Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SANCHEZ SPEAKS....The stakes keep getting higher: Friday brought the harshest criticism we've heard yet of the Iraq war from a retired military commander:

In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration's handling of the war "incompetent" and said the result was "a nightmare with no end in sight."

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, blamed the Bush administration for a "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan" and denounced the current addition of American forces as a "desperate" move that would not achieve long-term stability.

...."There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders," he said, adding that civilian officials have been "derelict in their duties" and guilty of a "lust for power."

Between the New York Times account and the Washington Post account, it seems that Sanchez attacked (a) the Bush administration, (b) the Pentagon, (c) Congress, (d) the National Security Council, (e) the "inter-agency process," (f) the State Department, and (g) the media. I don't doubt they all deserve it, but at the same time that's a suspiciously sweeping indictment for a senior guy who says he realized the war was FUBAR the day he took command in 2003 but didn't speak out about it until now.

In any case, Sanchez promised "more to follow later" and said he would make further public statements in which he names names. Pass the popcorn.

Kevin Drum 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I think somebody (Ben and Jerry's, perhaps, who did something similar for me when a guy resigned over Bosnia back in the day) should institute a completely non-ideological reward for folks who resign in protest.

Cuz we obviously need to ENCOURAGE people to do it, instead of waiting so damned long.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 13, 2007 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I dont think generals have the ability to speak out while serving.

Posted by: Paul on October 13, 2007 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

but at the same time that's a suspiciously sweeping indictment for a senior guy who says he realized the war was FUBAR the day he took command in 2003 but didn't speak out about it until now.

I don't know-- don't you think there were a lot of people everywhere, but especially in the military, who would have criticized the Bush administration earlier, but who were fantasizing about some kind of crazy fantasies- like martial law coming down the pipes- or who were otherwise scared, like maybe they thought some Rovian goon was lurking around in their dept. where they work or something.

Posted by: Swan on October 13, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

With the people being arrested for wearing Kerry t-shirts at rallies, and all sorts of weird shit that happened all along, you can't write off the possibility that some squishes felt intimidated. There's a reason the Supreme Court (back when it was a little better) made up that doctrine about the "chilling effect" of restraints on free speech.

Posted by: Swan on October 13, 2007 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, now I can reduce him for Abu-Ghraib.

Posted by: George W on October 13, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

You'll never hear a true toadie, er Patriot, such as Gen. Richard Myers recant.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 13, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Swift Boating of Sanchez begins in 3...2...

Posted by: Gregory on October 13, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, but he's a "phony soldier".
Or he's one of Clinton's generals.
Or he's selling a Bush-hating book.
C'mon people, Rush needs help.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on October 13, 2007 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

The 12 year old kid was easy. Al Gore - just had to re-cycle their old stuff. But Rick Sanchez will require real work to discredit. But, in the minds of the wingnuts, just a reference to a "phony soldier" is enough. Wink wink nod nod - they all know the code.

Posted by: lk on October 13, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

"but at the same time that's a suspiciously sweeping indictment for a senior guy who says he realized the war was FUBAR the day he took command in 2003 but didn't speak out about it until now."

What is he supposed to do if he's in disagreement with what's going on? Is he even allowed to resign, if he feels it's necessary?

Posted by: Brian on October 13, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Kevin on this, and I don't always agree with Kevin - half of the time I think he borders a bit on the boundary between moderate and David Broderism.

In this case, while Sanchez is attacking items a - g that Kevin noted, I'd also like to hear more about the abuses that occurred during his command in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib.

Posted by: mattsmom on October 13, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like somebody forgot to somebody else a Medal of Freedom.

Posted by: walt on October 13, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

That's why it would be good to have a clearly neutral award for folks who resign in protest, given by somebody even when you DISagree with whatever it is caused 'em to resign.

True story: early in the Clinton administration, my beloved and I (well, um, she more than me) were about to have a baby. Travel restrictions kicked in at 6 months, I think, so we took one last trip with just the two of us, driving north from my parents' home in Connecticut. We had no particularly destination, so we more or less drove North until we got bored and decided to just pick a place to turn around and drive back: and we picked Ben and Jerry's. The tour was fun.

Then we got back home, where I had two weeks worth of unread newspapers. In one of 'em, there was an article about a guy who had been a rising star in the foreign service, the desk officer for Bosnia in his mid-20s, who had resigned in protest over the Bush/Clinton refusal to acknowledge it was genocide and DO something about it. In the interview, they asked this guy who had quit over principle not just a modestly lucrative job, but one with career making potential, how he and his wife were getting by. He said, okay -- 'course, we've had to cut down some, we're not buying B&J's chocolate chip cookie dough anymore.

Now -- ya gotta understand: I didn't particularly want Americans to go fight in the Balkans, though in the end I'm glad Clinton stepped up. As somebody with military age family, I wasn't sure I wanted whatever this former foreign service guy was advocating -- but I thought: he did a righteous thing. So since I had all this Ben and Jerry's propaganda in the car, I wrote a letter to the "General DoGoodnik Department" at the company, enclosed the article with the chocolate chip cookie dough quote circled, and said: whatever you think of Bosnia, somebody ougha step up for a guy like this, don't ya think?

They called me up, asked me to find his address (I don't even remember his name: if you're reading this, yeah it was me), which I did, but we never met nor even spoke. Ben and Jerry's sent him what they called an "ICBM", Ice Cream By Mail -- a CASE of chocolate chip cookie dough, cuz he did a gutsy, principled act which really cost him something.

So I'm not kidding -- somebody should institute a a non-partisan, non-ideological award for people who resign in protest.

And maybe more people would.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 13, 2007 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I also feel like being lauded for my brazen honesty and prescient hindsight. I think I'll hold a press conference announcing water is wet and the sun is hot. Don't laugh, it works for Iraq war critics.

Posted by: steve duncan on October 13, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

but at the same time that's a suspiciously sweeping indictment for a senior guy who says he realized the war was FUBAR the day he took command in 2003 but didn't speak out about it until now.

So a general that doesn't violate the Constitutionally vital tradition of jumping into politics while serving is now suspected for it.

Wonderful meme to spread around, Mr. Drum.

Maybe he should have resigned and then spoken out, but we already know the man's not a saint. He should be applauded for at least doing this much correctly.

Posted by: Boronx on October 13, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Sanchez - another case of "Powell-itis."
To little, too late, General Sanchez.
Oh, wait, can I say that? It's an off-hand insult to a General.
Can you all contribute for my bail?

PS: Sanchez: How about calling for IMPEACHMENT!!! Say the word. That may be the only thing that can save your reputation. If you're the first to use it.

Posted by: cund gulag on October 13, 2007 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting stuff and the implications are worthy of insomnia -- but shouldn't you at least be trying to sleep in with the cats.

Posted by: B on October 13, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

gregory: "Swift Boating of Sanchez begins in 3...2..."

They'll tell us that Sanchez screwed things up when he was in command, and he is trying to palm the blame of on Bush. Except that at the time the wingnuts all told us Sanchez was doing a splendid job.

I have been watching politics for half a century, and I have never seen an administration where so many ex-members have been so critical. It's maybe five times as any previous one.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on October 13, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

boronx, yes of course he should have resigned. virtually the entire general corps is supposed to be made up of people who learned the "lessons" of vietnam, and yet at the time push came to shove, not one of them had learned the "lessons" well enough to resign rather than repeat them.

from colin powell on down, they let us down, they let their troops down, and they let themselves down.

Posted by: howard on October 13, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Memo to Energy Task Force Meeting Members:

Ever feel like you were played in Pyramid Scheme whereby the ONLY company to walk out with anything useful in Iraq was maybe Hunt oil and even that contact is pretty iffy with every stupid Bushie making enemies with Turkey these days?

Bushism was one illegal, illicit, immoral con-game right after the another. The Bushies moved in to Whitehouse and started trashed everything, a mafia style group that was pure filth in it's daily practice. The cheap term that the Bush were pure polticical policy would make the term policical synonymous with the term criminal.

Republicans WILL ALWAYS BE UN-BID contracts.

It's everything the GOP is now. Lies, filth and criminal activity in exchange for the highest bidder, it's what unbid contracts were all about - the horrible government practices of Bushism. It's government via "if you got the money, than Bush and Cheney, and next GOP candidate have got the time. The Repugs should rename themselves the GOB = Government of Bribery, it is the ONLY government policy the GOP practices any more.

Posted by: Me_again on October 13, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"boronx, yes of course he should have resigned. virtually the entire general corps is supposed to be made up of people who learned the "lessons" of vietnam........"

Posted by: howard on October 13, 2007 at 10:37 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Howard, the generals didn't start this war, Bush did. As to learning the lessons of Vietnam, Bush was active military during that conflict. He and his supporters through two elections claimed he was the most deserving, most capable person to lead this nation. Implicit in those claims would be Bush's ability to learn the lessons of history, history he personally lived, and make decisions accordingly. Assign the generals any blame they've earned but if we're going to call for resignations the first one submitted should be that of the President.

Posted by: steve duncan on October 13, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

boronx, yes of course he should have resigned. virtually the entire general corps is supposed to be made up of people who learned the "lessons" of vietnam, and yet at the time push came to shove, not one of them had learned the "lessons" well enough to resign rather than repeat them.

Not to mention the fact that these so-called courageous soldiers are, in fact, too chickenshit to resign and find another job. Brave brave Sir Sanchez! Makes me feel all warm and safe inside, knowing these are the brave stalwarts defending the homeland!

If I were asked to commit perjury and fraud day in and day out for my company because not to do so might mean I have to resign and find another job, somehow I don't think that argument would wash for too many people.

Posted by: gypsy howell on October 13, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

I watched Sanchez on C Span. He was very strongly critical first of the media, then just about everyone else, but no one by name. He came across a bit odd, and while many of the criticisms may be justified (especially the media), it is a little hard to listen to a lot of criticism from the guy who was in charge at a critical time. He did have a good answer as to why he was not publicly critical while on duty -- that his responsiblity as a general is to support his superiors and the country would be harmed if military on active duty did not faithfully exercise that responsibility.

The media (and for the most part Kevin) have ignored his intense criticism of the media and have largely ignored the most important part of his speech -- the assessment of what we now need to do in Iraq. It is disheartening to again see how the media shapes the story to fit their own bias (historical criticism of Bush). This is what he said on the most important issue:

"America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos that would endanger the stability of the greater Middle East. If this occurs it would have significant adverse effects on the international community.

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."

Posted by: brian on October 13, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez took the fall for Cheney and Bushie's Gonzales endorsed torture policies - '

Sanchez took the fall for Sanchez, who retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, is vulnerable to criticism that he is shifting the ...

I suppose that to some extent - Sanchez will be labeled a "disgruntled ex-military leader".

But Bushie is on verge of saying that his "methods" of torture (face slaping, waterboarding, freezing) aren't really torture.

There are US soldiers in JAIL right NOW for doing exactly what Bush and Cheney ordered them to do - torture people - these were Bushie ideas, endorsed by Gonzales, so that the decider, the commander and chief's policies put foot soldiers in jail for Whitehouse doctrines.

It's what the Christian Right is all about really. "For if the little people must go to jail to protect saint Bush and saint Cheney - will it's what God wanted these little people to do" - the Dobson crowd hard at work, through the right hand of Bushies blessed torture policies.

Posted by: Me_again on October 13, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

General Sanchez signed off on Aub Ghraib, and Powell signed off on Iraq, so i would put Sanchez and Powell on that list, what grunts called, "chickenshit" generals! cleve

Posted by: clelve on October 13, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Sanchez:
The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure

It was the President and Rumsfeld who shouldered aside Colin Powell's State Department with all its admonitions, in the crucial days before and after the invasion. From James Fallows 'Blind Into Baghdad'

The State Department's "Future of Iraq project", (months before the invasion) produced thousands of pages of findings. The Administration will be admired in retrospect for how much knowledge it created about the challenge it was taking on. U.S. government predictions about postwar Iraq's problems have proved as accurate as the assessments of pre-war Iraq's strategic threat have proved flawed.

Jay Garner, a retired 3 star General, head of the postwar planning, or reconstruction had his office in the Pentagon not the State Department, as it had lobbied for. Rumsfeld had told Garner, 2 months before the invasion, after Garner was appointed, not to waste his time reading the volumnious State Department "Future of Iraq Project. It was Rumsfeld "We are not going to go back" who was most culpable and Bremer as head of the Coalition Provisional Auhority, reported principally to the U.S. Secretary of Defense as well.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on October 13, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, Howard, but when it comes to resigning on principle, I think 90+% of people can't bring themselves to do it.

After failing to resign and being properly criticized for it, Sanchez should not be criticized for waiting to speak until some period after retirement. We should instead praise any general who holds his tongue on political issues while serving.

I'm aiming this thought specifically at Petraeus who either decided that political success of Bush's policies is more important than success in Iraq, or that completing his mission in Iraq required bamboozling congress. Somewhere he stepped over the line.

Posted by: Boronx on October 13, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting to see everyone but Brian miss the major part of the speech that was NOT REPORTED by the Times and only indirectly referenced in the Post. "All the news that's fit to print." I guess criticism of yourself isn't fit to print.

Posted by: Mike K on October 13, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The trouble with having people "resign in protest" is we're left with nobody but bootlickers and toadies. No, wait, that's a good thing.

GWB

Posted by: thersites on October 13, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

that's a heartwarming story, theamericanist. I know I speak for many when I say: thank you, thank you for your tireless efforts to make every topic of conversation here about yourself.

Posted by: bored masses on October 13, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

The Times and Post stories are yet another example of the bias and lack of objectivity in the mainstream media. The stories focus relentlessly on, and try to shape the story to be about, the criticism of the Bush administration. The Bush administration criticism is of course newsworthy, but not to the total exclusion of the more important issue of what to do now in Iraq and the poison of partisan politics. Even the criticism of the press may be more important than hindsight criticism of the Bush administration.

The Times totally ignores the issues of what to do next, partisan politics and media criticism. The Post is only a little better, reporting the media criticism in the last paragraph of a long story (although cleverly making it appear more to be criticism about how the press treated him personally than what it actually was -- criticism of the meida coverage of the war):

"Sanchez opened by criticizing the U.S. news media, saying he was unfairly labeled "a liar" and "a torturer" because of the Abu Ghraib scandal, and he alleged that the media have lost their sense of ethics. He said that members of the media blow stories out of proportion and are unwilling to correct mistakes, and that the "media environment is doing a great disservice to the nation.""

These two supposedly best newspapers in the country are embarassingly bad, biased and self serving on this story. Anyone who thinks the mainstream media is objective is living in a dream world.

Posted by: brian on October 13, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Sanchez's speech was far-ranging, but two points deserve more emhasis than the media has given them:

1. He strongly recommends not pulling out of Iraq now.
AMERICA HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS IN IRAQ. A PRECIPITOUS WITHDRAWAL WILL UNQUESTIONABLY LEAD TO CHAOS THAT WOULD ENDANGER THE STABILITY OF THE GREATER MIDDLE EAST. IF THIS OCCURS IT WOULD HAVE SIGNIFICANT ADVERSE EFFECTS ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

2. A substantial chunk of the speech was a scathing and detailed criticism of the media. The following excerpt is only a small portion of this cricism:

This is the worst display of journalism imaginable by 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 agrandizement 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, 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.

Posted by: ex-liberal on October 13, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

what to do next

Impeach the president and vice president. Try Pentagon, National Security and State Dept. leaders for war crimes. Re-regulate media ownership. Throw out all of the bums in Congress. Destroy the military's ability to wage offensive wars to prevent the next W. Bush from doing it again.

America and the world will need more than Sanchez to accomplish needed changes to America's media and corrupt and inhuman leadership, but naming names would be a good start.

Posted by: Brojo on October 13, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- okay, Masses, so YOU tell us how you'd encourage folks to resign in protest over policies they disagree with -- when YOU might actually agree with the policy?

Cuz if you're just for folks who quit in protest when they're on your side, you won't get as many, and in the end, what yo do and say will still be the same old politics of personal destruction.

Me, I figure B&J is as good a corporate candidate for honoring this sorta thing as any. (And they can use frozen yogurt for the lactose-intolerant.) Cuz they've done it before, which is why I brought up, ya know, a REAL example.

You got a better idea, or a better example, speak up.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 13, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

We need Malkin on this story.

What kind of kitchen counters does this "General" have? How do we even know he's a general? Why does he have a mexican name? Is he here legally?

It's time for the truth!

Posted by: craigie on October 13, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I don't doubt they all deserve it

Huh? I know from your archives that you have been around these parts for the past 5 years.

Seriously, each of these entities has played a part, some larger than others. But each and everyone of them deserves to be excoriated.

Posted by: Simp on October 13, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on October 13, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

A great day for liberals! They've found an American general they can admire. And he's a "person of color"

Shut the fuck up, you blithering tool. What the fuck do you know about anything? I'm guessing what you know wouldn't top a teacup and what you don't would overflow the grand canyon. Just shut the fuck up. Psychotic nitwit. Why do you even keep posting? You know your comments are going away. You do indeed fit that definition of insanity...

[/rant]

The way I see it, Sanchez chose to stand up even though he knows the long knives are being sharpened for him. That takes a pair.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 13, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

My attitude is better late than never. I'm glad Sanchez has spoken out, and I relish his criticism of the Bush WH and the media. I'd like to think that he is among friends now.

Trust and hindsight are very complex things. People get sucked into things that in hindsight they regret. And access to power is deeply corrupting. I am confident that in 2003 Sanchez was less certain that the war was FUBAR than he is today. He isn't accustomed to defying superior authority. He may have thought he could put Iraq right; It was a honor and a career cap for him.

And he, like millions of Americans, was bamboozled by Bushco. People assumed that the POTUS knew what he was doing, gave him the benefit of the doubt, assumed he wanted what was best for the citizens of the USA, and so on. They suppressed their doubts. It didn't occur to any of them that in fact GWB and his goons were an unprincipled, right-wing authoritarian cabal whose ideas of who should own and prosper in America were radically different from what people imagined. So people got sucked in with the small stuff, and then found themselves exploited by the big lies.

In 2002, 2003, 2004, I was fascinated by the kind of hard-shelled psychic armor that so many Americans had developed over time--no reality, no data, nothing seemed to pierce their cognitive defenses. Any criticism of Bush was blocked; It simply could not be. I have been happy to watch the resistence shatter, person by person. Sanchez is just the latest in a long line to have the glamour fall from his eyes, and I will not criticize him for taking so long. Yeah, it would have been nice sooner, but the man had heavy pressure on him not to question or wonder, and he had a long way to come and more invested in not making the journey.

Posted by: PTate in MN on October 13, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK
....two points deserve more emhasis than the media has given them…He strongly recommends not pulling out of Iraq now …..A substantial chunk of the speech was a scathing and detailed criticism of the media….. ex-lax at 11:37 AM
Among the media which were unquestioning in their promulgating the Bush Administration's war mongering, you need to include not only the Washington Post and the New York Times, but also CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, CNBC as well as most print media except McClatchy, which was castigated by the right for not supporting the president. That of course is the same right which also attacks Graeme Frost and Shawn Hornbeck. The same right that includes you and people like you who engage in endless sliming of those who do not adhere to the official Party line or who dare question it.

As for his advice to remain, it's poor advice, as misguided as the lies the Bush regime told to justify their war in the first place. Throwing away more lives after lives wasted and throwing away more treasure after treasure wasted is foolish in the extreme. Rather than spend another $200 Billion on Bush's war next year, the money should be given, with apologies, to Iraq.
It's e-m-p-h-a-s-i-s
Here's the UN's Eleventh report on Iraq

Posted by: Mike on October 13, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

steve duncan, that this was bush's war doesn't obviate sanchez's duty to resign if he truly disagreed with policy.

boronx, trust me, i'm well aware that few people resign on principle, but we're talking here about generals and what are supposed to be the basic principles upon which we go to war.

and i see, through the nitwit typing of ex-liberal and mike k, that the official right-wing commentary on sanchez is: look, over there, senationalistic media. yes, you blithering fools, reportage is largely driven by sensationalism, a tendency driven by the right-wing movement in america. that said, if sanchez didn't want to be stained by abu ghraib, he didn't have to be - he could have dealt with it instead of ignoring it.

PS. notice that kevin actually does note "(g) the media" as one of sanchez' targets. the simple act of reading comprehension is so often beyond the right-wingers....

Posted by: howard on October 13, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: "Impeach the president and vice president. Try Pentagon, National Security and State Dept. leaders for war crimes. Re-regulate media ownership. Throw out all of the bums in Congress...."

yeah, I agree that these are good next steps. I would add, 1) impeach Supreme Court justices that ruled for Bush in 2000 plus Alito and Roberts; and 2) remove all Bush-era political appointments to federal lower courts and foreign service, and 3) impose a 10-year 15% penalty on the revenues of all persons who contributed to Bush's election in 2004.

Posted by: PTate in MN on October 13, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I will do the work for the nutties.



Sanchez? Hmmm.

That's what you get when you let illegal aliens join the army on the promise of citizenship.


As good as any smear they can come up with.

Posted by: gregor on October 13, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

impeach Supreme Court justices

Good idea.

Posted by: Brojo on October 13, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think somebody (Ben and Jerry's, perhaps, who did something similar for me when a guy resigned over Bosnia back in the day)

This is tangential to the issue at hand, but that State Department official was George Kenney, who later reconsidered his previous stance and said that it was a mistake to get involved in Bosnia by explicitly taking the side of the Bosnian Muslims.

Posted by: Tyro on October 13, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's funny how "precipitous withdrawal" is taken by the right wingers to mean "anywithdrawal."

And ex-liberal, whose policies in Iraq did you vote to support? Oh, that's right, you voted for Bush's policies, something that Sanchez says were totally stupid. Sanchez thinks you're an idiot for supporting them, ex-liberal.

We were right about Iraq and we were right about the fact that Bush was misguided on Iraq. You were wrong, and your opinions on the matter are not really regarded with any value.

Posted by: Tyro on October 13, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

brian,

Could you please pass on that "not correcting a story" and not apologizing for getting a story wrong to Bill O'Reilly?

I am referring to the Devlin case and his idiotic and cruel remarks about the kidnapped youth.

Not withstanding his stupidity regarding torture.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 13, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Here's how I imagine Jody and Joe sixpack reacting to Sanchez newly discovered candor.

"Just another varmint scurryin' to cover his ass."

And you know what?

They're right.

Posted by: Sanchezzzzzzzzzzzz on October 13, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Between the New York Times account and the Washington Post account, it seems that Sanchez..."

Seriously? Sanchez' comments are available on the web, here for example:

http://www.militaryreporters.org/sanchez_101207.html

Could you really not be bothered to read his actual comments and relied instead on the Times and Post to tell you what they thought you needed to hear? Did you not want your readers to see the original remarks so they could determine what it meant?

Posted by: Hacksaw on October 13, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

No, it wasn't George Kenney, it was the guy who resigned AFTER him. (Kenney resigned in '92, when Bush the First was still President.) You made me look him up -- Marshall Freeman Harris, I think.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 13, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for clarifying, theAmericanist. I forgot about him. Interestingly, now that I look it up, it seems that while Kenney was against the US moves to basically intervene on the side of the Bosnian Muslims, Harris later complained that the Clinton administration was too quick to simply force a settlement, rather than show a strong enough desire to smash the Bosnian Serbs on behalf of the Muslim-Croat federation government.

What a fascinating walk through some "where are they now?" territory.

Posted by: Tyro on October 13, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Brian and ex-liberal did either of you for one tiny moment think that maybe Sanchez is expressing what's really going on.i.e in reference to the bush administrations complete and total incompetance.
Why try to deflect what he said towards blaming the press. We all know the press pretty much sucks and needs to grow a sack.

Posted by: Gandalf on October 13, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Generals are not foreign policy experts, historians, diplomats, or politicians. If we pay too much attention to their policy prescriptions, we fall into the same trap that W claims to pursue with vigor - listening to the wrong people.

Mind you, I personally know and respect generals. I would listen to their views on Iraq policy, but I'd give much greater weight to the views of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Juan Cole, Faoud Adjami, etc.

Posted by: searp on October 13, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

denounced the current addition of American forces as a "desperate" move that would not achieve long-term stability.

That one at least is testable. On results to date, it seems to be better than anything Gen. Sanchez proposed.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on October 13, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- searp, remember the wisdom of the Little Corporal. Listening to his general staff swap stories about their expensive mistresses, Napoleon got word that an army commanded by a guy who had NOT gone to military school had defeated one of his trained and educated generals, and he snapped: "In fucking and in fighting, the AMATEURS are the good ones."

Okay, Tyro, I looked 'em all up: Marshall Freeman Harris, Richard Johnson, George Kenny and Stephen Walker resigned from the State Department over the failure to fight against genocide in Bosnia. (I don't know if somebody resigned over Rwanda -- anybody know?)

There was Peter Edelman who quit the Clinton administration over the godawful welfare reform bill. (My prime objection was the way it devalued citizenship, I forget what Edelman's principal objections were -- training, I think.) And of course Shinseki and others deserve honorable mention, but he didn't resign, exactly.

Anybody else belong on the list that Sanchez maybe should have joined?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 13, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Generals are not foreign policy experts, historians, diplomats, or politicians...

I have to respectfully disagree. Generals have to possess at least a modicum of every one of those elements, or they are lousy Generals. Especially political acumen. Generals who are not good at politicians retire as Captains.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 13, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I should have gone with "good at politics" or "adept politicians" rather than a hybrid grammatic nightmare that makes me look like an illiterate who was likely raised by badgers.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on October 13, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Gandalf: Brian and ex-liberal did either of you for one tiny moment think that maybe Sanchez is expressing what's really going on.i.e in reference to the bush administrations complete and total incompetance.
Why try to deflect what he said towards blaming the press. We all know the press pretty much sucks and needs to grow a sack.

Yes, our guys have been many mistakes in Iraq. Their mistakes, as well as their good actions, deserve lots of commentary. However, the point of my post was to focus on what Gen Sanchez actually said. Almost the whole first half of his speech excoriated the media. Media misdeeds were the #1 focus of his speech. The reports of his speech self-servingly minimized his criticism of the media.

In short, I didn't deflect what he said toward blaming the press; the press deflected what he said away from blaming the press.

Posted by: ex-liberal on October 13, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK
… Almost the whole first half of his speech excoriated the media.. …. ex-lax at 3:51 PM
The media didn't invade Iraq. The media didn't commit atrocities at abu Ghraib. The media didn't gun down innocent people, rape 14-year olds or condemn generals for incompetence. What they did was pass pro-war propaganda without fact-checking.

In light of the horror that Iraq has become, there is no good that Bush can claim.

I'm sure you would be happier in Myanmar where only your approved news is permitted and thugs take care of all dissenters.

Posted by: Mike on October 13, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal is a very smart guy.

Mike, there is nothing wrong with the press reporting that Sanchez blasted the administration. The problem is that if they think the speech is newsworthy, they ought to accurately report that: (1) the large portion of the speech that was criticism of the media; and (2) his view on the most important issue of what to do now -- stay in Iraq and try to contain the poisonous partisan politics.

If the media did not lean so heavily left, it actually could make a difference in calling out the partisans who obviously let their lust for power influence their votes/positions on the Iraq War. At the risk of over generalizing a bit, since the media is against the war, they join the partisans against the war.

Also Mike, I think Iraq is becoming less of a "horror." I read something just yesterday that Iraqis are working things out their way in a manner that should be viewed as positive, even if not in accordance with Washington DC "benchmarks."

Posted by: brian on October 13, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

"nothing wrong with the press reporting that Sanchez blasted the administration. The problem is that if they think the speech is newsworthy, they ought to accurately report that: (1) the large portion of the speech that was criticism of the media"

Man bites dog. Dog bites man. Which is news?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 13, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

American:

You cut off my number 2 about what I called the more important issue of what to do in Iraq and to try to contain the poisonous partisan politics.

I don't agree with the dog bites man analogy. I agree a former general criticizing the administration is to some extent man bites dog, but a former general/bush critic ripping the press it just as much a man bites dog story.

Posted by: brian on October 13, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Considering one of the only specific allegations Sanchez made against the media was that he thought they were too tough on former FEMA fashion god, Michael Brown, they probably did him a favor by skipping straight to the more interesting stuff about the incompetence of the Bush Administration.

Oh and also, Sanchez thought the media were too "single-minded" about Abu Ghraib. Man Bites Dog, indeed! zzzzz...

Posted by: sweaty guy on October 13, 2007 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Sanchez has been reading the lefty blogs.

Posted by: bob h on October 14, 2007 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Sweat, it just isn't particularly newsworthy that folks with public authority get pissed off about how the press covers what they do. Hell, if you had any public responsibility yourself, you'd exemplify the phenomenon with your posts -- you say 'the media SHOULD have covered the most ordinary part of the speech, cuz it was SO important....'

So, buy a newspaper company. I hear you can get the WSJ cheap, and cover the news anyway you want. But if you try life as a reporter FIRST, you're gonna learn something: how to find a lede.

Or else you're gonna find another line of work.

The latter part of your argument, that this is all SO important may be true (I think it is), but it's the former part that ensures it is not news. I've spent a lot of time on both sides of the news; the first thing you learn is how vital a lede really is. So take Sanchez' speech.

Figure for simplicity's sake that it has the four elements you mentioned: 1) an attack on the media, 2) an attack on the Bush administration, 3) a call to stay in Iraq, and 4) an end to partisanship.

The first is as common as a yawn. EVERYBODY who is in the media regularly gets pissed off about how they're treated. The only thing that might be newsworthy about it would be some contemporary angle, or an unusual tactic -- if Condi Rice mooned 'em at a press conference, THAT would be a lede. (And you all KNOW how much she wants to; she likes being the first.) Sanchez is a has-been who didn't like how his work was reported: BFD. Even if he'd cited new facts and made unprecedented arguments (he didn't), who he WAS ensures this ain't news.

The second IS news, cuz it's interesting, and what's more, it is the most extreme example so far of an unusual trend: former Bush guys who reveal how bad things really were when they were the ones making decisions. THAT is newsworthy, because it advances a contemporary story (the war), AND in its own right (generals who speak out like this are very rare).

The third is arguably a mildly interesting news story, but for one reason only: it contradicts the more interesting insight, how Bush screwed up the war. Folks post on this blog all the time how we have to stay in Iraq (hell, I say it myself, if only for a little while) without our opinions being news. What might make Sanchez' opinion that we oughta stay newsworthy is his authority: he's a general who had commanded the mission. So what makes his opinion that we oughta stay particularly newsworthy? It's exactly what you'd expect him to say. (This just in: Big Papi thinks the Red Sox should keep playing.) It's that he sez the war was screwed up from the beginning, BUT we should stay -- so all this message does is confirm (even as it contradicts) the lede. Finally,

Sanchez' fourth point is the dumbest of all, from a news point of view. He wants 'poisonous' partisanship to end, but he hasn't really said what is poisonous about it. IF he means the journalistic arsenic of Judith Miller who reported stuff that wasn't so cuz she was utterly conned and co-opted by the Bush administration, THAT would be news. (And essentially be the same message 'we screwed up the war BUT we have to see it through.')

OTOH, maybe he objects to folks who reported the truth that he's finally getting around to acknowledging -- but he wants 'em to stop.

Why would THAT be news?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 14, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Brig Gen David Grange - US Army (Ret) over at CNN, is not much different - Oh, there is that one difference because he firmly believes in giving the Surge a chance - But, he, literally, sneers at the Media and the Left. You know, the old, "If the Media and "others" would get behind the war effort.....blah, blah, blah"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 14, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration's handling of the war "incompetent" and said the result was "a nightmare with no end in sight."

Wow. I didn't know that.

Posted by: Luther on October 14, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly