View Full Version : Marine General tells it like it is..........

08-27-02, 05:35 AM
Gen Zinni lays it out pretty well. <br />
<br />
Subject: FW: Subject: General A. C. Zinni, USMC, <br />
CinC Central Command Farewell <br />
<br />
I joined the Marines in...

08-27-02, 05:39 AM
In addition, we have let manning levels sink way too
low, not understanding that the post-Cold War would
bring more chaos instead of a smooth transition to
world peace. Not fully understanding the Cold War
force structure we were drawing down-and the kind of
structure we would need for the post-Cold War period,
we have been drawing down to a mini-version of the
Cold War force. Today's high-demand, low-density units
are paying the price for those decisions. Let's admit
it-we've screwed up again.

The next influential event was Desert Storm, which, as
far as I am concerned, was an aberration. It seemed to
work out okay for us, but ultimately it may be an
aberration, because it may have left the impression
that the terrible mess that awaits us abroad-to be
dealt with by peacekeeping or humanitarian
operations-or coercive diplomacy, for some-can somehow
be overcome by good, clean soldiering, just like in
World War II.

In reality, though, the only reason Desert Storm
worked was because we managed to go up against the
only jerk on the planet who actually was stupid enough
to confront us symmetrically-with less of everything,
including the moral right to do what he did to Kuwait.
In the high- and top-level war colleges we still fight
this type of adversary, so we always can win. I
rebelled at this notion, thinking there would be
nowhere out there so stupid to fight us that way. But
then along came Saddam Hussein, and "good soldiering"
was vindicated once again. Worse yet, the end of any
conflict often brings into professional circles the
heartfelt belief that "Now that the war is over, we
can get back to real soldiering." So we merrily
baktrack in that direction. Scary, isn't it?

Still trying to fight our kind of war-be it World War
II or Desert Storm-we ignore the real war fighting
requirements of today. We want to fight the
Navy-Marine Corps Operational Maneuver from the Sea;
we want to fight the Army-Air Force AirLand Battle. We
want to find a real adversarial demon-a composite of
Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini-so we can drive on to his
capital city and crush him there. Unconditional
surrender. Then we'll put in place a Marshall Plan,
embrace the long-suffering vanquished, and help them
regain entry into the community of nations. Everybody
wants to do that. As a retiring CinC, I would love to
do that somewhere before I step down-just find
somebody for me!

But it ain't gonna happen.

Today, I am stuck with the likes of a wiser Saddam
Hussein and a still-elusive Osama Bin Laden-just a
couple of those charmers out there who will no longer
take us on in a symmetric force match-up.

And we're going to be doing things like humanitarian
operations, consequence management, peacekeeping, and
peace enforcement. Somewhere along the line, we'll
have to respond to some kind of environmental
disaster. And somewhere else along the line we may get
stuck with putting a U.S. battalion in place on the
Golan Heights, embedded in a weird, screwed-up chain
of command.

And do you know what? We're going to ***** and moan
about it. We're going to dust off the Weinberger
Doctrine and the Powell Doctrine and throw them
in the face of our civilian leadership. But at the
same time, there's the President, thinking out loud in
a recent meeting and saying, "Why can't we ever drive
a stake through the hearts of any of these guys? I
look at Kim Jung II; I look at Milosovic; I look at
Saddam Hussein. Ever since the end of World War II,
why haven't we been able to find a way to do this?"

The answer, of course, is that you must have the
political will-and that means the will of the
administration, the Congress, and the American people.

All must be united in a desire for action. Instead,
however, we try to get results on the cheap. There are
congressmen today who want to fund the Iraqi
liberation Act, and let some silk-suited,
Rolex-wearing guys in London gin up an expedition.
We'll equip a thousand fighters and arm them with $97
million worth of AK-47s and insert them into Iraq.
And what will we have? A Bay of Goats, most likely.
That's what can happen when we do things on the cheap.

But why can't we muster the necessary political
will to do things right? It goes back to cost-benefit
analysis, especially in terms of potential casualties.
Nobody in his right mind can justify the possible
human cost and the uncertain aftermath of strong
military action. The bombings at Beirut and the Khobar
Towers in Saudi Arabia and the debacle in Mogadishu
have affected us in bad ways-making us gun-shy to an
extreme degree. But every time I testify at
congressional hearings, I try to make the point that
there is no way to guarantee 100% force protection
while accomplishing the variety of missions we
undertake out there. Somewhere, sometime, we are going
to lose people again-to terrorist or other actions
that take advantage of our own less-than-perfect
protective measures.

For example, I have more than 600 security-assistance
people working throughout the Central Command's area
of responsibility. Some of the detachments are quite
small-in twos and threes. They live in hotels and try
to keep low profiles. Their mission is to work with
host-country military organizations and try to improve
them. They travel a lot. They get targeted; they get
stalked; they can get hit. If anyone really wants to
take them out, they can and they will.

And, you know, we are going to see it happen some day.
The only way to stop it from happening is to shut down
all our activities overseas, if we want 100% security
for all our deployed people. But 100% definitely seems

to be what more and more people want these days, as
we send our people into operations other than war.
These OOTW are our future, as far as I am concerned.
But in a sense, it's going to be back to the future,
because today's international landscape has some
similarities to the Caribbean region of the 1920s and
1930s-unstable countries being driven by uncaring
dictators to the point of collapse and total failure.
We are going to see more crippled states and failed
states that look like Somalia and Afghanistan-and are
just as dangerous.

And more and more U.S. military men and women are
going to be involved in vague, confusing military
actions-heavily overlaid with political, humanitarian,
and economic considerations. And representing the
United States-the Big Guy with the most formidable
presence in the area-they will have to deal with each
messy situation and pull everything together. We're
going to see more and more of that.

My generation has not been well prepared for this
future, because we resisted the idea. We even had an
earlier Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who
said, "Real men don't do OOTW." That just about says
it all. Any Army commander worth his salt wanted to
take his unit to the National Training Center and any
Marine commander would want to go to the Marine
Air-Ground Training Center for live-fire maneuver and
combined-arms work, rather than stay on their bases
and confront a bunch of troops in civilian clothes,
throwing water balloons and playing the role of angry
overseas mobs. It just goes against the grain to have
to train our people that way.

Going beyond these events, what other things have
affected my military generation? There have been
trends in law a policy making that have had a profound
effect. The National Security Act of 1947, for
example, set up the most dysfunctional, worst
organizational approach to military affairs I could
possibly imagine. In a near-perfect example of the Law
of Unintended Consequences, it created a situation in
which the biggest rival of any U.S. armed service is
not a foreign adversary but another one of its sister
U.S. services.

We teach our ensigns and second lieutenants to
recognize that sister service as the enemy. It wants
our money; it wants our force structure; it wants our
recruits. So we rope ourselves into a system where we
fight each other for money, programs, and weapon
systems. We try to out-doctrine each other, by putting
pedantic little anal apertures to work in doctrine
centers, trying to find ways to ace out the other
services and become the dominant service in some way.
These people come to me and the other CinCs and ask,
"What's more important to you-air power or ground

Incredible! Just think about it. My Uncle Guido is a
plumber. If I went to him and asked, "What's more
important to you-a wrench or a screwdriver?" he'd
think I'd lost my marbles.

The real way this stuff gets worked out is not in the
doctrine centers but out in the field. The joint
commands and the component commanders can figure
things out because we're the war fighters. We have to
work things out, so we actually do. We could not
produce a joint fire-support doctrine out of
Washington or the doctrine centers to save our ass.
But we can produce one in the Central Command, or in
the Pacific Command or European Command or any joint
task force we create. They can produce one in a
heartbeat-and they have. We can make a JFACC work. We
can make a land-component command arrangement work.
There will be no more occasions in the Central
Command's area of operations where the Marines fight
one ground war and the Army fights a different ground
war. There will be one ground war and a single land
component commander.


08-27-02, 05:45 AM
But we've been brutalized in the process. We've <br />
had to be pushed into cooperating with each other by <br />
legislation. And those of us who have seen the light <br />
and actually put on joint &quot;purple&quot;...

08-27-02, 05:48 AM
My son will face non-traditional missions in messy
places that will make Somalia look like a picnic. He
will see a changed battlefield, with an accelerated
tempo and greatly expanded knowledge base. He will
witness a great drop in the sense of calling. People
entering the military will not be imprinted with his
code. They will not be candidates for priesthood; at
best, they will be part-time lay ministers.

On his watch, my son is likely to see a weapon of mass
destruction (WMD) event. Another Pearl Harbor will
occur in some city, somewhere in the world where
Americans are gathered, when that nasty bug or gas or
nuke is released it will forever change him and his
institutions. At that point, all the lip service paid
to dealing with such an eventuality will be revealed
for what it is-lip service. And he will have to deal
with it for real. In its wake, I hope he gets to deal
with yet another Goldwater-Nichols arrangement.

What will we expect of him as a battlefield commander?
Brains, guts, and determination-nothing new here. But
we would ask for more than battlefield skill from our
future commanders. We want character, sense of moral
responsibility, and an ethical standard that rises
above those of all other professions. We want him to
be a model who accepts the profession of arms as a
calling. We want him to take care of our sons and
daughters and treat their lives as something
precious-putting them in harm's way only if it means
something that truly counts. We'll expect him to stand
up to civilian leadership before thinking of his own

And I hope that we would think enough of him and his
compatriots to show some respect for them along the