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Old 10-13-2007   #1
SWJED
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Default Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush

13 October Washington Post - Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush by Josh White.

Quote:
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who led U.S. forces in Iraq for a year after the March 2003 invasion, accused the Bush administration yesterday of going to war with a "catastrophically flawed" plan and said the United States is "living a nightmare with no end in sight."

Sanchez also bluntly criticized the current troop increase in Iraq, describing it as "a desperate attempt by the administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war."

"The administration, Congress and the entire interagency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable," Sanchez told military reporters and editors. "There has been a glaring unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders."

Sanchez lashed out specifically at the National Security Council, calling officials there negligent and incompetent, without offering details. He also blasted war policies over the past four years, which he said had stripped senior military officers of responsibility and thus thrust the armed services into an "intractable position" in Iraq.

"The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat," Sanchez said in a speech to the Military Reporters and Editors' annual conference in Crystal City. "Without bipartisan cooperation, we are destined to fail. There is nothing going on in Washington that would give us hope." ...
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Old 10-13-2007   #2
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While he was apportioning blame, it didn't seem to me Gen. Sanchez gave himself his fair share.

In the blog entry, Dave used the phrase "Custer blames Grant". I think "McClellan blames Everybody Else" is more fitiing.
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Old 10-13-2007   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
13 October Washington Post - Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush by Josh White.

I expect the next round of "pin the rose" will be for senior Bush officials to try and pin the blame on the uniformed military--a "stab in the back" thesis. I heard Feith come very close to this at AEI a few years ago. Rumsfeld may have too much backbone to go down this road himself, but I can certainly imagine Kristol, Perle and other outside war cheerleaders chiming in.

I'm still up to my elbows in all of the literature dealing with the decision to intervene. While I think I have some notion of how this policy "perfect storm" happened, what I haven't figured out is how to prevent a repeat in the future.
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Old 10-13-2007   #4
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My favorite quote on Sanchez was by Ralph Peters -

"A deer caught in the headlights of history"
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Old 10-13-2007   #5
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Default Retired General Upgrades War to ‘Nightmare’ Status

"In related news, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said President George Bush is considering a plan to form a Retired Officer Strike Force to “take advantage of the wisdom and insight that some of our military leaders gain once they leave their jobs.”

" “The president thinks it’s a shame,” said Ms. Perino, “that we don’t get some of the best strategic analysis from our officers until they retire and hit the public speaking circuit.” "

http://www.scrappleface.com/?p=2731
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Old 10-13-2007   #6
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Default Well, one report I read said that he had

claimed his reporting date to Baghdad was the day things started downhill. Too hard on himself; that downhill trend started the day Bremer reported. Sanchez just exacerbated it...

This, after all, is the guy that waltzed a week or so late into Kosovo and then, I've been told, put out an edict that any patrols going out would be accompanied by a Field Grade Officer.

Beating up on your Intel folks and demanding more Intel is sort of a guarantee of excess. Shooters of messengers rarely realize how much damage they do to themselves and their job.

Scary. Even more scary is that he's apparently working BCTP. The Onion may be more correct than they know...
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Old 10-13-2007   #7
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Default What he said when he was in charge

In January 2004 Gen. Sanchez said, "I really believe that the only way we are going to lose here, is if we walk away from it like we did in Vietnam."
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Old 10-13-2007   #8
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I've said it before, but it seems like generals are more willing to sacrifice their lives than their pension. I don't know why your being so hard on Sanchez. From a distance, it seem to be part of the Pentagon's culture. (Unless you're suggesting that he should keep his mouth shut, but if the public doesn't learn what mistakes were made they're going to believe that future wars will turn out like OIF and I don't see how that is good for anyone.)
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Old 10-13-2007   #9
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Default Sorry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
I've said it before, but it seems like generals are more willing to sacrifice their lives than their pension. I don't know why your being so hard on Sanchez. From a distance, it seem to be part of the Pentagon's culture. (Unless you're suggesting that he should keep his mouth shut, but if the public doesn't learn what mistakes were made they're going to believe that future wars will turn out like OIF and I don't see how that is good for anyone.)
... you learn from history - nonfiction - not from revisionist versions of history. Read Tom Ricks Fiasco - for a primer. Ricks nailed what happened for a book on 'recent history'. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2007   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
I'm still up to my elbows in all of the literature dealing with the decision to intervene. While I think I have some notion of how this policy "perfect storm" happened, what I haven't figured out is how to prevent a repeat in the future.
Prevention steps:

1) Open dialog between civilian and military camps with no repercussions. Dialog does not defer responsibility or decision making authority, but it does confer credibility.

2) A designated team of "Devils Advocates" from both camps. Make it a freaking prior to retirement position. Somebody should be tasked with arguing the position opposite the military and civilian authority actively. Once again this doesn't defer anything but creates active credibility. But, you have to give them the same credibility.

3) Use IO resources to look at policy positions PRIOR to making them. You can spray paint a turd but it's still stinky.

4) Make the military industrial complex a non-profit industry, freeze CEO, pay and profits to no more than five times an enlisted e-9's pay grade.
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Old 10-13-2007   #11
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Default They may, probably are simply because they

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
I've said it before, but it seems like generals are more willing to sacrifice their lives than their pension. I don't know why your being so hard on Sanchez. From a distance, it seem to be part of the Pentagon's culture. (Unless you're suggesting that he should keep his mouth shut, but if the public doesn't learn what mistakes were made they're going to believe that future wars will turn out like OIF and I don't see how that is good for anyone.)
know that the system will take care of their family if they die but if they just resign in protest, their family will be out in the cold with no protection and that grand protest and resignation will make not a lick of difference -- the same system will just find another guy to do it. Plus, as I said before; their egos get in the way.

He's a target because he made a number of errors on an operational and command basis, he's just being called on them. He shouldn't keep his mouth shut, he or any of the others. It would be nice though if all were a trifle more honest.

You appear to have more faith in the desire for and retention of military knowledge on the part of the public than I have.
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Old 10-13-2007   #12
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Default First impression of General Ricardo Sanchez

My first impression of General Sanchez was when I saw him being interviewed on August 19, 2003 at the site of the UN bombing that killed Sergio de Mello.
As I recall, the general was so emotionally wrought that I thought then, "what the hell was he doing in charge?" Unfortunatly, his lattest appearence has only reinforced that opinion.
When you are the guy in charge, you have to steel yourself for the worst scenario, and always maintain control of yourself in public. I do not question General Sanchez's personal courage. I do question the process that put him in a position that turned out to be way over his level of experience or ability.

Just the single opinion of someone who saw leaders keep it together under the worst of times in VN, and those who did not.
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Old 10-13-2007   #13
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Default Some good ideas...

Quote:
Originally Posted by selil View Post
Prevention steps:

1) Open dialog between civilian and military camps with no repercussions. Dialog does not defer responsibility or decision making authority, but it does confer credibility.
Not a bad idea but two things get in the way, Goldwater-Nichols and Egos. the latter having far more impact than the former.

Quote:
2) A designated team of "Devils Advocates" from both camps. Make it a freaking prior to retirement position. Somebody should be tasked with arguing the position opposite the military and civilian authority actively. Once again this doesn't defer anything but creates active credibility. But, you have to give them the same credibility.
That has merit but again, I think egos would get in the way. Having watched it both from a distance and inside the Beltway under a bunch of Administrations, I'm pretty well convinced that a large minority or even a slight majority of senior Civilians in DoD and the Departments (much less the rest of the USG - and applicable to both appointees and career types) have a less than respectful view of the Armed Forces. They hide it well but cannot resist a trump when they're able.

Quote:
3) Use IO resources to look at policy positions PRIOR to making them. You can spray paint a turd but it's still stinky.
Probably a good idea but will it affect the final decision?

Quote:
4) Make the military industrial complex a non-profit industry, freeze CEO, pay and profits to no more than five times an enlisted e-9's pay grade.
Heh, now that I think is great...

Of course, Congress could just modify the war powers act to require a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority on initial commitment. Probably wouldn't be Constitutional but no one in DC seems to care much about that aspect of anything.
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Old 10-14-2007   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White Beating up on your Intel folks and demanding more Intel is sort of a guarantee of excess. Shooters of messengers rarely realize how much damage they do to themselves and their job.
Matches what I heard from senior officers who said the driving theme of Sanchez was number of patrols/operations and the number of detainees taken. One said it was the same as the "body count"; numbers were all.

Best

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Old 10-14-2007   #15
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The only interaction I had with him was in early January in 2004 when he visited Al Asad. My platoon was conducting vehicle services and had our engines and transmissions on the ground next to our Bradley's. He asked me how many insurgents we killed. I mentioned the fact that it was tough to move our Bradley's without the engines inside of them. He then told me that the only way to win was to kill as many insurgents as possible. It was then and there I decided LTG Sanchez was out of touch and clearly didn't get it.
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Old 10-15-2007   #16
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He then told me that the only way to win was to kill as many insurgents as possible. It was then and there I decided LTG Sanchez was out of touch and clearly didn't get it.
With all due respect to high ranking officers, the days are long gone that 'in touch' could accurately describe any of them. Although, the oblivious nature that your anecdote describes is particularly egregious, all members of upper echelons rely primarily on the reports that lower echelons send them. Therefore, the emphasis, to them, will always be on reportable information.

Gone are the days of generals leading charges, or marching at the heads of troop formations. When they do get down to the lower echelons security is so tight they can't possibly see what is going on. Not to mention that no lower level commander wants to be seen as a buffoon, and therefore will try and make things as nice as possible for the visiting brass. (Not a jab, everyone does it.) Besides, visiting the front lines gets in the way of power Point Presentations.

While it is frustrating to see that people who could have made a difference are passing blame, it is indicative of higher level problems. 1) No one seems able to crack the mold of previous thinking to try truly innovative strategies. 2) Everyone is more afraid of the 'investigative society' in which we live than the actual and immediate repercussions of their actions.
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Old 10-15-2007   #17
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Default Doing the Lynndie On His Political Demise

Abu Ghraib - he's shot himself in the foot trying to garnish any favor from the masses -he's trying to get a job if Hillary gets elected, she referenced him in a recent speech, but he was giving the ol' positive take on things when Lynndie was giving the 2 thumbs up on detainees
http://badgas.co.uk/lynndie/
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Old 10-15-2007   #18
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Default GOs "in touch"

The best theory I ever heard was that the Army (or other large organization) is a huge sphere. The senior leadership is another, much smaller sphere. They intersect almost tangentially, with most of the senior leadership outside the big sphere. At the point of intersection are those few seniors who "get it". They're worth their weight in gold, and are often targeted for elimination.
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Old 10-17-2007   #19
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http://jewishworldreview.com/1007/jkelly101607.php3

I've found the above link in a wargaming forum. Could this be true?
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Old 10-17-2007   #20
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Well, Sanchez said. I wonder if he includes FOX news as well.
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