To hear retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez explain it, the mistakes of the Iraq war that happened while he was in command there weren't his fault. Not Abu Ghraib, not the birth of the insurgency, not the decision to let rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr survive.
Sanchez was a soldier, and according to him, a general's job is to give advice. What the civilian leaders decide after that is out of a general's hands.
"It's our responsibility to provide the best judgment we can," Sanchez said in an interview with McClatchy. "But when those decisions are made, if they are not illegal or immoral, civilian control of the military dictates that we comply."
His explanation is part of an ongoing debate within the military, triggered by the Iraq quagmire: What is the role of a soldier?
The above is from Nancy A. Youssef's "Sanchez on Iraq errors: Don't blame me, I was just a general" (McClatchy Newspapers). As she notes, he's on a book tour as well as an attempt to refurbish his image. The argument he's making is it's all Donald Rumsfeld's fault. And enjoy that because it is doubtful Rumsfeld will play sole fall guy. Unlike Paul Bremer, Rumsfeld's yet to discount false charges. (Both Rumsfeld and Bremer bear and share responsibility for the illegal war and the abuses. They are not the sole ones to blame.) But don't be surprised if, after the election (when the illegal war will still be dragging on), Rumsfeld doesn't decide to air a few realities that will apportion some of the deserved blame both under him and above him. That's not a defense of Donald Rumsfeld and shouldn't be read as one. It is noting that Bremer and Rumsfeld have been made the fall guys for everything that War Hawks will admit to having gone wrong. In some cases, it is valid. In other cases, the blame goes much higher. Sanchez takes no blame for his own actions -- denies blame, denies responsibility -- and thinks he can pass of pinning the blame largely on Rumsfeld (with some apportioned to Bremer) and call that 'accountability.'
Lewis notes Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Getting Out the Vote in Kentucky and Oregon" (HillaryClinton.com):
Today in Kentucky: Hillary hosts a community picnic and tours the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY. She also hosts a "Get Out The Vote" rally in Frankfort and attends the 29th Annual MainStrasse Village Maifest in Convington.
"What's Right" in OR: "The Clinton Campaign launched a new ad in Oregon [yesterday], emphasizing that while the pundits in Washington focus on who’s up and who’s down, Hillary Clinton will focus on what’s right for Oregon families." Read more and watch here.
On The Air In KY: "Hillary vows to take on the special interests and be a partner for working families in two new ads airing in Kentucky today. With families living paycheck to paycheck, Hillary vows to stand up for the middle class and provide solutions to our toughest challenges in the 30-second spot, entitled 'Partner.' In the second 30-second spot, entitled 'Right Track,' Hillary promises to close corporate tax loopholes and put America back on the right track." Read more. Watch "Partner" and watch "Right Track."
Surprise Call in Salem, OR: As Hillary thanked volunteers in her Salem, OR campaign office, volunteer Terry Green was on the phone with "a voter who was in doubt…[Terry said:] 'Maybe you'd like to talk to Hillary. She's just three feet away’…Clinton eagerly accepted the phone and spent about a minute speaking with the unidentified voter. ‘It was electrifying, the warmth she manifested...Sen. Clinton didn't talk, she listened.'" Read more.
Impressing Undecided Voters in OR: "Jennifer Hildrich, 50, of Portland said she was torn between ‘the outsider talking about change and a new day’ and ‘the savvy political insight of someone who will get something done.’ Hildrich said Clinton impressed her with her detailed plans for addressing major issues. Then Clinton closed the deal for Hildrich when she implored voters to consider who would be the most effective president on day one. Judee Jacoby, 64, of Damascus said she too showed up at the town hall meeting on the fence over whether to back Obama or Clinton. By meeting's end, she was firmly in Clinton's camp…'I just feel she is very personable and warm, someone an average American like me can relate to.'" Read more.
Kentucky Veterans Tour Continues: The Kentucky Veterans For Hillary continued on its 50-day, 20-city tour of the Bluegrass state, joined today by the Former Adjutant General of Indiana National Guard Major General George A. Buskirk (Ret.) and Admiral David Stone (Ret.)
On Tap: Hillary will continue to fight hard for every vote in Kentucky, and will hold “Get Out The Vote” rallies in Bowling Green and Mayfield on Sunday.
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