An active-duty officer writes: I just got back from Iraq a couple months ago. One of the things that Ricardo Sanchez had done with the interrogators was to limit which psychological approaches we could use. Some of the better ones we normally use were determined to be too mean, and would be looked on unfavorably by the public or allies. Nobody from the administration TOLD Sanchez to limit the approaches we could use – he came up with that on his own. Another example where these officers are screwing up is in our ‘take it for a while, then get tough policy’ – that has been a tactic that has been generated on the ground by the commanders on the ground – not dictated from above. I’ve got dozens of horror stories about what these officers are doing over there that don’t make the press – all stuff the administration has no idea about.
So, I fully believe that the administration probably does have the will to fight and the desire to win – but they, and the senior level Clinton Era officers are trying to do this in a politically correct way so as not to offend Arabs or to look bad in the press. I guess, what I’m saying is that you are not seeing a lack of will to fight – just massive incompetence.
This officer points out that much of the senior staff consists of those who survived the cuts of the Clinton years. He notes: “Going from 900,000 to 480,000 troops means that to have stayed in as an officer, you had to be a very good boot licker.” I consider an unwillingness to offend or look bad to be tantamount to lacking the will to fight myself, but I nevertheless appreciate his perspective.