Powell apologizes in writing for Iraq abuse; Former US general says Iraq war aimed to strengthen Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday apologized in writing for the US troops' abuse of Iraqi detainess at Baghdad Abu Ghraib Prison.
The Danish newspaper Politiken published Powell's letter in its Monday edition. In the letter Powell said, "The President has expressed an apology on behalf of the nation. We will reinforce that apology. I can tell you straight from my heart: We will deal with this. We will see that justice is done."
Meanwhile, senior Jewish Pentagon officials have come under fire from former special US envoy to the Middle East, General Anthony Zinni, in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview to be aired Monday night.
Zinni was Powell's would-be broker of an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, served before as commander-in-chief of the US Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and was in charge of all US troops in the Middle East.
"There has been poor strategic thinking in this," Zinni said. "There has been poor operational planning and execution on the ground. And to think that we are going to 'stay the course'; 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. Because it's been a failure."
Zinni specifically aimed Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, Former Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle, National Security Council member Eliot Abrams, and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby whom he claims saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize US interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel.
"I think it's the worst kept secret in Washington. That everybody - everybody I talk to in Washington - has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do," said Zinni.
"Because I mentioned the neo-conservatives, who describe themselves as neo-conservatives, I was called anti-Semitic. I mean, it's unbelievable that that's the kind of personal attacks that are run when you criticize a strategy and those who propose it. I certainly didn't criticize who they were. I certainly don't know what their ethnic religious backgrounds are. And I'm not interested."
Zinni said he believed their strategy was to change the Middle East and bring it into the 21st century.
"All sounds very good, all very noble. The trouble is the way they saw to go about this is unilateral aggressive intervention by the United States - the take down of Iraq as a priority," Zinni added. "And what we have become now in the United States, how we're viewed in this region is not an entity that's promising positive change. We are now being viewed as the modern crusaders, as the modern colonial power in that part of the world."
Zinni said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz should accept responsibility for the Iraqi crisis and quit. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)