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Surprise! Drama (and Chaos) at State

9:55 AM, Feb 4, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The Washington Times reports:

The Obama administration asked retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq but abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation, Gen. Zinni said Tuesday.

Gen. Zinni, a former commander of Central Command, told The Washington Times that he had been offered the job by the White House national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, two weeks ago and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed the offer on Jan. 26.

"I started making arrangements," Gen. Zinni said, but became concerned because he heard nothing further from the State Department or White House. He called Gen. Jones Monday night and was told that Christopher Hill, the outgoing assistant secretary of State for East Asia, was getting the job.

Gen. Zinni said no explanation was given. "That kind of bothered me," he said. "I was told that I had it."

When Hillary Clinton was first appointed as Secretary of State, most Obama supporters let themselves believe that she would be a dutiful servant, subordinating her own interests to those of the president. Those with less faith in the president's managerial abilities expected instead that that Clinton and her camp would be a constant source of trouble for Obama, and a constant source of leaks for the press. The fact that Zinni, whose name was floated as a possible Obama VP and who claims he was offered the job by Clinton herself, would be treated like this seems to suggest that the fighting between State and the White House has already begun. And if Clinton can't even hand out ambassadorship's without Obama cutting her legs out from under her -- it's going to be a very bumpy ride.