If you thought you had seen far too many insults to the Iraqis, such as the hoisting of the invaders' (American) flag on the sovereign soil of Iraq, the ransacking of the palaces and bulldozing of their doors, firing at the mosques, disfiguring and desecrating them, the body-searching of Iraqi Muslim women by American male soldiers (even though female soldiers were available), wrapping of Saddam's statue with the American flag, and so many other intentional insults besides the wanton massacre of innocent people, the ultimate insult is yet to come or on its way already, to Iraq. This is the appointment of the new "President" of Iraq - Jay Garner, who, according the Independent, is a man of dubious character and most dangerously, a hard core Jewish and Israeli supporter. Ariel Sharon must have been quite happy to approve his appointment, if not he hand picked him in the first place.
Jay Garner: Waiting to replace Saddam
Jay Garner: The US general waiting to replace Saddam
By Paul Vallely
The Independent - 05 April 2003:
General Jay Garner, being a military man, will have had his bag packed for some time now. Any day now he'll be stuffing in his toothbrush and heading for Baghdad. Garner, according to the media, has various titles-in-waiting. Before too long he will be - as your preference dictates - King, Regent, Viceroy, Pro-consul or President-designate of Iraq.
His official title is more prosaic. He is director of the Pentagon's new Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq. Just as soon as the US-led forces have control of Baghdad, Garner will move in as the man in charge of rebuilding the country. Until a new Iraqi leader is selected, he will govern 24 million Iraqis.
For the past few weeks, Garner and his team have been holed up, with their gas masks, in a seaside hotel in Kuwait City. But he has been in the job - planning - since January when President Bush summoned the 64-year-old ex-soldier from his comfortable retirement home in the moneyed enclave on the lakes just north of Disney World in the Florida magnolias, barely a mile from where Tiger Woods lives...
... To make things more difficult Jay Garner turns out to be a controversial character, in a number of respects. First is his status as an arms trader, and one whose firm supplied the military technology responsible for demolishing the country he is to set about rebuilding. An investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle two months ago revealed that the former three-star general - and a friend of Donald Rumsfeld, the contentious US Defence Secretary - was, until he took up his new post, president of the defence contractor SY Coleman, which specialises in missile systems. These include the Patriots so heavily used in Iraq and the Arrow defence system, which has been deployed in Israel. The Jewish connection we will come to later.
A row has blown up, both in the US and internationally, of such force that the Pentagon has been forced to issue a statement saying this does not constitute a conflict of interest. All very embarrassing just after another Bush hawk, Richard Perle, was last week forced to resign as chairman of a key defence board over business interests.
To make matters worse, Garner then backed a statement by the group praising the Israeli Army for showing what it called "remarkable restraint" when dealing with the Palestinian uprising. "A strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on," it said. Garner fans say that the general does not share the extreme right-wing views of the other arch hawks now running the Pentagon , including Perle, Rumsfeld, Donald Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney, George Bush's Vice-President. But many hold him guilty by association.
They say that his has been a key voice in controversial defence policies, such as the undermining of the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty; and that he will happily implement what is likely to be one of the first decisions of a new Iraqi government, recognising the state of Israel.
What is unclear is where Garner stands in the row between the US State Department and the Pentagon over who should run post-war Iraq. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, wants the US military administration to give way, as soon as is practicable, to the UN. Donald Rumsfeld wants to retain US control as part of a wider plan to reshape the political landscape of the Middle East in America's interests; UN role, but not UN rule, is his soundbite. One of the battlegrounds for this dispute is over the make-up of Garner's staff.
The State Department drew up an eight-person team to help run the 23 ministries under Garner's control. Rumsfeld rejected the list, saying the individuals were "too low-profile and bureaucratic". The eight, whom Garner had put through security and training in preparation for departure for Kuwait last week, were at the last minute told to "stand down". Rumsfeld wants hardliners such as the former CIA director R James Woolsey instead. He has already put one of his loyalists, the Undersecretary of Defence Douglas J Feith, in as Garner's deputy - though Garner has, apparently, successfully appointed (to the dismay of the neo-conservatives) some decidedly unhawkish State Department officials at a lower level in his office. [Douglas J Feith is a dangerous pro-Israeli neocon, who is among those who engineered the war on Iraq -ed]
Now the fight is on over which Iraqi advisers to appoint. The Pentagon is pushing Ahmed Chalabi, a US-educated former banker with a conviction for fraud in Jordan, who is leader of the controversial exiled Iraqi National Congress. Rumsfeld and company see him as a known quantity who would be malleable in an ambitious regional reshuffling of alliances, with Iraq emerging as a pillar of US policy in the region. The State Department view is that Chalabi would not be welcome in several Middle East countries.
The bickering over plans and personnel is said to have frustrated Garner to the point where, according to the Los Angeles Times, he told some associates that he had contemplated quitting. Garner himself is remaining tight-lipped, to the point where The New York Times called his operation "obsessively secret". It will not be long now, it seems, before events force him to put his cards on the table.
a.. A former assistant chief of staff in the Army, Garner, 64, traveled to Israel in 1998 with the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
b.. Two years later he signed on to an October 2000 letter that praised Israeli restraint in the face of Palestinian violence and urged the United States not to let its role as a peace facilitator hamper its responsibilities as a friend to Israel. ‘‘Friends don’t leave friends on the battlefield," the statement read.
c.. The appointment of Garner has enraged some Arab leaders, who claim that putting a ‘‘pro-Israel" leader in charge of the reconstruction of Iraq will only feed accusations that the war is being fought for Israel’s benefit. ‘‘People in the Arab world are completely amazed by the Iraq policy, they don’t get it, and the view that Israel is behind it all is one that is gaining strength," said Hussein Ibish, director of communications for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
d.. The concern over Garner’s relationship with Israel highlights the politically sensitive nature of regime change in Iraq, a country that has threatened Israel. It also shows growing concern about the Bush administration’s plans for the broader Middle East, specifically calls for democratization of the region. Ibish says bringing in an administrator who some Arabs see as pro-Israel hurts the chances for a successful regime change. Ibish said Garner’s appointment is a sign that the Bush administration either does not understand Arab public opinion or does not care.
e.. ‘‘It’s incredible that the administration would not be sensitive to what impression that would lend to other Arabs and Iraqis themselves about what sort of occupation this would be," he said.
f.. But Jewish leaders are rejecting the charge that visiting or supporting Israel should disqualify Garner from any service in the Middle East.
g.. ‘‘If I were Jay Garner, I would be enormously offended that for visiting Israel for 10 days, I was disqualified from serving the American government in some capacity in an Arab country," said Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA (Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs ). She noted the large number of former military leaders that visit Israel each year.
h.. Bryen says Garner ‘‘has never failed to do anything I’ve asked of him," including signing letters and advising JINSA on military matters. But, she added, Garner has not been active in JINSA since his 1998 trip, and is not among the organization’s core group of military liaisons. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called Garner’s support of Israel ‘‘irrelevant." ‘‘Should this administration look for someone who is anti-Israel?" Hoenlein asked. ‘‘The fact that he supports a close ally of the United States is natural."
i.. ‘‘That’s what his detractors should be focused on," Gregg Sullivan said. ‘‘That’s the criteria for which he was chosen." Still, Ibish said, ‘‘There are lots of other people in the United States who could do this that aren’t in the pro-Israel lobby, which JINSA is a member of."
j.. Arabs are concerned that Garner will push new leadership in Iraq that would foster a relationship with Israel, a state they see as an occupier and enemy of Arabs, Ibish said. Leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, which operates out of London and has close ties to the Bush administration, have been working with American Jewish groups in the past few months, expressing an interest in building relationships with the Israeli government.
k.. Entifadah Qanbar, the INC’s Washington office director, told JTA last October that he believes that good relations with Israel are possible under a new regime because, he said, Saddam is the one who has a problem with Israel, not the Iraqi people.
l.. ‘‘If he has a political mission, it’s better for people with a political mission to have good feelings about Israel,’’ she said.
m.. Garner retired in 1997 and became president of SY Technology, a Virginia company that provides communication and targeting systems for missiles.