September 05, 2003

Ex-Envoy Criticizes Bush's Postwar Policy

Marine Gen. Zinni's name is already scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...He spoke out forcefully
and courageously months before the war..It is
inspiring to see him take the fight to them now when
their folly, arrogance and stupidity have been so
sadly and so violently proved...

Marine Gen. Zinni's name is already scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...He spoke out forcefully
and courageously months before the war..It is
inspiring to see him take the fight to them now when
their folly, arrogance and stupidity have been so
sadly and so violently proved...

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0905-01.htm

Published on Friday, September 5, 2003 by the
Washington Post
"I ask you, is it happening again?"
Ex-Envoy Criticizes Bush's Postwar Policy
by Thomas E. Ricks

Zinni's comments... were greeted warmly by his
audience, with prolonged applause at the end. Some
officers bought tapes and compact discs of the speech
to give to others.


A former U.S. commander for the Middle East who still
consults for the State Department yesterday blasted
the Bush administration's handling of postwar Iraq,
saying it lacked a coherent strategy, a serious plan
and sufficient resources.
"There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the
pieces together," said retired Marine Gen. Anthony C.
Zinni, and so, he said, "we're in danger of failing."

In an impassioned speech to several hundred Marine and
Navy officers and others, Zinni invoked the U.S.
involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and '70s.
"My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities
were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we
heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the
sacrifice," said Zinni, who was severely wounded while
serving as an infantry officer in that conflict. "I
ask you, is it happening again?"

Zinni's comments were especially striking because he
endorsed President Bush in the 2000 campaign, shortly
after retiring from active duty, and serves as an
adviser to the State Department on anti-terror
initiatives in Indonesia and the Philippines. He
preceded Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks as chief of the
U.S. Central Command, the headquarters for U.S.
military operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the
Middle East.


"There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the
pieces together," retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni
said of the president's handling of postwar Iraq.

This was not the first time he has broken with the
administration. He was publicly skeptical last winter
of the decision to attack Iraq.

Underscoring how much his views have changed since
2000, he implied that the Bush administration is now
damaging the U.S. military in the way that Bush and
Vice President Cheney during that campaign charged
that the Clinton administration had done. "We can't go
on breaking our military and doing things like we're
doing now," he said.

He also questioned the Bush administration's decision
in January to have the Pentagon oversee postwar
efforts in Iraq. "Why the hell would the Department of
Defense be the organization in our government that
deals with the reconstruction of Iraq?" he asked.
"Doesn't make sense."

In addition, he criticized the administration for not
working earlier and harder to win a U.N. resolution
that several nations have indicated is a prerequisite
to their contributing peacekeeping troops to help in
Iraq. "We certainly blew past the U.N.," he said.
"Why, I don't know. Now we're going back hat in hand."

Zinni's comments to the joint meeting in Arlington of
the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps
Association, two professional groups for officers,
were greeted warmly by his audience, with prolonged
applause at the end. Some officers bought tapes and
compact discs of the speech to give to others.

2003 The Washington Post Company

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Posted by richard at September 5, 2003 01:30 PM