Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zinni Nomination to Iraq Just One More Obama Eff=Up?

The MSM appears still unable to accept the fact that its Golden Boy Messiah has hair all over himself when it comes to appointments. Even the New York Times wonders, however, why Arabic-speaking Gen. Zinni, who was perhaps the first to inveigh against the Iraq War in a position of any credibility, was offered the job by NSC Chair Gen. James Jones, then abruptly sh*tcanned without an explanation and replaced by Christopher Hill, an able diplomat, but one without actual regional experience in the troubled Fertile Crescent of Chaos.

Daschle & other appointments ran onto the rocks of ethical cred or other problems, but the Zinni appointment might have run into an ideological fault-line in the anti-military Hate America wing of the Democratic One-Worlders. Or perhaps it was just the first power play in the new White House that promised to eschew such old-fashioned tactics based on the bad habits of inside-the-beltway machinations practiced by virtually every administration since George Washington. Foreign Policy mag quotes one of Joe Biden's former minions and others:
"It's also reflective of the larger problem," the Democratic foreign-policy hand said. "Number one, they are swamped with candidates. There are 20 candidates for every job. Everybody has friends who are promising things. And they have multiple power centers they have to negotiate. That gets ugly.

"[Former Council on Foreign Relations head] Les Gelb recently said, he has never seen an administration where political handlers veto so many things coming from below," the Democratic foreign-policy hand continued. "You cannot get a dogcatcher through without" it being vetted by political operatives. Obama political campaign guru David Axelrod was said to have vetoed some recent administration job offers.

Zinni's treatment as he describes it suggests "this is really amateur hour and I can't believe they would string out a respected individual like General Zinni in this fashion unless something dramatic happened late in the game," commented one Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer.

"That was incredibly unprofessional, and somebody just plain dropped the ball. They ended up making someone who should be a strong ally into someone now skeptical of their basic competence."

"What changed between last Monday, when HRC was ready to give him the post, and this Monday, when he was told it was a no go?" the staffer continued. "The growing ethics controversies over both [deputy defense secretary nominee] Bill Lynn and [former HHS nominee] Tom Daschle. The administration made the calculation that it could not afford yet another ethics controversy, especially with so sensitive a position as the Iraq ambassadorship. ... The Dyncorps connection is the key variable."

"Zinni is a very popular general," says one former Hill foreign-policy staffer. "And he was one of the first pro-Bush generals to turn on Bush. The Democratic party has been trying to recruit military leaders of varying levels to the party, to run for office, to help in the messaging and selling of the Democratic foreign policy agenda. And [in the Zinni case], it was blown by Jim Jones, and by Obama. The one that doesn't take the blame on this is Hillary."

Gelb has seen many bonehead moves in his long tenure in a senior foreign policy perch of one kind or another since Jimmy Carter's hysterical band of amateurs set an impossibly low standard to surpass in appointment-making, and for the same reason that he cites now, the multiple power centers of a populist apparatus Will Rogers once described as "no organized political party." Perhaps the Dyncorp connection was important, but an operation as important as Iraq shouldn't be handed to an FSO with no previous regional experience, despite the pretensions of a Service that operates as a professional diplomatic corps. And the incredible blunder of admitting that the Administration "didn't care" about whom it appointed to the Ambassador's position in Saudi Arabia was a stupendous eff-up which didn't get much attention in the fawning hagiography which characterizes the MSM's coverage of this new president's honeymoon period. Why heedlessly offend a major Middle East power whose friendship and assistance will be needed in the fight to keep the nutjobs from taking over that important region?

POLITICO quotes Lawrence Korb, incorrectly identified as a "senior Reagan" appointee even though he was let go ASAP after the Reagan Administration recognized this Carter mole for who he was. And Korb hilariously says that "nobody knew who Kissinger was" before he effectively took over the Nixon foreign policy apparatus even though Nixon's V.P. in the '60 race for POTUS, Henry Cabot Lodge, recommended Kissinger to Nixon despite HK's previous dalliance with the Rockefeller machine {h/t: Peter Tarnoff, who relayed this to me in a personal communication]. Like the proverbial broken clock, Korb is correct on the Zinni score that very many Chiefs [not among them Hillary Clinton, James Jones and Joe Biden, all of whom signed onto Zinni as USamb to Iraq] are moving the furniture about in what could be a repeat of the GWB debacle where Rumsfeld and Cheney took over the foreign policy reins in the absent-minded leadership vacuum at the very top [hint: Oval Office] during the unfortunate aftermath of the success of the Iraq invasion....

While I hope along with Rush Limbaugh that Obama's domestic policy agenda to turn the USA into a nanny-state EU clone fails, I do not want American foreign policy to stumble and blunder into another Slough of Despond like the quagmire of contempt that GWB's hapless cronies got us into. [Although I still imagine that GWB's eventual reputation might be resurrected, Truman-style, from the contemporaneous contempt paralleling that in which HST was held at the end of his seven years in office.

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