incompetancy and ideology. He betrayed our country by putting his faith in this hair-brained, unrealistic scheme above our self-interest and above practicality. He drug our nation to war with a false-premise that it was necessary. Thousands of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians are now paying the price and will for years to come.

The only thing he has to keep the reality of the situation he created from crushing his psyche is the hope that everything will work itself out after he's gone. "History will judge me" he says. Yes it will.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 9:33 AM

RE: starfleet_dude (October 13, 2007 9:23 AM)

I think the media is beside the point, and that events in Iraq would have gone almost exactly the same whether the MSM was 100% supportive or 100% negative.

Media is never beside the point especially when asymmetric warfare is a tactic. Since war is political, how can you possibly discount the impact of the reportage or rationale of its engagement via media?

Posted by rick 554 | October 13, 2007 9:36 AM

Well. since tom has decided for us what the "story" is I guess we should just forget what the General had to say about the politicians , MSM and the moveon.dems . Like all the rest of the "progressives" they are the deciders and they know what really matters . Yawnnnnnnnnn bashing bush is sooooooo boring

Posted by Tom Shipley | October 13, 2007 9:41 AM

Yawnnnnnnnnn bashing bush is sooooooo boring

Bush is bashed because he absolutely deserves to be bashed for what he's done.

And yes, Sanchez' biting criticism of this war and the strategy is the big story to come out of the speech. Without a doubt.

Posted by MarkT | October 13, 2007 9:59 AM

Do you all agree with the general that the media is driven by personal advancement opportunities?

If so, how would that square with your alleged left-wing bias?

Posted by crossdotcurve | October 13, 2007 10:10 AM

Sanchez must be one of Rush's phony soldiers.

What kind of assets does he have? What kind of car does he drive?

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 10:12 AM

Of coarse this is the way you see it Tom (and fellow libs.) The MSM is comprised of approximately 90% Liberals. This is the problem in a nut shell. Liberals see life through one pair of glasses; others see life through a different pair of glasses. General Sanchez frames this issue very well, while describing the damage this dynamic has had on our country as well as the reputation (reliability) of the MSM.

Like it or not Tom, America is a nation loaded with lots of different visions (glasses). The MSM has become so biased (leftist) that it no longer serves those in the category of "others". The free press was not founded for the purpose of expressing a single point of view; the free press was not founded for the purpose of promoting a single political party. Conservative talk radio has been so successful simply because the millions of "others" had no news outlet speaking the language that matched the language going on in their heads. Rush Limbaugh (and many others) simply starting talking about the thoughts millions of us were having but not seeing on network television or in any of the newspapers. Now we have the blogosphere and online news outlets that are also speaking the language that goes on in our heads. So what is the Liberal answer to this; "crush rush" and all other "non liberal" voices.

Not going to happen Libs; millions of us will not allow Democrats to crush our voices, our news outlets, our answer to the voices that go on in our heads. Liberalism makes since to you Tom, and millions of others. I'm ok with that. Conservative beliefs and all variations of also make since to millions of others. I'm not ok with Liberals forcing their beliefs on me, as the voices in my head see you and yours as absolute nut jobs. The Liberal dominance of our news is coming to an end; this will be for the good of our country, as stated by General Sanchez.

Posted by George | October 13, 2007 10:14 AM

This is the kettle calling the pot black. The real issues with the Iraq war is its failure to learn the lessons of Vietnam and its deflection from our purpose of fighting terrorism by getting Osama.

Posted by sashal | October 13, 2007 10:18 AM

I’ve already started to catch a whiff of how they will try to dispute Sanchez’s assessment. There will be two tacks:

1) Sanchez also criticized the media, which no one seems to be reporting, as if the incompetence of the media led to more than 3,800 dead Americans

2) Sanchez is bitter for being forced out because of Abu Ghraib

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 10:20 AM

Nice contribution Fox Noose. Kind of qualifies why I think your ideology is firmly planted in the "nut case" category. I still remain ok with your right to have those voices going on in your brain, even though they don't make any sense to me. Quite frankly, I'm grateful that I don't have the kind of anger that you put on display here for all to see.

Posted by TomB | October 13, 2007 10:24 AM

Tom Shipley,
You are very easy to decide what is the bulk of the story, but we heard all of it before, so there is no story, really. Accusations that MSM is skating on the surface of the facts are. Basic journalistic honesty (I know, it became an oxymoron) would suggest to treat the high level General's message as a whole, and not as some Chinese buffet, where you pick and choose what you like. It is called taking out of context.
By the way, I think your spelling is, again, out of the MSM standards. If you write "the white house" do you mean the white house in your backyard, or the White House in Washington DC? Ditto the Democrats.

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 10:25 AM

BTW comrades; the typical ploy to change this topic is already under way by the troll soldiers. The ability to debate the context of the speech actually delivered by General Sanchez is quite apparent; cherry pick the parts of the speech that fit the agenda, and refuse to give the entire speech any credibility at all. So typical, so pathetic.

Posted by Praveen | October 13, 2007 10:27 AM

Criticizing the media is OK. But to imply that media is what landed us in this mess would mean media is running the strategy. And that would mean the Administration is even more stupid than anyone ever thought. Tom is right in that Bush mess up was the main story. We are so used to bashing the media that we have learnt to filter out the content from the report.

As far as the administrators are concerned they should have their own sources of "credible" information. We all know when Bush was lying about WMD in the media. I was sure he was not relying on media reports. Now I am not really sure.

Posted by Tom Shipley | October 13, 2007 10:29 AM


In all honesty, YOUR bias is showing. The former top general of one the most (if not the most) controversial wars this country has seen says the war strategy is "fatally flawed" and calls the war a "nightmare with no end in sight" is a HUGE story.

That is more newsworhty than the generals comments about about how the media covers the war. One, because there's an on-going debate in this nation about the benefit, cause and end of this war. Just looking at it objectively, that is the #1 story of this speech. His criticism of the media is secondary. He inherently is talking about something he knows less about than his comments about the war. His comments about the war are so strong because he was the man running it. His comments about the media are weaker (and I'm not saying they aren't important because he does bring a unique and important perspective to the media's coverage of the war) because he's not a journalist, so he's less an expert on it. He inherently is speaking more speculatively (media is only out for personal gain) because he's not as ingrained within journalism like he is within this war. HIs comments about the war are more important and hold more weight than his comments about how the media covered it.

The military and journalism have long been at odds about war reporting, so as I said, statements like this from a general is nothing earth-shattering.

But his comments speaking as the man who used to run this war quite frankly are.

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 10:35 AM

Let's take a look at other parts of the speech Tom:



What say you?

Posted by Captain Ed | October 13, 2007 10:38 AM

Just a reminder to commenters to heed the comment rules in the privacy policy. I've just booted one off the board for namecalling and invective. Argue, don't insult.

Posted by Tom Shipley | October 13, 2007 10:41 AM

I'd he's probably right.

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 10:43 AM

But the Deciders have gone heavy on the Bush bashing angle (and let’s be honest, is anyone actually defending this administration’s handling of the war?) and the left will embrace their new hero. Of course, the MSM will ignore the fact that it was the anti-war left that was leading the charge for Gen. Sanchez’s firing since he was in command during the Abu Gahrib ‘scandal’. I am sure the KosKidz and others of that ilk will let bygones be bygones now.

Below the fold is a great example of the play this story is getting.

Check out this story from the AP:

Ex-general: Iraq a 'nightmare' for US

It's 544 words long and here's the last paragraph:

"The American military finds itself in an intractable situation ... America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq," said Sanchez, who works as a consultant training U.S. generals.

So they finally get to the part where he says we have to stay (and who is reading that far down anyway?) but they team it up with the 'intractable situation' line. And I do mean team them up. If you look at the transcript those two sentences are two paragraphs apart but the AP cuts and pastes and makes up a new one out of whole cloth.

This is exactly how the MSM bends the facts to fit their agenda. It's not right; it's not professional. Why not print the facts and then debate from a foundation that is based on solid ground rather than cherry picking spin...

Posted by Fox Mews | October 13, 2007 10:46 AM

[Comment deleted -- nice try for a troll. -- Ed]

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 10:47 AM

My point Tom; if we can all agree on "the problem" and debate what are the possible solutions for "the problem", then we can steer our country towards solution rather than bashing each other into submission while living in the problem.


These are powerful words Tom. I think they are accurate as well.

Posted by sashal | October 13, 2007 10:48 AM

Ed, I have to admit. Your blog is probably one of the best . The tolerance and open mindedness here are admirable and rare for many other left or right blogs .
I agree with your decision to boot nasty commenter. Does not matter if he/she is from the right or the left.
Thanks again for being exemplar American even though I largely disagree with your position on the Iraq war. It is a pleasure to post on your blog and being able to engage in polite and thoughtful discussions...

Posted by dhunter | October 13, 2007 10:50 AM

"There is nothing going on in Washington today that would give us hope"

Because of the remarkable success of the surge there is hope evidenced by the fact the Dem surrender "at all cost" party can not only not pass a veto proof meaningless resolution they can now not even get a simple majority for a meaningless surrender time table.

They have shown the American people they are the most corrupt party ever by lying their way into office "we have a better strategy" when in fact the strategy all along was to force defeat on the U.S. and blame Bush for it.

They are no different the AlQeada promising the Iraqis great things when in fact they offered pain and suffering beyond imagination.

The American people are beginning to see the Dems and the mainstream media for the lying Anti-Americans they are, thanks to freedom of speech and information. A right that the Dems can't allow to stand if they are to maintain their power and propaganda machine.

Will the awakening be as quick and complete here as in Iraq ? We shall see.

Posted by sashal | October 13, 2007 10:55 AM

dhunter, I agree about American people now seeing much more clearly who is hurting USA.

And that will be you - minority brainwashed stubborn 29%ers

Posted by Colonel_Prop | October 13, 2007 10:58 AM


Very well stated. I have felt for over 20 years now that the liberal mindset is based on emotion and feelings and does not base its actions in fact - hence the nasty retorts seen in this blog whenever one of their pillars, the MSM, get pounded, even obliquely. The conservative mindset is far more (but not totally) data driven - what has worked in the past will work again. Just give it time, a few tweaks here and there, and it will work, like a stream carving a canyon.

The blogs and talk radio are providing the slow cut the country needs - beware of the nasty backlash from the left, liberal mindsets tend towards rolling over to total thought control with violence to back it up - see ruby ridge, waco, elian gonzales(sic) in our country and the Hollywood favorite “uncle joe” chavez. We are at a tipping point for the MSM - maybe General Sanchez’ comments will be a breaking point for an already weakened liberal powerbase.

Posted by Tom Shipley | October 13, 2007 10:59 AM

Well, Keemo, yes, they are strong words. That's why I always try to see both sides of an argument when I debate (or at least respect the other side of an argument). I don't name call. I don't attack people. I don't attack conservatism or make sweeping generalizations about the "other side."

Can you say the same?

But I hold nothing back when talking about Bush's decision to go to war because A) I've thought it was an incredibley dumb idea from the start. B) After all the speeches and warnings about the threat, I was still not convinced because even if he had those weapons, I don't think the war was necessary or a smart thing ... BUT, they made some convincing arguments near the end (especially the UN speech) and it became inevitable that we were going to invade.

So I said, OK, you guys have your war. I hope it works out.

Then it came out that their "certainty" that Saddam had these weapons was BS. That their lines about being greeted as liberators and only being there a year or two was idiotically optimism. And because of that optimism, they weren't prepared the complexities of post-invasion Iraq and they f*cked it up big time.

They misled us into a war that they then mismanaged.

It's quite simply inexcusable. I will bash that decision til the cows come home because we should never make one like it again.

The best thing that could have happened for this country would have been for Bush to lose the 2004 election so we could have started a new course in Iraq. Unfortunately, the Dems didn't put a strong enough candidate out there for that, and now we're basically stuck until 2009. Change will occur then.

Posted by Chef Mojo | October 13, 2007 11:04 AM

Tom Shipley,

there are two things happening here in this post. First and foremost is how the press decided to present LTG Sanchez's speech and how they framed it to suit their narrative. Based on a full reading of the speech, this is not only deceitful on the part of the MSM, but actually supports the main thrust of the speech, which has to do with the relationship between the military and the press.

Second, the "huge story" you go on about isn't supportive of your views, if read in whole and in the context of the speech as a whole. Sanchez took his ax to the Administration, certainly. But he was equally vociferous in his condemnation of the Congress and the press. Doesn't quite fit your narrative, now does it?

Whether or not you agree with what Sanchez said is not the point of this post. It is how the MSM decided to give us only a fraction of the story based on how to best suit their ongoing narrative.

I'll leave Sanchez to sum it up himself, which he does quite capably in conclusion:

America has sent our soldiers off to war and they must be supported an 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 of 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.

These are fairly harsh assessments of the military and press relationship and the status of our war effort. I remain optimistic and committed to the enabling of media operations under the toughest of conditions in order to keep the world and the American people informed. Our military must embrace you for the sake [of] our democracy but you owe them ethical journalism.

Read that last sentence, Tom, and learn.

Posted by Colonel_Prop | October 13, 2007 11:07 AM


Very well stated. I have felt for over 20 years now that the liberal mindset is based on emotion and feelings and does not base its actions in fact - hence the nasty retorts seen in this blog whenever one of their pillars, the MSM, get pounded, even obliquely. The conservative mindset is far more (but not totally) data driven - what has worked in the past will work again. Just give it time, a few tweaks here and there, and it will work, like a stream carving a canyon.

The blogs and talk radio are providing the slow cut the country needs - beware of the nasty backlash from the left, liberal mindsets tend towards rolling over to total thought control with violence to back it up - see ruby ridge, waco, elian gonzales(sic) in our country and the Hollywood favorite “uncle joe” chavez. We are at a tipping point for the MSM - maybe General Sanchez’ comments will be a breaking point for an already weakened liberal powerbase.

Posted by whippoorwill | October 13, 2007 11:10 AM

Yea, Yea Captain Ed.

It's the media's fault, and the Democrats, and the Liberals, and the French, and the other countries of the Middle East, and AQ, and Al Gore, Hillary, and Illegal aliens, and the UN, and the previous Generals in command in Iraq who were carrying out the COMMANDER IN CHIEFS orders. Did I leave anybody out, oh yeah, can't forget MoveOn and Daily Kos,

It's everybody's fault except Bush and his apologist republicans.

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 11:12 AM


I have used words such as "stupid" and "dumb" to describe positions (thoughts) that are firmly planted in those categories "in my mind". I refrain from swearing at others 99% of the time, as life has taught me certain things in my 54 years of living.

I have had very lively debates with "others" here at CQ through the years. Most notably, monkei and ck come to mind; however, I do have respect for both of them. They see life through a different pair of glasses than I. I'm ok with that. Both of these men have spent hours of their time engaging with me, and have been passionate about their beliefs without making the argument personal towards me. I respect that. I have you in the same category with ck and monkei; most of the time your arguments are "out of this world" to me, but you don't make it personal. I respect that. Many of the liberal commentators that post here, I don't even read their vile; skip right over their comments. This is not the case with you, as you are passionate and honest about your thoughts, and you are respectful or our host.

Posted by planetgeo | October 13, 2007 11:12 AM

It apparently has slipped the attention of our liberal friends here that the very general whom they extol now for "coming out" and admitting that our strategy was "fatally flawed" (fits their meme?) also happens to be one of the ones advising the Administration on said strategy, and, not coincidentally, implementing it.

It begs the question then: Why is the strategy and execution of a different general (Petraeus) achieving different (i.e., more successful) results for that same Administration? Couldn't have anything to do with the abilities of that general, could it?

Posted by sashal | October 13, 2007 11:14 AM

btw, here are all phony generals in full glory :

By Mark Sauer

September 23, 2007

Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton: "The ethos is: Give your advice to those in a position to make changes, not the media. But this administration is immune to good advice."

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste: "I had a moral obligation and a duty to do so. I have been speaking out for the past 17 months and there is no turning back."
The generals acted independently, coming in their own ways to the agonizing decision to defy military tradition and publicly criticize the Bush administration over its conduct of the war in Iraq.
What might be called The Revolt of the Generals has rarely happened in the nation's history.

In op-ed pieces, interviews and TV ads, more than 20 retired U.S. generals have broken ranks with the culture of salute and keep it in the family. Instead, they are criticizing the commander in chief and other top civilian leaders who led the nation into what the generals believe is a misbegotten and tragic war.

The active-duty generals followed procedure, sending reports up the chain of command. The retired generals beseeched old friends in powerful positions to use their influence to bring about a change.

When their warnings were ignored, some came to believe it was their patriotic duty to speak out, even if it meant terminating their careers.

It was a decision none of the men approached cavalierly. Most were political conservatives who had voted for George W. Bush and initially favored his appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary.

But they felt betrayed by Bush and his advisers.

“The ethos is: Give your advice to those in a position to make changes, not the media,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, now retired. “But this administration is immune to good advice.”

Eaton has two sons serving in Afghanistan and Iraq; his father, an Air Force pilot, was shot down and killed over Laos in 1969. He said his frustration began festering in 2003, when he was assigned to build the Iraqi army from scratch. His internal requests for more equipment and properly trained instructors went unheeded, he said.

While on active duty, Eaton did not criticize his civilian bosses – almost to a man, the generals agree active-duty officers have no business doing that. But he was candid in media interviews. Building an Iraqi army, he warned, would take years, and the effort might never succeed.

In 2004, he was replaced by Gen. David Petraeus – now the military commander in Iraq – and reassigned stateside. Sensing his once-promising Army career had foundered, Eaton retired Jan. 1, 2006.

Military historians say that before the Iraq conflict, only a handful of active or retired U.S. military officers had publicly criticized civilian leaders' conduct of a war. Some examples:

In 1864, former Union Army Gen. George McClellan declared the Civil War a failure, called for a peace convention that would leave slavery intact, and ran for president against President Lincoln.

In the 1930s, retired Gen. Smedley Butler – who had spent 33 years in the Marine Corps – wrote a book calling war “a racket” and toured the country labeling civilian leaders who prosecute wars “capitalistic gangsters.”

In 1951, President Truman dismissed Gen. Douglas MacArthur for openly challenging U.S. civilian leadership.

In May 1966, retired Gen. David Shoup, former commandant of the Marine Corps, said this about the escalating war in Vietnam: “I believe if we had, and would, keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own ... not one crammed down their throats by the Americans.”

Retired four-star Gen. Wesley Clark, supreme NATO commander during President Clinton's Kosovo campaign, criticized President George W. Bush's handling of Iraq and ran for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Two months later, on the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion, Eaton criticized the administration in an opinion piece in The New York Times.

“I didn't think my op-ed would be a big deal,” he said. “It certainly turned out to be otherwise.”

Eaton said he wrote the piece because he believed that three pillars of our democratic system had failed:

The Bush administration ignored alarms raised by him and other commanders on the ground; the Republican-controlled Congress had failed to exercise oversight; and the media had abdicated its watchdog role.

“As we look back, it appears that without realizing it, we were reacting to a constitutional crisis,” Eaton said in a recent interview.

Some of Eaton's colleagues, both active and retired, endorsed his decision to speak out. Others thought he had stepped out of bounds. He became persona non grata with ethics instructors at the U.S. Military Academy, his alma mater.

Eaton said he has no regrets.

Maj. Gen. John Batiste, former commander of the First Infantry Division in Iraq, chronicled his painful journey from stalwart soldier to outspoken critic in a post on the political Web site Think Progress this month.

Once heralded by many military observers as headed for appointment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Batiste began his journey of introspection after he retired with two stars in 2005.

The self-described arch-conservative and lifelong Republican made the “gut-wrenching” decision to end his 31-year military career in order to “speak out on behalf of soldiers and their families.”

“I had a moral obligation and a duty to do so,” Batiste wrote. “I have been speaking out for the past 17 months and there is no turning back.”

Code of silence

It is rare in U.S. history for even retired generals to step outside the chain of command and criticize the nation's civilian leaders.

That was true even at the time of the unpopular Vietnam War.

Andrew Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, said several generals who served in Vietnam now regret they didn't go public when it might have done the nation some good.

“That has encouraged generals today to voice their unhappiness,” Bacevich said.

LAURA EMBRY / Union-Tribune
Retired Navy Vice Adm. David Richardson said he was surprised that so many retired generals have spoken out against the Iraq war. "They may sound off as they please, but I don't approve of that," said Richardson, 93, who lives in North Park.
The once-sacred line between private and public opinion began to blur during the 1991 Gulf War, Bacevich said, when retired generals appeared for the first time as TV network analysts.

“But that war was brief, it seemed to go very well and the generals' comments were almost uniformly positive,” he said. “This war is very long, it has not gone well and that's a main reason we're hearing the voices we're hearing.”

For retired Brig. Gen. John Johns, the decision to finally stand up against the administration was a deeply personal one.

“My wife lost her first husband in Vietnam,” said Johns, who taught leadership and ethics at West Point.

“To learn later that President Lyndon Johnson and (then-Secretary of Defense) Robert McNamara knew as early as 1965 that we could not win there, that hurts her deeply to this day.”

Six months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Johns, who retired in 1978, agonized over whether to go public with a paper calling the impending war “one of the great blunders of history.”

He sent it to retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni and to Pete McCloskey, the moderate-Republican former congressman from California who had opposed the Vietnam War.

Advertisement “At that time, they did not want to go public,” Johns said.
Zinni has since become one of the most war's most vociferous critics, and McClosky now calls for bringing the troops home.

“And I was not convinced that the invasion would not be stopped internally,” Johns said. “Zinni was close to (then-Secretary of State) Colin Powell; I believed sane heads would prevail.”

But Powell's notoriously inaccurate speech to the United Nations in February 2003 “sealed the deal,” Johns said, and he knew the war was unstoppable. “I was very disappointed he did that. Powell was used.”

Many sleepless nights, long talks with his wife and solitary walks followed, said the veteran combat officer.

But Johns didn't reach his tipping point until 2005, when a longtime friend, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, invited him to discuss the war at tiny Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

“Four out of five of us retired military panelists there said it was a moral duty for us to speak out in a democracy against policies which you think are unwise,” Johns said. “The time was right.”

The lifelong Republican-leaning conservative joined a pair of liberal organizations opposed to the war and supported the Democrats' call to get the United States out of Iraq.

“I appreciate those who hold to the old school of not speaking out,” said Johns, 79. “I hope they will appreciate my deeply held feelings that led to my decision to do so.”

Reaction mixed

One of those who falls into that old-school camp is Navy Vice Adm. David Richardson.

A one-time adviser to Pentagon chiefs, Richardson, who retired in 1972, said that while retired generals are “entirely within their rights under the First Amendment,” he was quite surprised to see so many speaking out against the Iraq war.

“They may sound off as they please, but I don't approve of that,” said Richardson, 93, who served in World War II, Korea, and commanded an aircraft-carrier task force during the Vietnam War. He now lives in North Park and remains active in military circles.

“When we are at war, voices that may give aid and comfort to the enemy can cost American blood,” Richardson said. “I would not want what I said to in any way affect our troops' morale and effectiveness.”

Gard, who retired from the military in 1981, displayed a stoicism typical of old soldiers when asked about his decision to publicly criticize the conduct of an ongoing war.

“I did some serious soul-searching,” Gard said simply.

A West Point graduate with a doctorate in politics and government from Harvard, Gard saw combat in Korea and Vietnam.

Gard's introspection ultimately led him to conclude that patriotism means more than following orders and keeping complaints inside the military.

“When you feel the country – to its extreme detriment – is going in the wrong direction, and that your views might have some impact, you have a duty to speak out,” he said.

It may not have been that way during the Vietnam era, Gard added. “But times have changed.”

Posted by scarshapedstar | October 13, 2007 11:15 AM

Hell yes the media sucks, if it weren't for all their BS stories about WMD we wouldn't even be in Iraq.

Or is that not what you meant?

Posted by Captain Ed | October 13, 2007 11:15 AM

Sashal, thank you for the kind words. I like debate, but the immature always tries to devolve intelligent discourse to nose-thumbing. They indict themselves, but I'd rather not have them around.

Whipporwill, I posted that Sanchez blamed the entire political establishment, which obviously includes the White House. You seem to want to focus only on that portion of Sanchez' argument, which is the same cherry-picking in evidence at the Post.

Posted by essucht | October 13, 2007 11:25 AM

It has been surprising that there is so little interest in how both Iran and the Salafists expected to win in Iraq.

Neither the Shiite militias working for Iran nor the Salafists and their tribal allies have the capability to win on the battlefield.

Instead both groups have focused on winning the media war. Americans are willing to pay a very high price if they think they can win - look at Grant's campaign or Iwo Jima, but kill the morale on the homefront and you kill America's ability to fight. This is the lesson Giap taught the world.

The simple fact is that the Islamists can not win this war without the help of the MSM, a fact the MSM is well aware of. It is not so much that the MSM wants the Islamists to win - they specifically want Bush to lose - but they are willing to sacrifice any number of Americans and Iraqis to achieve that goal.

Unfortunately, Bush came to office with his uniter schtick and has rarely risen above it to deal with what the MSM has attempted to do to this country and our military.

Posted by Jeff from Mpls | October 13, 2007 11:28 AM

scarshapedstar, are you calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a liar?

When asked if she was a dupe, as most other democrats admitted to being, she said no, she investigated the WMD issue using her own intelligence contacts in Washington.

It's an important question for you and your ilk, scarshapedstar. If Mrs. Clinton gets elected, should she be immediately impeached for treason?

Posted by whippoorwill | October 13, 2007 11:29 AM

"Whipporwill, I posted that Sanchez blamed the entire political establishment, which obviously includes the White House. You seem to want to focus only on that portion of Sanchez' argument, which is the same cherry-picking in evidence at the Post."

And I say that what the media has printed about Iraq and what Democrats have said about Iraqi is 99 percent irrelevant. The near totality of responsibility lies squarely within the Oval Office and the White House, which to a degree involves the Pentagon. Any efforts by anyone to change this proportionality is in fact practicing "obfuscation".

Posted by onlineanalyst | October 13, 2007 11:30 AM

To continue your point, Colonel_Prop: Talk radio with its wide audience reaches those who do not have Internet access or follow the blogs for "the rest of the story," the part that is selectively omitted by the mainstream news outlets.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Quinn and Rose, as well as others on the air waves, often share the threads by bloggers such as Captain Ed or the links that such bloggers post. Talk radio and blogs open up more access to the public so that the public can make more informed decisions.

When "journalists" determine how the narrative of events should be recorded as they predetermine the thrust of the story and the facts that they emphasize or omit, they too often serve as dupes for an enemy in their war reporting. Too often we have seen ME propaganda and enemy psy-ops coming from our journalism sources, which both demoralize our troops and jeopardize/prolong their mission. Unfortunately for too many, our media have quite a bit of blood muddying the ink on their hands.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 11:34 AM

RE: Tom Shipley (ctober 13, 2007 10:59 AM)

The best thing that could have happened for this country would have been for Bush to lose the 2004 election so we could have started a new course in Iraq. Unfortunately, the Dems didn't put a strong enough candidate out there for that, and now we're basically stuck until 2009. Change will occur then.

And why didn't the Dems put a strong enough candidate out for that? Because such a hypothetical candidate would've been creamed and the Democrat leadership knew it. Democrats claimed to have a mandate from the electorate to "cut-and-run" or redeploy to Okinawa yet have never presented the legislation to cut funding. The single, most powerful tool they have/had to change the course they are (still) unwilling to use. There was and is no mandate for such action even though such a proposition has been so fervently advocated as the only reasonable salve for the Iraq wound. This exposes the entire Democrat leadership position WRT Iraq/WOT as one of callous, measured partisanship. It has been repeatedly enjoined by legacy media and more of the electorate recognizes the political machinations for what they are.

What's more, the Democrats, who should be in an even stronger position because of their '06 gains, cannot even get their likely Presidential nominee to commit to removing troops via the mandate before 2013!

The Democrats, with MSM journalists' reinforcement, have spent years trying to pin a failure in Iraq on this administration, even to the point of undermining the American military, and are finding themselves losing the single most vital weapon they thought they had. Bush didn't cave to their pressure, wisely, and evacuate prematurely. Such an action would have been bad politics for the GOP and catastrophic to the ME. The Democrat leadership must now backtrack from its failed political strategy without agitating its moonbat base and their campaign monies. I guess a mandate isn't what it used to be. I know the Democrats certainly aren't.

Posted by Chef Mojo | October 13, 2007 11:35 AM

Sashal, what's your point? Of course, they're good soldiers and sailors all. I just happen to disagree with them.

In the case of the Iraq war, perhaps you should look to the dog that isn't barking; namely the vast majority of active and retired flag officers who support our efforts in Iraq.

That is not to say that the voices of a vocal and honorable minority have no validity. Far from it. But they are a minority.

BTW, the whole "phony" this and that talking point is so last week and getting tedious. No one here is calling Sanchez a "phony general," or anything close to that. I think that fact that the left has hit a complete brick wall over the phony Rush "phony soldiers" story is driving them to stuttering insanity.

Posted by reddog | October 13, 2007 11:45 AM

Is General Sanchez one of those "Phoney Soldiers"?

OH, What do it all mean, Mr Natural?

Posted by Mike | October 13, 2007 11:46 AM

The news isn't that Sanchez is unhappy with the media or the Democrats who criticized his mission; that goes almost without saying. The news is that he blames the administration who, during his tenure, controlled both houses of Congress and was solely responsible for the strategic planning of the war for putting him in an impossible situation. I understand the impulse to try blame others for everything that's gone wrong, but it won't wash: the Bush administration had a completely free hand in waging this war. The Congress refused them nothing. Any bad decisions made were theirs alone.

One more point. Sanchez's statement:

America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos that would endanger the stability of the greater Middle East.

is in no way an endorsement of the decision to invade. He's saying that at this point, there's no quick way out, and in my humble opinion, he's right. We're going to have to spend yet more blood and treasure into the indefinite future trying to clean up the mess that's been made. This is one of the strongest arguments against going to war precipitately, with no clear understanding of what the goals are and how to achieve them. ("Because he's a really bad guy" isn't good enough.) I wish those who want to expand the war into Iran and Syria understood this.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | October 13, 2007 11:48 AM

The best thing that could have happened for this country would have been for Bush to lose the 2004 election so we could have started a new course in Iraq.

Actually, the best thing that could have happened for the country would have been for Democrats to lose the 2006 elections. We would not now be spending time fighting off the Democrat Party's efforts to meet the benchmarks al Qaeda's laid down for the new Democrat Congess.

Posted by Ken Oglesby | October 13, 2007 11:50 AM

That line about the pig reminded me of something.

Never argue with a truck driver or wrestle in the mud with a pig.
You can't win and they both love it.

And how are a truck driver and a politician alike?
Both will do anything for money,seldom know what they are talking about and both are always full of S***.

I knew there had to be more to the Sanchez story that what was I hearing from Fox "News" Radio and ABC "News".
Thanks,Captain for giving me the proper perspective.

Posted by whippoorwill | October 13, 2007 12:00 PM

Keemo says

"Of coarse this is the way you see it Tom (and fellow libs.) The MSM is comprised of approximately 90% Liberals. This is the problem in a nut shell."

Whose paychecks are signed by CoC republicans who also decide their career paths.

BTW Ed, I put little credibility in what former generals later say when they carried out orders they considered incompetent. So this is one liberal who will NOT sing the praises of Gen Sanchez on any of his complaints about Bush or any the media he obviously holds a grudge against. If he was so unhappy with his civilian leadership he was duty bound to resign and state his grievance. Something on the order of Gen Baptiste.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 13, 2007 12:04 PM

AnonymousDrivel: The Dems were not supposed to win the 2004 Presidential election, because that would have thrown a major monkey wrench into Hillary's 2008 coronation plans. After all, what would her chances be if she had to run against a Democrat incumbent President in '08? Hint: Not good.

That's why Jean-Claude Kerry never challenged Ohio in 2004.

Posted by Carol Herman | October 13, 2007 12:13 PM

Sanchez doesn't deserve a 4th star. He's one of those hires that bumped up along affirmative action lines. AND, he was in Irak when the decision-making processes broke down. Glad he was "retired." (Where horses go to the glue factory.)

What Sanchez does show ya, however, is how grumpy some of the pentagon petunias shuffle along. Not very different than Colin Powell; and his bedwetter companion, Armitage.

One thing you know, though. They have a Rolodex wheel with phone numbers into the MSM. Just in case you were wondering how these things got formed.

Bush had the perserverance to continue in Irak. And, not cut & run! Boy, has this pissed off the BDS crowd. Sort'a added fodder as fuel. But won't amount to a hill of beans.

When one of our greatest president's, Abraham Lincoln was faced with the civil war; the shape of the Union's military was god-awful! I don't think Ulysses S. Grant was even able, at first, to get a commission. He begged for one. And, he ends up heading an ILLINOIS contingent; not one from his home state of Ohio. Just because inside the beltway has always been a sewer. And, competence is usually discarded, first.

Still, IF YOU STAY IN IT LONG ENOUGH; this crap sorts out.

Oh, and another thing. I'm glad Bush didn't enrich this fool with another star! Remember, our president IS the Commander In Chief.

The long story of Irak is yet to be told. Glad Bush OWNED the stamina to stick it out.

Posted by Mike | October 13, 2007 12:25 PM

Sanchez doesn't deserve a 4th star. He's one of those hires that bumped up along affirmative action lines.

Captain Ed, will I be booted for noting how very classy that statement is?

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 12:51 PM

Thanks Colonel_Prop; dittos...

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 12:56 PM

RE: Del Dolemonte (October 13, 2007 12:04 PM)

"The Dems were not supposed to win the 2004 Presidential election, because that would have thrown a major monkey wrench into Hillary's 2008 coronation plans..."

Machiavelli reincarnate. ;)

Actually, there may well be some truth to that... at least in the Clinton-controlled political machine. As a sidenote, I wonder how well they're taking Algore's Poke-in-Bush's-Eye Prize? Carter has one. Gore has one. Clinton doesn't. A stick in their spokes? Or just in their craw?

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 1:02 PM

RE: Mike (October 13, 2007 12:25 PM)

You're equating what Carol wrote to what was written by a troll and and had to be banished... twice?

One can be acerbic without being offensive.

Posted by trifecta | October 13, 2007 1:06 PM

Aluminum tubes, curveball, mushroom clouds, etc. Critics on the right who want to ignore how much the media were stenographers for the administration before the war are being dishonest. We can argue about the coverage after the WMDs weren't found, but let's remember that you have to put everything into context of what Cheney's shop was telling the media and they were regurgitating before the war.

Remember those drone planes Saddam had that could nuke us within 45 minutes? There was a backlash from the media afterwards, eventually.

The media were lied to, sold gossip as reliable intel for a very long time before they turned. At the start of the war, they were excited to be embedded.

Posted by Tom Shipley | October 13, 2007 1:09 PM

Thanks Keemo.

Now, I actually went through and read the entire speech, and the bulk is about Iraq, not the media.

And he does in fact say:

America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos that would endanger the stability of the greater Middle East.

But shortly after he says...


Boy, does this not sound a lot like what people like Obama (and I have to say, myself on here) have been saying. "Precipitous" means quick or sudden. He's says we can't have a sudden withdrawal. But he's also seems saying we need to immediately begin lessening our presense in Iraq so Iraqis start to own their country.

Posted by Mike | October 13, 2007 1:11 PM

You're equating what Carol wrote to what was written by a troll and and had to be banished... twice?

No, I'm asking if *my* comment, which could be viewed as a personal attack against another commenter, is against the rules.

One can be acerbic without being offensive.

Agreed. I consider insulting someone for his ethnicity the latter.

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | October 13, 2007 1:16 PM

"We all know when Bush was lying about WMD in the media."

Which is itself , a lie.

Goebbles couldn't do it better.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 13, 2007 2:03 PM

After reading the speech, I find that Sanchez is doing to the administration what he claims the press did to him -- imputing motive where there is none. He imputes that the motives of the politicians on both sides are solely the retention or acquisition of power, and not out of concern for our national security, our soldiers, or the Iraqi people.

He makes no comment about the reasons for the war itself -- perhaps because the march to war was a unified one during the Clinton administration, and only became partisan after Bush actually sent us into battle.

I'm wondering what "the administration" could have done politically other than what it did -- to deny the Baathists power until we could separate the bloody-handed ones from those who weren't.

The biggest mistake was standing down the Iraqi army, thus creating a class of private citizen whose only skill was gunmanship. But, given that the Iraqi army was headed by committed Baathists, what was the alternative there as well? Sanchez seems to think there was an alternative, but he doesn't offer it.

Well, in my humble opinion, there really wasn't, given our own national experience following the Civil War; in most cases where the ex-Confederates regained power, the return of the previous status quo (of blacks as a servant class) was enforced. That's why we had over 100 years of failed attempts to give the blacks the civil rights they were owed, rather than the twenty years or so of success which would have prevailed had the Radical Republican plan of government enforcement of "one citizen, one vote" been completed.

Were Sanchez a Union General administering the South at the end of the Civil War, would he have permitted the officials of the Confederacy to continue to exercise their offices, given their deep antipathy to the civil rights of the blacks?

How about the Confederate Army? Would he have permitted the butternuts to keep their guns and formations?

Sanchez' "whining" is that of a dutiful foot soldier's opinion of his officers; they never quite understand the job at hand, and tend to issue bad orders which hurt the soldier.

Sanchez does not offer any plan to the administration to correct the mistakes he claims they made, but he does offer to the Democrats and the MSM a quite specific cure for the mistakes he claims they've made, which he obviously thinks have caused the loss of American lives: Quitcherbitchin!

I think that says it all.

Posted by Conrad | October 13, 2007 2:07 PM

"Oh, and another thing I'm glad Bush didn't enrich this fool with another star! Remember, our president IS the Commander In Chief."

Seriously, do you really take comfort in that statement? Who really is the fool here?

Posted by Keemo | October 13, 2007 2:13 PM


I couldn't agree more. Help the Iraqi's get to the point where they can protect and develop their young democracy; including what ever it takes to prevent them from dragging their feet. I have read General Sanchez's speech in it's entirety twice, and I agree with the entire speech.

What I don't agree with, is having media outlets cherry pick (cut & paste) portions of the speech in an obvious effort to distort the Generals true meaning of his words. That is pure bullshit agenda driven reporting. Give people "from all sides of the topic" the truth, and let people like you and I debate the topic from a solid foundation of facts. Why do these media people find it necessary to alter the truth; well, you and I both know the answer to that. These media maggots don't do us any favors, that is for sure.

Posted by DrYattz | October 13, 2007 2:15 PM

I have, for years, faulted the media for failing to ask "the right questions" of our leaders as they stupidly bought the neocon agenda. I see public opinion and sentiment as the bottom line of accountability, but the only way to keep the people informed is by a free and uncompromised press, which we lacked then (and largely do now). While there were many wise voices crying foul in the rush to war, these were muted by the media, and their concerns and objections were seldom thrust upon Bush, his cronies, and the impotents in Congress.

Posted by Terrye | October 13, 2007 2:30 PM


I can remember the media talking about Saddam and his stockpiles of weapons and his ties to terrorists long before Bush came along.

As for Sanchez, I think there is some truth in what he says. But I also think he is a bitter man because he was replaced over Abu Ghraib and because Patreaus is having more success than he did. I am not sure that Sanchez is above charges of some incompetence himself.

Posted by Terrye | October 13, 2007 2:39 PM


I read years ago that U.S. Grant was heard to claim that the south had actually won the war. He said that because of the Union's problems with Reconstruction and the ultimate decision to give the South back to the same class who left the Union in the first place.

I think you are right about Sanchez, he does not really offer reasonable alternatives to the failures. And given the political atmosphere I am not sure it was ever that simple anyway.

But his advice to the political class is simple, put the needs of the people above your own.

Posted by Jeff from Mpls | October 13, 2007 2:52 PM

Again, if the Iraq mission is such an abject failure, the once-great democrat party would have no problem whatsoever cutting off funding.

If the war effort is supported by a miniscule minority of the population, the once-great democrat party would have no problem whatsoever cutting off funding.

If the libs really had the mandate they imagine they do, the once-great democrat party would have no problem whatsoever cutting off funding.

It follows that the Iraq mission is not an abject failure, that a majority of the population supports the effort, and that libs have no mandate.

Let these facts sink in, libs. I guarantee it will help you rebuild your ailing party.

Posted by Bruce Moomaw | October 13, 2007 2:58 PM

Upon actually reading the speech, it looks to me as though it consists of:

(1) Whining about the criticism he got for presiding over the Abu Ghraib fiasco.

(2) Calling for a draft, without ever quite having the nerve to explicitly use the word. (“AMERICA’S ABILITY TO SUSTAIN A FORCE LEVEL OF 150,000-PLUS IS NONEXISTENT WITHOUT DRASTIC MEASURES THAT HAVE BEEN POLITICALLY UNACCEPTABLE TO DATE.”) Now, THAT’S courage.

(3) Urging both US political parties to come together to construct a new international coalition of allies massively militarily involved in Iraq -- in some totally unspecified way, possibly by waving a Hogwarts wand.


Posted by Rich | October 13, 2007 3:17 PM

A couple of points about the Sanchez speech. I certainly agree with his comments about the media. The near total news blackout from Iraq right now simply confirms that the media, with some notable exceptions (Fox News), is far more interested in reporting only the negative.

For all of Sanchez' criticisms, he himself should not escape some blame. After all, he was the commander on the ground when things did not go well. This is not to say, however, that Sanchez was a poor general. Rather, he was the wrong guy for the job. Sanchez' forte was conventional warfare.

As for the whining of some retired general officers, I should say this. The Army spent the entire post Vietnam era training to fight the kind of war it preferred to fight, namely a conventional war, Counterinsurgency was dropped like a hot rock.

After the Soviet Union's collapse and the Gulf War, where Saddam was stupid enough to fight us on our terms, the Army continued on its merry way. It spent the 1990s thinking solely about the war it preferred to fight. Anything else was regarded as not worth the Army's attention. This kind of "we don't do windows" attitude was best exemplified by the likes of Eric Shinseki and Henry Shelton. Any time the Clinton Administration even thought about the use of special forces against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the response of Shinseki and Shelton was no, while they put forward the "idea" of sending 200,000 men, knowing it was a non starter; so nothing was done, outside of the feckless act of the random cruise missile attack, which served only to whet the appetite of our enemies.

In the post 9/11 world, we have to fight wars as they are, not as we would like them to be. This will require some conventional operations, but also more irregular and counterinsurgency operations, and even (horrors!) nation building.

Generals like Franks, Batiste, Shinseki and Sanchez were very good at conventional war, but not very useful for other situations. Others, such as David Petraeus and Marine General James Mattis, have proven able to do both. Today's situation demands that we develop more generals like Petraeus and Mattis, as opposed to one trick ponies.

Posted by MataHarley | October 13, 2007 3:50 PM

Maybe I read a different speech than many of you... Sanchez did little more than give his perspective of mistakes made over the years. And there was ample "blame" for pretty much all of us.

For what it boils down to is we are a nation at war that is not committed, as a unified nation, to the success of that war. We.. from media to politicians, from bloggers to posters... are busy sniping at each other with a distinct lack of civility.

And by our very actions, we prove Sanchez's point... that "These partisan struggles have led to political decisions that endangered the lives of our sons and daughters on the battlefield."

Indeed, with the press emphasizing failure, polls reflect America's negativity. Congress takes that negativity and makes dangerous decisions. i.e. their most recent attempt to condemn the Turkish Ottoman empire almost a 100yrs ago, and endangering peace in northern Iraq and out soldiers supply lines.

To quote Sanchez's most important moment - his suggested remedy:

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.

Unfortunately, our largest divide is between those who want success in Iraq, and those who feel Iraq's success comes secondary to our military personnel's lives. And until we can reconcile "success" vs "you're on your own now, Iraqi", it's going to be nigh on impossible to be a nation that is 100% for success in Iraq.

PS: For those that still haven't figured it out, winning or success in Iraq is a freely governed, self-sustaining nation who is a partner is world trade and terrorist intel. The same as it's always been.

Posted by red | October 13, 2007 3:58 PM

Liberal comments above clearly demonstrate that they can only hold one thought or concept in their consciousness at a time. Therefore to them in Sanchez's speech, the only concept is Bush failed.

We conservatives are able to hold several concepts at once. Thus we can acknowledge the many failures (or as student of history might call them -- struggles or reverses) of the Bush administration that Sanchez refers to. Frankly, after 4 years of pretty much the same speech (didn't John Kerry, for example call Iraq a failure during that election? seems to me...) I don't find yet another discussion of the failures that newsworthy.

AT THE SAME TIME we are appreciative that Sanchez is breaking new ground in the national discussion by looking at the failure of the entire polity.

THE MEDIA......Military professionals understand that the actual ground combat is only part of warfare. National will, industrial production, logistics all play a part. Sanchez is warning about Information Warfare in which our media has played an enormous part. The media has done nothing to help Americans understand strategy, it has presented the Iraq war as if it were a terrible metropolitan crime story. "Today on the north side of Baghdad, another terrible event.....". Does any citizen watch local news and think that local crime can be ended? This style of reporting incorporates the deliberate strategy of the jihadists. That car bomb was aimed at you Mr Television News Reporter and Mrs Sitting in the Recliner.

Anyone who thinks that the media is irrelevant to warfighting in a Democracy is clueless.

THE CONGRESS... Harry Reid "This war is Lost"....Chuck Shumer 'Progress in Anbar has nothing to do with the strategy and sacrifices of American soldiers'....Jack Murtha "They are cold blooded killers"....John Kerry 'There is no reason to terrorize families in the night'...Dick Durbin 'They are Nazi's'...."We have to get out"..."We have to get out"..."We have to get out". With a modicum of unity in our Congress backing up the vote authorizing force, the enemy would have not been as encouraged to continue. It is about will.

So sad that liberals can't process this complexity, reflecting on the tailspin our educational system is in.

Posted by onlineanalyst | October 13, 2007 4:30 PM

Another point brought up by several commenters at powerlineblog who have had Iraq-theater experience and familiarity with both Sanchez and Petraeus note that the two generals had differing strategies during the post-liberation insurgency. General Petraeus's COIN strategy has won out, moving Iraq out of a violence-filled stagnation to a more hopeful resolution.

Posted by dhunter | October 13, 2007 4:47 PM

Red , you give them too much credit I think. They process it well, it is just that they are so full of BDS that they will do anything including selling out their country to AlQeada to pin a defeat on W. and again power for the Dem party.
Then when the car bombs and suicide bombers come to their favorite malls they will blame Bush some more and beg for forgiveness rather than enlist muslims to fight the Muslim fanatics in their own midst as this brillant CIC has done.

I agree also with Rich above it seems some here would believe the CIC said we can have X number of troops and thats all, when in fact generals are hired and promoted to manage wars as are corporate executives, some do well, and some not so well.

Not so well are out (Wesley Clark) and many on Sashal's list above, on the sidelines, crying, while the doing well are on the battle field winning the war (Petraus).

As the Iraqis have shown by vote and action they prefer our help to AlQeada's. This in and of itself is a major victory in the Mid-east and will translate to same here for those who had the guts to stick by our volunteer soldiers in this battle front in the Global War On Terror.

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | October 13, 2007 5:23 PM

All the smoke is about Florida 2000.

Has been, always will be.

Posted by ck | October 13, 2007 7:55 PM

I just finished reading the speech and I do not think the main point of his remarks was the media's coverage. So why would they headline it as such?

I'm also not quite sure how you think he's calling the democrats out equally... It seems rather obvious that the state department, national defense council, and the administration as a whole are the ones where he puts most of the blame. He repeatedly referred to not having any plan as the main thing holding us back.

You could draw the conclusion that he's blaming democrats equally, but that would neglect the fact that Republicans have controlled this war from the beginning. Only recently have the democrats gained some semblance of power, and even there they have a slim margin and no executive branch support.

Sanchez clearly stated that they either need to come home or we need to get our shit together over there. So I could see how in the last 10 months (of around 45) it could be taken to mean the democrats and republicans haven't been cooperating - But that's about the extent of him blaming the democrats... yet you made it a point to put that in your post.

Sanchez stated what we've been saying for quite awhile... Military power is not the sole answer, this administration doesn't know what it's doing, and the media are too interested in their own careers.

Posted by ck | October 13, 2007 7:59 PM

dhunter said: "Red , you give them too much credit I think. They process it well, it is just that they are so full of BDS that they will do anything including selling out their country to AlQeada to pin a defeat on W. and again power for the Dem party."

If you'll remember correctly for a second... Most of the country was pro-war when it started. Most of the country started wanting our troops to come back home once they realized how incompetent this administration is acting. Sanchez said the same thing - They either need to get it together and come up with a real plan, or they need to come home.

On that note - Remember when the big republican talking point was that the dems had no plan? How many times do you have to be told that the very same people spouting off that crap actually had no legitimate plan themselves?

Posted by essucht | October 13, 2007 8:08 PM

Not so well are out (Wesley Clark) and many on Sashal's list above, on the sidelines, crying, while the doing well are on the battle field winning the war (Petraus).

It is an interesting question as to whether there might be some McClellan syndrome going on here. McClellan was the highly thought of Union commander who decided that if he couldn't win the war no Union commander could.

Putting his money where his mouth was he ran against Lincoln as the "peace" candidate in 1864.

It does amaze that even with the war drawing to a victorius end, many in the North thought that they could not win - and these were generally men of honor - not those that would sell their country out for partisan advantage.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 13, 2007 8:24 PM

Every time the media jumps happily all over a general officer coming out of the closet, I have to remind myself that today there are over 1000 living former general officers from all services still hanging around. Having a dozen or so come out against the war is a trickle in the bucket.

But, LTG Sanchez, who spoke almost completely about the role of the media, and how the media by their actions have caused difficulties in the prosecution of this war, stands out as unique.

Unless he comes out with documentary or otherwise supportable evidence that he worked assiduously to prosecute the war in a pro-active manner, adapting to changes in the enemy, changes in the battlefield, changes in the combat needs of the troops under his command, I have to take his statements with a very large dose of salt, as should any thinking person who has the faintest idea of the military operational arts.

But, the media is not the slightest bit trained or schooled or experienced in the breadth and depth of war fighting. And neither are most all members of Congress. And neither are almost all Amnericans. Having an total military force of less than 2 million out of a population of 300 million, and having a rapidly declining number of living veterans among us, we instead have a media and a too large segment of our population and our Congress willing to conduct war according to polls.

If LTG Sanchez was a vibrant commander who made decisions on the ground in response to the combat environment instead of the way he managed the war on his watch, I'd give him more credit. He managed. He did not lead. Big difference. Closing with the enemy. Destroying that enemy. Securing those battle spaces. Establishing order. Seeing to the needs of the popualtion. Involving the population. Causing the population to see their throwing in with us as their last best hope. These are the earmarks of war fighting in the asymetrical realm.

Keeping troops bottled up in large enclaves. Causing a major drain on logistics while keeping troops bottled up; allowing the enemy to dictate timing, tactics and tempo; being reactive instead of proactive...these are the largest earmarks of Sanchez's tenure as ground commander in Iraq.

From the start, the Administration, in public statements, and in meetings with military commanders, has made it clear, IF the military needs something, they will get it. If the military has to change tactics, so be it.

Before passing final judgement on LTG Sanchez, I'd like to see if he did indeed forcefully tell the Administration of his needs. From the available record, it appears he did not.

Posted by burtsb | October 13, 2007 8:41 PM

So the Wash Post Leftist reporter intentionally twists and misreports a frustrated ex General's comments to suit his and the Compost DNC agenda
and the lefties that post on this site follow suit and twist his words even more ? How pathetic ! What the heck has happen to the leftists ? There is no sense of right and wrong in the Leftist controlled media or there followers. The leftit media has told so many lies and twisted the story of Iraqi in some many ways. The key to the leftist media and there followers is to keep telling and peddling the same lies over and over again until it becomes the reality . The Wash Post leftists did the same strategy to Senator Allen. The Wash Compost should be ashamed but the left has no shame only a non stop agenda !

Posted by DvCinMW | October 13, 2007 9:01 PM

How can you fault Democrats for the "planning" of the Iraq clusterfuck. There were in no position of power in ANY branch of the government when Commander Codpiece "though through i.e was told by Cheney" what would happen.

Republicans own this war like a skunk owns stink. You can holler about where the stink is coming from, but it doesn't change reality - at all.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 9:05 PM

Irony writ large.

General Sanchez begins, as in headlines, a speech excoriating the media for the first eight minutes of a twenty minute speech in which he asserts bias and selectivity in reporting and almost the entire legacy media (and assorted liberal accomplices) distort, redact, or completely ignore his commentary critiquing them for distorting, redacting, or completely ignoring particular facts.

Conversely, the "Bush failure" component is treated as news. Raise your hand if you haven't heard/read about the "miserable failure (in Iraq)" on every day in the past year from the liberal MSM. (But I repeat myself.) Now raise your hand if you've heard/read a more direct and public chastisement of the institution tasked with covering that "miserable failure" during the same timeframe. If your hand is still raised, you're probably a serial a liar.

And we're supposed to trust or respect the MSM? Even FOXNews on cable has managed to ignore the Sanchez chastisement in its coverage so far while still covering the legal circus around Anna Nicole Smith's death. Simply amazing. Webster has a new, accompanying poster child for the definition of irony. And for disingenuity.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | October 13, 2007 9:10 PM

Oops. "a serial <strike>a</strike> liar"

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 13, 2007 9:38 PM

So, at that point where Iraq stands alone, and the jihadis of all stripes are expelled or expired, and jihadis across the globe are piled high and dead...and the rest of the world can finally breathe safe and free without risk of some suicide bomber interupting their afternoon shopping, when UBL's head is paraded around like Gordon Pasha in Khartoum, then will you and all the rest on the Left stand back, way way back, and not interfer with our celebrations? And, you will not raise a single mutter about anything about OUR winning that war?

I doubt it.

The Dems who have already declared this war "lost" will be in the front of the line glad-handing the returning men and women who carried the brunt of this war, and acting like it was their idea all along. I'll put money on it.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 13, 2007 10:43 PM

coldwarrior 415 says:

"Every time the media jumps happily all over a general officer coming out of the closet, I have to remind myself that today there are over 1000 living former general officers from all services still hanging around. Having a dozen or so come out against the war is a trickle in the bucket."

Actually, in an article at the far-right Slate site, the number of former/retired general officers was cited as MUCH higher-Slate said there were about 4700 of them. That would reduce the trickle of dissenters to a drip.

Posted by Snooper | October 14, 2007 1:18 AM

I have the entire speech posted at my place.

Posted by Magic Dog | October 14, 2007 2:27 AM

Sanchez is pissed that the news media reported the torture at Abu Ghraib. Too bad. Oh, and if he was so upset with Bush, why did he take this long to say so? What a joke he is.

Posted by OmegaPaladin | October 14, 2007 4:37 AM

A few notes to the left-wing comment swarm here:

1) Everyone knows Sanchez was a actual general with service to our country. Some may disagree with him or feel that he should have considered his own role in the problem he is describing, but NONE I repeat NONE of the blogs I have read allege that he is a phony soldier. You have a problem with Rush, talk with Rush - conservatives aren't some kind of hivemind in perfect lockstep. (If anything, we have more diverse opinions than you on the left.) Tis article wasn't even arguing against Sanchez, yet you bring up the scandal which has nothing to do with this case.

2) The post is critical of the media, not Sanchez. Thus, it does not discuss his attacks on Bush. Sanchez went to a reporters conference and spent much of his speech lambasting the media. That is part of the important context that so often gets lost. He attacked everybody in the political establishment, including Bush. The media focused only on the Bush bashing. If the White House cited the speech to attack the media or Democrats, without mentioning how they got slammed, it would be the same. The media swept criticism of itself under the rug. Isn't that what left wing people trash Bush for? (among countless other things)

Posted by burtsb | October 14, 2007 8:31 AM

The Leftist Media like the Wash Compost or the NY Slimes or NBC, ANC, CNN and the Dems leaders have aligned themselves with the Terrorists because the real enemy is Bush and the RNC.
The General comments had to twisted and heavily edited to keep there non stop campaign to trash the military and the Republicans in order for POWER . The Dems want contol of the all three branches of Govt in order for the terrorists , the radical left , and the socialist media outlets can reshape American into the great socialist state that bows before terrorists and terror nations ! The leaders of Syria, Iran, Fidel, and
Hugo all read off the DNC talking points in order to show there support for the Dem party !
Naturally, the leftist followers are here to keep the lies going on this website and others .
The truth is the enemy of the Dems , the leftist media ,and there allies in terrorist world
networks. Its hard to imagine but true ,the Dems and there allies in the media cheer on our enemies that want to kill our soldiers in order to gain back the White HOuse . HOw is sick and scarey is that type of mind set.

Posted by Keemo | October 14, 2007 9:17 AM

From what I can gather, from my own experience with the Liberal mindset...

Liberals hate the concept of war; hate every component; hate every dynamic of war; right down to the uniform put on display by the soldier. If I start my effort to understand how the Liberal mind works; how the Liberal mind can twist bare logic into data that they (and only they) can understand, then I have a chance of at least comprehending the fact that "I will never be capable of changing the minds and hearts of a true Liberal, no matter how much factual data I put forth during my argument."

One of my favorite bloggers (Dafydd @ biglizards) reports this story..


(taster) Surprise, it's starting to happen... and even the New York Times has sat up and taken note:

In a number of Shiite neighborhoods across Baghdad, residents are beginning to turn away from the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia they once saw as their only protector against Sunni militants. Now they resent it as a band of street thugs without ideology.

The hardening Shiite feeling in Baghdad opens an opportunity for the American military, which has long struggled against the Mahdi Army, as American commanders rely increasingly on tribes and local leaders in their prosecution of the war.

The Times does a remarkable job (for the elite media) of fairly and in unbiased fashion describing the mechanism of Shiite discontent (apologies for the long quotation):

In interviews, 10 Shiites from four neighborhoods in eastern and western Baghdad described a pattern in which militia members, looking for new sources of income, turned on Shiites....

The street militia of today bears little resemblance to the Mahdi Army of 2004, when Shiites following a cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, battled American soldiers in a burst of Shiite self-assertion. Then, fighters doubled as neighborhood helpers, bringing cooking gas and other necessities to needy families.

Now, three years later, many members have left violence behind, taking jobs in local and national government, while others have plunged into crime, dealing in cars and houses taken from dead or displaced victims of both sects.

Even the demographics have changed. Now, street fighters tend to be young teenagers from errant families, in part the result of American military success. Last fall, the military began an aggressive campaign of arresting senior commanders, leaving behind a power vacuum and directionless junior members.

“Now it’s young guys — no religion, no red lines,” said Abbas, 40, a Shiite car parts dealer in Ameen, a southern Baghdad neighborhood. Abbas’s 22-year-old cousin, Ratib, was shot in the mouth this spring after insulting Mahdi militia members.

“People hate them,” Abbas said. “They want them to disappear from their lives.”

This in of itself, is the danger behind having a "free press" that consists of 90% Liberal minds. Why are they just now reporting what the rest of us have known for several weeks (if not months)? Traitors, anti-American, cowards; or is it the phenomenon of the Liberal mind? Dr. Savage made a pretty good case of this phenomenon actually being a mental disorder, and backed it up with some pretty believable data. This is why I believe we "as Americans" need a balanced media. The Liberal mindset is one of a different world as compared to the thoughts and ideas I see in my mind. I don't understand the reporting as performed by the MSM, but yet I understand and relate to many factions of the new media. I trust myself and my own ability to reason and digest factual data. The fact that many elements of the MSM (when presented with the entire plate of facts) cherry pick the data (copy & paste) to create their own paragraphs out of the words spoken by others, is a dynamic that couples the Liberal mindset with pure and raw dishonesty. What a horrible combination this makes for; dishonesty coupled with a mental disorder of sorts.

Take a good look at this post:

Posted by DvCinMW | October 13, 2007 9:01 PM

How can you fault Democrats for the "planning" of the Iraq clusterfuck. There were in no position of power in ANY branch of the government when Commander Codpiece "though through i.e was told by Cheney" what would happen.

Republicans own this war like a skunk owns stink. You can holler about where the stink is coming from, but it doesn't change reality - at all.

How can one explain this post without thinking of those key words "mental disorder"; a total disregard for the dynamics of this war in real time.

Posted by chaos | October 14, 2007 9:59 AM

Lib arguments in this thread are typically pathetic.

First off we have the typical liberal questioning of patriotism: the repeated asking of "Is General Sanchez a 'phony soldier'?" as if anyone here had said that. For liberals, it's enough to BELIEVE that we think that. Facts aren't necessary, it's the narrative that's important.

The simple fact is that Sanchez equally damned the media, the Administration, the Democrats, and the military leadership, all four equally. He did not blame one more than the other. He blamed the hoAdministration for invading without a proper force size and counterinsurgency strategy, he blamed the military leadership for not urging a new strategy sooner and being more forceful about the invasion size, and he blamed the media and the Democrats for "turning insignificant tactical events into strategic setbacks" or whatever.

This is a war of narratives. To say that the media holds, at best, 1% responsibility for what has happened in Iraq is nonsense. The media and the Democrats have for four years done their hardest to present Iraq as a hopeless failure that the American military cannot fix; this naturally led Iraqis to turn to local militias rather than the American military to provide security. This also led the Administration to become defensive and hold on to their failed strategy - at the behest of Peter Pace and several other generals, like, oh, Ricardo Sanchez - longer than they should have.

If everyone - the media, the Democrats, the Administration, and the military - had acknowledged that they were all Americans and all had a common interest in Iraq, the new counterinsurgency strategy probably could have been developed and put into implementation years ago instead of just this June. Instead to the media and the Democrats defeat in Iraq came to mean, solely, defeat for George Bush, while for the Republicans Iraq became a way to bludgeon the Democrats as wimps on national security. And the military was caught in the middle with careerists like Pace in charge instead of the current crop of generals we have now, who rose up from actually commanding combat forces in Iraq and actually know what they're doing.

This attitude on the part of the media, the Democrats, and the Republicans led to a situation where no one could back down, no one could compromise. The media could not abandon their narrative of a failed Iraq and has only done so very recently and very reluctantly. The Democrats could not abandon the same narrative and most of them in fact have not. The Republicans and Bush could not admit that their strategy was failing to keep violence down because they had no one to compromise with. It was an atmosphere where you - media, Democrats, Republicans - had to be 100% right and that automatically meant the other side had to be 100% wrong.

Now, behind the headlines and the ignorance of people like Tom Shipley and other libs in this thread, we are seeing a national unity - albeit fragile - among our political elite on Iraq. None of the serious candidates for president from either party are talking about a withdrawal that isn't contingent on the security situation besides Obama, and Obama is toast. Six months ago the Iraqi government was sending out press releases almost daily saying how they needed more time, please don't leave just America, we need you. Now it is just the opposite: every day brings a new brag from the government about how by the end of 2008 they will be ready for US forces to largely go into the "overwatch" stage.

This is not Bush's war or the GOP's war, no matter how many times that Big Lie is repeated. A terrorist isn't going to walk into a restaurant in Manhattan and ask all the Republicans to stay and the Democrats and Ron Paul Brigade Members to leave before he blows himself up. If a Westerner is kidnapped in the Middle East and threatened with decapitation they aren't going to send a fax to the State Department asking them to find out which party he's a registered voter of. Sorry guys, Iraq is your war too whether you like it or not.

Posted by The Ace | October 14, 2007 10:10 AM

they did report on that aspect of the speech as well... "honestly"

I mean wow. How do you get to be an adult and have that level of reading comprehenion?

Reading these comments by the leftists (14 %ers no less!) is fascinating.

Posted by william | October 14, 2007 10:57 AM

Sanchez is not blaming the media for the entire situation in Iraq, he's blaming the media for exacerbating the Abu Gharaib scandal that happened on his watch.

Posted by Richard | October 14, 2007 11:10 AM

For anyone still commenting on this, Fox just had a segment on the portion of the Generals speech that had been omitted from coverage.


Posted by burtsb | October 14, 2007 12:05 PM

Dems like wars that there President need to distract the media and the public away from there
scandal ridden regime. Bill and Hillary leveled , Belgrade ( a first world city) and killed a couple of thousand civilians ( including people in a hospital ) during the Monica war . Using the left's logic it was an illegal war. Serbia never attacked us and pose no threat.And there country was much better off with that dictator is charge to keep the ethnic problems in check .
That slaughter of other minorities was really not our problem was it ?What was the Dem's exit strategy again ? Oh that's right, we are still THERE TODAY !
Funny how the Media and the Dems never brought up these issue in the 90's if there were so Anti-War ! Ha, thats a joke , it ony depends on who is in the White House !

Posted by Conrad | October 14, 2007 1:14 PM

I take General Sanchez statements seriously because he was there. Anyone who was not there that makes a criticism of his remarks is a fool.

I agree that the media has done a horrible job of reporting this war. They are into sensationalism.

I am not impressed with their harping on the extended tours of military men serving in the war. I was in the military for 7.5 years and 5.5 years of that service was spent abroad.

The media does not have a sense of the history of warfare and military compains in history. Anyone reading Tacitus and his accounts of the Roman legions extended tours of duty for years at a time know that is why after 20 years of service for our country our military men have generous retirement benefits.

I have always felt from the beginning of this war that the military was short changed by the Bush Administration and the war was indeed done on the cheap.

President Bush should have done a better job to rally the support of our nation before going into Iraq.

Having said that I believe we can still win this war if our nation comes together in unity.

Whenever anything is changed and leaves its bounds, Instantly this brings death to that which was before. LUCRETIUS

Our invasion of Iraq "right or wrong" has disrupted Iraqi society. We now have an obligation to bring security to that country before we leave.

We now have a moral obligation to secure Iraq for its people and for the security of that whole region. A call for withdrawal of our troops now is a fantasy.

I don't like the term leftist to identify the people in our country that are against this war but I will use it to address the people that are currently calling for a troop withdrawal. You people need to wake up and face reality. We got into this war not from my wishes or yours, but now that we took responsibility for going in, we need to be responsible enough to bring security to that country before we leave.

It looks like we went in with too few troops, and that miscalculation I definately put on the shoulders of President Bush. If we were going in to take out Saddam Hussein and then leave, then our troop strenth to do that job was appropriate. But we decided to set up a new government - and that, I feel, is where President Bush and his team utterly showed their incompetence. This to me is President Bush's failure to the American people.

Regardless, we need to get past this, and finish the job. And the media needs to get onboard.

Posted by Russ | October 14, 2007 7:59 PM

Regarding Gen. Sanchez' s comments about the State Department, I find it incredible that he seems to have fallen into that trap best described by the maxim, "if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail." As David Kilcullen, the brilliant Australian oficer, has noted there are more people serving in military bands than we have as foreign service officers. Nevertheless, an incredible percentage of FSOs have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have indeed "stepped up" and continue to do so. If you want to criticize the State Department, you can rightfully suggest that the Department needs more Arabic speakers or that it needs to keep its officers in their regions of specialty longer, criticisms that can also be made about the U.S. military. But what I don't hear from anyone is the simple observation that at bottom, we need more diplomats. State is far too small for what we need to do in the current GWOT. You will not hear anyone in uniform saying that because they are too worried about their own inter-service rivalries and budget squabbles to be interested in advocating on anyone else's behalf. Indeed if State was more capable of asserting itself forcefully in the bureaucratic struggles over policy, certain members of the DOD may actually find themselves taking direction from an unexpected source. That wouldn't be a bad thing, considering that it wasn't State that advocated disbanding the Iraqi military, banning Baathists from government jobs, ignoring the weapons dumps that littered the country while searching for nonexistant WMDs, creating the ineffectual CPA from scratch, or conducting the indiscriminate searches and arrests that filled Abu Ghraib beyond capacity and overwhelmed the National Guard troops entrusted with managing it. If I recall, all of this took place on Sanchez's watch.

As much as I love the debate that is taking place in the military as a result of Iraq and I wish there was as much intellectual activity taking place in diplomatic lournals and blogs, the military has to come to grips that if the US is to succeed in the "Long War," a national security structure must be built that provides the National Leadership with significantly enhanced diplomatic tools.

Posted by Clyde | October 15, 2007 1:57 AM

MSM: "Curses! And we'd have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddling bloggers!"

Funny how the MSM just plain ignored the thorough flaying of their professional ethics by the general. They were sure happy to jump all over the second part of the speech where he criticized the Bush administration, though.

Sort of like the way the pictures of 8/11 mostly disappeared down the memory hole. Too disturbing for the hoi polloi. The MSM doesn't want to strain your fragile little minds with anything other than the MSM's own political narrative. Criticism of the media will be ignored by the media. Do it too much, comrades, and you'll get the Yezhov treatment.

Posted by Clyde | October 15, 2007 1:59 AM

Crap! That should have been 9/11 rather than 8/11. PIMF.

Posted by Neo | October 15, 2007 12:47 PM

General Sanchez's nightmare isn't about the war, but rather about the nightmare of incompetent strategic leadership that includes Capitol Hill.

There has been a glaring, unfortunate, display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders. As a Japanese proverb says, “action without vision is a nightmare” 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. At times, these partisan struggles have led to political decisions that endangered the lives of our sons and daughters on the battlefield. The unmistakable message was that political power had greater priority than our national security objectives. Overcoming this strategic failure is the first step toward achieving victory in Iraq - without bipartisan cooperation we are doomed to fail. There is nothing going on today in Washington that would give us hope.

- General Sanchez

Funny how the AP made it sound different.

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