Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'
(CBS) Accusing top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn't a reasonable option.
"The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's time to change course a little bit or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course," he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen, says Zinni, because planning for the war and its aftermath has been flawed all along.
"There has been poor strategic thinking in this...poor operational planning and execution on the ground," says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.
Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian policymakers in the administration, known as neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.
"They promoted it and pushed [the war]... even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs. Then they should bear the responsibility," Zinni tells Kroft.
In his upcoming book, "Battle Ready," written with Tom Clancy, Zinni writes of the poor planning in harsh terms. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption," he writes.
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