Former U.S. Iraq Chief: Mission `Nightmare With No End In Sight'

Friday, October 12th 2007, 6:38 pm
By: News On 6

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) _ The U.S. mission in Iraq is a ``nightmare with no end in sight'' because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency _ such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled.

He called current strategies _ including the deployment of 30,000 additional forces earlier this year _ a ``desperate attempt'' to make up for years of misguided policies in Iraq.

``There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight,'' Sanchez told a group of journalists covering military affairs.

Sanchez avoided pointing his criticism at any single official or agency, but it appeared a broad indictment of White House policies and a lack of leadership in the Pentagon to oppose them. Such assessments _ even by former Pentagon brass _ are not new, but they have added resonance as debates over war strategy dominate the presidential campaign.

Sanchez went on to offer a pessimistic view on the current U.S. strategy against extremists will make lasting gains, but said a full-scale withdrawal also was not an option.

``The American military finds itself in an intractable situation ... America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq,'' said Sanchez, who works as a consultant training U.S. generals.