Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

August 2006
A General's Candor

"I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war."

Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee

Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, testifies August 3 before the Senate Armed Services Committee, at the same hearing where Hillary Clinton and Donald Rumsfeld have several testy exchanges about the management of the war. Abizaid describes Iraq's state in dire terms and warns that the deteriorating situation could lead to all-out civil war. While stressing that he has rarely seen the Middle East "so unsettled and so volatile," he claims that the "slide can be prevented." Still, his negative comments highlight a long-running theme of the war: the divide between upbeat statements and predictions given by civilian leadership at the Pentagon and the White House and the more measured assessments provided by members of the military.