WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The general who led U.S. forces in Iraq after the invasion launched by Republican President George W. Bush spoke out for Democrats on Saturday, backing legislation aimed at withdrawing American troops.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, in the Democratic weekly radio address, acknowledged that Bush's escalation strategy this year had improved security in Iraq. But he said Iraqi political leaders had failed to make "hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country."
"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," said Sanchez, an increasingly vocal critic of what he called Bush administration policy failures in Iraq.[..]"
No matter that he was once accused by the Democrats as not having enough control of his troops, which resulted in the Abu Ghraib media scandal. The enemy of my enemy makes for strange bedfellows and all that....
Anyway, the Iraqis aren't going to make these "hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country" as long as we're babysitting them and paying the bills. The whole point of the surge was to give the Iraqi government time for reconciliation and an oil revenue sharing deal.
Okay, we're waiting....the surge has controlled the violence enough so they can concentrate on doing their part.
But they're not doing their part...nothing is being accomplished. Ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods that used to be homogenous (with Sunni, Kurd, Shia) are now separate enclaves of one group or the other... with only our stone barricades, razor wire and Army guards standing in the way of bloodshed.
Yes, the Mahdi Army is still standing down, for now, but they are still very much present ...waiting for whatever Crazy al-Sadr will tell them to do.
We can't all wait around forever. The ONLY way to make Iraq do the hard work of reconciliation and oil sharing is for them to know we're leaving. Period.
So far, they've avoided ALL the important and necessary work and compromise ...while we do all the heavy lifting and pay all the bills with blood and borrowing.
Please don't let all those precious lives lost in the last year have been for nothing while the Iraqis twiddle their thumbs and fail to accomplish what we spent so much blood and money trying to help them achieve.
Removing US Forces is the ONLY thing left to try to get them off of their asses.
And without the aforementioned reconciliation and revenue sharing deals in place, if the Iraqis refuse to 'stand up' so we can stand down, 'they' say the country will dissolve into a massive civil war as soon as we're gone.
So, that means what?....we can't leave...ever?
Will we really be there for decades? With our military stretched, and billions of dollars of gear deteriorating in the Iraq desert climate, we'd better be ready to fork over a LOT more in taxes. That is, unless we're willing to put even more of America's financial future in the hands of Communist China.
So, I'm glad that Sanchez is throwing in with the Democrats and backing legislation that will start withdrawing American troops. NOW.
If only Bush had listened to a general or two when he first got us into this mess, instead of firing them when he didn't like what they said. Everything Bush has done has been contrary to his previous statements on use of the US Military--yada yada "harms way, clear exit strategy, no nation building"...yada yada ...
Sanchez also said in the radio address that it would take at least a decade for the US Army to recover from the war's degradation and get back to military readiness.
How secure does that make you feel? Sure hope China stays content with selling us poisoned crap...