Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez resents being forced out:
(CBS/AP) Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who served a tumultuous year as commander of all U.S. forces in Iraq, retired from the Army on Wednesday, calling his career a casualty of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
He pointed to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal as the key reason for his departure.
He said for a story in The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, “that’s the key reason, the sole reason, that I was forced to retire. I was essentially not offered another position in either a three-star or four-star command.”
He had been a candidate to become the next commander of U.S. Southern Command. But he was passed over after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal exploded into an international controversy.
Sanchez has not been accused of any misconduct but has been criticized by some for not doing more to avoid mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.
I mean, so what if under Sanchez’s watch, innocent Iraqi civilians were rounded up, sexually assaulted, and tortured?
Following is a good comment I came across on a Democratic Underground bb:
[Sanchez] was the commander immediately responsible for a long campaign of raids into Sunni towns and villages that swept military aged males, in an nearly indiscriminate fashion, into the interrogation system, including the mass detention of Sunnis in Abu Ghraib. Thousands of men and boys were arrested, humiliated and herded into Abu Ghraib for interrogation without any evidence that they were part of the insurgency. There in Saddam’s old torture palace, Iraqi men learned to hate Americans and mixed with already committed Sunni insurgents–becoming radicalized by them. Petty criminals, innocent bystanders and ticked off Arabs who merely threw flip flops at American tanks mixed with dead-ender Ba’athists and Iraqi soldiers who knew how to make IEDs. As with such prisons in the past (see the film Indochine for an example), Abu Ghraib under American control functioned like a factory to create and strengthen the insurgency it was supposedly being used to combat.
Even if Dirty Sanchez didn’t order torture himself, his approach to “pacifying” Sunni areas with mass roundups of village men for interrogation makes him responsible for losing the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. In their last cynical throes the Republicans are going around asking critics if they “want America to win in Iraq.” If there ever was any chance for America to “win in Iraq”–to achieve our stated political objectives of replacing Saddam’s dictatorship with a pluralist democratic republic–the typically Republican, sadistic, authoritarian tactics of General Sanchez totally destroyed those chances in the first year of our occupation there.