Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez commanded U.S. forces during the first year of the Iraq war. In “his first interview since he retired last year,” Sanchez has said that the war in Iraq is lost, and the best outcome America can hope for is to “stave off defeat.” From his remarks after a recent speech in San Antonio:
“I think if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will — not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat,” Sanchez told the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s also kind of important for us to answer the question, ‘What is victory?’, and at this point I’m not sure America really knows what victory is.” [...]
“I am absolutely convinced that America has a crisis in leadership at this time and we’ve got to do whatever we can to help the next generation of leaders do better than we have done over the past five years,” Sanchez said, “better than what this cohort of political and military leaders have done.”
Sanchez “is the highest-ranking former military leader yet to suggest the Bush administration has fallen short in Iraq.” In April, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also said that at this stage, the war in Iraq “can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically“:
“I believe…that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week,” Reid told journalists. [...]
“I know I was the odd guy out at the White House, but I told him at least what he needed to hear … I believe the war at this stage can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically.”
At the time, the right wing viciously attacked Reid, calling him “an embarrassment” and charging that his comments were “very, very close to treason.” But since that time, other generals, in addition to Sanchez, have spoken out against the war.
Nevertheless, conservatives continue to pound the issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has threatened that if a vote of no-confidence on Alberto Gonzales is brought to the floor, he may bring an amendment on “whether the Iraq War is actually ‘lost’ as Reid has suggested.”