Anthony Zinni is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general, whose last military assignment was heading United States Central Command. Subsequently, he was an special envoy of to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 2002, resigning over policy differences over launching the Iraq War.
He is a vocal critic of the George W. Bush Administration's handling of the occupation phase of the Iraq War. Zinni said America was "headed over Niagara Falls." Zinni is one of many officers that accepted, however, that their role, while on active duty, that they might need to execute policies with which they disagreed. In his autobiography, he recounts that after giving strategic proposals, to the Clinton Administration Secretary of Defense and Congress, after taking Central Command, he was told to "stay out of policy and stick to execution."
From 1996 to 1997, he was Deputy Commanding General of CENTCOM, and took command in 1997 until 2000. As a lieutenant general from 1994 to 1996, he commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force; he was promoted to that rank effectively skipping the two-star major general level.
Staff and task force
While part of European Command, Zinni increasingly became involved in ad hoc missions for such things as Somalia.
- vanden Heuvel, Katrina (16 June 2004), "Former Bush (41) and Reagan Officials Say Bush (43) Must Go", The Nation
- Clancy, Tom; Tony Zinni & Tony Koltz (2004), Battle Ready, Putnam, p.4