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Ten Mistakes of Bush's Policy In Iraq

The Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft-Rumsfeld regime -- and no less the warbloggers at their elbow -- can almost afford to just ignore the whinings of well-known troublemakers like Michael Moore or Seymour Hersch or Robert Fisk. It is much harder for them to set aside the criticisms of, say, General Clark, but their task is made easier by his declared Democratic credentials. How, though, can they explain the public disavowal of their policies by someone such as Marine General Anthony Zinni?

General Zinni is currently a distinguished Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. For the last three years of his career with the Armed Forces, General Zinni was Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, responsible for U.S. forces in a 25-country region, ranging from the Horn of Africa and the Middle East to parts of the former Soviet Union. zinniHe joined the U.S. Central Command in September 1996 as Deputy Commander in Chief. Following Desert Storm, he served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanding General of combined task force Private Comfort, a Kurdish relief effort in Turkey and Iraq. During 1992-1993, General Zinni directed the Unified Task Force Somalia during operation Continue Hope, and earlier, he was Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, Virginia. He served in Vietnam as a company commander in 1970. A graduate of Villanova University, General Zinni holds a B.A. in economics, an M.A. in international relations, and an M.A. in management and supervision. His decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" and gold star in lieu of a second award, and the Purple Heart. [bio care of Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis]

In other words, this guy is no lightweight. He knows whereof he speaks. And he ripped into Bush's Iraq policy in a speech earlier this month at the Center for Defense Information. He listed ten specific mistakes the regime has made:

" ... the first mistake that will be recorded in history, the belief that containment as a policy doesn't work ...

The second mistake I think history will record is that the strategy was flawed. I couldn't believe what I was hearing about the benefits of this strategic move. That the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad, when just the opposite is true, the road to Baghdad led through Jerusalem. You solve the Middle East peace process, you'd be surprised what kinds of others things will work out ...

The third mistake, I think was one we repeated from Vietnam, we had to create a false rationale for going in to get public support. The books were cooked, in my mind. The intelligence was not there ...

We failed in number four, to internationalize the effort ...

I think the fifth mistake was that we underestimated the task. And I think those of us that knew that region ... former combatant commanders of U.S. Central Command, beginning with Gen. Schwarzkopf, have said you don't understand what you're getting into ...

The sixth mistake, and maybe the biggest one, was propping up and trusting the exiles, the infamous "Gucci Guerillas" from London. We bought into their intelligence reports. To the credit of the CIA, they didn't buy into it, so I guess the Defense Department created its own boutique intelligence agency to vet them. And we ended up with a group that fed us bad information ...

The seventh problem has been the lack of planning ...

The eighth problem was the insufficiency of military forces on the ground. There were a lot more troops in my military plan for operations in Iraq. I know when that plan was presented, the secretary of defense said it was "old and stale." It sounded pretty new and fresh to me, and looking back at it, now because there were a hell of a lot more troops ...

The ninth problem has been the ad hoc organization we threw in there. No one can tell me the Coalition Provisional Authority had any planning for its structure ...

And that ad hoc organization has failed, leading to the tenth mistake, and that's a series of bad decisions on the ground."

A quick read of the whole speech is worth the effort.

May 19, 2004 in Iraq | Permalink

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