Monday, May 24, 2004

Zinni On Sixty Minutes 

If you missed Steve Croft's segment with General Anthony Zinni last night, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the online video of same. You can see it with either a Real Player, or the Windows model, and the link, with summary can be found here. But even a full transcript wouldn't convey the power of the man himself.

Though heaven knows he is but the latest in an astonishingly long line of mainstream public servants who've come forward to say that George Bush's Iraqi policy was a misbegotten misadventure that has set the foreign policy of this country on a disasterous course, Zinni's vigorous certitude, his centrist credentials, his straightforward bearing, his critical pre-war perspective, and his insistence that those who promulgate a failed policy ought to be willing to be judged by that failure, made him especially impressive. Of course this is an administration that does not countenance failure, not in the usual "if you fail you're gone" sense, but in that other sense, that no policy of this administration, which represents all that is good and decent about America, can, by definition, be a failed policy; it is only failed belief in the policy that will doom it, and only disloyal, unAmerican, elitist voices that hate America who would attempt to convince Americans, wrongly, not to believe in the policy. Feel dizzy yet?

Zinni was bracingly clearheaded. No, Saddam was not an immediate or even a gathering threat. He was contained. Sanctions had worked. An invasion of Iraq made no sense in the context of 9/11, which dictated that our priorities lay elsewhere, namely in Afghanistan, where we did a half-assed job initially, and where we continue to look the other way as that country tetters on the verge of failed statehood yet again. Stay the course? Not when it is taking you over Niagra without benefit of even a barrel. If for nothing else, go look at the video to watch Zinni talk about the kind of personal attacks he received when he wrote critically about the strategic failure of neo-con doctrine, and detail his hearty contempt for those who would claim that once troops take the field in war, any criticism of the policies that sent them to war is beyond the pale.

Zinni's notions of how we get out of this mess are actually quite close to those articulated by Kerry thus far, and by no stretch of anyone's imagination can they be said to be a continuation of the Bush Iraq policy.

More on this in a subsequent post.

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