Ex-Iraq commander Sanchez calls war 'nightmare with no end in sight'...
with a link to "My Way News" where the headline is: Ex-General: 'No End in Sight' in Iraq and the "Stars & Stripes" with the headline: Sanchez, former U.S. commander in Iraq, calls war 'a nightmare with no end in sight'
So I was rather surprised when I went to Poweline and found this headline: A Tree Falls In the Forest with the following commentary:
If the Bush administration gets attacked, the press will report it. But what if someone attacks the press? If the attack goes unreported, did it ever really happen?
Today General Ricardo Sanchez gave a speech to the Military Reporters and Editors' annual conference, in which he criticized just about everyone associated with our effort in Iraq. The Washington Post's headline was typical: "Former Iraq Commander Faults Bush."
Actually, I don't believe Sanchez ever mentioned Bush by name, although, as I say, he was critical of just about everybody. But it would be hard to tell from press accounts of Sanchez's speech that he was mostly critical of...the press. Here is the first half of Sanchez's speech, verbatim:
[first half of speech excerpt:
UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE ISSUED ULTIMATUMS TO SOME OF YOU FOR UNSCRUPULOUS REPORTING THAT WAS SOLELY FOCUSED ON SUPPORTING YOUR AGENDA AND PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS OF WHAT OUR MILITARY HAD DONE.
I ALSO REFUSED TO TALK TO THE EUROPEAN STARS AND STRIPES FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS OF MY COMMAND IN GERMANY FOR THEIR EXTREME BIAS AND SINGLE MINDED FOCUS ON ABU GHARAIB.
LET ME REVIEW SOME OF THE DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES THAT HAVE BEEN USED BY SOME OF YOU THAT HAVE MADE MY PERSONAL INTERFACES WITH THE PRESS CORPS DIFFICULT:
"DICTATORIAL AND SOMEWHAT DENSE",
"NOT A STRATEGIC THOUGHT",
"DOES NOT GET IT" AND
THE MOST INEXPERIENCED LTG.
IN SOME CASES I HAVE NEVER EVEN MET YOU, YET YOU FEEL QUALIFIED TO MAKE CHARACTER JUDGMENTS THAT ARE COMMUNICATED TO THE WORLD.
MY EXPERIENCE IS NOT UNIQUE AND WE CAN FIND OTHER EXAMPLES SUCH AS THE TREATMENT OF SECRETARY BROWN DURING KATRINA.
THIS IS THE WORST DISPLAY OF JOURNALISM IMAGINABLE BY THOSE OF US THAT ARE BOUND BY A STRICT VALUE SYSTEM OF SELFLESS SERVICE, HONOR AND INTEGRITY.
ALMOST INVARIABLY, MY PERCEPTION IS THAT THE SENSATIONALISTIC VALUE OF THESE ASSESSMENTS IS WHAT PROVIDED THE EDGE THAT YOU SEEK FOR SELF AGRANDIZEMENT OR TO ADVANCE YOUR INDIVIDUAL QUEST FOR GETTING ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH YOUR STORIES!
AS I UNDERSTAND IT, YOUR MEASURE OF WORTH IS HOW MANY FRONT PAGE STORIES YOU HAVE WRITTEN AND UNFORTUNATELY SOME OF YOU WILL COMPROMISE YOUR INTEGRITY AND DISPLAY QUESTIONABLE ETHICS AS YOU SEEK TO KEEP AMERICA INFORMED.
THIS IS MUCH LIKE THE INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS WHOSE EFFECTIVENESS WAS MEASURED BY THE NUMBER OF INTELLIGENCE REPORTS HE PRODUCED.
FOR SOME, IT SEEMS THAT AS LONG AS YOU GET A FRONT PAGE STORY THERE IS LITTLE OR NO REGARD FOR THE "COLLATERAL DAMAGE" YOU WILL CAUSE. PERSONAL REPUTATIONS HAVE NO VALUE AND YOU REPORT WITH TOTAL IMPUNITY AND ARE RARELY HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR UNETHICAL CONDUCT.]
So, one might ask: Why did the Washington Post (and every other news outlet I have seen) not headline their story:
"Former Iraq Commander Bitterly Denounces Mainstream Media's Coverage of Iraq War"?
Or, perhaps, "Former Iraq Commander Accuses Biased, Unethical, Agenda-driven Press of 'Killing Our Servicemembers Who Are At War'"?
I guess the question answers itself. The Post has an agenda, and those headlines wouldn't have advanced it. The same is true for essentially all newspapers and other news outlets. It's quite a luxury to be able to decide whether criticisms of your own conduct ever see the light of day--a luxury the mainstream media not only enjoy, but abuse.
The entire speech can be read here.
And that's the point of the Blogosphere, isn't it? The press is now so concentrated and monolithically Liberal that it has no internal checks and balances. It is it's own watchdog and that dog has long since died.
The old MSM is also dying and slowly becoming irrelevant. Fast please.
UPDATE: Here's Ace of Spades:
The Deciders Have Decided, Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez (US Army, Ret) About to Become Darling of the Left
General Sanchez covered a lot of ground in his recent talk to military affairs reporters, from media-military relations, the political climate in the US and what that means to the fight in Iraq and what the US has to do moving forward. But it’s clear the MSM have decided to emphasize only one aspect of the General’s speech…his harsh critique of the Administration’s planning and execution of the war in Iraq. I know, it’s shocking that that’s what they have chosen to emphasize.
...But the Deciders have gone heavy on the Bush bashing angle (and let’s be honest, is anyone actually defending this administration’s handling of the war?) and the left will embrace their new hero. Of course, the MSM will ignore the fact that it was the anti-war left that was leading the charge for Gen. Sanchez’s firing since he was in command during the Abu Gahrib ‘scandal’. I am sure the KosKidz and others of that ilk will let bygones be bygones now.
So they finally get to the part where he says we have to stay (and who is reading that far down anyway?) but they team it up with the 'intractable situation' line. And I do mean team them up. If you look at the transcript those two sentences are two paragraphs apart but the AP cuts and pastes and makes up a new one out of whole cloth.
UPDATE: And finally, what report would be complete without the Virginian Pilot whose cracked staff is still clueless about the Internet, can't get the speech directly, and reprints the AP [correctio, I orginally identifed the article as a NY Times piece] version of the speech. As you can tell by comparing the actual speech with the report, the Virginian Pilot is reprinting a lie.
Pathetic doesn't cover it.
UPDATE: Dan Riehl points out the General Sanchez is saying pretty much the same thing that Don Rumsfeld did about the need for a "national" rather than a strictly "Military" effort.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks to participants of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference during a breakfast meeting at the Pentagon, Oct. 16. JCOC is a seven-day conference in which civilian community leaders travel to overseas military bases to get a better understanding of U.S. armed forces and the overall mission of the Defense Department. Photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
“There’s no way we can lose militarily, but we can’t win with the military alone,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told 45 participants in the Defense Department’s 73rd JCOC yesterday. “It will take all elements of national power.”
The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, echoed Rumsfeld’s views as he talked about U.S. operations in the Middle East. “The United States military, by itself, is not going to fix Iraq or Afghanistan,” Giambastiani said. “It will not, by itself, either win or lose, and that’s important for all of you to understand.”
Victory will require integrated, coordinated interagency and international pressure, applied over time, Navy Vice Adm. David C. Nichols Jr., deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, told the group.
Allahpundit makes some valid points about the General's criticism of the way the war was fought:
But enough of that. The amazing thing about the second half of the speech, where he takes on the war, is how vague, redundant, and unrealistic it is as a prescription for what to do now. A few choice passages:AMERICA HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS IN IRAQ… GIVEN THE LACK OF A GRAND STRATEGY WE MUST MOVE RAPIDLY TO MINIMIZE THAT FORCE PRESENCE AND ALLOW THE IRAQIS MAXIMUM ABILITY TO EXERCISE THEIR SOVERIEGNTY IN ACHIEVING A SOLUTION…
TODAY, WE CONTINUE OUR INEPT COALITION MANAGEMENT EFFORTS AND, IN FACT, WE ARE FACING EVER DECREASING TROOP COMMITMENTS BY OUR MILITARY COALITION PARTNERS. AMERICA’S “REVISED” STRATEGY DOES NOT ADDRESS COALITION INITIATIVES AND CHALLENGES. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO CONTINUE THIS STRUGGLE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF OUR COALITION PARTNERS ACROSS ALL ELEMENTS OF NATIONAL POWER. WITHOUT THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS OF POWER COMPLEMENTING THE TREMENDOUS EFFORTS OF OUR MILITARY, AMERICA IS ASSURED OF FAILURE…
OUR POLITICAL AND MILITARY LEADERS OWE THE SOLDIER ON THE BATTLEFIELD THE STRATEGY, THE POLICIES AND THE RESOURCES TO WIN ONCE COMMITTED TO WAR… AMERICA MUST MOBILIZE THE INTERAGENCY AND THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELEMENTS OF POWER, WHICH HAVE BEEN ABJECT FAILURES TO DATE, IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY. OUR NATION HAS NOT FOCUSED ON THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF OUR LIFETIME… PARTISAN POLITICS HAVE HINDERED THIS WAR EFFORT AND AMERICA SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THIS. AMERICA MUST DEMAND A UNIFIED NATIONAL STRATEGY THAT GOES WELL BEYOND PARTISAN POLITICS AND PLACES THE COMMON GOOD ABOVE ALL ELSE.
Got that? We can’t win without our allies, who are deserting us, but we must continue on to achieve victory, which is impossible because we lack a grand strategy, so we should probably start reducing troop levels and let the Iraqis take over, except that this is “the greatest challenge of our lifetime” and we owe it to our soldiers to win, which is why our leaders must come up with a plan that rises above partisanship, which is never, ever going to happen with the public trending Democratic and 60-65% already demanding withdrawal and an election a year away. It’s like saying, “Victory is within reach — if only the American people were completely different.” Thanks for the helpful advice, General.
The way this story has been handled by the press, just proves Sanchez' point.
As a follow up to my first comment, as to the reporters handling of this speech, I am reminded of a line from and old Bob Dylan song, "There are non so blind, as those who cannot see".
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