Prague Twin

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Zinni Makes Sense

I saw Anthony Zinni's interview on Meet the Press this evening (transcript) and was shocked at how much sense he least to me.

One of the reasons I was against the Iraq invasion is that I realized once you are in, you are in, and your choices are limited. As much as I'd like to see the troops come home, putting a time table on their return makes about as much sense as the surge (and the rest of the Bush tactics since Baghdad fell): none.

Here are some quotes which explain what I mean...

Those of us that know this region, have been involved in the planning, knew that this was a fragile society, that if you did not intervene in a way to gain control of the borders, the population, you could cause all sorts of internal issues to erupt into the kind of violence we saw.


We threw away decades worth of planning and understanding of the situation. We discounted those that warned that the assumptions were too optimistic, and we had the results we have now.


We have caused in the center of the Middle East a place where the—we could have a sanctuary for extremist groups, where Shia and Sunni strife can spill over, where we could have an Iranian or Persian/Arab conflict, and we have to find a way to contain this now. We can’t walk away from it. We cannot continue on the same course.

What has disappointed me is there hasn’t been this debate on the strategy, on the policy, a regional strategy on policy, let alone an Iraq policy. We’re, we’re debating the tactics. The, the surge is a tactic. In what context is the surge? You can make an argument for a surge if you were going to withdraw, to cover the withdrawal, for example, or to contain, to reposition forces or to re-engage in a different way or a stronger way. And why we got caught up in the tactical debate, in my mind, is an indication that we don’t understand what we want to do. What should our Middle East policy be? What should our policy be in terms of Iraq and, and the war against the extremists out there or the conflict against extremists? We seem to be strategically adrift, in my view.

As much as many of us would like to walk away from this, that is just completely unrealistic. However, to continue down this same path, altering tactics from time to time without changing the strategy is nothing short of suicide (or murder, depending on who you are).

What is needed is better leadership.

What we have is Bush/Cheney.


  • Pretty grim, huh? I don't claim to have a solution; it was just so F%$###!! stupid to invade Iraq in the first place, for the reasons that Zinni gives. Cheney gave an excellent speech in 1991, explaining what a disaster it would have been if we'd stayed in Iraq and tried to topple Hussein. He should have listened to his own advice.

    By Anonymous Tom Harper, at 2:40 AM  

  • It is rare these days, somebody making sense that is.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 5:48 AM  

  • Tom,

    Yeah, funny how much stock options will do for one's perspective.


    Indeed that is why I was shocked. Too bed Zinni will never hold public office.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:07 AM  

  • I think you and Mr Zinni have pretty much summed up the long and the short of this mess.
    It's a pretty vicious cycle. There has not been enough troops or adequate equipment since the inception of this war. The military was greatly diminshed during the Clinton years and Bozo went to war without rectifying that. We learned from Viet Nam that one year deployments were so detrimental to human beings that by the Gulf War, deployments were reduced to six months. Now we have stop loss keeping people in longer and multiple deployments keeping people under stressful conditions for far longer than we KNOW is advisable. Without a clear plan, without an exit stategy and considering the inept and incompentent way this adminstration has handled crises from the war to Katrina, how can congress or the American people get behind this wanton expenditure. Don't get me wrong, I've had family members in the military, most recently one of my own sons. I'm not advocating leaving troops stranded in Iraq. But this adminstration needs to produce a plan and a timetable if they want support. Iraq is a mess and he knows it. Now he's trying to find a "war czar" and among the most competent military minds, there are no takers. That in itself should be setting off red lights and sirens. The idea of handing this clown carte blanc without accountability is scary beyond words for me.

    By Anonymous rockync, at 5:22 PM  

  • Rockync,

    You've made your points well. One of the things I've posted on in the past was the lack of anything being asked of the American people for this effort. No major recruiting drives, no new taxes (in fact a tax cut), nothing material has been asked as a sacrifice for the effort and as a result the men and women in the military and their families (whom I admire) are left shouldering the burden.

    Meanwhile, the defense of the nation has been seriously comprimised.

    And now we are talking tough with Iran?


    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:48 PM  

  • Praguetwin- Madness for sure and you're right about the lack of sacrifice for the gen'l populace. I wonder if there would have been so much support for this invasion if the privileged were asked to make their contribution.

    By Anonymous rockync, at 7:24 PM  

  • That is the question I have asked myself many times.

    ....or even if anyone other than the soldiers and their families were asked to do anything other than go shopping.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:26 PM  

  • What is needed is better leadership.

    No argument there, but my worry is that Bush realizes this and is planning nothing more than holding on so that he can foist the problem off on "better leadership" (read: Anybody but him.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:38 AM  

  • Kvatch,

    That is actually the best case scenario. I worry that he is going to try something else, more harebrained and desperate.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home