Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Will Freddy Barnes, Attack-ChouChou, Attack Zinni?

Fred Barnes has always been an intellectual lightweight, but a loyal Party-Line Neocon. That way he stays on the air and gets paid for vapid columns.

Last time Gen. Zinni had the temerity to ask questions, implicitly questioning the NeoCon line on Iraq, he was attacked as a neurotic Jimmy-Carter-Wannabee wacko Democrat stooge. Rush Limbaugh led the charge, and Freddy ChouChou happily participated.

Here's Zinni today:

He said the U.S. has been unable to cope with "non-state actors" who are not constrained by the obligations that nation-states must adhere to. Such free-wheelers include Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, international drug cartels, and warlord groups.

"They don't have a capital or an organized military force," Zinni said. "These non-state actors have been our biggest problems," and the trouble caused by instability in the countries where they operate have "washed up on our shores."

Zinni did not speak much to specifics about what President Bush should do in Iraq, but more to the fact that whatever he decides to do, he needs the competent structure and plan in place to carry it out. Having the Department of Defense run the economic reconstruction, and shutting down factories just because they were state-owned under Saddam Hussein's regime, were examples of poorly thought out decisions, Zinni said.

He also said the nature of the enemy in Iraq cannot be identified as a single, monolithic force. "I defy anybody here to tell me who the enemy is," Zinni said, adding that each opposition group requires a different approach. To carry out a successful Iraq reconstruction, he estimated it would require from 5 to 7 more years and in the short term, more troops.

In fact, part of the original miscalculation was the insufficient number of troops used to try and stabilize Iraq, Zinni said. He said shortly after the end of the Cold War the military became enamored with technology, reducing the overall military personnel. "A few of us objected to this," he said. He said a study group he was a part of recommended up to 400,000 troops for Iraq, because the problem wasn't taking out Saddam, but in stabilizing the region. "These situations are manpower intensive," he said.

But the president's key mistake, according to Zinni, was in failing to tell the American people honestly why an invasion of Iraq was necessary. He said the information he saw showed that Saddam Hussein had no active program in 2002 and 2003 for weapons of mass destruction. Saddam had the ability to reconstitute such a program, but U.N. sanctions were successfully containing him. Zinni called the justification "an exaggeration that was going to burn (the Bush administration) in the end." Besides the insufficient troops and prosecuting the war on the cheap, Zinni said the administration "doomed themselves by the rationale for the war," likening it to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which granted President Lyndon Johnson permission to escalate involvement in Vietnam.

Nothing has been as dispiriting as GWB's "floating rationales" for the war, and its continuation. Let's hope that "peace on Earth, goodwill to men" is soon erased from the Administration's repertoire of reasons for remaining.

And let's also hope that Freddy ChouChou just shuts up and stays in his kennel.

HT: American Spectator Blog

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