A Stinging Indictment of the Bush-Cheney Presidency
General Zinni appeared on Tim Russert's Meet The Press this morning. In a few short minutes, he (once again) dissected Bush-Cheney's track record as incorrigibly incompetent and as promising only more of the same as long as the two of these warmongers are left unmolested in their offices for anothert 645 days.
I have posted my "money" excerpts, with my boldfacing added:
. . . . 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 now know the answers to that question: Poor intelligence, lack of planning, faulty political motivation, incompetent or inexperienced people placed in key positions, flawed assumptions, lack of understanding of the Iraqi culture, arrogance, spin, and the list goes on and on.
. . . . I mean it—we, we did not prepare ourselves for this intervention. 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.
. . . . obviously after 9/11, they saw a need to change our approaches in the Middle East, to do something dramatic. Unfortunately, I think this was the wrong place at the wrong time. And, and the philosophy or the theory behind this change that this liberation would cause a rising up and a, a, a drive for democracy in the Middle East, it, it didn’t square with the way the culture or the way the thinking and the, and the situation was that we had seen in my time. I think the WMD problem, we’d always had a suspicion of WMD programs, but never any hard evidence. And, as time went on, it seemed less and less likely there was an existing program. I mean the vice president’s term was he was “amassing” weapons of mass destruction. Clearly, there was no evidence of even an existing program, let, let alone amassing of weapons of mass destruction.
. . . . 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.
. . . . need to rethink that kind of strategy, that kind of positioning. But more importantly, we need to rethink our relationships in that region. We have to build a collective security arrangement, a coalition arrangement to replace the one we destroyed by going into Iraq now.
. . . . I think that any attempt to fix Iraq, if you will, to commit to a larger involvement or intervention probably went away when we didn’t adopt the, the Baker-Hamilton recommendations. I thought that would be a start. Certainly didn’t go far enough. I think, now, the American people are becoming disillusioned. I think it’s, it’s clear, though, that we cannot leave the region, we shouldn’t naively think we’re pulling out, that this is Somalia or Vietnam. And I think the debate should be, amongst the candidates is, is how do we redesign the strategy for this region, protect our interests, create the kind of coalition involvement that would help support this and share the burden. We need that kind of imagination out there. And it isn’t just about Iraq. It’s about how we engage or what do we do about Iran and Syria, our involvement in the Middle East peace process, the rebuilding of relationships with former allies that has been stressed and strained, and, and how we deal with, a cooperative way, to counter the extremism that’s on the rise. The current bombings in, in Algeria and Morocco should, should be of great concern to us and, and to that part of the world.
. . . . you know, what’s, what’s shocking about all this, if you look at past wars, in, in three to four years into a war, we’ve had remarkable transformations of our military. Just think about World War II, where we were when Pearl Harbor was attacked, what our military looked like. I mean, all our equipment was inferior to our enemy, the size of our forces, our organization, our tactics. Three and a half years later, we were a superpower. We dominated in all those areas. Even in Vietnam, at the tactical level, we made adjustments and adaptations, and, and we increased the size of the force to meet the commitment. Although we’ve mouthed the words about this being a long war and a long struggle, the very forces that it places the greatest demand upon, our ground forces, our, our soldiers and Marines, we’ve seen no increase, no change, no adaptability on the battlefield. We’re still confused about the enemy. We’re, we’re, we’re stifled by the IED attacks and, and the problems we face. And, and these adjustments, over four years, have not been made. We have to ask ourselves why. What happened to transformation? Why was the design not right? What have we done to adjust? Our military, especially our Army and Marine Corps, are not going to be able to continue this kind of rotation. Traditionally you need three units for every one you have deployed. That’s the ideal, in terms of training, reconstructing the unit, the kind of quality time, the quality of life and family time necessary to rebuild the unit before it goes out. We’re down to almost one-to-one.
. . . . I—I’m, I’m disturbed, as most Americans I talk to, that the president . . . the president is, is spending too much time and is fully committed in politics, in campaigning. I really believe we need a president that needs to become an elder statesman, that needs to rise above politics. When the American people know the political adviser in the White House better than they know the national security adviser—and I’d offer to you, take that test and, and see how many can identify Hadley vs. Rove—then something’s wrong with our system. We want a president that’s governing, governing all Americans, that, that isn’t bound up in politics. . . .