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"Probably the most respected flag officer [general] in the Army"

It's fashionable among the left to talk about the racism of the U.S., how our approach to Iraq is fueled by our hate for Arabs. So it's interesting to read this profile of John P. Abizaid.

At a time when all eyes in the U.S. military are focused on Iraq, Lt. Gen. John P. Abizaid is the right man in the right place at the right time.

As director of the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the veteran infantryman coordinates the daily activities of the top level of the U.S. military, making sure that the regional commanders (or "CinCs"), the military services, senior Defense Department civilians and the Joint Staff are all working toward the same goals.

He also is probably the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military who is an expert in Arab affairs. Of Lebanese descent himself, Abizaid speaks Arabic, has a master's degree in Middle Eastern studies from Harvard and lived in the region while studying at the University of Jordan. He traveled in Iraq back then and was there again in 1991, when he commanded an infantry battalion in Operation Provide Comfort, the post-Gulf War relief operation in northern Iraq.

Already, other generals talk about Abizaid as a likely future head of the U.S. Central Command, or as an Army chief, or perhaps as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the top slot in the U.S. military. "If the defense secretary doesn't make him a CinC and then chief of staff of the Army or chairman of the Joint Chiefs, then we will have missed the boat," said retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, himself a former chairman.

Hmm. A Lebanese-American in the upper echelons of the military? Does Chomsky know about this?


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Comments (6)

Partha Mazumdar:

...or a Lebanese-American (Ralph Nader) receiving more than two and a half million votes in the 2000 Presidental election?


the US love nothing more than they love a muslim who rejects islam, to such an extent that he would be encouraged to rise to such a postion with glee and much rubbing of hands, DESPITE the fact hes an arab.
please dont back-pat each other because you are so liberal and accepting that you are prepared to send an ex-muslim to kill his own.


So he's an Arab-American. Does this mean that the murder of thousands of Iraqis and the devastation of their country is somehow acceptable? The Bush regime has blood on its hands and it proudly points to an Arab-American lt. general to show how tolerant and accepting it is of Arabs. Sick.

Dave Sisson:

In late 1975 and early 1976 I was a morse code radio operator (05B2V) in the 3rd platoon of A Company 2nd Bn (Ranger) 75th Inf. (Airborne). 1st Lt. John P. Abizaid was the platoon leader. I spent over 2000 hours right next to him and we developed a very strong rapport. Even then it was clear that he was destined to wear one or more stars.

I have been told that over 40 young officers from that Ranger Battalion would eventually become at least a Brigadier General. A few of those I had close knowledge of and, in a couple of cases, spent nearly as much time as I did with Abizaid. I will state clearly and unequivocally that, in my opinion, that John Abizaid was the best of the bunch regardless of his ethnic background and that, if anything, he would have advanced possibly even more quickly had he had a different background.



Matt E.:

It is obvious that Gen. Abizaid has distinguished himself through his military service. It is merely secondary that he is of Arab decent, but I would commend all the more his work and experience in the Middle East.

I am thouroughly disgusted by those who believe that he has sold out his Islamic heritage or that the current war he fights is proceeded by American bigotry. He is an American by birth, and he serves knowing from experience and education that this war is the best thing for the region.


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