Oct 13 2007

General Who Headed Iraq Screw Up Blames Others – Plus My Mea Culpa

Published by at 8:17 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

Mea Culpa Major Update: I have called on others to admit when they are wrong in their initial assessments and actions on stories recently. Trust me when I say I know how that can be difficult, but it is in the best interest of everybody in these national debates if, when first impressions are wrong, we admit it and move on.

So I am here to adjust my thoughts on the General Sacnhez story because it has been brought to my attention the media manipulated his claims to emphasize those comments that supported their SurrenderMedia agenda. And in doing simply proved true the claims Sanchez made about the biased and inaccurate reporting by unprofessional, overpayed ‘journalists’. Hat tip to the esteemed Ed Morrisey and Powerline for getting past the media spin and to the heart of the whole truth of the story:

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.

It seems Sanchez had some harsh words for the Surrendercrats (er, a.k.a. Democrats), and lampoons their plans to run from Iraq.

With that said I still have a big problem with the top military leader in charge during this critical time laying blame all over the place. Maybe he thought giving everyone a black eye would show he was not playing favorites. If so that is not a helpful approach either. We need to identify those who fell down in their roles. The media definitely did. They are so arrogant about world events with so little basis for that arrogance they are basically a joke. And the Democrats pandering for power to the point they would save al-Qaeda from the self destruction it is now racing towards is also high up there on the list of major screw ups in Iraq. The strategic mistakes were not so cut and dry obvious when they happened. All options were replete with pros and cons.

I am not sure anyone of them would have avoided the alliance between al-Qaeda and Sunnis or Shiite Militias and Iran. And without those disasterous decisions Iraqis would not have learned the painful lesson of how Jihad sounds good as a fantasy film, but in reality is a horrific and violent path to pain and suffering. I don’t think Iraq was going to turn around without these lessons learned in the Muslim community. So to blame Bush and others because Iraq had to go through a period of ‘awakening’ is ridiculous. Which is why I am only adjusting my issues with Sanchez, not pulling them back completely. Here is the speech so you can decide for yourselves.– end update

Seems someone is angling for Secretarty of State or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the next administration:

he U.S. mission in Iraq is a “nightmare with no end in sight” because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency – such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled.

Well, there are always judgements in war that look different in hindsight. But the fact is this whinger is the one who was in charge during that time. He had a voice at the table. Personally, he is showing all the signs of why he failed. He is turning on everyone years after the events took place in a public attempt to garner some personal gain. No wonder things fell apart so early. If this is the essence of the man leading our forces at the time makes sense.

I really cannot stand finger pointers when it was a group effort and we faced a tough challenge. But now we are on a different path and the nightmare is over. For those with an open mind ready to see what is happening on the ground today.

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “General Who Headed Iraq Screw Up Blames Others – Plus My Mea Culpa”

  1. sashal says:

    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

  2. ScrappleFace says:

    Sanchez Releases Top 10 Least Newsworthy Remarks…

    (2007-10-13) — Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who generated headlines this week by calling the Iraq war “a nightmare with no end in sight,” today released a list of the “least newsworthy remarks” from that same speech t…

  3. MataHarley says:

    Thank you for admitting you leaped to conclusions on Sanchez based on media summizations, and not his words, AJ. Admirable.

    And while I understand it’s hard to read his very widespread “blame”, may I tell you what I “heard” in his speech?

    He is placing the lack of success upon us all… negligent, irresponsible western media, partisan sniping of citizens and Congress alike, inept military planning that wasn’t corrected adequately as time marched on, plus the Congressional inability to fund and deliver what the troops need without bickering and long delays.

    By your original leap to conclusion without reading his speech, he has proven his point. The media’s irresponsible reporting doesn’t help a nation who has a ho-hum attitude about a distant war.

    But when citizens – who should know that the media has an agenda – doesn’t take advantage of reading the direct links to his words and instead takes the media headlines and summaries as “truth”, we are also to blame.

    Now the left cut and paste the juicy parts that fit their agenda. The right is on the quest to destroy his credibility and service. Again, his point is being proven as correct.

    For myself, I think most of his assessments are right on, and I take no personal ‘tude about it all. Mistakes are made in every war. But they are most definitely easier to correct when everyone is on the same page – a quest for success. And it is here that our problems lie.

    I think we would be wise to consider his formula for success… which mandates all partisan sniping for political gain must stop. This nation… elected elite and citizens… must come up with a plan for success that we can all back.

    Whether that’s possible in this environment filled with hate, dunno. But our very survival may depend upon it.

  4. kathie says:

    As Rummy once said, “we went to war with the military we had”, he meant the Generals as well. I think it is not helpful for Sanchez to be speaking out now. If he thought their were mistakes he should have used a platform that would help to correct those mistakes, like through the Joint Chiefs of Staff, war colleges etc. Using the very same media that he says sensationalizes the war for political advantage seems a bit odd for an ex-General. Certainly he has the protected right of free speech, but I’m a firm believer that speech should accomplish something for better, in his case the speech was more blather.

  5. MerlinOS2 says:

    Good for you AJ.

    The left is buying into the spin above suggested prior to my post.

    As Powerline proffers, it will be interesting to see the contortions the left will have to go through to offer up Sanchez as their latest demi god and square that with their posturing on Abu  Gharib.

    If you read their commentary it is cherry picked out of context stuff only emphasizing his criticism of some of the early tactics which is a fair point of debate in the marketplace of ideas. 

  6. MerlinOS2 says:


    He points out well the impact of the media and in many cases their pre conceived message and notions of how they wished to frame the issue.

    Abu G.  , Haditha , now black water along with questionable stringers all contribute.

    Plus there is a real need for operational security that precludes release of some information due to the impact it could have on planning for future operations and the desire to leave the bad guys blind and dumb.

    You can’t put live cameras in the war room to show all the tactical displays as the battlefield unfolds. 

  7. Terrye says:

    I think Sanchez is bitter, that much is obvious by his tone.

    I think he is blaming, but himself.

    And I also think there is some truth in much of what he says, but then again he does not and did not offer realistic alternatives to the policy in place…Patreaus did and I think that is what makes him the most bitter.

    But he is right in that the soldiers should have been jerked around by the politicians..left and right.

  8. MerlinOS2 says:

    The situation doesn’t just apply to Iraq.

    All you have to do is look at the saga of Green Helmet and the Reuters fauxtography the Al Dura film and the reporting of TNR by Scott Beauchamp.

    Disinformation by the bad guys should be an expected thing, that is why skepticism is a healthy attitude to make the buyer beware. 

  9. BarbaraS says:

    This is slightly off topic but look at the foreign affairs committee in the house’s resolution about the Armenians in WW1. Why in the world would they take such a step over an event of almost 100 years ago except to ruin the Bush administration’s relationship with the Turks and mess up the Iraq war by the back door with the Kurds. The Turkish Kurds are attacking the Turkish army from Iraq and are causing enought trouble there. Now the Turks are angry and have sent our ambassador home. This is another case of the dems and some republicans trying to run US foreign policy. This was a mistake of some magnitude and the Bush administration asked them not to do it but they did it anyway. Now concessions will have to be made to appease the Turks. Otherwise the Turks might invade Iraq to fight the Turkish Kurds on the formerly peaceful Kurdish part of Iraq.

  10. Neo says:

    I think your first mistake was believing the AP.

    General Sanchez’s nightmare isn’t about the war, but rather the 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.