Monday, May 24, 2004
Stupid Liberal Former Marine Corps Four-Star Generals
Eric Alterman points to this 60 Minutes story about Retired General Anthony Zinni.
"There has been poor strategic thinking in this," says Zinni. "There has been poor operational planning and execution on the ground. And to think that we are going to 'stay the course,' the course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's time to change course a little bit, or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course. Because it's been a failure."Ah, candor. How the Bush Administration hates candor.
Zinni spent more than 40 years serving his country as a warrior and diplomat, rising from a young lieutenant in Vietnam to four-star general with a reputation for candor.
I wonder how they are going to impugn Mr. Zinni's patriotism?
Last month, Secretary Rumsfeld acknowledged that he hadn't anticipated the level of violence that would continue in Iraq a year after the war began. Should he have been surprised?Move to Iraq buddy!
"He should not have been surprised. You know, there were a number of people, before we even engaged in this conflict, that felt strongly we were underestimating the problems and the scope of the problems we would have in there," says Zinni. "Not just generals, but others -- diplomats, those in the international community that understood the situation. Friends of ours in the region that were cautioning us to be careful out there. I think he should have known that."
Instead, Zinni says the Pentagon relied on inflated intelligence information about weapons of mass destruction from Iraqi exiles, like Ahmed Chalabi and others, whose credibility was in doubt. Zinni claims there was no viable plan or strategy in place for governing post-Saddam Iraq.
"As best I could see, I saw a pickup team, very small, insufficient in the Pentagon with no detailed plans that walked onto the battlefield after the major fighting stopped and tried to work it out in the huddle -- in effect to create a seat-of-the-pants operation on reconstructing a country," says Zinni.
Zinni says he blames the Pentagon for what happened. "I blame the civilian leadership of the Pentagon directly. Because if they were given the responsibility, and if this was their war, and by everything that I understand, they promoted it and pushed it - certain elements in there certainly - even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs, then they should bear the responsibility," he says.
"But regardless of whose responsibility I think it is, somebody has screwed up. And at this level and at this stage, it should be evident to everybody that they've screwed up. And whose heads are rolling on this? That's what bothers me most."
Adds Zinni: "If you charge me with the responsibility of taking this nation to war, if you charge me with implementing that policy with creating the strategy which convinces me to go to war, and I fail you, then I ought to go."
Stupid liberal, United States hating, former Marine Corps four-star generals.