Monday, November 26, 2007

Too Little, Too Late

Just a few words about General Ricardo Sanchez.

Yes, it's nice that he noticed that the war hasn't been going well. It's nice to have him actually speak up about what he thinks should happen.

I file it all under "Too Little, Too Late." The time to be courageous would have been when you were still in uniform. That is, you tell your superiors that the policies they want you to carry out and the orders they've given you are wrong and you quit on the spot. I don't know why this is so difficult--all Sanchez had to do was quit. He held on to his command, hoping for that 4th Star, and they screwed him out of it.

Sanchez needs to shuffle off to retirement and get out of the way of people who are actually speaking out. I'd rather hear from General Batiste any day.

And here is an excerpt from an an excellent article by retired USAF LTC William J. Astore:

So let me be clear: If we lose in Iraq, the American people will not be to blame. We cannot be accused of lacking a will that was never wanted or called upon to begin with. Yet the stab-in-the-back myth gains credibility precisely because so few high-level people either in government or the military are being held accountable for failures in Iraq.

In World War II, Thomas Ricks reminds us, our military relieved seventeen division commanders and four corps commanders of duty. With the possible exception of Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinski of Abu Ghraib infamy, has any senior officer been relieved for cause in Iraq? Since none apparently has, does this mean that, unlike the spineless American people, they have all performed well?

To cite just one typical case, Major General Kenneth Hunzeker served as the commanding general, Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, from October 2006 to July 2007 in Iraq. Surely, this was a tough job, especially for a man with no proficiency in Arabic. Yet, by all accounts, Iraqi police units to this day remain remarkably corrupt, militia-ridden, and undependable. Does this mean Hunzeker failed? Apparently not, since he was promoted to lieutenant general and given a coveted corps command. Interestingly, his most recent official biography fails to mention his time in Iraq leading the police assistance team. Even if Hunzeker was indeed the best man for the job, what kind of progress could have been possible in a ten-month tour of duty? By the time Hunzeker learned a few painful lessons, he was already jetting to Germany and command of V Corps.

The kind of fate that awaited MG Hunzeker is what Sanchez figured was in the cards for him--a 4th Star and a nice post somewhere. When the Bush Administration abandoned him, he decided to find his courage to speak out.

Interestingly, Batiste is linked to Hunzeker, Petraeus and Sanchez. But where was the promotion and cushy job for Batiste? Did they offer it to him? Did he turn it down? Hunzeker was the one who took over the 1st Infantry Division from MG Batiste in a ceremony presided over by LTG Sanchez. Go figure.

And, I thought General Petraeus was responsible for training Iraqi police, a job which later went to...get ready for it...MG Hunzeker.

See how all of this relates to itself?

Given that the Iraqi police are incompetent, can't protect their citizens, and have been infiltrated by insurgents, why are we promoting two of the men who were directly responsible for using US resources to train them and equip them? Has anyone found all of that missing gear yet?

This is how we do things now--if you're an incomptent General, and you disagree with the Bush administration (Sanchez), then you get nothing.

If you're an incompetent General who fails in his primary mission to train Iraqi police (Petraeus and Hunzeker), you get promoted and handed more responsibility.

Who know when Petraeus and Hunzeker are going to announce their candidacy for President and Vice President?

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