T Nation

Tonight on 60 Min.

Tonight on 60 Minutes, General Zinni.

Gen. Zinni: ‘They’ve Screwed Up’
May 21, 2004
60 Minutes: Preview
Ret. Gen. Anthony Zinni once commanded America’s troops in the Middle East.)
“Regardless of whose responsibility [it is]…it should be evident to everybody that they’ve screwed up, and whose heads are rolling on this?”

President Bush named Zinni special envoy to the Middle East. But Zinni wound up breaking ranks with the administration over the war in Iraq.

Accusing top Pentagon officials of “dereliction of duty,” retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn’t a reasonable option.

“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,” he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen, says Zinni, because planning for the war and its aftermath has been flawed all along.

“There has been poor strategic thinking in this…poor operational planning and execution on the ground,” says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.

Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian policymakers in the administration, known as neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.

“They promoted it and pushed [the war]… even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs. Then they should bear the responsibility,” Zinni tells Kroft.

In his upcoming book, “Battle Ready,” written with Tom Clancy, Zinni writes of the poor planning in harsh terms. “In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption,” he writes.

Zinni explains to Kroft, “I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and [in not] fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan.”

He still believes the situation is salvageable if the United States can communicate more effectively with the Iraqi people and demonstrate a better image to them.

The enlistment of the U.N. and other countries to participate in the mission is also crucial, he says. Without these things, says Zinni, “We are going to be looking for quick exits. I don’t believe we’re there now, and I wouldn’t want to see us fail here.”

Also central to success in Iraq is more troops, from the United States and especially other countries, to control violence and patrol borders, he says.

Zinni feels that undertaking the war with the minimum of troops paved the way for the security problems the U.S. faces there now, the violence Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently admitted he hadn’t anticipated.

“He should not have been surprised,” says Zinni. “There were a number of people who before we even engaged in this conflict felt strongly that we underestimated…the scope of the problems we would have in [Iraq].”

The fact that no one in the administration has paid for the blunder irks Zinni. “But regardless of whose responsibility [it is]…it should be evident to everybody that they’ve screwed up, and whose heads are rolling on this?”

Lumpy,

Your goal, as usual, is to try to undercut support for the Administration and the Iraq War. By highlighting criticism, you feel it advances your “cause,” the defeat of George Bush.
I’ve been here for a little over two weeks and am acutely aware that your criticism is meant to accuse, condemn, and divide rather than help the war effort.

I want any soldier or family member of a soldier to know that we repudiate this sort of thinking. We are behind you one hundred percent. Most of us know that war is hard and painful. We are not “sunshine” patriots.

That being said, most of us welcome constructive criticism if it allows a successful conclusion to this war. If Zinni thinks there is a better way, let him lay down the specifics. Let us debate it in a non-partisan way. If it has merits, it should be considered and discussed in the public forum.

Jeff

Stick your head a bit further in the sand Jeff, I can still see a bit of your ears…

What lumpy has done is shown a credible source… as opposed to those of us on this forum… that is upset with the administration. This has nothing to do with support for the soldiers except in your own little fantasy world.

Trying to equate criticism of the current administration with lack of support for the troops is silly, perhaps even reminiscent of the administration itself.

What a puppet! Do you even realize you have strings Pinocchio?

calm down jeff. after reading these dumb politics threads i’m starting to worry you might have a stroke.

are their any republicans on this forum that disagree with bush/the war… and any democrats on here that agree with bush/the war…

i doubt it

vroom,

You stated: “Trying to equate criticism of the current administration with lack of support for the troops is silly, perhaps even reminiscent of the administration itself.”

I had written: “That being said, most of us welcome constructive criticism if it allows a successful conclusion to this war. If Zinni thinks there is a better way, let him lay down the specifics. Let us debate it in a non-partisan way. If it has merits, it should be considered and discussed in the public forum.”

Please read my posts in their entirety.

Thanks,

Jeff

I supported the war, and still do to a point. I do think this guy has a very valid point. He’s an experienced guy and he’s not alone in his stance.

There is more than one way to skin a cat.

My son broke his arm last year. One doc wanted to do surgery and said he couldn’t recover full use of his wrist flexion and extension without it. Another one laughed at the idea. He didn’t get the surgery and his wrist is fine.

Both were credible doctors with similar backgrounds and experience. I’m sure my son would have healed if he’d been cut on too.

Experts in lots of fields disagree. This is no different. I do think the more conservative approach with more troops on the ground would be more likely to give us the results we wanted when we started this thing. We might pull it off with less too but I don’t think it’s as likely.

JeffR
I’m flattered that you think my posts can “undercut support for the Administration and the Iraq War” and help the “defeat of George Bush.” I didn’t realize that it was such a delicate operation they were running, that I could have that effect.

You also said “If Zinni thinks there is a better way, let him lay down the specifics. Let us debate it in a non-partisan way. If it has merits, it should be considered and discussed in the public forum.”

Maybe if you had read the article or watched the show you could have heard General Zinni explain his views.

You can probably watch the 60 Minutes show in question, if you click on the link, at the bottom of the article you didn’t read.

You say you’ve only been here for 2 weeks. That’s cool. I guess that’s why you don’t realize that some of us have been bitching about this dumb war in Iraq before the bozos in Washington decided to launch it.

I suggest reading some newspapers, and on Sunday mornings try watching “Meet the Press”, “The McLaughlin Group” and “The Chris Matthews Show”. These are real mainstream news shows, that will give you a heads-up on what’s been going on in politics each week.

After reading the posts on the off topic forum for over two years; I can say that to my knowledge…there has been NO ONE who has screamed out…on either side…“Hey…you know…Ive seen the light…and I’m having a change of heart…darn it…ya won me over!”
These posts seem to serve a purpose of trying in vain to validate one’s opinion and then reach a stonewall where NOTHING you say could ever reach past the eyes of an objector to change their mind.
Its all a game of “tit for tat” of ideas in a hamster’s cage.

“What lumpy has done is shown a credible source… as opposed to those of us on this forum… that is upset with the administration. This has nothing to do with support for the soldiers except in your own little fantasy world.”

–>And, how many times does this need to happen? Three, four, five credible sources come forth with declarations that place the Bush Administrations intentions and actions in question, and they just keep looking past it.

When the shit is really hard on them, they turn to “support our troops since they are there and they are fighting for YOU!” Well, assholes, we do support the troops - who has a problem with them? We support them as people and wish to hell they weren’t fighting this war. That’s how much we support them - we wish they weren’t dying or losing their minds fighting this war.

BTW - anyone see the headline that morgue records show that 5,500 Iraqis have died since the war started? I guess that’s just a side effect of “liberation,” huh?

All I gotta say is us my “pog” army friends had to wait four days on the “hardcore” Marines in Bahgdad. It was so bad they releived one of there commanders in the middle of the offensive. Moral of the story, Marines are still jarheads and aren’t usually the most respected for intelectual advice :stuck_out_tongue: haha

"That being said, most of us welcome constructive criticism if it allows a successful conclusion to this war. If Zinni thinks there is a better way, let him lay down the specifics. Let us debate it in a non-partisan way. If it has merits, it should be considered and discussed in the public forum.

Okay Mr Myopic, without much effort I found two specific items from the article above…

Zinni explains to Kroft, “I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and [in not] fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan.”

He still believes the situation is salvageable if the United States can communicate more effectively with the Iraqi people and demonstrate a better image to them.

Instead of recognizing that specifics (as you always call for, like we here can make policy anyway) have indeed been given you discredit this person as some grumbling malcontent with nothing useful to offer. Typical.

Cut those strings Pinocchio!

JeffR
Just curious, how do you know war is hard and painful?

Elkht,

Losses in my family.

I understand it well.

Do you care to debate the merits of my arguments?

Jeff

Its all a game of “tit for tat” of ideas in a hamster’s cage.

Yeah man, but, well, we’ve got the wheel going really really fast and its a lot of fun… :wink:

Show me some merit and we’ll debate!