Diary

Gen. Zinni new ambassador to Iraq ... oops never mind

The Wash Times reports that Gen Zinni was offered the job by the Natl Security Advisor, had Hillary confirm it, started making plans, and then was told to fugeddaboudit.

The Obama administration asked retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq but abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation, Gen. Zinni said Tuesday.

Gen. Zinni, a former commander of Central Command, told The Washington Times that he had been offered the job by the White House national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, two weeks ago and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed the offer on Jan. 26.

“I started making arrangements,” Gen. Zinni said, but became concerned because he heard nothing further from the State Department or White House. He called Gen. 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.”

It sounds like he is a tiny bit peeved about the way it went down.

“To make a long story short, I kept getting blown off all week,” Zinni said. “Meantime, I was rushing to put my personal things in order,” to get ready to go.

“Finally, nobody was telling me anything,” Zinni said. “I called Jones Monday several times. I finally got through late in evening. I asked Jones, ‘What’s going on?’ And Jones said, ‘We decided on Chris Hill.'”

“I said, ‘Really,'” Zinni recalled. “That was news to me.”

Jones asked him if he would like to be ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Zinni said. “I said, ‘You can stick that with whatever other offers,'” Zinni recalled, saying he had used more colorful language with Jones. Asked Jones’s response and if he was apologetic, Zinni said, “Jones was not too concerned. He laughed about it.”

Zinni said particularly galling is that had he not managed to get through to Jones on Monday night after repeated calls, he would have found out about the Chris Hill appointment in the Washington Post the next day with everybody else.

“You know, I would have appreciated if someone called me and said, ‘Minds were changed,'” Zinni said. “But not even to get a call. That’s what’s really embarrassing.”

Speculation centers on Richard Holbrooke being the one who interfered.

If this scenario is correct, the real question is where is Obama on all this? Did he really allow his underlings to overrule Jones and appoint Hill? Does Obama even care who ends up at this post, or is his time consumed in dealing with the economy and the parade of tax cheats he’s nominated for high office?

Classy, but seems typical of Obama, who was the greatest campaigner ever but is shaping up as the worst president ever.