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12 October 2010


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Chas Freemans biting comments on the appointment of Donilon are available at the link below. They represent, in my opinion, the disdain of the professional for the amateur as well as contempt for valuing domestic political pragmatism over high policy goals, implicit in his joke about decision making in Afghanistan and Washington - the Jirga, the Loya Jirga and the Circle Jirga.

Col. Lang, I have to agree that this is all Kremlinology at present, including my own previous comments.

Going back to first principles, to succeed, the President must ensure that his subordinates succeed in what he tasks them. The product of the White House is primarily decisions. If, even for the best of all possible reasons, Gen. Jones was seen as an obstacle to that decision making process, and Donilon can unjam it without reducing quality, then good luck to him and Obama.

To put it another way, I know plenty of people who are always right about economic, military and political problems, however when pressed, they have no contribution to make to the development of the least worst solution.

..But this is all Kremlinology....


William R. Cumming

Actually don't believe it is decision making that is the problem, although flawed by all evidence. Instead it is the failure of a seasoned professional in whatever field to judge the real competence of others who may be masked as being in reality courtiers and are skilled in that profession but not in judgment for tasks at hand. Could be wrong of course!

Clifford Kiracofe

"Adult supervision", well we heard this fairy tale when Bush came in. All those "experienced" folks like Cheney, Powell, etal. would provide the adult supervision.

Meanwhile, some of us who knew something of Washington and its ways were not surprised as to the mess into which our country was placed.

Same fairy tales around town with Obama...Don't worry experienced people will provide adult supervision: Biden, Hillary, Gates and etc.

Meanwhile we are placed further into a mess by an incompetent and unbalanced President and his "team."

Our rivals-competitors-enemies watch and calculate...


The winning of the election is the mantra, winning the war, what is that as I tune into X-Factor?

Robert Murray

Good morning,
Perhaps this is somewhat off topic but I can only imagine that it gave Jones no great pleasure to pull the rug out from Zinni a fellow marine 4 star regarding his confirmed post by this WH as ambassador to Iraq. This would be the 2nd admin. that put a dagger in Tony Zinni's back.




According to the article Zinni was an exectuive VP of Dyncorp, they fail to mention he was Board of Directors prior to that. He's also Chairman of BAE Systems Board of Directors. Did he join to give his 'good name' after all the scandals or to straigten the company out? He sure hasn't stayed long if it was the latter, or does he think he's fixed everything?

Surprisingly he was a visting scholar as the Stanley Chair in Ethics at VMI, that was prior to his transformation into a business leader!

Just what 'diplomatic' skills is he going to bring to any Ambassadorial position, besides a great deal on equipment made by BAE or training by Dyncorp? And I thought Cheney was bad. After reading all this all I can say is screw Zinni. Lets hire someone who actually needs a job and has some diplomatic skills.

If you really need a General I hear Jones in free....

William R. Cumming

What is it with these flag ranks and need for more lucre?

Robert Murray

Thank you for your response. I believe the question that you're asking of me should be addressed to this WH as to why they reached out to Zinni. If they had concerns in the end, then it was the WH that dropped the ball. Why humiliate Zinni? As for me, I believe any comparison to Cheney is beyond the pale, particularly since the neo cons attacked him with such warm and fuzzy words as "traitor" and "anti semite" for calling them out on the invasion of Iraq.

From what I've read on Chris Hill, he's quite qualified in the arena of diplomacy. That wasn't my point.

And Zinni was complimentary on the re selection of Chris Hill. "I know Chris, he's a fine guy."



And for those that haven't - I would strongly recommend "Battle Ready" by Tom Clancy and Anthony Zinni.


Two diplomats that come to my mind as extremely capable are Philip Habib and Edwin Reischauer.

Patrick Lang


Greed. pl

Cold War Zoomie

"Bottom Line: Who knows what this means? Only Bob Woodward knows.



Robert Murray,

I meant to point out the inadequacy of the aritcle, which I assume to be deliberate(by either the authors or editors) since BAE Systems is a major international defense contractor. The comparrison to Cheney is that both have been corporate executives.

Zinni has been on the board of two defense contractors, just as Cheney was Chairman of the Board of Halliburton. Neither Dyncorp nor BAE nor Halliburton exactly smell like roses; nor is every employee corrupt. A CEO, like any leader, can delegate authority, they can't delegate responsibility.If the only line that matters is the bottom line then something has changed since I took those courses in ethics.

Unless Zinni has cleaned up the entire mess at BAE in less than two years then I believe this is little more than the revolving door between senior DOD members and senior corporate positions.

My concern with the WH is why offer a the CEO of a defense contractor, especially one based in a foreign country with multiple fraud allegations, such a position? Is there no one in the employment of the US Government anywhere on the planet qualified to do such a job other that a former general and/or CEO? If so it seems like a real lack of planning on leadership development over decades in the State Department under both political parties.

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