Skip to comments.Mark Goldblatt on Iraq: Containment & Context (answers General Anthony Zinni's recent spewage)
Posted on 05/15/2006 12:43:59 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
In a recent interview on Meet the Press, retired General Anthony Zinni recycled the tired argument that President Bush didn’t need to oust Saddam Hussein and his scummy regime in Iraq. “Containment,” Zinni told Tim Russert, “worked remarkably well.”
Well, yes, the policy of containment worked remarkably well, if by “remarkably well” you mean:
1. Saddam was left free to violate the terms of the cease-fire agreement which kept him in power after the 1991 Gulf Warviolations which included kicking out United Nations weapons inspectors and firing on American aircraft patrolling no-fly zones.
2. Saddam stood in defiance of 17 subsequent U.N. Security Council resolutions insisting that he come into compliance with the terms of the 1991 agreement or face serious consequencesthus making a mockery of the Security Council and the entire U.N.
3. Saddam was providing training facilities across Iraq for Muslim terrorists of every stripe, including thousands of radical Islamists, and he had opened up his territory as a safe haven for al Qaeda operatives chased from Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.
4. Saddam was doling out cash rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who murdered Israeli civilians (and occasionally American citizens) in attacks throughout the state of Israel.
5. Saddam sought to recruit suicide bombers to attack American interests and Israeli civilians (as revealed by newly translated documents captured during the first stages of the invasion of Iraq).
6. Saddam kept open the door to forging an operational relationship with al Qaedaas indicated in a sealed 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden by the Clinton Justice Department, which reads in part: “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.”
7. Saddam continued to fleece the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program out of billions of dollarsmoney which was supposed to be used to provide humanitarian relief to the Iraqi people, but which Saddam used instead to buy influence among European politicians and American and European businessmen in an effort to undermine U.N. sanctions…while hundreds of Iraqi children, under the age of five, died every month for lack of food and medicine that the Oil-for-Food program was supposed to supply.
That last number, the body count of Iraqi children, should settle the argument by itself, and utterly put to rest the idea that the pre-invasion status quo in Iraq was acceptable. It doesn’t, because critics of the war no longer recognize it; the number has conveniently “disappeared” from the collective mind of the political Left. Before 9/11, moonbats like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Ward Churchill regularly cited grotesquely inflated World Health Organization and UNICEF statistics, which put the body count of Iraqi children at 4,500 to 5,000 per month, in order to bash whatever aspect of corporate capitalism they had targeted at a given rally. Even if the actual number of dead children was a tenth of the WHO/UNICEF numberslet’s say 450 to 500 per monththat still makes the wanton murder sprees of the current insurgency a humanitarian respite from what came before.
So if the Iraqi status quo was unacceptableand it waswhat were President Bush’s options in March 2003? Three come to mind: He could have asked the U.N. to lift the sanctions on Iraq, and thereby reward Saddam for his non-compliance with the cease-fire agreement; he could have demanded Saddam dissolve his government, pick up his homicidal brood at the airport, and go into exile; or he could have invaded Iraq to oust Saddam. Bush tried the second option. When Saddam refused to depart, he moved on to the third.
Now, I can already hear the keening on the Left: What right did we have to demand Saddam depart Iraq?
That question, of course, returns us to the cease-fire agreement of 1991, the one Saddam signed after coalition forces, led by the United States, chased his army out of Kuwait. The cease-fire agreement permitted Saddam to remain in power on the condition that Iraq provide full and accurate disclosure of all long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq allow U.N. inspectors unobstructed access to weapons facilities to verify Iraq's disarmament, and that Iraq
not commit or support any act of international terrorism or allow any organization directed towards commission of such acts to operate within its territory and to condemn unequivocally and renounce all acts, methods and practices of terrorism.
No sentient human being believes Saddam ever complied with the cease-fire agreement of 1991, which is why there were 17 unanimous Security Council resolutions demanding that he come into compliance. When the U.N. wouldn’t authorize the use of force, the United States invoked its right, as leader of the 1991 coalitionand thus the principal aggrieved contracting party to the cease fireto resume hostilities with Saddam’s regime and remove him from power.
This is a critical pointand, again, a perpetual blind spot for critics of the war. The U.S. did not oust Saddam only because we thought he had, or was developing, WMD. Rather, the U.S. ousted Saddam because we thought he had, or was developing, WMD, which, along with other violations, put him in breach of the 1991 cease-fire agreement. Critics of the war, including Democratic-party hacks and Hollywood mouth-breathers, continually omit that last clause. That omission lies behind their smirks as they inquire: “Well, if we’re going to topple Saddam because he’s a bad guy, why don’t we go after all the other bad guys?”
Answer: Because the other bad guys aren’t in breach of a cease-fire agreement.
History, of course, will sort out whether President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was a wise one. If Iraq stabilizes anytime in the next ten years, and if it thereafter evolves into a decent liberal democracy, Bushdespite his domestic failureswill surely go down as a great or near-great president, ranking with Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan. Indeed, even if Iraq degenerates into chaos, and the chaos precipitates a pan-Islamic civil warthe worst-case scenariothe judgment of history will still likely be favorable for Bush’s presidency, because he did not simply kick the can down the road. History teaches that civil wars are not “sparked”; they are bred, over the course of decades, or even centuries, until collective differences become irreconcilable and one side or both sides believe they finally have the upper hand. That’s when the wholesale bloodshed starts. The sooner they commence, they less bloody they are. A pan-Islamic civil war in 2010, if it comes, will be less horrific than a pan-Islamic civil war in 2050.
History will render its judgment in due time. What remains, meanwhile, is the incessant drumbeat of defeatism. The political Left, both in America and in Europe, has become a mindless, wandering rabble, a coalition of 1960s retreads and wannabes held together by a congealed psychic-mucous of rage, paranoia, and self-righteousness. They are desperate for Bush to fail in Iraq. Their irrational hatred for him resembles not so much the Right’s substantial hatred of Bill Clinton but the South’s pathological hatred of Lincolnwho, for the record, oversaw prisoner abuses far worse than those at Abu Ghraib, and who took liberties with the Constitution far beyond warrantless wiretapping.
The judgment of history on Bush-haters will not be kind.
—Mark Goldblatt is author of Africa Speaks, a satire of black urban culture.
What's this we hear about the "patriot" Zinni getting warnings to Al Queda about the impending attack on their Afghanistan training camp back in 1993?
Did it happen or did it not?
If this were true, Gen. Zinni would be wrong and the neo-cons calumny of a patriotic American, a former member of the Armed Srvices and General Officer of the same, understandable -- but still unjustified. It is not true, however, making even more deplorable the insults he has endured from the kids over at NOR and the kids right here on Free Republic.
Prosecutor Fitzgerald has a few names for you, but I digress from my original point.
Former Clinton CENTCOM commander, Anthony Zinni the most prominent of the retired generals attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld now says that, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, "What bothered me ... [was that] I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD."
But in early 2000, Zinni told Congress "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region," adding, "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months."
Also, equating Israel and Iraq is absurd. Israel is a democracy where elected leaders are held responsible by the People,They get tossed out year-in and year-out. Its people are free and prosper.
Iraq was brutal dictatorship modeled after Soviet Russia. Its people suffered most dreadfully. There was no freedom of speech - in fact the exact opposite flourished. Speaking against Saddam was often a death sentence. Iraq's natural resources were wasted. Its educated, intelligent people were squashed by a regime as oppressive as any on Earth.
Israel didn't invade neighboring countries, Saddam did twice. Israel didn't dump chemical weapons on their enemies but Iraq did. They didn't commit genocide within their borders, but Iraq did. Israel doesn't need to be fixed, but Iraq did.
General Zinni led airstrikes against so called WMD targets in Iraq and Sudan, and had every single troop that rotated through his AOR injected with Anthrax vaccine due to the so called "Iraqi WMD threat" which he now denies.
His underminement after the fact is dishonorable. Additionally, he developed War Plans to invade Iraq with 400,000 or so troops, yet he failed to push requirements for adequate body armor during the budget drills...Instead the brass were pushing for Gulfstream V executive transport jets. He is the Admiral Crowe of the new millenium.
We broke Iraq and have the responsibility to fix it.
Certainly it's duplicitous to say the U.N. is worthless but non-compliance with one of it's resolutions is a causus belli.
Most of the polling I've seen from Iraq indicates the Iraqis are more optimistic about their future than we are. They also want us to leave after their country is able to provide its own security. That's our goal too.
As for Zinni, Gen. Tommy Franks had good words for him in his book so he's obviously not another Weasley Clark. His entry into politics does tarnish him (as it seems to tarnish everyone). I find the "intelligence was manipulated" argument absurd on its face and not supported by the evidence.
It's absurd to think the intelligence community was manipulated by the Administration. They were saying the same things they said in the prior ten years. Their estimates were unequivocal - both to President, and to Congress in the NIE. They paralleled the 1998 estimates used to justify Operation Desert Fox.
The reason I say it's not supported by the facts is that we've had multiple investigations and they've uncovered no evidence of the Administration pressuring the Intelligence Community to change their conclusions.
Actually, I find the revisionists doing the manipulation. They take a footnote or single dissenting paragraph and play it up as "proof" the intelligence community had doubts. They will tell us the DOE disagreed on purported use of the aluminum tubes but leave off the preceding sentence where the DOE agreed Saddam was trying to restart his nuclear program.
They highlight a report from an investigating team that concluded the mobile trailers weren't for bioweapons. In the 24th paragraph they finally mention the other two teams that concluded they were. Then the beleaguered press secretary shows them the official report, handed to the President the day before he announced that the trailers were WMD on wheels. The official report concluded they were, based on the other two teams' work. The media also don't mention that the SSCI report found the CIA had not still not changed their conclusion on the trailers over a year later.
So again, here's the President, telling us exactly what the intelligence community told him, and being called a liar for it because two years later some people disagree with that conclusion (while some still agree). To me, it's the revisionists are doing the "cherry- picking". As the outgoing Senator from Georgia said at the 2004 GOP convention, they are willing to tear down the Commander in Chief during a time of war for political gain.
Oh, you mean that same prosecutor who couldn't find any wrongdoing except a guy who may not have remembered exactly what he said to a reporter or two ? That prosecutor who, after more than 20 million dollars and a few years still can't tell us whether Plame was a covert agent under the terms of the law ?
And what was the "character assassination" ? That she lied when she said she was not responsible in any way for sending her husband to Niger, even tho proof has emerged that she was the one who recommended him ?
Some character defamation.