generalities

Gen. Sanchez: Iraq policy driven by Bush reelection politics

Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition forces in Iraq in 2003-04, made headlines last fall when he described the Iraq War as having been “catastrophically flawed” from the start and called it “a nightmare with no end in sight.”

Now Sanchez is further slamming the Bush administration for gross incompetence in his new memoir, Wiser in Battle. Although he sees plenty of blame to go around, he is particularly critical of the subordination of the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis in 2004 to the demands of the presidential campaign.

Sanchez writes, “It was now crystal clear that a major success had to occur in Iraq before the presidential elections. Critical decisions affecting Iraq would be tied directly to ensuring the success of President Bush’s reelection campaign.”

In an interview on CNN, Sanchez noted that one very obvious effect of this need for a major success was that “we stopped the Fallujah attack because it would have a detrimental effect on the transfer of sovereignty. It would probably have collapsed.”

“Every American has to understand that wars are fought based on political objectives,” Sanchez explained. “What I describe in the book is that I’m fighting two different wars. I’m fighting the actual war on the ground, and I’m also fighting the war back in the United States, where the administration is attempting to get re-elected. … What I am faced with in the end is a situation where it is impossible for me to continue.”

This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast May 5, 2008.

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