By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Retired General Anthony Zinni was, as Slate's Fred Kaplan notes, "no ordinary general. His final posting, before retiring in 2000, was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command—the command that, under his successor, General Tommy Franks, ran the war in Iraq. Through his 40-year military career, Zinni was director of operations for the Somalia task force (before and after the Mogadishu disaster, but not during), head of the Marines' counterterrorism unit, commander in chief of U.S. European Command, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps, commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, director of various training and doctrine commands, and a decorated Vietnam veteran. Finally, from 2002-03, Secretary of State Colin Powell named Zinni to be his special envoy to the Middle East."
Zinni endorsed George W. Bush in 2000. But in his new book, Battle Ready, Zinni reveals his changed heart:
"In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption. False rationales presented as a justification; a flawed strategy; lack of planning; the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task; the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain dumped on our overstretched military."