Ex-Commander Blasts Iraq 'Nightmare'
By Robert Parry
October 12, 2007
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq for the first year of the occupation, blamed “incompetence” by President George W. Bush’s national security team for creating a “nightmare” that could last far into the future.
Sanchez, who led coalition forces from June 2003 to June 2004, used an Oct. 12 speech to a conference of Military Reporters and Editors in Arlington, Virginia, to castigate nearly everyone connected to the Iraq War, including the U.S. news media, Congress, the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon.
“There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetence in strategic leadership among our national leaders,” Sanchez said. “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.”
Sanchez’s military career ended in 2006 partly as fallout from the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal which erupted in 2004 under his command. In giving the Oct. 12 speech, Sanchez broke nearly a year of silence since he resigned from the Army, but he ducked a question about the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Here Is The Memo He Wrote Authorizing Torture: