Rumblings in the Ranks
There’s been another instance of the military breaking ranks with the Administration over Iraq: today it’s retired General Anthony Zinni (former U.S. commanding officer for the Middle East), blasting our Iraq “policy” with both barrels:
In an impassioned speech to several hundred Marine and Navy officers and others, Zinni invoked the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s. “My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice,” said Zinni, who was severely wounded while serving as an infantry officer in that conflict. “I ask you, is it happening again?”
Zinni’s comments were especially striking because he endorsed President Bush in the 2000 campaign, shortly after retiring from active duty, and serves as an adviser to the State Department on anti-terror initiatives in Indonesia and the Philippines. He preceded Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks as chief of the U.S. Central Command, the headquarters for U.S. military operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
If you read the piece to the end, it concludes with an even more telling note as to the temperament of the average soldier these days:
Zinni’s comments to the joint meeting in Arlington of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association, two professional groups for officers, were greeted warmly by his audience, with prolonged applause at the end. Some officers bought tapes and compact discs of the speech to give to others. [Emphasis mine]
Something tells me that Bush & Co. are going to have to either tend to morale pretty quickly, or suffer the consequences.