Behind the media popcorn of Scott McClellan's revelations, relatively unnoticed is a new book by the former American commander in Iraq that should be red meat for historians.
This week's Time has an excerpt from "Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story" by Gen. Ricardo Sanchez that nails his Pentagon boss Don Rumsfeld, along with the rest of the Bush Administration, for "gross incompetence and dereliction of duty" at the start of the unfolding disaster.
This is no out-of-the-loop flunky's account of what happened, but the testimony of the man in the middle of it all, one of the generals whose advice Bush maintained he would follow but obviously did not.
The Central Command, Gen. Sanchez writes, had originally planned 12 to 18 months of active troop deployments but then "had completely walked away by simply stating that the war was over...
"That decision set up the United States for a failed first year in Iraq. There is no question about it. And I was supposed to believe that neither the Secretary of Defense nor anybody above him knew anything about it? Impossible! Rumsfeld knew about it. Everybody on the NSC knew about it, including Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, and Colin Powell. Vice President Cheney knew about it. And President Bush knew about it.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that they all embraced this decision to some degree. And if it had not been for the moral courage of Gen. John Abizaid to stand up to them all and reverse [Gen. Tommy] Franks's troop drawdown order, there's no telling how much more damage would have been done.
"In the meantime, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent, and worse yet, too many of our most precious military resource, our American soldiers, were unnecessarily wounded, maimed, and killed as a result. In my mind, this action by the Bush administration amounts to gross incompetence and dereliction of duty."
Amid all the whistle-blowing in Washington these days, this particular one by Gen. Sanchez should be heard loud and clear, but so far the media dogs are not responding to its frequency.