Gen. Zinni was the second guest on "Meet the Press," today and was very powerful in his observations in the run up to the war, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush's loyalty to his people rather than to their performance which has been appalling by his standards. Russert let him give uninterrupted answers to his questions.
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Zinni: ...I heard the case being built to go to war right away- 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....
(transcript via TP)
ZINNI: I saw the - what this town is known for, spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses or shading the context. We know the mushroom clouds and the other things that were all described that the media has covered well. I saw on the ground a sort of walking away from 10 years worth of planning. You know, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, theres been planning by serious officers and planners and others, and policies put in place - 10 years' worth of planning were thrown away. Troop levels dismissed out of hand. Gen. Shinseki basically insulted for speaking the truth and giving an honest opinion.
The lack of cohesive approach to how we deal with the aftermath, the political, economic, social reconstruction of a nation, which is no small task. A belief in these exiles that anyone in the region, anyone that had any knowledge, would tell you were not credible on the ground. And on and on and on, decisions to disband the army that were not in the initial plans. Theres a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the Secretary of State say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policies made back here. Dont blame the troops. Theyve been magnificent. If anything saves us, it will be them.