October 13th, 2007
04:14 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain on Sanchez: “He was supporting of a failed strategy”

McCain said he still has great respect for Sanchez despite differing views on Iraq strategy.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - One day following Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez’s denigration of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, responded with deference for the former General and conviction for the current Iraq strategy.

“I have great respect and appreciation for Gen. Sanchez’s service to his country and the military. I am very grateful for it,” McCain said.

“The fact is I had face to face discussions with Gen. Sanchez when he was in Baghdad about how I believed that the strategy was failing, and he testified before the Senate armed services committee that the strategy was succeeding - the flawed [Donald] Rumsfeld strategy that I knew was doomed to failure.”

“When I argued for the strategy that we’re using now, he did not agree with that.”

McCain repeated his respect and appreciation for the Gen. Sanchez despite differing views on Iraq strategy.

“I think the record shows that one, while he was in charge he was supporting of a failed strategy and number two, is that he did not support, at that time, the strategy that I believe is succeeding.”

-CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla.

Filed under: John McCain • New Hampshire
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    McKain cannot see, hear or smell reality.

    October 13, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  2. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Gen. Sanchez forgot like too many of our generals today that their duty is to the country and the American People
    and if they honestly thought that the Commsander-in-Chief was following a wrong path they should spoken out and if needed to, RESIGNED.
    And the Republicans in Congress should not have blindly followed their Republican President.

    October 13, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. Skeeve, NYC, NY

    Well, look at the history of WWII or any other major war. When a general won he attributed it to HIS military genius and outstanding leadership, when he lost he blamed political establishment. Being there, done that.

    As usually the truth is in the middle

    October 13, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. Kim, Peabody MA

    I Like What Pete Grasso Said on The War on Iraq. He is a 25-Year Retired Officer that hat put his hat into the Independent Race.

    Check out the Blog: Why are We Negotiating with the Enemy?

    October 13, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. erika morgan black dimond wa

    McCain lost many of his party by standing for amnesty, now he is desperately trying to keep the constituency that thinks Iraq is a football game to win. How can a reasonable guy allow himself to be party to such delusions?

    October 14, 2007 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  6. Craig H, Mpls, MN

    If I understand correctly, in the military, it is taboo to publicly disagree with a superior while in active duty. All disagreements are presented to the superior behind closed doors. The superior notes the dissent, agrees or disagrees with it, then makes the final decision as to what the policy is going to be. If the dissenting soldier disagrees stongly enough with policy after he has been heard, he has the choice stay and carry out the decided upon policy or resign and publicly speak out against the policy. Remaining in service and publicly speaking out against policy is not an option because it undermines chain of command authority. So, of course Sanchez would speak for the policy while serving and and leave any dissent for when not serving. I wish he would have left the service and spoke out sooner. Better late than never, I guess.

    This is also why people questioned Patreyus's assesments because serving military will not undermine chain of command authority and disagree publicly with the commander in chief. Also, this makes meaningless Bush's claims that the "surge" was Patreyuses's plan because if Patreyus didn't agree with what ever Bush wanted, Patreyus wouldn't be in the position that he is in. Thus, claiming that the surge was Patreyus's plan can only be an attempt for the Bush administration to use or hide behind Patreyus.

    October 14, 2007 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  7. LaAngeloMysterioso

    If your military superior orders you to
    lie, you lie. Field General egos do not
    allow replacements doing an equal or better job with their men, hence they don't retire when they strongly oppose
    policy. Rumsfield said the field gens did not ask for more troops. Tommy Franks plan called for 400,000. Only an idiot would think he privately did not request more. Where was congress?

    October 14, 2007 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  8. LaAngeloMysterioso

    My answer to my own question is Congress was busy, passing legistlation in the middle of the nite to deny Terri Schiavos husband unconstitutionally his right to decide her treatment. Passing judges that say outing a covert agent is the duty of the executive. Passing economic policy that is bleeding the country dry and lowering the middle class standard of living. Sorry I forgot.

    October 14, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  9. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Who is to blame for the long stream of bad decisions that has characterized this war? Some of us were involved only as voters, but most of us – including myself – initially supported the decision to go to war. I was suckered in by the imagined presence of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. I believed Colin Powell when he assured us all that they existed. Then I went to Walmart, bought a "Support Our Troops" decal (printed in China) and glued it to my back bumper. That was my sacrifice to this war. The decal is pretty much faded into illegibility, but it is still there, proclaiming my patriotism.

    Our Congress, Democrat and Republican, fell all over themselves to wave the flag and ally themselves with the wave of war fever that we all caught. As a people, we would have run them out of town on a rail if they had done otherwise. They, wanting to keep their really good jobs and having no conscience or courage, did what we expected of them.

    Generals, sensing that this was their moment in history, eager for a battlefield command that would not come again in their lifetimes, eagerly reassured the President and the Cabinet that they were onboard with the concept, that they believed whatever nonsense that the Administration believed about WMD and about the number of troops needed and about the time it would take.

    The Administration, lost in its Conservative delusion about its own muscularity, figured that nothing was too bold for it to succeed. Like most men and women of limited intellectual ability, they imagined themselves to be much more clever than they are. They don't read and they don't think things through. They imagine that they have "instincts" and "intuition" that allow them to make good decisions without having to think things through carefully. They "go with the gut."

    We certainly made quite a mess of things – all of us as a nation. We proved that we learned nothing from Viet Nam, nothing from Korea, and nothing from WWII. We repeated every stupid mistake we made in those wars.

    To redeem ourselves to history, we have to now take this oath: "I, who have been an idiot regarding war and politics, swear to abandon my previous ideas and help the nation come up with new approaches to the problems that face us. I will be civil in political discourse. I will accept the simple fact that good men and women disagree with me on fundamental principles, and I will strive to reach agreements that satisfy us all. I will work for the greater good, not just for my own piggish self-interest. May God help me in this endeavor and may God curse me if I abandon this oath." Or, as Mary Matalin puts it: "Follow me if I charge, step over me if I fall, and shoot me if I retreat."

    The nation calls.

    October 14, 2007 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. LFR

    Mc Cane,

    You have lost your mind!!

    Jealous, jealous, jealous is what you are!

    October 14, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Brian, Syracuse NY

    McCain's a derelict, attacking a military officer like that. When a general says something McCain disagrees with, are we supposed to pretend that our generals aren't sworn to obey orders that include publicly supporting their Commander in Chief's war?

    October 14, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Rich

    McCain is a Psycho. Just because he wants to die in battle does not mean the rest of us do. Nuclear weapon & John McCain= "THE END OF THE WORLD"
    Anyone who sings "Bomb,Bomb,Bomb,Bomb,
    Bomb Iran, "Bomb,Bomb,Bomb,Bomb,
    Bomb Iran to a crowd of people on TV has totally lost his mind. Cnn why would you even print a story about this Lunatic. I have children that I want to live and with Lunatics like this talking on TV or even articles written about him just shows how much
    regard you have towards humanb life and earning a buck with rateings. And I'm a Republican
    on the mans views is completely inept

    October 14, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. xtina - chicago IL

    Gen Sanchez has been out of Iraq for three years. So is he dissing the plan that he implemented during the years '02-'04? He was forced to retire as well, so apparently he has an ax to grind.

    October 14, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. Brendan, Knoxville TN

    When McCain had a meaningful chance to repudiate the "failed strategy," at the lectern at the Republican National Convention in 2004, he decided instead to throw all the moral weight his reputation carried at the time behind the president implementing the strategy. He put his party and his future political hopes ahead of his country, figuring he would be owed the presidential nomination in 2008.

    Now he's an also-ran. He mortgaged all the respect his heroic military service and maverick political career commanded to get a chump and a failure re-elected. If he'd taken Sen. Kerry's offer of a split ticket he would be vice president today and could be playing a more constructive role in solving the Iraq fiasco than chastising a fellow soldier to get some ink for his lagging campaign.

    October 15, 2007 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  15. Sam, IA

    And the charactor assasination by the right begins.I can't wait for Patraeus's tell all book and the denigration of his charactor and service by the hate radio , fox crowd. You folks wave a good flag but when it is time to listen to the choir your hearing seems inhibited.

    October 15, 2007 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  16. Michael W, Orlando FL

    Wow, How mature you people are. With the name calling and immature comments, I thought that perhaps I wandered into a teen blog.
    Instead of believing everything you read in the Clinton News Network tickler, try reading some other articles on the matter and then ask yourself why CNN and the other media organizations failed to report on the blistering criticism that General Sanchez had for the media. Only one network has had the courage to report it. Can you guess which one?

    October 15, 2007 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Ryan Indianapolis

    100% percent the truth, Sanchez just has sour grapes.

    October 15, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    General Sanchez hit the nail on the head, while serving he had to stay silent. Unfortunately he and all those other Pentagon general officers who knew Bush's wars plans were a plan for disaster, had an obligation, nay a duty to resign and inform the the American People, to whom they took an oath to serve and protect.
    This also applies to our elected officials who decided that protecting the President was more important than to the oath they take office. That oath is to the American People not the President.

    October 15, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Neither Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice respected the opinions of the military generals. When these generals asked for better equipment Rumsfeld told them to stop complaining, you work with what you've got. Remeber C. Powell originally disagreed with Cheney and Rumsfeld about WMD's but made the argument and then forced out. The failures in Iraq belong to Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld and Rice who refused to listen to anyone, not Gen. Sanchez.

    October 16, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |