There have been many reactions to the rumors of Lt. Gen. Sanchez' potential Senate candidacy, which I am on record as vehemently opposing. Most of my blogger colleagues are of the "wait-and-see" persuasion. Some have voiced support, much of it appearing as some variety of "we could do worse". Add this voice to the chorus of "thanks but no thanks, General":
Congratulations, Texas Democratic Party: you are on the verge of a new level in cynicism. Sanchez’s tenure running the Iraq war saw a humiliated and cashiered Iraqi military metastasize into an insurgency that killed and maimed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Under pressure from the Pentagon, he approved abusive detention and interrogation practices for Abu Ghraib that resulted in the U.S.’ most damaging wartime scandal since Vietnam. What could possibly interrupt Sanchez’s deserved fade into obscurity?
But it wasn’t just George Bush that Sanchez derided. It was practically everyone out of uniform. In an October 2007 speech, Sanchez bashed Bush, Congress, the media and American society in general for lacking “moral courage in this war effort.” About the only responsibility Sanchez could let himself shoulder was to allow that “mistakes have been made by the American military,” as if it was the entire armed services who authorized dogs to menace Iraqi detainees.
Sanchez’s blend of self pity and martial triumphalism could turn out to be a political winner. But think what a message that would send. Texas Democrats would ask voters to excuse wartime disaster and torture. It’s easy to see what Sanchez and the Dems get out of this. Actually, it’s easier to smell it.
Now that was a lot meaner than I was. Marc Campos, self-appointed leader of Texas Hispanics, stated in response:
(I) was sent some stuff yesterday and also ran across a few things on how folks are reacting to the possible General Ricardo Sanchez candidacy for the U.S. Senate here in the Lone Star State. He’s being chewed up on how he handled or bungled the war in Iraq. He’s being accused of saying okay to water boarding and other torture tactics. He’s being described as a pawn of certain Lone Star State Dem power brokers.
It will be interesting to see how he responds to the criticism in the coming days and weeks. Of course, if there is too much piling on, the Latino leadership and community might just get offended and come to his defense.
A pal of mine sent me a note asking why wasn’t a Latina recruited. Hey, I’m not in charge of picking our candidates – sorry.
Campos now has his excuse for poor Latino turnout in 2012. This from the guy who claims to know what it will take to get Latinos to the polls, and the answer is always "Hire me and then I'll tell you."
It's a sign that Latinos have reached parity in the Democratic party, Marc, when the brown candidates get vetted the same as the white ones and the black ones. Overlooking a person's creed and considering their ideology is what's happening here. And please stop presuming to speak for all Latinos in one sentence, and then quickly abdicating any responsibility in the next. People might begin to think you're a prevaricator.
You want to advocate for the general, or defend his credentials as a Senate candidate, or would you rather just attack those of us who don't like him? We'll wait while you formulate an opinion.
You can also read the general's conversation with Evan Smith, from July 2008 at Texas Monthly, and decide whether or not you like Sanchez' explanation of the events that occurred at Abu Ghraib. It didn't sway me any, but that's just me. And I speak only for myself.
Update: This DREAM activist agrees with me.