Iraq war 'lost'
The latest fighting erupted after a former commander of American forces in Iraq, retired army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said the United States could no longer win the war and must find a way to stave off defeat.
"I am absolutely convinced that America has a crisis in leadership at this time," General Sanchez said.
"I think if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will — not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat," he said.
General Sanchez retired last year and is the highest-ranking former military leader yet to suggest the Bush administration fell short in Iraq. He commanded troops there between June 2003 and June 2004.
Oh, more from South Africa:
"We've got to do whatever we can to help the next generation of leaders do better than we have done over the past five years, better than what this cohort of political and military leaders have done".
Sanchez among those who erred
He added that he was "referring to our national political leadership in its entirety" - not just President George W Bush.
Sanchez called the situation in Iraq bleak, which he blamed on "the abysmal performance in the early stages and the transition of sovereignty".
He included himself among those who erred in Iraq's crucial first year after the toppling of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"There's nobody out there that is intentionally trying to screw things up for our country," he said. "They were all working to do the best damn job they can to get things right."
Despite those good intentions, Americans will be forced to "answer the question what is victory, and at this point I'm not sure America really knows what victory is", said Sanchez.The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, reacted on Sunday to Sanchez's comments by insisting: "It's just way premature to be talking in terms of victory or defeat."
The huge image of latest dead pretty white teen girl I found on CNN.com when I went there [unsuccessfully] looking for this story seems to say it all. And a nice touch from Mr. Crocker for proving the General's point about leadership so fucking well.