Pro-Israel General Will Oversee Reconstruction of Postwar Iraq

By Alana Newhouse

Published March 21, 2003, issue of March 21, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

With the United States poised to invade Iraq, attention has turned to retired army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the man set to govern the country in the event of an American military victory.

Garner — who in 1991 helped lead Operation Provide Comfort, which delivered food and shelter to Kurds in northern Iraq after the Persian Gulf War — will oversee all the civilian aid, reconstruction and governance of postwar Iraq as head of the new Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in the Pentagon, reporting to General Tommy Franks, commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf area. He left for Kuwait shortly before President Bush’s March 17 televised address.

Garner is said to maintain ties with the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening American foreign and defense policy. In 1998, he visited Israel for the first time on a trip sponsored by JINSA.

“He’s very easy to talk to; he asks a lot of questions, and he listens to the answers,” said Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA, who participated in the trip with Garner.

In October 2000, shortly after the outbreak of the intifada, Garner was one of 26 American military leaders to sign a staunchly pro-Israel statement released by JINSA condemning the escalating violence. The statement, titled “Friends Don’t Leave Friends on the Battlefield,” lauded the Israeli army for exercising “remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of a Palestinian Authority,” and called into question the Palestinian commitment to peace.

In a reference to the signatories’ JINSA-sponsored trips to Israel, the statement said: “[I]n those travels, we brought with us our decades of military experience and came away with the unswerving belief that the security of the State of Israel is a matter of great importance to U.S. policy in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as around the world. A strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on.”

According to a report in this month’s Fortune magazine, which dubbed Garner “the most important businessman you’ve never heard of,” Garner retired as a three-star general in 1997 to become president of a provider of communications and targeting systems for missiles that was bought last year by defense contractor L-3 Communications for a reported $48 million.

Since his Pentagon appointment in January, Garner has kept a low profile, to the dismay of some. He caused a minor fracas last week when he canceled a scheduled appearance before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The Associated Press reported that Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who criticized the Bush administration for moving too slowly in developing plans to rebuild Iraq, highlighted Garner’s absence, calling the cancellation “a missed opportunity for the administration.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.