Sanchez on Iraq
The Drudge Report runs this description of retired General Sanchez's interview with the Stars and Stripes. But if you read the article, this is what Sanchez says:
There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight. From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize the political, economic and military power.
The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable. ...
Even now, the U.S. government has yet to launch a concerted effort to come up with a strategy to win in Iraq, Sanchez said. Such a strategy should involve political reconciliation among Iraqis, building up the Iraqi security forces and getting Iraq’s regional partners.
The gist of Sanchez's remarks is that there has been a strategic failure of execution at a national level in Iraq. One which "failed to employ and synchronize the political, economic and military power ... The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure".
The State Department? The Congress? The Administration? The "entire inter-agency" structure? Yes, those are the culprits. Not even the press escapes criticism.
Abu Ghraib was a sore subject Friday for Sanchez, who lambasted the media for using phrases like "dictatorial and somewhat dense," "liar" and "torturer" to describe him.
"I also refused to talk to the European Stars and Stripes for the last two years of my command in Germany, for their extreme bias and single-minded focus on Abu Ghraib," he said.
It's not clear whether the "dictatorial ... dense ... liar [and] torturer" will suddenly make a credible critic, but Sanchez doesn't -- from the article at least -- express dissatisfaction with the goals of OIF, simply with the execution.
My own opinion, which I've expressed very frequently on this site, is that much of War on Terror has been fought in a strategic vacuum. The Administration hasn't clearly named an enemy. It has failed to concentrate all the sources of national power. And the Democrats seem to have no strategy at all, nor do they even feel obliged to consider one. Ross Douthat at the Atlantic, for example rejected Max Boot's challenge to provide a better strategy if they didn't like the current one. And much of the press seems equally perverse, unable to get past the sound bite, an easy mark for enemy information operations, just content as Douthat seems to be content to "just say no".
And if we grant Sanchez's premise -- that nobody in American society seems interested in beating the enemy, just scoring political points -- than can we grant his conclusion? That victory will be long, uncertain and excessively costly?
Maybe Charles Krauthammer's fatalistic characterization of his expectations from Washington is indicative of how victory might finally be achieved. By accident.
I could never vote for her [Hillary], but I (and others of my ideological ilk) could live with her -- precisely because she is so liberated from principle. Her liberalism, like her husband's -- flexible, disciplined, calculated, triangulated -- always leaves open the possibility that she would do the right thing for the blessedly wrong (i.e., self-interested, ambition-serving, politically expedient) reason. ...
On Iraq, for example, she talks like someone who knows she may soon be commander in chief and will need room to maneuver in order to achieve whatever success might be possible. Clinton has emphatically refused to give assurances that she would get us out of Iraq during her first term. Unlike, for example, Bill Richardson, who advocates a rout so radical that we'd leave equipment behind, she has committed herself to little more than a drawdown of forces as conditions allow.
Strategy, who cares about strategy? Political survival? Well now you're talking.