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LTG Sanchez: The whole story
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 13, 2007

The New York Times reports that LTG Ricardo S. Sanchez, one of the former commander's in Iraq, faults the Bush administration handling of the war as "incompetent" and "warned that the United States was “living a nightmare with no end in sight.”"

Question: does this come as a suprise to anyone? Is there anyone left out there that is claiming this war has been competently fought since the beginning? In fact, as I recall, Petraeus, et. al., have been saying that we almost lost it in 2006.

So the value of the Sanchez comments really add nothing to what has already been determined by most who have been observing the progress of this war. Where there is a difference is when Sanchez claimed "the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability."

That of course is yet to be seen. But that's not why I want to bring up the Sanchez interview. You see, as is the want of the media, it only reported what it chose to report, i.e. that which would reflect poorly on the administration.

The rest of the story involves what Sanchez had to say about the media. Excerpts [note: the original statement is issued in all caps. I've changed that to a more readable format without changing any of the content] :
Today, I will attempt to do two things - first I will give you my assessment of the military and the military and press relationship and then I will provide you some thoughts on the current sate of our war effort. As all of you know I have a wide rante of relationships and experiences with our nation's military writers and editors. There are some in your ranks who I consider to be the epitome of journalistic professionalism - Joe Galloway, Thom Shanker, Sig Christensen and John Burns immediately come to mind. They exemplify what America should demand of our journalists - tough reporting that relies on integrity, objectivity and fairness to give accurate and thorough accounts that strengthen our freedom of the press and in turn our democracy. On the other hand, unfortunately, I have issued ultimatums tosome of you for unscrupulous reporting that was solely focused on your aganda and preconceived notions of what our military had done. 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 Gharaib.

Let me review some of the descriptive phrases that have been used by some of you that have made my personal interfaces with the press corps difficult:

"Dictatorial and somewhat dense",

"Not a strategic thoughtT",

"Liar",

"Does not get it" and

"The most inexperienced LTG."

In some cases I have never even met you, yet you feel qualified to make character judgments that are communicated to the world. My experience is not unique and we can find other examples, such as the treatment of Secretary Brown during Katrina. This is the worst display of journalism imaginable to those of us that are bound by a strict value system of selfless service, honor and integrity. Almost invariably, my perception is that the sensationalistic value of these assessments is what provided the edge that you seek for self aggrandizement 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 time 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.
And that's not all he had to say by any stretch. In fact, he had more to say about the media than he had to say about the war in Iraq (but I'll leave it to you to got to the link and read it for yourself).

Now agree or disagree, that's a pretty damning indictment of the main stream media. As I see it, that is much more newsworthy than hearing that another general thinks the war was conducted incompetently. And the NY Times article's coverage? Zip. Not a mention. Not even a whisper.

The Washington Post mentions it in paragraph 17 of a 17 paragraph story. AP? Nothing.

Why is that both interesting and important?

Because with the media basically ignoring his remarks about the media they validate his point. The agenda only allowed for reporting his comments that condemned the war and the administration. The agenda wouldn't allow for criticism of the media.
 
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Comments
The fact that the Iraq fiasco is a failure is nothing new.

The fact that the Iraq failure is the result of stupid and incompetent "leaders" is also nothing new.

I’m so glad I’m not over there risking my life in a stupid war that’s already lost.



 
Written By: skillet
URL: http://
holy cr*p on a d-link router!!
(sorry, just had to replace my d-link router)

Sound the trumpets! McQ reports that the media doesn’t report on criticisms of itself.

I’m beside myself!

Where’s my laudanum?

This must be a new development though, because I remember so well when the NYT fired Jeff Gertz after he made up Whitewater, and I remember fondly the media’s self-immolation after they realized how they had trashed Al Gore in 2000.

oh, wait...
 
Written By: mario
URL: http://
Let me review some of the descriptive phrases that have been used by some of you that have made my personal interfaces with the press corps difficult:

"Dictatorial and somewhat dense",

"Not a strategic thoughtT",

"Liar",

"Does not get it" and

"The most inexperienced LTG."
I’m fairly sure that since he’s about to become the new media/left darling, he’s in for much, much better coverage.

Just remember this when they start talking about him so glowingly.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Oh, another thing.

Notice that Sanchez is basically talking about personal attacks and aspersions on individuals. I don’t see any criticisms or complaints about how the media reported on the conduct of the war.

And yet another thing,
google "Dictatorial and somewhat dense" and see how many hits you get. You can even try "Dictatorial" "somewhat dense"

Try "Not a strategic thought" also.

Not exactly phrases that were widely disseminated by the media. Actually, you can scratch out widely.

Either his quotes aren’t accurate, or, well, something else.

And if you google ricardo sanchez liar, well, you get a pretty good case that he was a liar, at least regarding Abu Garef.
 
Written By: mario
URL: http://
A nightmare with no end.

Wow. We all know the media is incompetent these days, but the big news is that those who are predicting success and improvement in Iraq don’t really have much to back them up.

Distract from the real story, blame the media, focus on the media...Iraq? Nothing to see here, move along, be quiet... It’s too obvoius, McQ.

Any ramifications for an administration whose incompetent decisions have cost tens of thousands of lives, destabilized an already barely stable region and hurt US national security in immense ways? Nah, just give them a quick "yeah, they’re incompetent" and lash out personally at every Democrat out there and focus on the media.

Stand back and reflect a bit, McQ. Try to be self-critical rather than other-critical for a change. Seriously. You’ve got a good mind, don’t use it to simply support your biases.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
wotta surprise

A search for "most inexperienced" returns el zilcho too.

So far, it looks like "liar" is the only accurate quote.
 
Written By: mario
URL: http://
Are comments/questions made by the press during press briefings going to show up from a google search?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
McQ asks:
Is there anyone left out there that is claiming this war has been competently fought since the beginning?
Has this war taken an inordinate amount of time? No.

Have we taken an inordinate number of casualties? No.

Have theory and tactics developed to meet the theory and tactics of the insurgency? Yes.

Do making mistakes in war equal incompetence? No, not necessarily.

Can the mistakes of, say, Saddam Hussein as a military planner and those of David Patraeus be distinguished one from the other? Yes.

Are the mistakes of Patraeus and his predecessors and civilian commanders distinguishable from those of Hussein and his commanders or of Zaraqawi and his lieutenants? Yes.

So, as an adaptive continuum of effort over time has the U.S. war effort in Iraq been an example of "incompetence?" Certainly not.

As far as Ricardo Sanchez is concerned, I think that he was the first guy in the soup, so to speak, and sees it from that perspective, that of his day to day encounter with incomprehensible complexities from the standpoint of a military man unprepared for the task. I take his comment in that context.

For a real nightmare, I again refer anyone interested, including General Sanchez, to the battle on Okinawa in the Pacific against the Japanese in WWII. It contained more horror in three months than we will see in Iraq if we are there another decade (without improvement), added to the four years we’ve been there so far.

Iraq is not a nightmare, it’s a military and political problem to be solved. God bless the men and women deployed there.

As for Erb and his stupid comments: get yourself a real job, you shouldn’t be within fifty miles of a university classroom.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
mario wrote:
Sound the trumpets! McQ reports that the media doesn’t report on criticisms of itself.
So then, who shall report on the media if not the media themselves? The left shrieks when intelligence agencies/the military fail to report self-critical assessments; we should be holding the media to similar standards. The media’s inherent pro-media bias is no less destructive or damaging to the truth than any other bias would be.

Scott Erb wrote:
We all know the media is incompetent these days...
As you are fond of saying, "blogoworld isn’t reality." Maybe blog readers know this, but that hardly accounts for the entire American public.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
"Notice that Sanchez is basically talking about personal attacks and aspersions on individuals. I don’t see any criticisms or complaints about how the media reported on the conduct of the war."

Read the entire speech and it will be very clear. 50% of the speech is pretty much an attack on the press corps. Oh, he mentioned like 3 journalists that were good.

It’s an interesting speech, but the second half to me says that Sanchez is a bit, uhhhh, naive, if he thought State was going to be there 110% among other things. Also, this is the guy who didn’t implement a COIN strategy very effectively, preferring large bases and sweeps.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
LOL Mario proves the point w/o even realizing it.

The quality of the trolling here has taken a serious step downwards lately
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So far, it looks like "liar" is the only accurate quote.
So he IS a liar....but Erb is quoting him lovingly already.

You lefties need to get together and decide if he’s a liar or if he’s the voice of authority.

Your narrative is messed up. Go confer and get back to us.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So, as an adaptive continuum of effort over time has the U.S. war effort in Iraq been an example of "incompetence?" Certainly not.

It’s a great example of how the great "superpower" can’t defeat a bunch of raghead savages.

 
Written By: skillet
URL: http://
The objective of Iraq was to overthrow SH and install a new govt. It happened. Maybe it could have been done more cost-effectively, quicker, easier, etc.

It seems to me that most of the objectives keep on being met, while the the actual monetary and human costs, historically speaking, are low. Sure, the Iraq govt. is weak today, but it has a chance to become stronger(as long as we don’t leave too early), and at least for the time being we have another ally in the Middle East.

Yet this is incompetence? I don’t get it. So does "incompetence" mean not perfect? Mistakes will always be made in war. Wrong decisions, bad decisions, decisions based on petty grievances, simple human error, etc.—- these are typical of any war, and just about any other complex situation you face in life.

It’s amazing what wonderful 20/20 hindsight so many pundits/experts/former mucketymucks have. Simply amazing.

 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
It seems to me that most of the objectives keep on being met, while the the actual monetary and human costs, historically speaking, are low.
No on a number of fronts: the cost will likely be over a trillion. Hardly a low cost — you’d have to compare this little intervention with major world wars to even make that argument.

Tens of thousands have been killed — and the cost in human lives includes Iraqi and American lives, as well as those killed by militias and insurgents who would not have been operating had we not invaded. Again, historically these are not low costs.

Also we’re weaker as a power, Iran is stronger, and our position in the world has diminished. That’s a cost too. This thing has been a fiasco, lives sacrificed for nothing — indeed, we’re worse off because of it. And yet some people keep hoping that if we kill and die long enough, then maybe something good will end up happening and they can declare it ’all worth while.’

Though some of us are seeing this not with hindsight, but we saw much of this coming back before 2003.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott Erb writes:
...as well as those killed by militias and insurgents who would not have been operating had we not invaded.
They would have been killed in a future conflict when Hussein eventually died/was deposed. It should be clear now that Iraq is a sort of Middle Eastern Yugoslavia. Without Tito to hold the country together it violently fragmented. So to blame civilian deaths soley on the USA is dishonest - we may have uncorked the bottle, but the results would have been the same no matter how the bottle was uncorked (which was an inevitability.) Further, Saddam Hussein’s government is now killing exactly zero Iraqis, which would have been operating if we had not invaded.
Also we’re weaker as a power, Iran is stronger, and our position in the world has diminished. That’s a cost too.
Not quite. These were also bound to happen as well, as the world adjusted in the wake of the end of the bi-polar order. With the Cold War over and the world order more fractious, US power had only one way to go - down. A unipolar world is one bound to swiftly come to an end. While opting not to invade Iraq may have preserved our standing some little while longer, our power to influence the world was declining anyhow.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
shark,

I think you think I made a point that I didn’t.

I’ve only spoken to two main topics here - one, that Sanchez’s criticism seems to be directed solely at personal attacks (and that may or may not be true - I haven’t read the whole speech)

The other point is that the things he accuses the media of saying about him seem to be missing from the media available to me. I can’t find and instance of him being called dense, inexperienced, etc.

My guess is that you think that this proves his criticism. If so, boy are you out in left field.

Either that, or I’m apparently playing some other sport.
 
Written By: mario
URL: http://
jwg,
Are comments/questions made by the press during press briefings going to show up from a google search?
um, no.

But, since he claims that these are things that the media said about him in the past, you would expect them to actually appear somewhere, in some form, doncha think? And if they don’t appear in any previous press reports, you have to wonder what, exactly, he’s talking about.

Well, you don’t have to - you can just blindly accept what he says at face value.
 
Written By: mario
URL: http://
They would have been killed in a future conflict when Hussein eventually died/was deposed.
I doubt that’s true, but who knows? Even if it were, at least we wouldn’t be the ones responsible for igniting the spark, and suffer high costs ourselves.

As for the rest of your post, I agree with it. We can’t be blamed for all the deaths, and the unipolar moment was destined to collapse relatively quickly.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No on a number of fronts: the cost will likely be over a trillion. Hardly a low cost — you’d have to compare this little intervention with major world wars to even make that argument.
Correct me if wrong, but don’t we spend more on education at the federal level than we do Iraq?
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
2008 — $56 billion for education — $200 billion for Iraq
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
come on please,
No offense, but you probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote if you think we spend more on education than on Iraq.
 
Written By: mario
URL: http://
Guess it’s way past time to give up on both the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty, then, given similar criticisms. We’ve spent similar or larger amounts and are no closer to winning. Hey, Medicare spends trillions and old people still get sick and die.

 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
Well, I guess I was wrong, and I still plan on voting. Thanks, Mario. You learn something new every day.

However, I do believe overall spending for public education (state, local and federal combined) is more than Iraq. We spend 8% of the total fed budget on education, when the Constitution calls for 0%. But why bring up the Constitution when Joe Wilson and/or FISA courts (like anyone on the left really gives a rat’s rump about any of that stuff) aren’t involved.
Total taxpayer investment in K-12 education in the United States for the 2004-05 school year is estimated to be $536 billion.


Of course, the Iraq costs will cease someday or at the very least will be sharply paired down. Either we win and draw down or we lose and draw down (though if we lose, we will incur losses not measurable in dollars and cents).

 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Link to education spending info:


http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Boris Erb writes:
No on a number of fronts: the cost will likely be over a trillion. Hardly a low cost
Sounds like a terribly big number, doesn’t it Boris? But it’s not. Over five years, roughly, a trillion dollars is less than 2% of GDP. And annual federal budget deficits have actually fallen below the 40-year average over the past five years.

You say you "teach this stuff," Boris?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
However, I do believe overall spending for public education (state, local and federal combined) is more than Iraq. We spend 8% of the total fed budget on education, when the Constitution calls for 0%.
Are you saying the Constitution prohibits spending on education?

In any event, hundreds of billions of dollars is a lot of money — it makes a difference. A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there, and you’re talking real money!

What do you mean by "losing" in Iraq, and what costs would we incur? I think declaring victory and leaving relatively soon is probably feasible and in our best interest. Do we really what want a neverending nightmare? We don’t need to be an interventionist state.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’d like a breakdown of Iraq war costs. For example, how much is for additional combat pay for troops? That’s money that goes in their pockets to spend later in America. Not exactly a waste of money.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

 
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