Monday, December 27, 2004


A Mexican American General in the Service of Empire

The Black Commentator - A Mexican American General in the Service of Empire - Issue 98

Version en espanol:

After publishing this article on Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, I received an e-mail message from one of his daughters. She felt that my article unfairly criticized a man I did not know, and she suggested that in the future her father would be exonerated from any responsibility for the torture scandals in Iraq. I have attached my reply below.

Since this exchange in July of 2004, additional revelations about the widespread use of torture by U.S forces confirm my belief that Lt. General Sanchez was following orders issued by the highest levels of the Pentagon (Rumsfeld) and further complicated by Alberto Gonzales' dismissal of the Geneva Conventions and related executive orders signed by Mr. Bush. See the document proving Sanchez's involvement at:,,1222301,00.html

Estimada Ms. Sanchez: Thank you for your thoughtful note regarding my article. You have defended your father well as I hope my daughter would do in the same circumstance. My article was not intended as a personal attack on Lt. Gen. Sanchez. On one level, I admire him for having been able to rise to such prominence. I am quite sure he has overcome a great many obstacles both in the military and in civilian life. My concern as a veteran and an educator is that the military's inculcation of "following orders" no matter what robs too many of our gente of their humanity. We can try to disguise what we are doing by claiming to be exporting "democracy" or "defending our freedom." But too often the politicians put our soldiers in situations where they should not be, indeed where they may be forced to commit terrible acts that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I have seen this happen in Vietnam and I see it now with the Mexican families that have lost their sons and daughters (physically and psychologically) to an unecessary war in Iraq. The idea that we Latinos/Mexicanos are "warriors" by nature drives too many of our young men into gangs or into the military. This can only rob our community of the young people whose talents we will desparately need in the future. Enjoy your father now that he has left the war zone. I wish you and your family all the best. Desde California recibe un saludo cordial, Jorge Mariscal

UPDATE: Lt. General Sanchez quietly retired on November 1, 2006.

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