Zinni: Criticism of Iraq War Not Spurred by anti-Semitism

Nathan Guttman
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Nathan Guttman

WASHINGTON - Retired General Anthony Zinni, the Bush administration's former envoy to the Middle East, charged this week that the administration launched the war in Iraq partly for Israel's sake.

In an interview with the television program "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Zinni lambasted the handling of the war and laid the blame on several senior administration officials - all of whom happen to be Jewish. These men, he said, pushed the war because they "saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize American interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel."

The officials he mentioned were Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle, National Security Council member Elliott Abrams and Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Nevertheless, Zinni denied that his complaints are directed specifically against Jews.

"[In] one article, because I mentioned the neoconservatives who describe themselves as neoconservatives, I was called anti-Semitic," he said. "I mean, you know, [it's] unbelievable that that's the kind of personal attacks that are run when you criticize a strategy and those who propose it."

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