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Ex-general: 'No end in sight' in Iraq

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071013/ap_on_re_mi_ea/sanchez_iraq;_ylt=Ar5NW5x37hmctsJBzm_Yp46s0NUE Ex-general: No end in sight in Iraq By STEVEN KOMAROW,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2007

      Ex-general: 'No end in sight' in Iraq

      By STEVEN KOMAROW, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 20
      minutes ago

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

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

      He called current strategies — including the
      deployment of 30,000 additional forces earlier this
      year — a "desperate attempt" to make up for years of
      misguided policies in Iraq.

      "There is no question that America is living a
      nightmare with no end in sight," Sanchez told a group
      of journalists covering military affairs.

      Sanchez avoided singling out at any specific official.
      But he did criticize the State Department, the
      National Security Council, Congress and the senior
      military leadership during what appeared to be a broad
      indictment of White House policies and a lack of
      leadership to oppose them.

      Such assessments — even by former Pentagon brass — are
      not new, but they have added resonance as debates over
      war strategy dominate the presidential campaign.

      The Bush administration didn't directly address
      Sanchez's critical views.

      "We appreciate his service to the country," said White
      House spokesman Trey Bohn. He added that as U.S.
      commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus and U.S.
      Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker have said: "There is
      more work to be done, but progress is being made in
      Iraq and that's what we're focused on now."

      Sanchez retired from the Army last year, two years
      after he completing a tumultuous year as commander of
      all U.S. forces in Iraq. As he stepped down, he called
      his career a casualty of the Abu Ghraib prison

      He was never charged with anything but he was not
      promoted in the aftermath of the prisoner abuse
      reports. He was criticized by some for not doing more
      to avoid mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

      Sanchez told the gathering that he thought he had made
      mistakes and said he didn't always fully appreciate
      the secondary affects of actions the military took.

      He did deny reports that he and then-Iraqi
      administrator L. Paul Bremer were not on speaking
      terms. He said they spoke every day.

      The retired soldier stressed that it became clear
      during his command that the mission was severely
      handicapped because the State Department and other
      agencies were not adequately contributing to a mission
      that could not be won by military force alone.

      When asked when he saw that the mission was going
      awry, he responded: "About the 15th of June 2003" —
      the day he took command.

      "There is nothing going on today in Washington that
      would give us hope" that things are going to change,
      he said.

      Sanchez went on to offer a pessimistic view on the
      current U.S. strategy against extremists will make
      lasting gains, but said a full-scale withdrawal also
      was not an option.

      "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.
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