Jay M. Garner

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Lieutenant-General (U.S. Army, Retired) Jay M. Garner

As an Army general in 1991, Garner helped lead Operation Provide Comfort, which delivered food and shelter to Kurds in northern Iraq after the first Gulf war. He became well-known in military circles for espousing the then-unorthodox view that the military should be used as a "merciful instrument in shaping future humanitarian operations." [1]

While Garner received some praise for his work with the Kurds, [2] he has his critics. Michael Young[3], a leading columnist in Lebanon who writes often about Islamic issues, says Muslims are suspicious of Garner because of his strong ties to Israel. It's easy to see why. In 2000, Garner signed a statement by the conservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, praising Israel for its handling of the Palestinian intifada, blaming Palestinians for the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence, and saying that a strong Israel was an important security asset to the United States. [4]

Although Garner now claims 'civilian status,' he is very pro-military in his views, and is willing to 'bend the truth' to promote the views. Garner touted the success of the Patriot missles in 1991 Gulf War in the defense of Israel against Iraqi scuds. However, the Patriot missiles did more damage to Israel than the scuds. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Patriot missles did more damage to friendlies than to the enemy, before its use was discontinued.[5]

His misperception of missle defense systems extends to the Star Wars missle defense system, which he promoted despite flawed testing.

After retiring as a three-star general in 1997, Garner became president of SY Technology, a Virginia provider of communications and targeting systems for missiles (which was acquired by L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. in 2002).[6] Because of his connections, SY Technology has been able to obtain lucrative non-competitive contracts, which Lt. Colonel Biff Baker alleged via Garner's influence.

Garner sued Baker for defamation which was eventually settled out-of-court, just before the announcement of becoming head of the Pentagon's newly created Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in January 2003, in anticipation of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, from which post he will become the civil ruler of Iraq, under U.S. military oversight. Coincidentally, SY Technology obtained a $1.5 billion contract this year to provide logistics services to U.S. special operations forces.

Other Notes

  • As president of SY Technology, a unit of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., Garner worked closely with Israeli security to develop its Arrow missile-defense system.[9]

In a 2004 interview with The National Journal  Garner is reported to have disclosed reasoning behind the invasion of Iraq by stating "Look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That's what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East." [10]

Thursday March 18, 2004 (The Guardian) -- Jay Garner, the US general abruptly dismissed as Iraq's first occupation administrator after a month in the job, says he fell out with the Bush circle because he wanted free elections and rejected an imposed programme of privatisation. [11]

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