Sanchez, Former Top Army General, Retires

Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez was a top commander in Iraq. Lingering questions remain about his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and about some of the early decision-making over how many U.S. troops the mission required.

Sanchez's legacy as the commander of the American forces in Iraq remains cloudy. After the scandal of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the Army made it understood that there would be no more commands for Sanchez. Thursday, he retired after 33 years in the service.

Last spring, the Army cleared Sanchez of any responsibility for the abuse of prisoners. That was after an independent panel led by former U.S. Defense Secretary James Schlesinger judged that Sanchez should have had closer oversight.

A separate Army investigation found that Sanchez had approved the use of interrogation practices that indirectly led to some of the abuses.

There was talk of giving Gen. Sanchez command of U.S. forces in Central and South America. Sanchez blames what happened to him on political partisanship.

With the elections approaching, the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq has come under intense criticism.

One aspect that has garnered particular attention is whether the U.S. had enough troops to completely secure Bagdad. One story has Sanchez briefing Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, about the progress of the war.

Bremer is reported to have asked Sanchez what he would do if Bremer could provide Sanchez with two more divisions.

Sanchez reportedly said, "I would secure Bagdad."

But when asked Friday if that conversation did indeed happen, the general declined to answer. He says the question misses the point.



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