Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was commander of U.S. forces in Iraq during the period detainees were tortured at Abu Ghraib prison, wants to represent his native Texas in the Senate, the San Antonio Express-News reported Wednesday.
He is the second Democrat to enter the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Sanchez's first political campaign "comes nearly five years after the end of a career that saw him lead the bloodiest American war since Vietnam and retire as one of the highest-ranking Hispanics in Army history," the newspaper noted.
"Here in Texas, too many families are struggling to get ahead. Jobs are hard to find, our schools simply aren't good enough, and increasing food and gas prices are breaking household budgets," the 57-year-old career soldier told the News-Express.
The other declared candidate for the Democratic senatorial nomination is Sean Hubbard, another newcomer who helped manage a 2002 congressional campaign.
Four Republicans have announced their interest in succeeding Hutchison.
Though Sanchez was in overall command of U.S. forces in Iraq at the time of the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, military investigators concluded he was not culpable for the abuses.
The general's subsequent request for creation of a commission to "address what happened to the country as a result of the suspension of the Geneva Conventions" by then-President George W. Bush came to nothing.
"As long as exploiting political opportunity for a few in Washington is more important than protecting and expanding opportunity for all, we will not achieve our God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Sanchez told the San Antonio Express-News.