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General Zinni Exposes the Neo-Cons

Sep 12, 2005
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General Zinni Exposes the Neo-Cons

"Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America."
~Thomas Paine


"An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot."
Thomas Paine

NeoCons and the Media(2)

Col. Ogden Jones visits the panel and forcasts a grim future for the National Guard. Also visiting is Mitchell Szczepenczyk from Chicago Indymedia and Chicago Media Action.


Female Panel Host: Why did you think they did not find allies like during the Gulf War, what's your opinion on this?

Col. Ogden Jones, US Army, Retired: Well, number one, in the Gulf War the magazines were full. We had round after round of negotiations between all of the nations of the world. We went back and forth, back and forth, between all of the major allies. In this war, we never consulted at all with our major allies, we just gave them an accomplished fact. We got our resolution through congress, and many congressmen that supported that resolution assumed, wrongly, that this would be the prelude to serious negotiations with NATO and with the United Nations. But it just didn't happen. The Neo-Conservatives were hell bent on a war and they're gonna have it no matter what. And they cooked up the intelligence, I have to think it was a dishonest attempt, it wasn't a mistake, it was a dishonest attempt, they wanted to get in there by any means possible, so they jumped on the Weapons of Mass Destruction. And the other nations wouldn't have it. People claim that the United Nations is too slow. I maintain that the United Nations is doing exactly the job that they were set up to do. They are supposed to be a cautionary group, a group that is the best minds in the world, and they are supposed to get in there and only use war as a last resort. We used this as a first resort.

Rick Stahlhut, MD: You know, Mr. Jones, you mentioned the Neo-Conservatives and the fact that you felt that that group of Neo-Conservatives really drove the agenda, and interestingly, we have something that we can watch here from 60 Minutes last Sunday, May 23. I think it says May 28th on the rolling but it's really May 23. They were talking with General Zinni. Maybe you could tell the folks at home who General Zinni is?

Col. Jones: Well, General Zinni came into prominence long after I left the Army, but I've read about him, I admire the man tremendously because not only is he a respected and successful military leader, but he is a skilled and successful diplomat. He has been used in countless situations where they wanted to have this country represented by a wise man with a military background. What he has to say bears a lot of listening to.

Dr. Stahlhut: Well, and he took the place of Norman Schwarzkopv, correct?

Col. Jones: That's correct.

Dr. Stahlhut: So CENTCOM, or Central Command, as I understand, are the folks that actually are running the whole show.

Col Jones: That is correct. Under the current national defense setup, you have from the Secretary of Defense down through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , and then, underneath them, worldwide, you have a series of unified commands. That's the terminology they use to describe the defense setup. Our Strategic Air Command is a unified command, of sorts. We have unified commands in Europe. We had a unified command fighting the Korean War. In this particular case, the head of the Army, Navy, and Air Force in the unified command is not only responsible to all of the services, but is also responsible for the whole region, which, in this case, encompasses Afghanistan and Iraq. So he's got a full slate.

Dr. Stahlhut: And he was head of that operation from 97-2000?

Col. Jones: That's right. So he knows the area intimately, and he knows how the setup is supposed to work.

Dr. Stahlhut: So maybe we should watch and see what he had to say on 60 Minutes on how the Neo-Conservatives in Washington drove us into that war.

General Zinni: They were given the responsibility that this was their war. And from everything I understand they promoted it and pushed it, certain elements in there, certainly, even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their need, then they should bear the responsibility. But regardless of who's responsibility I think it is, somebody has screwed up. And at this level and at this stage it should be evident to everybody that they've screwed up. And who's heads are rolling on this? That's what bothers me most.

60 Minutes Interviewer: There are no heads rolling.

General Zinni: That's my problem. If you charge me with the responsibility of taking this nation to war, if you charge me with implementing that policy, with creating the strategy that convinces me to go to war, and I fail you, then I ought to go.

60 Minutes Interviewer: Who specifically are you talking about?

General Zinni: Well, it starts at the top. If you're the Secretary of Defense, and your responsible for that, if you're responsible for that planning ant that execution, if you assume responsibility for the other elements, no military, non security, political, economical, social and everything else, then you bear responsibility. Certainly those in the ranks that foisted this strategy on us that is flawed, certainly they need to be gone and replaced.

60 Minutes Voiceover: Zinni is talking about a group of policymakers within the administration known as the Neo-Conservatives, that saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize American interests in the region, and strengthen the position of Israel. They include deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Fife, former defense policy board member Richard Pearl, National Security Council member Elliot Abrahms, and Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Zinni believes they are political ideologues who have hijacked America's policy in Iraq.

60 Minutes interviewer: You think they are the architects of this?

General Zinni: I think they are. I think it's the worst kept secret in Washington. Everybody that I've talked to in Washington has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they're trying to do. In one article in which I mentioned Neo-Conservatives - and they call themselves Neo-Conservatives - I was called Anti-Semetic. It's unbelievable that those are the kinds of personal attacks that are won when you criticize a strategy and those who propose it. I certainly didn't criticize who they were, I certainly don't know what their ethnic-religious backgrounds are, and I'm not interested. I know what strategy they promoted, and openly, and for a number of years, and what they've convinced the President and the Secretary to do, and I don't believe that there is any serious political leader, military leader, diplomat in Washington that doesn't know where it came from.

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