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About that Sanchez speech

Posted by Richard on October 16, 2007

Captain Ed Morrissey interviewed Senator John McCain today, and one of the topics was the widely reported speech by recently retired General Richard Sanchez criticizing the administration's blunders in Iraq. McCain was clearly put out by Sanchez's recent remarks (podcast is available here). According to McCain, he tried to get Sanchez to support his criticisms of the Rumsfeld strategy, and Sanchez defended the existing policies. If true, that casts a different light on what Sanchez is saying now, as Captain Ed noted:

The impression he gave was that his was a lone voice in high command, opposed to the strategy from the start. He made it sound as if no one listened to his input and that the administration and Congress simply ignored dissenting opinions from the field.

McCain begs to differ. Sanchez, McCain says, had several opportunities to inform Congress of any dissent he might have, but Sanchez simply didn't offer any. Not only did Sanchez not voice dissent, he actively endorsed the policies and strategies employed before his retirement. McCain, who was looking for credible allies at the time, would have loved some corroboration for his own criticisms of the war strategy — and McCain was making headlines for offering those as far back as 2004.

Regarding Friday's Sanchez speech, a few people (including the good Captain, Power Line, and Democracy Project) noticed that press coverage of his remarks was rather incomplete. Sanchez was addressing the Military Reporters and Editors Luncheon, and the first half of his speech (full text here) was a blistering denunciation of his audience and their distorted, agenda-driven coverage of the war (emphasis added):

YOUR UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCURATELY AND PROMINENTLY CORRECT YOUR MISTAKES AND YOUR AGENDA DRIVEN BIASES CONTRIBUTE TO THIS CORROSIVE ENVIRONMENT. ALL OF THESE CHALLENGES COMBINED CREATE A MEDIA ENVIRONMENT THAT DOES A TREMENDOUS DISSERVICE TO AMERICA. OVER THE COURSE OF THIS WAR TACTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS HAVE BECOME STRATEGIC DEFEATS FOR AMERICA BECAUSE OF THE TREMENDOUS POWER AND IMPACT OF THE MEDIA AND BY EXTENSION YOU THE JOURNALIST. IN MANY CASES THE MEDIA HAS UNJUSTLY DESTROYED THE INDIVIDUAL REPUTATIONS AND CAREERS OF THOSE INVOLVED. …

THE BASIC ETHICS OF A JOURNALIST THAT CALLS FOR:

1. SEEKING TRUTH,

2. PROVIDING FAIR AND COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT OF EVENTS AND ISSUES

3. THOROUGHNESS AND HONESTY

ALL ARE VICTIMS OF THE MASSIVE AGENDA DRIVEN COMPETITION FOR ECONOMIC OR POLITICAL SUPREMACY. THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR ETHICS HAS BEEN ENABLED BY YOUR PARENT ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH POLITICAL AGENDAS. WHAT IS CLEAR TO ME IS THAT YOU ARE PERPETUATING THE CORROSIVE PARTISAN POLITICS THAT IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY AND KILLING OUR SERVICEMEMBERS WHO ARE AT WAR.

Funny, there was nary a mention of that half of his speech on the evening news or in the wire service stories, NYTimes, WaPo, etc.

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