Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wiser in Battle

Another new book, and the claims of liberal bloggers are vindicated once again.

Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story is the groundbreaking new memoir by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, former commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Sanchez describes the chaos on the Iraqi battlefield caused by the Bush administration's misguided command of the military.

NPR has an interview with Sanchez and an excerpt from his memoir:
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I watched helplessly as the Bush administration led America into a strategic blunder of historic proportions. It became painfully obvious that the executive branch of our government did not trust its military. It relied instead on a neoconservative ideology developed by men and women with little, if any, military experience. Some senior military leaders did not challenge civilian decision makers at the appropriate times, and the courageous few who did take a stand were subsequently forced out of the service.
Much like the "revelations" in Scott McClellan's book, Sanchez's revelations aren't so stunning if you've been following anything other than Fox News in the last 5 years. Here are a few of Sanchez's claims:

  • He witnessed the cynical use of war for political gains by elected officials and acquiescent military leaders.
  • Political decisions created conditions that caused unnecessary harm to our soldiers on the ground.
  • There was a complete lack of Phase IV post-­invasion planning by the administration and the military.
  • The decision to turn over sovereignty to the Iraqis in July 2004 was a decision designed to make a bad situation look good for Bush's reelection.
  • Some units were deployed without proper training.
  • Sanchez believes Abu Ghraib represents America's initial abandonment of its commitment to human rights and the Geneva Conventions—and an eventual return to reason.

How will the Bush administration react to this? Will they sadly lament that this is not the General Sanchez they knew? Call him a disgruntled general with an axe to grind? Blame the Abu Ghraib abuses on him? Accuse him of hating the troops maybe?

Critics, however, can't call this authoritative book another case of too little too late. Sanchez has been speaking out for a while.

But I don't think Bush is listening, and I don't think Bush will suddenly learn to govern for the common good. I don't think he'll start telling the truth, or stop waging unnecessary wars. I don't think he'll be wiser in battle.

Sadly, I think he wants to be seen as a madman.

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