Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of coalition forces in Iraq, came forward with scathing criticism of the war in Iraq, calling it “a nightmare with no end in sight.” He focused his harsh words on the civilian leadership, claiming they cost American lives because of their “lust for power":
Sanchez, who retired in 2006, said it was his duty to obey orders and not object publicly when he was on active duty, but now that he is retired he has an obligation to speak out.
"While the politicians espouse a rhetoric designed to preserve their reputations and their political power, our soldiers die," he said.
The administration, he said, has ignored messages from field commanders that warned repeatedly that "our military alone could not achieve victory" without corresponding help from the State Department.
"Our National leadership ignored the lessons of World War Two as we entered into this war and to this day continue to believe that victory can be achieved through the application of military power alone," he said.
"From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize its political, economical and military power," he said.
Sanchez said the current strategy, which included a "surge" of troops into Iraq, was "a desperate attempt by the administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war and they have definitely not been able to communicate effectively that reality to the American people.
Sanchez also noted that Congress has failed in its job of oversight, stating, “they have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would be immediately relieved or court-martialed.” Congressional action on Iraq has come to a virtual standstill. The issue of a timetable for withdrawal has been abandoned for the time being, with the last major action happening around the passage in the House of a bill to make private contractors in Iraq subject to prosecution in US courts. The Senate is expected to take up a similar bill by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), despite White House opposition. The next major opportunity to significantly impact the war in Iraq will likely be the $190 billion funding bill, which may not come until early 2008.