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Special Reports Last Updated: Sep 9th, 2009 - 00:41:22

Zinni condemns use of �special envoys�
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Sep 9, 2009, 00:17

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(WMR) -- Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, who served as commander of the US Central Command, warned in Washington last week that U.S. military trainers may have to remain in Iraq until 2020. The trainers serve under the aegis of the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I). Zinni made his comments at a speech at the New America Foundation.

Zinni said the role of U.S. military personnel are to �train and equip� the Iraqi military and security forces until they can stand on their own. MNSTC-I now has an awkward name. Since the withdrawal of other members of the Bush administration�s �Coalition of the Willing,� the only �multinational� components of the military mission are the United States and Iraq.

Zinni also criticized the civil affairs missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. He urged the military�s civil affairs function to be separated from the U.S. Special Operations Command and serve as the core of a new Civil Affairs Command that would be composed of military and civilian personnel drawn from unified commands, and the State Department, including the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID).

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen recently criticized U.S. efforts to communicate U.S. strategy and plans to the Muslim world.

Zinni, who served as President George W. Bush�s special envoy to Israel and Palestine, criticized the function, saying, �envoys are useless.� Zinni said that special envoys are not confirmed by Congress and �have big egos.� Zinni said, �envoys and summits don�t work� and said you �could paper �The Wall� with all the agreements previously penned by the Israelis and Palestinians. �The Wall� is a reference to the wall being built to separate Israelis from Palestinians.

Zinni stressed that the �Quartet� of international mediators in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be expanded to a �Quintet,� with the addition of the Arabs, possibly the Aeab League. The Quartet members are the United States, Russia, European Union, and United Nations.

Zinni also favors pulling U.S. ground troops out of Japan and South Korea. He criticized the move of U.S. troops from Okinawa to Guam, and urged the troops to be located in the United States proper, including Hawaii. Zinni said it would be sufficient to maintain logistics facilities and air bases in Japan and South Korea but not the tens of thousands of ground troops.

In answer to a question about Osama Bin Laden, Zinni replied, �I don�t know where he is. Maybe K Street -- he�s a lobbyist.� Although a joke, Zinni reflected a growing perception that Bin Laden is no longer of interest, something echoed by George W. Bush when he was president.

A former high-level official of the State Department told WMR after the Zinni speech that �Al Qaeda� never consisted of more than 800 Wahhabi Muslims with few, if any, Afghans in their ranks. As for the Taliban, the former official stated that not one had ever attacked an American before 9/11 and confirmed that some Taliban leaders, far from common perceptions, are very �Westernized,� even favoring Johnny Walker Blue, their Scotch whisky of choice.

The retired State Department official also stated that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad were college mates at the American University of Beirut, where they were both identified by the CIA station in Beirut as future agents of influence for the United States.

Khalilzad, an ethnic Pashtun, as is Karzai, became a U.S. citizen, was taken under the wing of arch-neocon Paul Wolfowitz, and became known as the top �expert� on Muslim and Arab affairs. The former State Department official said that Khalilzad was merely a �flunky� for such officials as Jimmy Carter�s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Reagan Undersecretary of State Michael Armacost, and the RAND Corporation.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright � 2009

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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