Former top commander in Iraq calls for withdrawal.

In the Democratic Radio Address to be aired this Saturday, retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, put his support behind legislation calling for combat operations in Iraq to be over by Dec. 15, 2008. Sanchez, who has been criticized over his handling of the Abu Ghraib scandal, said that the lack of political progress has not “matched” the “courage and blood of our troops” and that there is “no evidence” that reconciliation is possible:

“The improvements in security produced by the courage and blood of our troops have not been matched by a willingness on the part of Iraqi leaders to make the hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country,” Sanchez said in remarks to be aired Saturday for the weekly Democratic radio address.

“There is no evidence that the Iraqis will choose to do so in the near future or that we have an ability to force that result,” he said.

Sanchez added that the House bill “makes the proper preparation of our deploying troops a priority and requires the type of shift in their mission that will allow their numbers to be reduced substantially.”

In October, Sanchez said that in Iraq the United States is “living a nightmare with no end in sight.”