LtG Sanchez, what he really said.

Michael Yon has one of the best transcripts of this speech by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ricardo S. Sanchez delivered to military reporters. The controversy is again the media and its selective reporting.

What was often the banner headline for this speech was the typical BushBash citing how LtG Sanchez thought the conduct of the war in Iraq was incompetent and so on. This tended to reinforce one of his two main points for the speech.

The reality of the speech was a media teardown and a warning about bipolar politics.

it is necessary for the strength of our democracy that the military and the press corps maintain a strong, mutually respectful and enabling relationship. This continues to be problematic for our country, especially during times of war. … Today, I will attempt to do two things – first I will give you my assessment of the military and press relationship and then I will provide you some thoughts on the current state of our war effort. …

I have issued ultimatums to some of you for unscrupulous reporting that was solely focused on supporting your agenda and preconceived notions of what our military had done. …

All of these challenges combined create a media environment that does a tremendous disservice to America. …

My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newspapers and what they see on the web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas. …

While the politicians espouse their rhetoric designed to preserve their reputations and their political power –our soldiers die! …

National efforts to date have been corrupted by partisan politics that have prevented us from devising effective, executable, supportable solutions. …

Our nation has not focused on the greatest challenge of our lifetime. The political and economic elements of power must get beyond the politics to ensure the survival of America. Partisan politics have hindered this war effort and America should not accept this. …

It appears that there is some diffusion of the message, as far as politics goes, in the ‘both sides do it’ realm. When he mentions the Powell Doctrine (i.e. overwhelming force or else) he treads on soft sand, too.

What can’t be missed is that there are two fronts in the war that have been highly destructive. The media has been serving as a propaganda machine and the political fracas in Washington has obfuscated intent and purpose.

An excellent example of the political side of things is the recent House resolution regarding Turkey’s actions in the first world war. Why do this nearly 100 years after the fact? Speculation is that the effort is exactly as Sanchez indicates: putting partisan political power above the needs of the country. By irritating Turkey, supply routes and an in-theater ally are threatened. It is a political action taken to weaken or damage the US effort, not support it or change it through appropriate process.

Yon does not agree with Sanchez regarding the current situation in Iraq. Blackfive has also had it with retired generals spouting off derogatory comments about their superiors as that should have been handled when they were on the job. Those are other issues, rather minor ones compared to the war of the fifth column that Sanchez described.

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