Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

Anthony Charles Zinni (born September 17, 1943) is a retired general in the United States Marine Corps and a former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). In 2002, he was selected to be a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He has been a public critic of the Bush administration and did not support the decision to go to war in Iraq.

While serving as special envoy, Zinni was also an instructor in the Department of International Studies at the Virginia Military Institute. Presently, he is an instructor in the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary, a public speaker, and an author of two best-selling books on his military career and foreign affairs, most recently Battle for Peace. He also is involved in the corporate world, joining M.I.C. Industries as its president for International Operations in 2005. General Zinni also serves on the advisory boards of eight different companies, including the security testing firm, Mu Security, based in Sunnyvale, California.

Military career
In 1965, Zinni graduated from Villanova University with a degree in economics and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After completion of The Basic School, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, where he served as a Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer, and company commander in the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. He also served as a company commander in the 1st Infantry Training Regiment during this tour.

In 1967, Zinni was assigned as an infantry battalion advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. Following the Vietnam War, he was ordered to the Basic School where he served as a tactics instructor, platoon commander, and company executive officer. In 1970, he returned to Vietnam as a company commander in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines where he was wounded, evacuated, and subsequently assigned to the 3rd Force Service Support Group on Okinawa. There he served as a company commander and guard officer. In 1971, Zinni returned to the 2nd Marine Division where he served as a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Aide de Camp to the Commanding General, and Officer in Charge of the Infantry Training Center. In 1974, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, where he was assigned as the Retention and Release Officer and Plans Officer in the Officer Assignment Branch of the Manpower Department.

Zinni again served in the 2nd Marine Division in 1978, as the Operations Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Executive Officer of the 8th Marine Regiment and Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. In 1981, he was assigned as an operations and tactics instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He was next assigned to the Operations Division at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps where he served as the Head of the Special Operations and Terrorism Counteraction Section and as the Head, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Concepts and Capabilities Branch. In 1986, he was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. From 1987 to 1989, Zinni served on Okinawa as the regimental commander of the 9th Marine Regiment and the Commanding Officer of the 35th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which was twice deployed to the Philippines to conduct emergency security operations and disaster relief operations. Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

His initial general officer assignment was as the Deputy Director of Operations at the U.S. European Command. In 1991, he served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanding General of Combined Task Force Operation Provide Comfort during the Kurdish relief effort in Turkey and Iraq. He also served as the Military Coordinator for Operation Provide Hope, the relief effort for the former Soviet Union. In 1992-93, he served as the Director for Operations for the Unified Task Force Somalia for Operation Restore Hope. Also in 1993, he served as the Assistant to the U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia during Operation Continued Hope.

Zinni was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, from 1992 to 1994.
From 1994 to 1996, he served as the Commanding General, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. During early 1995, Zinni served as Commander of the Combined Task Force for Operation United Shield, protecting the withdrawal of U.N. forces from Somalia.

From September 1996 until August 1997, Zinni served as the Deputy Commander in Chief, United States Central Command. His final tour was from August 1997 to September 2000 as the Commander in Chief, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He organized Operation Desert Fox, a series of airstrikes against Iraq during December 1998, with the stated purpose of degrading Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction program.

He attended The Basic School, Army Special Warfare School, Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. He holds a bachelor's degree in Economics, a master of arts degree in International Relations, and a master of arts degree in Management and Supervision.

Zinni’s decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and gold star in lieu of a second award; the Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and gold star in lieu of second award; Navy Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of a second award; the Combat Action Ribbon; and 36 unit, service and campaign awards. In addition to his U.S. military decorations, Zinni holds decorations from Bahrain, Egypt, France, Italy, Kuwait, South Vietnam, and Yemen, including the Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal (First Class); the National Order of Merit (France); the Order of Merit of the Republic (Italy); the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm; the Vietnam Civil Actions Medal (First Class); the Vietnam Campaign Medal; and the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait).

His son, a captain, currently serves in the Marine Corps.

Testimony before Congress
In 2000, Zinni testified before Congress that "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf region. This is primarily due to its large conventional military force, pursuit of WMD, oppressive treatment of Iraqi citizens, refusal to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), persistent threats to enforcement of the No Fly Zones (NFZ), and continued efforts to violate UN Security Council sanctions through oil smuggling," Zinni told Congress on March 15, 2000.

"While Iraq's WMD capabilities were degraded under UN supervision and set back by Coalition strikes, some capabilities remain and others could quickly be regenerated. Despite claims that WMD efforts have ceased, Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions, and is concealing extended-range SCUD missiles, possibly equipped with CBW payloads. Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains the scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months. A special concern is the absence of a UN inspection and monitoring presence, which until December 1998 had been paramount to preventing large-scale resumption of prohibited weapons programs. A new disarmament regime must be reintroduced into Iraq as soon as possible and allowed to carry out the mandates dictated by the post-Gulf War UN resolutions."

Zinni also warned about terrorism: "Extremists like Osama bin Laden and his World Islamic Front network benefit from the global nature of communications that permits recruitment, fund raising, and direct connections to sub-elements worldwide . . . Terrorists are seeking more lethal weaponry to include: chemical, biological, radiological, and even nuclear components with which to perpetrate more sensational attacks . . . Three [Iraq, Iran and Sudan] of the seven recognized state-sponsors of terrorism are within this potentially volatile area, and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council for its harboring of Osama bin Laden. Nearly one half of the 28 recognized terrorist organizations have operational sites within the region. Afghanistan has emerged as a catalyst for regional instability offering sanctuary, support, and training facilities to a growing number of extremist elements."

Opinions on 2003 invasion of Iraq
In the late 1990s, Zinni said that the U.S. risked entering a "Bay of Goats" if it relied on exiles such as the Iraqi National Congress to liberate Iraq, a reference to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

In May, 2004 his memoir, co-authored with Tom Clancy, "Battle Ready" was published. It features stinging criticism of the planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and more specifically, the post-battle planning. In a widely reported speech at a dinner in May 2004, Zinni detailed 10 serious criticisms of the rationale and execution of the war, summarised below:

The war planners "misjudged the success of containment" - the existing policy of trade sanctions and maintaining troops in the area.

The "strategy was flawed" - the strategy being that invading, occupying, and setting up a new government in Iraq would help solve the broader conflicts in the Middle East. Zinni said "couldn't believe what I was hearing about the benefits of this strategic move."

The Bush administration "had to create a false rationale for going in to get public support." Zinni said that "the books were cooked, in my mind. The intelligence (that supported the claims made to support the need for war) was not there."
The war planners failed "to internationalize the effort," by gaining the support of allies or unambiguously gaining UN endorsement of an invasion.

The "fifth mistake was that we underestimated the task." Zinni clarified this in his speech to mean the broader task of creating a free, democratic, and functional Iraq.

The sixth mistake was "propping up and trusting the exiles." The exiles Zinni refers to are groups like the Iraqi National Congress and its controversial leader Ahmed Chalabi.

Zinni criticized the "lack of planning" for the post-war stablization and reconstruction of Iraq.

"The eighth problem was the insufficiency of military forces on the ground." Zinni, in his former position, had devised a battle plan for conquering and occupying Iraq in the 1990s, which featured far more troops, as did alternative plans presented to Donald Rumsfeld before the war. The extra troops were needed to "freeze the security situation because we knew the chaos that would result once we uprooted an authoritarian regime like Saddam's."

"The ninth problem has been the ad hoc organization we threw in there." Zinni criticises what he views as the lack of staff, skills, experience, and clear structure in the Coalition Provisional Authority.

According to Zinni, "that ad hoc organization has failed", "leading to the tenth mistake, and that's a series of bad decisions on the ground". These bad decisions include the excessive zeal in "de-Baathification," removing people only peripherally involved in the Baath Party who were Baathists purely to be permitted to conduct their profession or business, the decision to disband the Iraqi army.

An effort to get him to run for the US Senate has stalled indefinitely. Zinni has said he will never run for office. He says his decision to endorse President Bush in 2000 was a mistake. He plans to avoid politics in the future. However, On March 3, 2006 Zinni joined fellow former U.S. Marines General Joseph P. Hoar, Lt. General Greg Newbold, Lt. General Frank Petersen, and Congressman Jack Murtha in endorsing fellow former U.S. Marine and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb for U.S. Senate in Virginia.

Post-military career
Zinni holds positions on several boards of directors of major U.S. companies. In addition, he has held academic positions that include the Stanley Chair in Ethics at the Virginia Military Institute, the Nimitz Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, the Hofheimer Chair at the Joint Forces Staff College, and the Harriman Professorship of Government and membership on the board of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. He has worked with the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and the Henry Dunant Centre for humanitarian dialogue in Geneva. He is also a Distinguished Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

His civilian awards include the Papal Gold Cross of Honor, the Union League's Abraham Lincoln Award, the Italic Studies Institute's Global Peace Award, the Distinguished Sea Service Award from the Naval Order of the United States, the Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Chapman Award from the Marine Corps University Foundation, the Penn Club Award, the St. Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal, the George P. Shultz Award for Public Service from the U.S. Department of State, and UNICO National's Grand Patriot Award.

In 2006, Zinni argued that more troops are needed in Iraq, agreeing with Arizona Senator John McCain.

In April 2004, Zinni gave a lecture entitled "From the Battlefield to the Negotiating Table: Preventing Deadly Conflict" at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.