The low-down on Zinni

The latest retired general to voice his concerns over the strategy to topple Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq has been Anthony Zinni.  Naturally, the good general has co—authored a book with (surprise!) Tom Clancy, criticizing the war with Iraq.  The anti—Semitic undercurrent of the general's interview on 60 minutes is discussed at length in Richard Baehr's excellent piece  in The American Thinker.  Most Americans know that Gen. Zinni was the former Commanding General of CENTCOM, but few know his previous military background in that theater of operations, nor do they completely understand his current political leanings on the subject of conflict and war.

 

Gen. Zinni had been Deputy Commanding General for Operation Provide Comfort, immediately after Gulf War I. But his first command in the region was as the I Marine Expeditionary Force Commander assigned to execute Operation UNITED SHIELD, which was USCENTCOM's operation to withdraw all UN forces from Somalia in January 1995. By this time, all US forces had already withdrawn under orders from President Clinton and overseen by the CENTCOM commander, Marine Gen. Hoar (retired Gen. Hoar has also come out against Operation Iraqi Freedom).

 

In August 1997, Gen. Zinni assumed command of CENTCOM.  During his command, the following major actions occurred in theater:

 

— Provided disaster relief to victims of flooding in Kenya.

 

— The U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania were bombed by terrorists; USCENTCOM responded to the bombings by conducting cruise missile strikes against aspirin factories and nearly deserted terrorist camps of Osama Bin Laden.

 

— The U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Aden by al Qaeda. The rules of engagement in force under General Zinni's command enabled the terrorists to approach the Cole close enough to kill our sailors and critically damage the ship.

 

— In December 1998, USCENTCOM launched Operation DESERT FOX which was a four—day operation theoretically to delay development of weapons of mass destruction, and to disrupt or destroy Iraq's national command and control nodes.

 

— Gen. Zinni oversaw the large—scale, yet routine Bright Star Exercise, which can trace its origin to the early 80s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF).

 

— Conducted 'engagement' operations (whatever that means) with the recently independent Central Asian states of the Former Soviet Union.

 

So, it appears that Gen. Zinni and CENTCOM had become very proficient at troop withdrawals, disaster relief, and shooting cruise missiles at empty tents.  To be fair, Gen. Zinni was but the last in line of three CENTCOM commanders (the others being Hoar and Peay), who were essentially outmaneuvered by Iran. Even worse, they allowed a build—up of Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa. These moves were countered by nothing stronger than the strategies of withdrawal (Somalia), shows of force, and the ever—popular but widely misunderstood concept of 'engagement.'

 

But Gen. Zinni's current affiliations are even more interesting, given his severe criticism of the President's actions in the War on Terror and the liberation of Iraq.  It seems the General is a Distinguished Military Fellow on the Washington, D.C. staff of the Center for Defense Information www.cdi.org.  The mission statement for this organization is:

 

dedicated to strengthening security through: international cooperation; reduced reliance on unilateral military power [emphasis mine] to resolve conflict; reduced reliance on nuclear weapons; a transformed and reformed military establishment; and, prudent oversight of, and spending on, defense programs.

 

A quick glance of the list of people on CDI's Board of Advisors includes such great military thinkers and left wing activists and donors as:

 

— Ben Cohen — Founder, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc., South Burlington, Vt.

 

— Paul Newman — Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, Calif.

 

— Joanne Woodward — Actress—Director, Westport, Conn.

 

An assessment of CDI during the height of the Cold War highlighted its founding and core philosophy:

 

Formed in 1973 as a project of the tax—exempt Fund for Peace(FFP).  CDI and its sister FFP projects — the Center for National Security Studies(CNSS) and the Center for International Policy(CIP) — are spin—offs from projects initiated by the Institute for Policy Studies(IPS), the Washington—based , internationally active revolutionary think—tank.

 

CDI's military members include former military officers, intelligence officers and academics who share attitudes of harsh antagonism toward the U.S. national defense, the U.S. military, the NATO alliance and American foreign policy.

 

CDI's former military officers were frequently quoted by the Soviet propaganda organs to legitimize their attacks on NATO and U.S. defense forces as trigger—happy dangers to peace.
Although CDI states it "supports a strong defense but opposes excessive expenditures or forces," it has opposed every major new U.S. weapons system developed during the past two decades — from the B—1 bomber and Trident submarine to cruise missiles, neutron warheads, and stealth bomber — as upsetting the U.S.—Soviet strategic balance while at the same time minimizing the Soviet military buildup.

 

To this day, CDI maintains an office in Moscow, Russia staffed by a Mr. Ivan Safranchuk, who is described as a 'well—known nuclear analyst in Russia.'  The purpose of the Moscow CDI office is to provide 'the Russian media and public with independent, unfiltered information about U.S.—Russian security relations, from nuclear policy to NATO environmental issues.'

 

The CDI also sends military experts to Cuba, to work with the Cuban military! In another era, this sort of activity would be uncharitably regarded as something akin to the t—word.

 

This begs the question: What would motivate a retired four—star Marine general to join such an organization as this?

 

 

That retired Gen. Zinni would fall in with this bunch makes perfect sense after a stint at CENTCOM that included half—measures against Saddam's regime and disaster relief operations as his claim to fame.  It's a shame that he can't see the failure of the false policy of containment and sanctions that were right in his own backyard, but it's a scandal that his critique of the current war can't get beyond the subtle anti—Semitic complaints against people who actually wanted to take action to solve the problem.

 

His actions demonstrate that he is in perfect company with Richard Clarke and Joe Wilson.

 

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent

Ed Lasky contributed research assistance for this article

The latest retired general to voice his concerns over the strategy to topple Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq has been Anthony Zinni.  Naturally, the good general has co—authored a book with (surprise!) Tom Clancy, criticizing the war with Iraq.  The anti—Semitic undercurrent of the general's interview on 60 minutes is discussed at length in Richard Baehr's excellent piece  in The American Thinker.  Most Americans know that Gen. Zinni was the former Commanding General of CENTCOM, but few know his previous military background in that theater of operations, nor do they completely understand his current political leanings on the subject of conflict and war.

 

Gen. Zinni had been Deputy Commanding General for Operation Provide Comfort, immediately after Gulf War I. But his first command in the region was as the I Marine Expeditionary Force Commander assigned to execute Operation UNITED SHIELD, which was USCENTCOM's operation to withdraw all UN forces from Somalia in January 1995. By this time, all US forces had already withdrawn under orders from President Clinton and overseen by the CENTCOM commander, Marine Gen. Hoar (retired Gen. Hoar has also come out against Operation Iraqi Freedom).

 

In August 1997, Gen. Zinni assumed command of CENTCOM.  During his command, the following major actions occurred in theater:

 

— Provided disaster relief to victims of flooding in Kenya.

 

— The U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania were bombed by terrorists; USCENTCOM responded to the bombings by conducting cruise missile strikes against aspirin factories and nearly deserted terrorist camps of Osama Bin Laden.

 

— The U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Aden by al Qaeda. The rules of engagement in force under General Zinni's command enabled the terrorists to approach the Cole close enough to kill our sailors and critically damage the ship.

 

— In December 1998, USCENTCOM launched Operation DESERT FOX which was a four—day operation theoretically to delay development of weapons of mass destruction, and to disrupt or destroy Iraq's national command and control nodes.

 

— Gen. Zinni oversaw the large—scale, yet routine Bright Star Exercise, which can trace its origin to the early 80s Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF).

 

— Conducted 'engagement' operations (whatever that means) with the recently independent Central Asian states of the Former Soviet Union.

 

So, it appears that Gen. Zinni and CENTCOM had become very proficient at troop withdrawals, disaster relief, and shooting cruise missiles at empty tents.  To be fair, Gen. Zinni was but the last in line of three CENTCOM commanders (the others being Hoar and Peay), who were essentially outmaneuvered by Iran. Even worse, they allowed a build—up of Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa. These moves were countered by nothing stronger than the strategies of withdrawal (Somalia), shows of force, and the ever—popular but widely misunderstood concept of 'engagement.'

 

But Gen. Zinni's current affiliations are even more interesting, given his severe criticism of the President's actions in the War on Terror and the liberation of Iraq.  It seems the General is a Distinguished Military Fellow on the Washington, D.C. staff of the Center for Defense Information www.cdi.org.  The mission statement for this organization is:

 

dedicated to strengthening security through: international cooperation; reduced reliance on unilateral military power [emphasis mine] to resolve conflict; reduced reliance on nuclear weapons; a transformed and reformed military establishment; and, prudent oversight of, and spending on, defense programs.

 

A quick glance of the list of people on CDI's Board of Advisors includes such great military thinkers and left wing activists and donors as:

 

— Ben Cohen — Founder, Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc., South Burlington, Vt.

 

— Paul Newman — Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, Calif.

 

— Joanne Woodward — Actress—Director, Westport, Conn.

 

An assessment of CDI during the height of the Cold War highlighted its founding and core philosophy:

 

Formed in 1973 as a project of the tax—exempt Fund for Peace(FFP).  CDI and its sister FFP projects — the Center for National Security Studies(CNSS) and the Center for International Policy(CIP) — are spin—offs from projects initiated by the Institute for Policy Studies(IPS), the Washington—based , internationally active revolutionary think—tank.

 

CDI's military members include former military officers, intelligence officers and academics who share attitudes of harsh antagonism toward the U.S. national defense, the U.S. military, the NATO alliance and American foreign policy.

 

CDI's former military officers were frequently quoted by the Soviet propaganda organs to legitimize their attacks on NATO and U.S. defense forces as trigger—happy dangers to peace.
Although CDI states it "supports a strong defense but opposes excessive expenditures or forces," it has opposed every major new U.S. weapons system developed during the past two decades — from the B—1 bomber and Trident submarine to cruise missiles, neutron warheads, and stealth bomber — as upsetting the U.S.—Soviet strategic balance while at the same time minimizing the Soviet military buildup.

 

To this day, CDI maintains an office in Moscow, Russia staffed by a Mr. Ivan Safranchuk, who is described as a 'well—known nuclear analyst in Russia.'  The purpose of the Moscow CDI office is to provide 'the Russian media and public with independent, unfiltered information about U.S.—Russian security relations, from nuclear policy to NATO environmental issues.'

 

The CDI also sends military experts to Cuba, to work with the Cuban military! In another era, this sort of activity would be uncharitably regarded as something akin to the t—word.

 

This begs the question: What would motivate a retired four—star Marine general to join such an organization as this?

 

 

That retired Gen. Zinni would fall in with this bunch makes perfect sense after a stint at CENTCOM that included half—measures against Saddam's regime and disaster relief operations as his claim to fame.  It's a shame that he can't see the failure of the false policy of containment and sanctions that were right in his own backyard, but it's a scandal that his critique of the current war can't get beyond the subtle anti—Semitic complaints against people who actually wanted to take action to solve the problem.

 

His actions demonstrate that he is in perfect company with Richard Clarke and Joe Wilson.

 

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent

Ed Lasky contributed research assistance for this article