Written by Ernest McDermon

In comments before a group of military journalists, former Iraq commander and retired 3 star General Ricardo Sanchez described the current situation in Iraq as "America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.." Attempting to transfer blame for the situation in Iraq to those who preceded his command, and followed him after his tour of duty was curtailed in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, General Sanchez said "I knew there was a problem the first day I arrived in Iraq!"

Well, gosh Ric...of course there was a problem when you arrived in Iraq. That's why the Chiefs of Staff sent you there...to fix the problem that existed. Had you carefully taken a look around at the activities and results being accomplished by members of your command, you might have spotted the new commander of the 101st Airborne Division MG David Petraeus and noticed the very different results in terms of civilian and military casualties he was experiencing with his counter insurgency methods in Mosul.

It might also have been helpful if you had been more aggressive in monitoring the conditions in Abu Ghraib prison, once a hell hole for Saddam's prisoners. During the time you were in Iraq, it became a hell hole under the control of a group of idle MP's with a penchant for humiliating their prisoners. Your lack of progress in containing the insurgency with the troops available, and the explosive revelations brought on by the Abu Ghraib scandal ended your rapid rise to high command.

Call it Karma, bad luck, whatever you want. But today, just as Lincoln did during the Civil War, the President and the Secretary of Defense kept replacing Generals in Iraq until they found one who could start making progress in the midst of your "nightmares". Such is the nature of warfare throughout history, a search for leaders who can overcome in the presence of impossible circumstances and lead men to achieve that which no one believes can be achieved.

Today, we're seeing a downward trend in US casualties, and Sunni elements who just a year ago were firmly wedded to Al Qaeda, now find themselves supporting US efforts. They have now come to the conclusion that Iraq, and their people, do not have a bright future if Al Qaeda succeeds in throwing the United States out of Iraq. They probably also realize that if that were to happen, the United States might be gone for a year or so but we'd be back, in larger numbers and prepared to employ far more violence to achieve victory.

Time will tell how history will regard General Petraeus. Will he be compared to Grant at Shiloh? McAuliffe at Bastogne? Hal Moore at LZ X-Ray? I firmly believe that he is the right man, at the right time, in the right place. God grant him, and our soldiers, the success that America has worked for in Iraq these last four years.

Faced with watching an officer junior to him get promoted to a fourth star, who is actually showing progress in the same command, in the face of the same enemy, retired General Ricardo Sanchez is now waking up to a real nightmare. He's realizing that the nightmare of Iraq is not whether the United States will succeed there, but it is how history will come to regard his own service, and the loss of his command and fourth star not on the battlefield, but on a pyramid built of nude prisoners in the cells of Abu Ghraib prison.
Contributing Editor for  RightSideNews - Ernest McDermon is a former Army Officer, a website designer, and a conservative writer commenting on domestic and foreign affairs.

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