Lindsey Graham Throws Lt. Gen. Sanchez Under The Bus: "...his Criticism Is A Bit Astounding To Me Given His Role In The War Itself."

Let the GOP attacks begin! Sen. Lindsey Graham wasted no time reminding the American people how awful retired General Sanchez' tenure was in Iraq. He joined Blitzer this morning and commented about the General after he came out and criticized the Iraq war policy. The key phrase you'll hear is that they appreciate his service, but....I wonder if Graham violated the Cornyn amendment?

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Sanchez: There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," he told reporters in Arlington, Virginia.
GRAHAM: I appreciate his service, but Abu Ghraib got out of control under his watch, the war in general got out of control under his watch. And it's not time to blame people, but his criticism is a bit astounding to me given his role in the war itself.---They were poorly trained. They got overwhelmed by circumstance. And we certainly didn't have situational awareness on his watch.

The surge is a direct result of having to make up for mistakes early on. As far as I'm concerned, he was part of that mistake by being a commander who did not express now -- then what he's saying now. And I know he was asked because I asked him.
Krauthammer on FNS this morning compared his skills to that of General McClellan of the Union army during the civil war: "He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points." Full transcript via CNN below the fold.
Cornyn Amdt. No. 2934: "To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

BLITZER: You just came back from Iraq, Senator Graham. You were on active duty as a reserve lawyer in the U.S. military and you've been a big defender of this so-called surge strategy, saying the signs are positive, that it seems to be working right now, it just needs more time. He says it's not working. I wonder if you want to respond to that.

GRAHAM: I would like to by putting it in context that I was also one of the biggest critics of the old strategy that General Sanchez and others implemented. I cannot tell you how many times I directly asked General Sanchez, "Do we have enough troops to do the job here?"

Abu Ghraib happened on his watch. There were 600 people in the prison in August. By October there were 6,000. We obviously did not have enough people on the ground for years in Iraq. The security situation deteriorated.

Finally, we are getting it right. The surge has been successful beyond my expectations. Local reconciliation, politically, is ongoing in Iraq. Now you've got Shia groups turning against the Mahdi Army as the Sunnis did in Anbar.

But the big problem is in Baghdad. And security is better, but we have not had political breakthroughs in Baghdad. We have at the local level and I hope it will reach Baghdad soon. It is much better after the surge than it was before.

BLITZER: Well, let me just pinpoint to you, Senator Graham, are you suggesting that this criticism that we're now hearing from General Sanchez is what? Payback time because he was denied a fourth star as a result of the investigation of Abu Ghraib?

GRAHAM: I don't want to put any motives on what he's saying. I just want to put in context of what he's saying. He was on the ground for well over a year there, and I know Senator McCain and myself point-blank asked him and Bremer, "Do you have enough people over here?"

Because every time we would go back, Wolf, it would be worse than the time before. And I do understand what happened at Abu Ghraib. We didn't have enough people there to handle the situation. They were poorly trained. They got overwhelmed by circumstance. And we certainly didn't have situational awareness on his watch.

The surge is a direct result of having to make up for mistakes early on. As far as I'm concerned, he was part of that mistake by being a commander who did not express now -- then what he's saying now. And I know he was asked because I asked him.


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