Did Tony Zinni Think He Was Going to Be the Next Iraq Ambassador?

By
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 at 10:03 am

Barbara Slavin at The Washington Times has an interesting coda to the not-yet-official-but-very-likely appointment of Chris Hill to be ambassador to Iraq. Apparently, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a former Central Command chief and Iraq war opponent who quietly advised President Obama during the campaign, thought he was getting the job — and was even told by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Jan. 26 that it was his. Slavin reports:

“I started making arrangements,” Gen. Zinni said, but became concerned because he heard nothing further from the State Department or White House. He called [National Security Adviser James] Jones Monday night and was told that Christopher Hill, the outgoing assistant secretary of State for East Asia, was getting the job.

Gen. Zinni said no explanation was given. “That kind of bothered me,” he said. “I was told that I had it.”

There’s so much specificity in Slavin’s reporting — plus, of course, Zinni on the record — that this seems rather credible. Zinni knows a massive amount about the Middle East. One extremely speculative explanation for why you wouldn’t want to appoint him would be that it might look weird to have two retired generals in ambassadorial positions in both Iraq and Afghanistan (though being a general in an overseas command during the last 15 years has frequently required a massive diplomatic component). But that doesn’t explain how senior administration officials could have led Zinni to believe he actually had a job he didn’t have.

Follow Spencer Ackerman on Twitter


Comments

13 Comments

dka
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 9:09 am

Actually , it might boil down to the fact that in the WH the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing !


TexGEOas
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 9:20 am

Welcome to the Obama administration. Stay tuned…


Wayne
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 10:19 am

Can't be… there IS no right hand in the WH.


Hoping For Change - Because it feels like 4 years already
Pingback posted February 4, 2009 @ 11:50 am

[...] General Anthony Zinni to be US Ambassador to Iraq. No explanation yet, but this earlier story on leaving Zinni in the dark about his upcoming nomination shows an unusual level of ineptitude in handling major political [...]


rcubed
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

Perhaps the Iraqi government would prefer someone who did not give up on them when the times were tough. He obvious had no confidence in our military or that the Iraqi military and government would be effective


Caitlyna
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

Other reports say that it was Jones who told Zinni that Sec. Clinton was on board, but she did not give the assurance herself.


dka
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

Actually , it might boil down to the fact that in the WH the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing !


TexGEOas
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

Welcome to the Obama administration. Stay tuned…


Wayne
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

Can't be… there IS no right hand in the WH.


rcubed
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

Perhaps the Iraqi government would prefer someone who did not give up on them when the times were tough. He obvious had no confidence in our military or that the Iraqi military and government would be effective


Caitlyna
Comment posted February 4, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

Other reports say that it was Jones who told Zinni that Sec. Clinton was on board, but she did not give the assurance herself.


Commentary » Blog Archive » “We did not adequately focus on these concerns.”
Pingback posted February 12, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

[...] Gen. Anthony Zinni thought the administration had given him the ambassadorship to Iraq; he was wrong. Judd Gregg is only the most recent Obama interlocutor to be undone by the Audacity of [...]


Tony zinni | UsedGuitarsOnline
Pingback posted March 15, 2011 @ 7:52 am

[...] Did Tony Zinni Think He Was Going to Be the Next Iraq Ambassador? «Following up on the theme of listening to generals, I was struck by the comments of retired General Tony Zinni, a former head of Central Command, on Face the Nation today. He urged President Obama to make a rapid decision in favor of giving General McChrystal the troops he needs. [...]


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.