Retired US Gen Zinni Urges Decision on McChrystals Request

#1
Gen. Zinni weighs in on the decision to reinforce Afghanistan. Although reputed to have been a supporter of Obama, he was reportedly also treated rather badly when led to believe he would get the nod for ambassador to Iraq and Obama's political handlers apparently pulled the rug out from under him.

Zinni: Don't Delay Decision on Afghan War
Fmr. Commander Says Delibrations on New Strategy Cannot Continue Much Longer



(CBS) The former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Anthony Zinni, warned that the deliberations over whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan - as many as 40,000, as suggested by General Stanley McChrystal - should not go on too much longer, lest the debate be viewed as indecision or weakness.

On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Zinni said it was positive to have a strategic debate and to take all opinions into account. "But I think we have to be careful how long this goes on," he told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. "It could be seen not only out there in the region but our allies, even [by] the enemy, as being indecisive, unable to make a decision."

He questioned why the White House is questioning the advice of their commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal who made the request for additional troops.

"We have a general out there who is probably the best qualified we could have that's telling us what we need on the ground to have the security space and the time to get those non-military things done," Zinni said. "I just don't understand why we're questioning that judgment at this point.

"I hope this doesn't go on much longer."


The former commander said he agrees that America's success in Afghanistan is dependent upon an influx of troops. "I don't know much about the politics but I can certainly tell you, to prosecute the military perspective you have the finest lineup in Mullen, and McChrystal on the ground. It is what you need on the ground if you're going to make this kind of strategy work," he said.

Asked if he thought al Qaeda would make Afghanistan a safe haven should the Taliban return to power in the region, Zinni said, "I think they could find themselves with the safe sanctuary inside Afghanistan to work against the Pakistani military in the tribal areas, in the Swat Valley - just like the reverse, when they went into Pakistan to fight our forces there."

He warned that the battle over an Afghan strategy is not just about militants, but also about neighboring India and Pakistan. "We have two nations out there with nuclear weapons, one of which had the Taliban 65 miles from their capital. We have the Taliban and others trying to provoke some sort of conflict between these two nations. We also have a Taliban that is stretching their influence into Central Asia."


In the debate over the U.S. supplying more combat troops versus simply providing forces to train the indigenous military, Zinni (who has trained local militias) said that while it's "wonderful" to have trainers on ground, "Who protects the trainers? Who ensures the roads they're on aren't going to be full of IEDs because you can't control them? If you don't have enough forces on the ground, you give maneuvering space to the enemy, [and] the freedom to attack our outposts that are remote, ineffectively manned. I think you need both. It's not a matter of either/or."


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/04/ftn/main5362095.shtml?tag=latest
 
#2
jumpinjarhead said:
Gen. Zinni weighs in on the decision to reinforce Afghanistan. Although reputed to have been a supporter of Obama, he was reportedly also treated rather badly when led to believe he would get the nod for ambassador to Iraq and Obama's political handlers apparently pulled the rug out from under him.
Doubtful I think. More likely internal State Department politics advised Clinton to appoint one of their own diplomats instead of Zinni. State is notorious for doing things like that.

Zinni was not her choice (it was Jones') and the offer made to him was without her input. He was offered Saudi Arabia but told them to screw off.

Whatever happened it was mishandled badly.

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/04/zinni_unloads
 
#3
Virgil said:
jumpinjarhead said:
Gen. Zinni weighs in on the decision to reinforce Afghanistan. Although reputed to have been a supporter of Obama, he was reportedly also treated rather badly when led to believe he would get the nod for ambassador to Iraq and Obama's political handlers apparently pulled the rug out from under him.
Doubtful I think. More likely internal State Department politics advised Clinton to appoint one of their own diplomats instead of Zinni. State is notorious for doing things like that.

Zinni was not her choice (it was Jones') and the offer made to him was without her input. He was offered Saudi Arabia but told them to screw off.

Whatever happened it was mishandled badly.

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/04/zinni_unloads
Thanks for the clarification. I was mainly trying to make that point of it being screwed up in terms of his possible biases etc.
 
#4
JJH, thanks, interesting as always.

Just a question on a minor point from the article, Zinni was never a commander IN Afghanistan, he was rather COM CENTCOM ?
That's by the by, my real question for you with your insight, where is King David in all this right now, it appears the present COM CENTCOM is out of the (public) loop on this one?
 
#5
jumpinjarhead said:
Virgil said:
jumpinjarhead said:
Gen. Zinni weighs in on the decision to reinforce Afghanistan. Although reputed to have been a supporter of Obama, he was reportedly also treated rather badly when led to believe he would get the nod for ambassador to Iraq and Obama's political handlers apparently pulled the rug out from under him.
Doubtful I think. More likely internal State Department politics advised Clinton to appoint one of their own diplomats instead of Zinni. State is notorious for doing things like that.

Zinni was not her choice (it was Jones') and the offer made to him was without her input. He was offered Saudi Arabia but told them to screw off.

Whatever happened it was mishandled badly.

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/04/zinni_unloads
Thanks for the clarification. I was mainly trying to make that point of it being screwed up in terms of his possible biases etc.
Correct-Zinni was CINC, CENTCOM. I puzzle a bit over the command relationships myself--from all I have seen, McChrystal was picked by the administration (no doubt with input from Sir David and others) but presumably reports through CENTCOM to the JCS and Natl Sec Council.
 

Latest Threads

New Posts