Pentagon overlord

Jay Garner, the man imposed on the Iraqi people as their ruler in the post-Saddam chaos, arrived in Baghdad on April 21 - to mass protests and growing demands that the US-UK led coalition get out of the country. His record underlines what the US has in mind when it talks about 'democracy'. This retired general is part of the 'hawkish' trend in American politics, an ideological co-thinker of the bellicose neo-conservatives such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. For example, his criticism of US involvement in Vietnam was that it "took too long. We should have taken the war north instead of waiting. Just like here." Garner was a passionate champion of the Star Wars missile system, a defence 'umbrella' designed to enable the US to fight and win a world war against the USSR. Garner retired from the military in 1997 to become president of SY Technology, a defence contractor specialising in - surprise, surprise - missile defence systems. SYT was soon winning lucrative non-competitive contracts as part of the Star Wars system. Allegations began to fly that these were procured through Garner's direct influence. In 2000, he added his name to a statement by the right wing Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa), which praised the Israeli Defence Forces for its "remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of a Palestinian Authority". After one Jinsa event, he stated that "a strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on". A man with this strong pro-Israel bias is bound to inflame local resentment, especially as a militantly confident shi'ite mass movement emerges in Iraq. Garner's former company also has contracts to help install Patriot missile systems for Israel and Kuwait. Garner was appointed to his role by the Pentagon on January 20, even as the US was still trying to get a second UN resolution to sanction the invasion. The Pentagon made the decision, without reference to its coalition partners, the US state department, still less any Iraqis.