The Columns

W&L Contact Speaker Gen. Anthony Zinni (ret.) to Talk about War in the Middle East

— by on February 21st, 2008

The fourth and final talk in Washington and Lee University’s Contact-sponsored Spotlight on the Middle East, a series of speakers giving highlights on different areas of the Middle East, will be Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), speaking on Spotlight on War in the Middle East. Zinni, former commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, will speak on Thursday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

The event is free and open to the public.

Currently, Zinni is the Terry Sanford Lecturer in Residence and visiting professor of public policy studies at Duke University. He has written numerous articles, op-ed pieces and monographs and has co-authored with novelist Tom Clancy a New York Times best seller on his career titled Battle Ready. He also co-authored a foreign policy book entitled The Battle for Peace, also a New York Times best seller.

Zinni’s military career has taken him to over 70 countries including Japan, Germany and two tours in Vietnam. From 1997 to 2000, he served as commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, overseeing U.S. military activity in the Arab Gulf and Central Asia. Operational experiences included Turkey, Iraq, Somalia and the Persian Gulf among others and noncombatant evacuation operations included Liberia, Zaire and Sierra Leone.

After Zinni retired from the Marines in 2002, President George W. Bush appointed him the U.S. special envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. During that time, Zinni became concerned with the policy the administration was taking on Iraq. In the months immediately prior to the war, he concluded that U.S. government leaders were ill-prepared to launch a military campaign in the Middle East and did not support the decision to go to war in Iraq.

He also is involved in the corporate world, currently as executive vice president of Dyncorp International. He has served as president of international operations of M.I.C. Industries, Inc., has his own consulting company and served on several boards of directors and advisors of major companies.

Zinni has lectured at more than 30 universities and holds chairs at several institutions including, the Virginia Military Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, the Joint Forces Staff College and the College of William and Mary.