Retired Gen. Rick Sanchez lambasted the Bush administration’s Iraq War in a speech on Friday, as “a nightmare with no end in sight”. Sanchez implied that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would have been court-martialled if he had been in the active duty military. The NYT reports him saying, ‘“There was been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding later in his remarks that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.” ‘ Sanchez dismissed the current troop escalation (‘surge’) as highly unlikely to improve the situation in Iraq significantly, saying that the best the US can realistically hope to achieve is to stave off defeat.
To Sanchez’s trenchant critique was added on Friday a fatwa from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiites. AFP says,
‘ “The foreign security companies working in Iraq belittle innocent Iraqi citizens,” a statement from Karbalai said. “The occupying forces do the same in some of their operations, adding to the criminal acts of the takfiris (Sunni militants).” ‘
Sistani is said to be demanding legislation in parliament to hold the security companies accountable. In addition, this is the strongest condemnation I have seen by Sistani of the US military (‘the occupying forces’) and it may be a turning point.
Six Sunni Arab jihadi groups announced Friday that they had established a unified command. The six, comprising Iraq resistance groups, excluded ‘al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia’ and ‘the Islamic State of Iraq’ from their coalition.
Reuters reports violence in Iraq on Friday. Bombings in Baghdad and Kirkuk.