Monday, April 03, 2006

Weighing General Opinion

In yet another sobering interview, former CentCom commander General Anthony Zinni offered his assessment of the Iraq invasion and occupation again, this time on yesterday's Meet the Press (click on page 5 and scroll down to get to the Zinni transcript, McCain the chameleon is first). It wasn't pretty. A sample:

MR. RUSSERT: I want to bring you back to a book you co-wrote with Tom Clancy called “Battle Ready." And you wrote this: “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.” That’s very serious.


"I saw the—what this town is known for: spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses, or, or shading the, the context. We, we know the mushroom clouds and, and the other things that were all described that the media’s covered well. I saw on the ground, though, a sort of walking away from 10 years worth of planning."

I'm sure the rightie airwaves are buzzing today with talk from claims of "the liberal media", to allegations about Zinni preferring woman's underwear, to "al Qaeda must be smiling with this support". Discredit both messengers, but never, ever have an intelligent, civil discussion about the subject.

But I challenge any regressive (or anyone who "supports" the war) to consider the following: General Zinni is at least the 4th or 5th retired high-ranking American general to publicly criticize the Iraq war for either it's wisdom, execution, or both. These are the guys who understand fully both the political and practical aspects of war. I am unaware of any similar individual who has spoken out publicly in support of the invasion and its execution.

I would also challenge you to read the interview in it's entirety (and the 60 Minutes one cited below) with an open mind. At that point try to make a cogent argument about the flaws in these leaders' positions. And let's forget red herrings, like he's trying to sell a book, it's the liberal media, etc., etc. The only constructive, factual, areas we should concern ourselves with in refuting this piece are the following:
  1. Has MSNBC somehow edited his comments so as to have presented them out of context or contrary to his intentions?
  2. Is General Zinni qualified to make such assessments?
  3. Are these just the personal opinions of 4 or 5 disgruntled former generals, and do not reflect the real situation?
Given the above (as well as this transcript from a 60 Minutes piece 2 years ago), if you can make a sound, rational, logical counterargument based upon provable fact, then I'm all ears.....

Note: One could plausibly argue that W was honestly misled by his advisors. I don't buy that, but think its a valid supposition. However, one can't argue that the war has been botched, and that the guy solely responsible for its success or failure, Donald Rumsfeld, still has his job. And that failure rests squarely on one man's shoulders.


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