(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
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
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
published in the Wayne
Copyright � 2009 WayneMadenReport.com
Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and
nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report