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Former Iraq commander indicts Bush Administration and Iraq war: 'A nightmare with no end in sight'
Nick Langewis and Mike Aivaz
Published: Friday October 12, 2007

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"Who will demand accountability for the failure of our national political leadership involved in the management of this war? They have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty."

"In my profession these types of leaders would immediately be relieved or court martialed."

"The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat."
--Retired Lt. Gen., former Iraq commander Ricardo Sanchez

"We appreciate his service to the country. As General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker said, there's more work to be done but progress is being made in Iraq. And that's what we're focused on now."
--Kate Starr, National Security Council spokeswoman

"Simply stunning," and "an extraordinary statement from the guy who was running the war," says CNN's Anderson Cooper of indictments being made by the former commander of the Iraq occupation, as reported Friday by the Associated Press.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre suggests that Gen. Sanchez is protecting his own interests and reputation as much as he is calling out the Administration, given that Sanchez was in command after President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" declaration, when insurgency blossomed and conflict continued to escalate.

Says McIntyre on the possibility that Sanchez is working on a book: If a general's not free to speak his mind about conditions on the ground while the situation is playing out, "we're always wondering" what that person has to say after he has left his post.

"One has to wonder why he didn't say anything before this," continues McIntyre, with an allusion to three-star General Sanchez simply waiting out his time to retirement, without the prospect of earning a fourth star.

International correspondent Nic Robertson says that "private moments" with military personnel tend to reveal a sentiment that they've had unrealistic expectations and burdens hoisted upon them by politicians; been "given an impossible task to achieve."

"If he really does feel that there was a catastrophic failure," says McIntyre, "it's really incumbent on senior military officers to take that step; to speak out and step down. You lose a lot of the credibility if you wait until years afterwards to say 'Hey, in retrospect, I think we made a big mistake.'"

The following video was broadcast October 12, 2007, on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.


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