Balkinization  

Friday, May 30, 2008

How We Got Into Iraq: A Recap

JB

In response to the controversy over Scott McClellan's new book What Happened, which disclosed that the Bush engaged in a propaganda campaign to push the United States into war, Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay lay out what actually happened, using sources and articles available at the time.

The media, they point out, have little excuse for having been misled either about the Administration's motives or about the strength of the case for war. The evidence was available; but the media simply didn't want ask the Administration tough questions about its war plans in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. At the moment when a strong independent media was necessary, most of it failed the country. Many members of Congress refused to support the Administration's call for war, and protests were held around the country. But the press downplayed the opposition.

Now that former Bush Administration officials like McClellan are attempting to salvage their reputations with disclosures of what happened, the mainstream press professes to be shocked and surprised at being taken in by a cynical and dishonest Administration. Surely the media's spinelessness in the first four years of the Bush Administration is an equally important scandal.


Comments:

One can find a necessary antidote to the musings of a press secretary on grand strategy, the formulation of which he was not a part, in Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith's first person analysis of the lead up to the Iraq War entitled War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism.

Unlike the McClellan hatchet job, Feith offers the documentation upon which War and Decision is based for foreign policy professionals and well as the general public to review.

However, because War and Decision puts the lie to many of the uninformed and baldly hypocritical speculations of Mr. McClellan and much of the press, it is unsurprising that Mr. McClellan's book is being splashed on front pages while such worthies as the NYT and McClatchy have refused to even review or mention Mr. Feith's book.

While I am sure that Mr. McClellan's book will earn him invitations to many Dem cocktail parties, go check the reviews of both books and observe which book the foreign policy professionals of both political parties are reading.
 

Feith has been interviewed on the Daily Show several times. He has shown himself to be a lying scumbag, and completely clueless about the mess he helped get us into.

observe which book the foreign policy professionals of both political parties are reading

What possible reason would anyone have to read a book written by one of the nutcases who got us into this mess, except as a case study in how NOT to start a war?
 

Lisa's bro must have read the comic book version of Feith's book. Can someone out there provide links to Feith interviews about his book? Some were hilarious. Feith takes no blame for what went wrong after the invasion of Iraq despite his architect role. Instead of beaming up Scotty, Lisa's bro beams up Feith, displaying his faith in Feith.
 

It was fascinating to watch Wolf Blitzer and Howard Kurtz "report" on this issue of whether the MSM had shirked its responsibility in it's reporting on the administration.

Here's the method of inquiry they used: Gather some of those accused of dropping the ball. Then, ask them whether they felt they'd dropped the ball.

Turns out, some of these reporters felt they hadn't dropped the ball.

The best news team on television.
 

While we are hashing over the road to war once again, it is interesting to observe that the CIA, which has been issuing dire predictions of disaster in Iraq, has just issued a report acknowledging that the US has achieved "near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

I am sure that everyone here is thrilled with this news and wishes to extend hearty congratulations to General Petreaus and his troops for their victory in Iraq.
 

I am sure that everyone here is thrilled with this news and wishes to extend hearty congratulations to General Petreaus and his troops for their victory in Iraq.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 12:31 PM


Baghdad, all that Petreaus has done is clean up a small part of the mess you warmongering imbeciles created.
 

The lasting lesson of the run-up to the war is not the media's behavior, or congress's; rather we can see, from it, how easy it is in a democracy like ours for those holding power to mold public opinion by appealing to people's deeply-held feelings of patriotism, by raising fears of being attacked by enemies (from within and from without), and by creating such an atmosphere of near-hysteria that dissent is self-suppressed. It's an old lesson but one we must relearn every 30 or 40 years. It will happen again in this country, maybe sooner, hopefully later.

dah
 

Prof. Balkin:

Surely the media's spinelessness in the first four years of the Bush Administration is an equally important scandal.

Indeed. Glenn Greenwald (here, here, and here) and others have been on this aspect of the dysfunction (A/K/A "SNAFU").

Cheers,
 

"the US has achieved "near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Yes, thank goodness -- now al Qaeda has almost as little influence in Iraq as it did before we invaded.
 

"Bart" DeDicta offers as an alternative account the "FSGOTFOTE", Douglas Feith, the "stovepipe" that managed to get the 'intelligence' all wrong. And Feith is still unapologetic, and blaming the fiasco on others.....

Cheers,
 

the juicy quote by Gen. Tommy Franks in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack, in which Franks calls Feith "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

If I found out that Baghdad Bart was really a cover for Doug Feith, I would not be the least bit surprised.
 

ahhh.. you young'uns .. listen to ol' shaq ... he's a fine mentor on this string ..

for what i suspected as a "legal blog" .. this site is most interesting indeed ...

the first error of the bush administration was .. imo .. discarding the american credo of disavowing aggressive war ..

imo..they have lied about.. misrepresented ..and manipulated any and every fact they've ever encountered.. beginning with the false mandate they inflated from a very small electoral victory ..

but the fault lies with our lazy electorate .. who would rather be spoonfed simplistic lies than have to take the time to analyze the facts and sort the wheat from the chaff ..

the presentation of "news" is inherently biased one way or another .. it requires reading between the lines at times to discern the probable truth ..but it is those who attempt to stifle discussion by demonization of dissenting views who do a democracy the most harm .. for in the din .. only one voice is then heard ..

our forefathers distrusted government .. which is why our compact .. the constitution .. limits the incursion of government to the areas ascribed to it by the sovereign will of "we the people" .. and attempts to balance the egos of the officeholders from the powers of the office they inhabit by a system of alter-egos elsewhere ..

the very minute we abandonded these original checks and balances and ordained the unitary executive was the first minute of our difficulties ..and they will continue until we ocne again regain the balance intended between the various branches of our governance ...
 

This discussion of the reasons we went to war in Iraq coincide nicely with the Jihadis publishing this computer generated image of their dream of a nuked Washington DC along with a video entitled "Nuclear Jihad - The Ultimate Terror" meant to encourage the use of WMD against the United States.

Now put yourself in the President's chair in 2002...

The rubble of the WTC is still smouldering as work crews continue to uncover the remains of the thousands murdered there.

Before the Persian Gulf War, Iraq was 12 to 18 months from building a nuclear weapon.

Saddam had expelled the UN inspectors four years before and you have no good intelligence as to the current status of the Iraqi nuclear weapon program.

Saddam was sheltering, training, supplying and financing suicide terrorists from al Qaeda and its allies to attack US interests and its allies.

Both Saddam and al Qaeda had demonstrated track records of showing no compunction against mass murder.

You mull over your options and none of them are good:

1) Employ John Kerry's "world test" and take the counsel of France, Germany and Russia to do nothing and hope for the best.

2) Employ the Obama Doctrine and go to Baghdad to negotiate with Saddam and ask him directly and forcefully to stop supporting al Qaeda or else... well... or else you will keep talking to him directly and forcefully.

3) Employ the Clinton approach which prevented North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons - bribery and appeasement. Oops, the CIA just told you that NK has deployed nukes even after being bribed and appeased.

4) Liberate Iraq and eliminate the threat.
 

Saddam had expelled the UN inspectors four years before and you have no good intelligence as to the current status of the Iraqi nuclear weapon program.

Baghdad, Hussein allowed inspectors into the country prior to the invasion. They found that Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled. The only reason they left is because we told them to leave.

In short, you are lying.

Saddam was sheltering, training, supplying and financing suicide terrorists from al Qaeda and its allies to attack US interests and its allies.

This is simply another lie. There was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

As for the options available, continued international sanctions was a much better choice than the idiotic decision to invade.
 

4) Liberate Iraq and eliminate the threat.

If there is one thing the invasion has determined, it is that this was the worst possible option.
 

"Bart" DeDicta:

Before the Persian Gulf War, Iraq was 12 to 18 months from building a nuclear weapon.

Israel's had them for far longer.

Saddam had expelled the UN inspectors four years before and you have no good intelligence as to the current status of the Iraqi nuclear weapon program.

Saddam didn't expel them. Clinton asked that they be withdrawn so he could bomb Iraq (and they were). Saddam didn't let them bakc in again, in part because the CIA had been (foolishly) using the U.N. inspectors to insert spies.

After the pressure of the Congressional "or else" resolution and UNSCR1441, Iraq let the inspectors back in, and with unprecedented access. They were finding -- in the words of one inspector, vainly chasing down "dead ends" provided by U.S. 'intelligence' -- that the U.S. claims were "garbage, garbage, and more garbage" (some accounts say that a less polite term was used).

Saddam was sheltering, training, supplying and financing suicide terrorists from al Qaeda and its allies to attack US interests and its allies.

What a load of utter cr*p, "Bart". Clue fer ya, "Bartster": Salman Pak was a hoax. A lie. al-Libi's confession -- obtained under torture -- was a pile'o'crap.

Both Saddam and al Qaeda had demonstrated track records of showing no compunction against mass murder.

... and they're different from Dubya et al. exactly how?!?!?

You mull over your options and none of them are good:

1) Employ John Kerry's "world test" and take the counsel of France, Germany and Russia to do nothing and hope for the best.


That misrepresents Kerry's position. Grossly. And unfairly.

2) Employ the Obama Doctrine and go to Baghdad to negotiate with Saddam and ask him directly and forcefully to stop supporting al Qaeda or else... well... or else you will keep talking to him directly and forcefully.

There was negotiation with Saddam. It was working. They had the inspections, they had destruction of even the arguably legal al Samoud missiles, and they were doing the job.

But Duyba wanted to see bodies. Lots of them. Not to mention get political points to browbeat the Democrats with. Which is what McClellan is saying...

Cheers,
 

BB:

Iraq did not allow IAEA inspections until November 2, 2002 on the eve of the war. IAEA was not even able to reestablish the locations of previously identified nuclear program equipment during 2002 nevertheless re-inspect the entire country for new activities.

Since the liberation of Iraq, the few dozen declassified captured Iraqi intelligence and military documents have revealed:

1) In 1998, the Iraqis were discussing how to continue to conceal WMD "Researches That Cannot Be Declared (Researches with relation to the previous Prohibited Programs)"

2) In 1999, the Iraqis were discussing the signature being generated by a neutron generator at the University of Al Mustansirya. Such generators were forbidden under the ceasefire and were never revealed to or discovered by the IAEA.

One would think that the "experts" at IAEA might want to inspect Iraqi universities where Iraqi nuclear scientists work.

3) In 2001, Saddam received a taped briefing from his intelligence services about nuclear scientists arrested in Germany named Karl Schaab, Dietrich Hinze, and Bruno Stemmler. The intelligence officer is recorded telling Saddam:

"We still have two issues Sir (Saddam-RR). Very simple. What the doctor said about the experts. There held in Germany. They have detailed knowledge of our weaponry. So we should go and give the information that they gave already."

In sum, the intelligence officer is asking Saddam if Iraq should admit to the Iraqi nuclear weaponry information which these scientists possessed and may have revealed in post arrest interrogations.

The link gives biographies of these nuclear scientists.

Is it any surprise that Germany did not want us invading Iraq and discovering their connection with Saddam's nuclear weapons program?

4) On May 12, 2002 and June 9, 2002, Saddam met with his Chairman of the Atomic Energy and his nuclear researchers. This memorandum appears to confirm the allegations in President Bush's speech of October 7 2002 disclosing intelligence reports that Saddam was meeting with his nuclear scientists to reconstitute his nuclear program.

5) After the IAEA inspections started in November 2002, this Iraqi memorandum describes how the Iraqis knew where the IAEA was going before they arrived and moved their Russian nuclear scientists before they could be discovered.

Is it any surprise that Russia did not want us invading Iraq and discovering their connection with Saddam's nuclear weapons program?

6) Finally, the declassification of captured Iraqi documents ended abruptly and has not been restarted when the brainiacs over at CIA released:

[A virtual primer on how to build a nuclear bomb containing] charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

If Iraq was out of the nuclear weapons business, what they hell are they doing with detailed plans to build nuclear weapons?

If this information was contained in the several dozen pages of captures Iraqi intelligence and military tapes and documents, one wonders what is in the other half million undisclosed and still classified documents???
 

Bart,

Glad to hear the war in Iraq is now over and we have won. In that case, beginning withdrawl in 2009 will not be "retreat and surrender" at all, but simply the normal drawdown that follows victory.
 

For anyone who still gives arne any credence whatsoever, my links refer to the admissions made in captured Iraqi intelligence documents and tapes generated before the war, not from tortured confessions. Read my entire annotated analysis which provides specific individuals, groups, locations, dates and links.

Like most dictatorships, the Baathists were compulsive record keepers. However, until these records are declassified like the old Nazi archives after WWII and the old Soviet archives after the Cold War, we have only scratched the surface of the Iraqi WMD and terrorist activities. We are in the same position today concerning Iraqi activities as researchers were in the 50s concerning Soviet intelligence gathering in the United States. It wasn't until the KGB archives were opened up that we confirmed the extent of the massive infiltration of our government and confirmed that many allegedly wrongly persecuted Americans were like Alger Hiss were in fact Soviet agents. I expect that the captured Iraqi documents will be a similar treasure trove when they are finally declassified.

Meanwhile, this see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil act of the defenders of Saddam and al Qaeda is getting very old and silly on its face.
 

"Bart" DeDicta trots out Freeper links. ROFLMAO....

Cheers,
 

el:

We have been drawing down in Iraq for months now and intend to restart again in September after a 45 day pause.

However, the difference between withdrawing form Iraq in 2006 during al Qaeda's terror campaign as advocated by Mr. Obama and drawing down now after we have defeated al Qaeda in Iraq is the difference between withdrawing from Normandy in 1944 and drawing down after defeating Germany in 1945.
 

Bart says:

"However, the difference between withdrawing form Iraq in 2006 during al Qaeda's terror campaign as advocated by Mr. Obama and drawing down now after we have defeated al Qaeda in Iraq is the difference between withdrawing from Normandy in 1944 and drawing down after defeating Germany in 1945."

Considering AQ was always a small portion of the folks opposing our occupation, methinks your analogy is slightly off...
 

"Iraq did not allow IAEA inspections until November 2, 2002 on the eve of the war."

The invasion began March 19, 2003 -- over four months later. That's a pretty long "eve." (Though I suppose this does put Cheney's remarks about the "last throes" in context.)
 

"they tried to kill mah daddy" .. was the actual rationale ...

and the al-qaeda/saddam cabal is a pure figment of fantasy ... unless one is willing to term all disparate jihadi networks as being "al-qaeda" .. which they are in fact .. NOT ..

al qaeda has it's roots in wahabbi-ism ...a radical sect of holier-than-thou islamists ..

this has gone past preposterous ..arne is correct .. as is usual ..
 

Bart says:

"We have been drawing down in Iraq for months now and intend to restart again in September after a 45 day pause."

You will of course acknowledge that the draw down was always scheduled and was not a result of any perceived success of the Surge (tm), right?
 

arne:

Lebanese engineer Joseph Shahda performed the translations posted at Free Republic and was cited by such liberal newspapers such as the Boston Globe.

Ray Robison is a retired Army officer who served on the Iraq Survey Group.

No one from the anti-war left ever challenged these translations. Terrorist apologist Juan Cole tried to claim that a Feyedeen Saddam militia report of al Qaeda recruiting of Iraqis to fight in Afghanistan was really an APB to arrest the al Qaeda. But when Shahda's translation of the actual document revealed that Cole was lying, the estimable professor slinked off and ignored the remainder of the disclosed documents.
 

From "Bart" DeDicta's N.Y. Times link:

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

You can get a "basic guide" to building an atomic bomb in a freakin' encyclopaedia nowadays. Hell, I can draw out the two major first generation designs from memory (after Morland's article, even the design of H-bombs, including Ulam's "trick", is reasonably well known). The technology and the physics is very well known. The "special nuclear materials" and the engineering capability is the tougher part.

Cheers,
 

"q" the enchanter said...

BD: "Iraq did not allow IAEA inspections until November 2, 2002 on the eve of the war."

The invasion began March 19, 2003 -- over four months later. That's a pretty long "eve." (Though I suppose this does put Cheney's remarks about the "last throes" in context.)


The invasion was scheduled to kick off in the winter and was delayed because Mr. Bush heeded Powell's argument that he could convince the UN to give us their blessing. The problem was that the French, Germans and Russians had lied to Powell about being open to persuasion and the entire effort was a fiasco which nearly delayed the invasion until the hot season.
 

mike said...

Bart says: "We have been drawing down in Iraq for months now and intend to restart again in September after a 45 day pause."

You will of course acknowledge that the draw down was always scheduled and was not a result of any perceived success of the Surge (tm), right?


The units were scheduled a year beforehand to rotate out. However, the decision not to replace them with other units did not come until the Surge started to succeed at the end of 2006.
 

"Bart"'s out in "Man on Dog" Santorum/"Hoaxstra" Hoekstra/Laurie Mylroie land. Sad. Betcha that he thinks that "9/11" conspiracists are complete froot-loops, though....

What's truly amasing is that the maladministration could give a lot of these RW foamers orgasms by just agreeing with these Freeperland allegations and helping trumpet them. But they have just the smallest amount of personal dignity and respect left (at least collectively), so the closest they'll come to that is a nod'ana'wink and an occasinal nonspecific and noncommittal statement that there indeed were "weapons of mass destrction program related activities" ... at least at some time.

It's truly sad that Freeperlan just "doesn't get any respect"....

Cheers,
 

"The problem was that the French, Germans and Russians had lied to Powell about being open to persuasion and the entire effort was a fiasco which nearly delayed the invasion until the hot season."

Kind of assumes that you should invade in the first place. That we shouldn't have invaded is now clear, but even the possibility of this was reason for caution ... and pause. The Europeans were of the opinion that a "wait and see" pending results of continuing inspections was warranted. They, of course, were quite right.

Cheers,
 

BTW, it will be absolutely necessary to bomb Iran in the August/September time frame. If we don't do it by then, we may never do it, and ... in addition ... the salutary effect of such on the U.S. elections will be lost.

Cheers,
 

we may eventually stage air attacks on iran ..arne .. but i think it will only occur after an en masse resignation of the JCS .. that's what my system of ol' military buds who are still active duty tell me anyway .. the army and the marines are not in any shape to shoulder another ground campaign .. they're hollowed out .. and if not for stop-loss orders we couln't field the force on-the-ground we now have deployed ..

the services ..fully aware they are held at the command of civilian authority have nonetheless been sending us very clear signals that he current conflict ..at it's current force level ..cannot be sustained past december of this year without "irreparable damage" being done to the army and marine corps ..

at some point .. even the most flatheaded jacobins amongst us will be forced to confront reality ...
 

Jkat:

we may eventually stage air attacks on iran ..arne .. but i think it will only occur after an en masse resignation of the JCS .. that's what my system of ol' military buds who are still active duty tell me anyway .. the army and the marines are not in any shape to shoulder another ground campaign .. they're hollowed out .. and if not for stop-loss orders we couln't field the force on-the-ground we now have deployed ..

the services ..fully aware they are held at the command of civilian authority have nonetheless been sending us very clear signals that he current conflict ..at it's current force level ..cannot be sustained past december of this year without "irreparable damage" being done to the army and marine corps ..


Those irritations must of course give way to necessity. You go to war with the army you have, not with the army you wish you had....

Who will be the "Robert Bork" of the military in 2008?

Cheers,
 

Jkat,

My understanding is that the Administration recognizes this and wants to subdue Iran with air power only.

I am wondering, though, what is your military opinion on the level of troops we can sustain past December, and for how long?
 

EL.. i couldn't even begin to give you an answer .. the variables are infintesimal .. and please note the controlling phrase is "without doing irreparable harm" .. we can continue with stop-loss policies ..and since necessity is the mother of invention .. i'm sure there are all sorts of things a pressed military establishment could invent to delay the issue .. and stretch out the inevitable .. hopefully it won't come to that ..

i'm just a worn out old ex-marine aviator .. and the father of a currently serving marine colonel .. with a few old friends who have gone on to a much higher plane in today's marine corps ..

my crystal ball is very foggy on the middle east ..

i wish COULD give you an answer.. but i don't think anyone knows .. it depends on force depletion from combat losses .. it depends on the level of the conflict abating .. or conflagrating ..how far the civilian leadership is willing to travel down the road to force ruination before calling a halt .. too many things which can't be forseen with any certainty ..
 

No one from the anti-war left ever challenged these translations. Terrorist apologist Juan Cole tried to claim that a Feyedeen Saddam militia report of al Qaeda recruiting of Iraqis to fight in Afghanistan was really an APB to arrest the al Qaeda. But when Shahda's translation of the actual document revealed that Cole was lying, the estimable professor slinked off and ignored the remainder of the disclosed documents.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 6:08 PM


All of which makes it very odd that the Pentagon has acknowledged that there was no Al Qaeda conection with Iraq...

You are full of shit, Bart, and everyone knows it.
 

Folks, you will be able to see an Iran operation weeks if not months away.

First, the operation will take substantial and lengthy diplomatic preparation to gain staging areas and prepare the local governments for an extended operation.

An effective air operation will take around 2-4 weeks of sorties and that requires staging of aircraft and ordinance in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. This will take some weeks and can only start after we have secured staging areas.

We may also have to move more combat troops in the area to protect Iraq and Afghanistan from Iranian ground retaliation. We will definitely be inserting SF units in beforehand to identify targets and direct the smart ordinance.

The air op will be more extended than folks think because the USAF and Navy will have to take out the Iranian Air Force and all anti aircraft systems to establish air superiority.

Then the Iranian navy surface to surface missiles batteries have to be taken out to protect the Persian Gulf oil shipping.

Then the air power can be directed against Iranian nuclear infrastructure. Many of these targets are underground and hardened. It will take multiple sorties of heavy ordinance to ensure they are eliminated.

As you can see, this is not a casual operation. It will be very hard to miss.

The Bushies simply do not have the time left to pull this off. There is less than a year left in their term. That time period is shortened substantially by the election.

Mr. Bush is not going to do anything to subvert the McCain candidacy. McCain is the best bet to finish the Bush project in the Middle East by stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan and finishing off al Qaeda.

Consequently, Mr. Bush might effectively have two months to complete an Iran operation. That is too short a period of time.

Bush is probably going to leave this problem for the next administration, hoping that McCain wins the election or that Obama grows up quickly once he sees the intelligence.
 

It is significant that dear Bart De Palma should begin his many posts on this thread with an encomium for Douglas Feith.

Feith is a former managing partner of Washington law firm Feith & Zell which is affiliated with an Israeli firm and both firms handle a great deal of important Israeli matters.

From 1993 onwards, Feith was on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He was its co-Chairman with Paul Wolfowitz from 1994. He was frequently featured in the activities of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Feith was the Guest of Honour at ZOA’s 100th Anniversary Gala Banquet. He served as Master of Ceremony at other major ZOA functions and was a frequent participant at ZOA sponsored policy briefings on Capitol Hill. He was also part of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, a particularly dangerous institution advocating Neoconservative military strategy with the aid of defence contractor money

During the Reagan Administration he served on the White House National Security Staff and in the Defense Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy. He also served as Special Counsel to Richard Perle, then Assistant Secretary of Defense. In the Bush Administration, it was Feith who was responsible for the extremely murky Pentagon Office of Special Plans.

A prolific writer, Feith has left a long paper trail of anti-Arab tracts and diatribes against those who challenge or seek to compromise Israel’s strength and as he defines it, "moral superiority" over the Arabs. As a paid-up member of the Neoconservative mafia and a committed Zionist whose loyalties are as much to the Israeli state as to the USA, Feith was precisely the sort of person who should have been kept well away from policy making on US posture in the Middle East.

Neoconservative thought was much influenced by Leo Strauss who came to the USA as a refugee from Nazi Germany in 1937. His teaching of philosophy was deeply marked by his life experience. Strauss had a very strong Jewish identity and viewed his philosophy as a means of ensuring Jewish survival in the Diaspora. As he put it in a 1962 Hillel House lecture, later republished in Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker: 'I believe I can say, without any exaggeration, that since a very, very early time the main theme of my reflections has been what is called the "Jewish ‘Question’"...'

Strauss blamed, not fascism, but the Weimar Republic's liberal democratic ideals for permitting the rise of the Nazi party and he interpreted the classical philosophers, Plato, Machiavelli, Nietzche and Hobbes, in a Machiavellian sense: Truth, he taught, was the preserve of an elite few who might have to tell "noble lies" to the uncomprehending masses. The elite were to be "the Guardians" of Plato.

Strauss posited the Machiavellian proposition that political entities are compelled to use force and fraud if they are to prosper. He believed that democracy, however flawed, was best defended by an ignorant public pumped up on nationalism and religion. According to Strauss, only a militantly nationalist state can deter aggression. The creation of such nationalism requires an external threat - and if one cannot be found it has to be manufactured.

Strauss's enthusiasm for authoritarianism and for the rule of an enlightened elite who should if necessary deceive the "sheeple", is an important background to the strategy of lies and deception that ultimately led to the occupation and invasion of Iraq under false pretences.

Regrettably, Albert Wohlstetter and Leo Strauss had a prodigious combined effect on those who sat at their feet and many University of Chicago students are to be found in the Bush Administration Defence Department, in other posts connected with the "war on terror", or in Neoconservative think tanks:-

John Aschcroft, Attorney-General, (JD 1967); Ahmed Chalabi, the embezzeler founder of the Iraqi National Congress, and the Pentagon's preferred candidate for the Presidency of Iraq, (PhD 1969); William J. Bennett (JD 1975); Gary Edson, Deputy National Security Advisor to the President, (JD 1982); James Ho, Justice Dept, Office of Legal Counsel, (JD 1999); Zalmay Khalilzad, National Security Council, Bush "special envoy" to the Iraqi opposition, Ambassador in Afghanistan, Iraq and now to the UN (PhD 1979); Michael Mobbs, Department of Defence Detainee Advisory Group, (JD 1974); Gary Schmitt, President of the Project for the New American Century, (PhD in 1980); Abram Shulsky, Director of the Pentagon Office of Special Plans, (PhD 1972); Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who is regarded as the "chief architect" of the Bush Administration's foreign policy (PhD 1972)

Francis Boyle, Professor of Law at the University of Illinois School of Law wrote an article, published in Counterpunch on 3rd August 2003 entitled "My Alma Mater is a Moral Cesspool - Neo-Cons, Fundies, Feddies and the University of Chicago” in which he opined:-

“It is now a matter of public record that immediately after the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001, U.S. Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld and his pro-Israeli "Neoconservative" Deputy Paul Wolfowitz began to plot, plan, scheme and conspire to wage a war of aggression against Iraq by manipulating the tragic events of September 11th in order to provide a pretext for doing so. Of course Iraq had nothing at all to do with September 11th or supporting Al-Qaeda . But that made no difference to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the numerous other pro-Israeli Neo-cons in the Bush Jr. administration.

These pro-Israeli Neo-cons had been schooled in the Machiavellian/Nietzschean theories of Professor Leo Strauss, who taught political philosophy at the University of Chicago in their Department of Political Science. The best expose of Strauss's pernicious theories on law, politics, government, for elitism, and against democracy can be found in two scholarly books by the Canadian Professor Shadia B. Drury: The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (1988); Leo Strauss and the American Right (1999).

I entered the University of Chicago in September of 1968 shortly after Strauss had retired. But I was trained in Chicago's Political Science Department by Strauss's foremost protege, co-author, and literary executor Joseph Cropsey. Based upon my personal experience as an alumnus of Chicago's Political Science Department (A.B., 1971, in Political Science), I concur completely with Professor Drury's devastating critique of Strauss. I also agree with her penetrating analysis of the degradation of the American political process by Chicago's Straussian cabal.

Chicago routinely trained me and numerous other students to become ruthless and unprincipled Machiavellians. That is precisely why so many neophyte Neo-con students gravitated towards the University of Chicago or towards Chicago Alumni at other universities. The University of Chicago became the "brains" behind the Bush Jr. Empire and his Ashcroft Police State. Attorney General John Ashcroft received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1967. Many of his "lawyers" at the Department of Injustice are members of the right-wing, racist, bigoted, reactionary, and totalitarian Federalist Society (aka "Feddies"), which originated in part at the University of Chicago.

Although miseducated at Yale and Harvard Business School, the "Ivies" proved to be too liberal for Bush Jr. and his fundamentalist Christian supporters, whose pointman and spearcarrier in the Bush Jr. administration was Ashcroft, a Fundie himself. The Neo-cons and the Fundies contracted an "unholy alliance" in support of Bush Jr. across the board. For their own different reasons, both groups also worked hand-in-hand to support Israel's genocidal Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an internationally acknowledged war criminal. Strange bedfellows indeed.

According to his own public estimate and boast before the American Enterprise Institute, President Bush Jr. hired about 20 Straussians to occupy key positions in his administration, many holding offices where they could push American foreign policy in favor of Israel and against its chosen enemies such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians. It was the Chicago Straussian cabal of pro-Israeli Neo-cons who set up a separate "intelligence" unit within the Pentagon that was responsible for manufacturing many of the bald-faced lies, deceptions, half-truths, and outright propaganda that the Bush Jr. administration then disseminated to the lap-dog U.S. news media in order to generate public support for a war of aggression against Iraq for the benefit of Israel and in order to steal Iraq's oil. To paraphrase something Machiavelli once advised his Prince in Chapter XVIII of that book: Those who want to deceive will always find those willing to be deceived. As I can attest from my personal experience as an alumnus of the University of Chicago Department of Political Science, the Bible of Chicago's pro-Israeli Neo-con Straussian cabal is Machiavelli's The Prince.”


In the case of Bart, what remains as an issue is whether he is one of “the Guardians” telling “noble lies” to advance the Neoconservatives’ agenda as, nothing daunted by the failure of Iraq, they gear up for an attack on Iran, or whether he is simply one of the “deceived sheeple”.

Given the evidence of deficient forensic analysis demonstrated on other threads, I conclude that poor dear Bart is a just a sheep deceived by the ‘noble lies’ rather than a Guardian, but I should be interested to see the views of others.

“Quid vobis videtur”
 

When Gen. Petreaus appeared before Congress, his goal was to defend George W's (and his own) position regarding the surge, how it was working and that drawdowns of troops could not be hastened. He was, in effect, telling the nation that the Democrats were out of step in their goals to bring the troops home.

Some weeks later, Petreaus announced from Iraq that perhaps in September the drawdown might increase from that he earlier had supported. Coincidence? Or is this part of the Bush/McCain strategy for this November's elections? Might this appease the public's concern as long expressed in the polls about getting our trops out of Iraq? Was Petreaus being political?


Here's what Lisa's bro said:

"We have been drawing down in Iraq for months now and intend to restart again in September after a 45 day pause."

Will Petreaus and Lisa's bro turn the polls around with promises of September drawdowns to aid McCain's campaign? Or is there a Plan B(art) to bomb Iran as a prelude to November's elections?
 

"Given the evidence of deficient forensic analysis demonstrated on other threads, I conclude that poor dear Bart is a just a sheep deceived by the ‘noble lies’ rather than a Guardian, but I should be interested to see the views of others."

Here's a view from vaudeville:

Straight man driving instructor: "Do you know how to make a U-turn?"

Comedian: "Poke it in the behind with a stick."

More sticks, please, to expose his "noble lies."
 

I apologize in advance for mixing thread themes but I've been computer-challenged for a day or two:

Bart, you're stunning inability to see or acknowledge that "propaganda" is in the eye of the beholder (and your parallel elision of its definition from "lies" to "bits of the truth") is of a piece with your touching faith in Feith, "the stupidest fucking guy on the planet" in the words of one of Bush's top military men.

Everything you said about propaganda in the other thread dissolves into a thin oily film in the face of your bald efforts to distort reality with willful ignorance.

Your world reaches its logical climax and singularity as you execute yourself for treason.
 

At remembrances of our military dead, we in the UK generally refer to the words of Lawrence Binyon:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning - We will remember them. " - For the Fallen - Binyon 1917

In honour of the dead and maimed of the Iraq conflict, be they citizens of the USA the UK, other nations - including the Iraqis (by far the greatest in number), we may care to remember also just who were the politicians who got us into the Mess in Mesopotamia in the first place and hold these false prophets to account.

I have to recognise with shame that the Bush Administration's principal co-conspirator in the unlawful invasion and occupation of Iraq was the former British Prime Minister, Tony “Poodle” Blair. But at least he had the good sense not to lay claim to any personal revelation from the Almighty about his decision.

President Bush of the United States of America claims to be a 'born again' Christian, whatever that may mean but he has gone further and has claimed to have received personal revelation from the Almighty..

Several sympathetic books about Bush and his faith make a big deal of his deciding to run for president after hearing a Texas minister named Rev. Mark Craig preach about how Moses had been called to service by God, Bush's mother reportedly turned to her son after the sermon and said, "He was talking to you." Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of George W. Bush, goes on to say: "Not long after, Bush called James Robinson (a prominent minister) and told him, 'I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for President.' " Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention heard Bush say something similar: "Among the things he said to us was: I believe that God wants me to be president."

After 9/11, the sense among his supporters that God had chosen him increased. "I think that God picked the right man at the right time for the right purpose," said popular Christian broadcaster Janet Parshall. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, who got in trouble for derogatory comments about Islam, argued that it must have been God who selected Bush, since a plurality of voters hadn't. "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of America did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

Time magazine reported, "Privately, Bush talked of being chosen by the grace of God to lead at that moment."

World Magazine, a conservative Christian publication, quoted White House official Tim Goeglein as saying, "I think President Bush is God's man at this hour, and I say this with a great sense of humility."

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did." - Bush to Mahmood Abbas, quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz

Not everyone is privileged to receive a personal revelation from the Almighty.

Ordinary mortals faced with persons claiming such a privilege do well to heed the cautionary words of the Evangelist:-

”Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
– Matthew 7: 15-20.


If one seeks to test the quality of the purported Divine revelation to the present incumbent of the White House by this prudential test, one quickly comes to the conclusion that the fruits of the invasion and occupation of Iraq were not of merchantable quality.

So when those of the Neoconservative persuasion, like our own dear deluded loon, Bart, come round advocating more of the same for both Iraq and Iran, we should, perhaps, look rather more carefully at what is on offer.

In Bart's case, the acid test might be whether you would trust him to represent you in a lawsuit.
 

Mourad said:

"I have to recognise with shame that the Bush Administration's principal co-conspirator in the unlawful invasion and occupation of Iraq was the former British Prime Minister, Tony “Poodle” Blair. But at least he had the good sense not to lay claim to any personal revelation from the Almighty about his decision."

I noted items today on the Internet to the effect that Blair seems now to have found religion to be important to his current and future life. It isn't clear that he received "personal revelation from the Almighty." Perhaps Blair has faced internal guilt about his participation with George W. It is not unusual for politicians to "get religion" after getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. (I'm thinking of Charles Colson and other Watergatites, although in fairness Colson has continued in this vein for 30 years, whereas some drop the religious fervor after a much shorter interval.) I'm not in a position to compare Blair's prior religiosity with his current. Perhaps Mourad can inform us.
 

Shag:

Blair was nominally an Anglican, but he married Cherie Booth, a Roman Catholic and their children were brought up as Catholics - Blair frequently attending Catholic services.

While in office, he ducked comment on religious issues ("We don't do God" - his press secretary famously remarked when a question was asked about the PM's faith). There was also a famous TV interview where Blair got very ratty with interviewer Jeremy Paxaman's questions as to whether he had prayed with George Bush at Crawford.

He certainly came in from a lot of stick from the Churches about the Iraq invasion - including a couple of very tough sermons from the Archbishop of Canterbury and from the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.

After the invasion, Blair did just once say on TV (Parkinson Show) that he would have to answer to God for his decision.

Britons have long been very suspicious of politicians who claim to be motivated by faith. Cynics say he ducked out because quite a lot of New Labour policy goes contrary to Catholic teaching. He could not have converted will still voting for some policies - eg abortion, some embryo research etc.

After he left office, Blair took instruction and converted to Catholicism. How genuine his faith may be is a matter known only to Almighty God, but I doubt he would have gone to the trouble unless he felt it something he had to do.
 

mourad said...

It is significant that dear Bart De Palma should begin his many posts on this thread with an encomium for Douglas Feith.

Feith is a former managing partner of Washington law firm Feith & Zell which is affiliated with an Israeli firm and both firms handle a great deal of important Israeli matters...


Red herring.

What does any of your lengthy post have to do with the annotated and thoroughly documented first hand reporting in Mr. Feith's book?

So when those of the Neoconservative persuasion, like our own dear deluded loon, Bart, come round advocating more of the same for both Iraq and Iran, we should, perhaps, look rather more carefully at what is on offer.

Umm...

You folks on the left keep raising the possibility of some sudden surprise invasion of Iraq. I keep telling you that it is very unlikely.

This is your fantasy, not mine.
 

shag from brookline said...

When Gen. Petreaus appeared before Congress, his goal was to defend George W's (and his own) position regarding the surge, how it was working and that drawdowns of troops could not be hastened. He was, in effect, telling the nation that the Democrats were out of step in their goals to bring the troops home.

Some weeks later, Petreaus announced from Iraq that perhaps in September the drawdown might increase from that he earlier had supported. Coincidence? Or is this part of the Bush/McCain strategy for this November's elections? Might this appease the public's concern as long expressed in the polls about getting our trops out of Iraq? Was Petreaus being political?


Ah conspiracy theories...

From the beginning of the Surge, the increase of troops was planned to be temporary. Gen. Petreaus reserved the right to keep the troops there longer if they needed more time during his reports last year.

There was no need to keep the troops longer because they won a rather stunning strategic victory over al Qaeda, which even CIA and many in the press recognize now.

The drawdown of the Surge units started as scheduled early this year and should be completed next month. Gen. Petreaus asked for and was granted a halt in the drawdown for 45 days during the Summer to assess whether it was safe to draw down further.

If Petreaus is working for the GOP and the GOP wants a Dem stay precipitous retreat as in your fantasy, the general is sure not acting the part by slowing down the drawdown.

In fact, the discussions on the military blogs are talking about a drawdown over the next two years leaving a couple combat brigades in Iraq ala South Korea. The reported negotiations of a long term Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqis would conform to this scenario.

The military is acting confident that they have secured a victory in Iraq, but they want to make sure and finish this right. After all, they paid the blood price for this victory and do not want to be stampeded into withdrawing a loss from the jaws of victory.
 

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7: 20.

My dear deluded Bart,

This thread is about how the US public and most members of the Congress were deceived into supporting the unlawful invasion of Iraq.

There were a number of genuine reasons and a number of spurious reasons for the invasion.

Two of the genuine reasons were (i) to enhance the security of Israel and (ii) to get control over Iraqi oil.

Two of the spurious reasons were (i) that the Saddam Hussein régime had weapons of mass destruction and (ii) that the Saddam Hussein regime had connections with and had provided support to the terrorists responsible for 9-11.

The Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration were the prime movers in identifying the genuine reasons and also in manufacturing the spurious reasons.

The spurious or ostensible reasons had to be manufactured to sell the Enterprise of Iraq to the Congress and the general public. The genuine reasons were for the insiders. It is however entirely possible that even within the Administration, the genuine oil reason was the means of selling the Enterprise of Iraq to Bush, Cheney and the other gentiles, while the security of Israel argument was only disclosed to the Zionists and the dominionist evangelicals of the Pastor Hagee variety.

The reason why my first contribution was about Feith and the Neoconservative philosophy was to point out that (i) Feith is a Zionist and (ii) the deception of the masses to achieve desirable objectives is very much part of the Neoconservative mindset.

Let us now look at the oil issue.

A little history
When asking what led the USA (and, sad to say, the UK) to invade Iraq, it is important not to forget that the history of modern Iraq has long been bound up with the desire of the West, in particular the UK and the USA, to control Gulf oil.

Few people today remember that BP - British Petroleum - was first registered in 1909 under the name Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited. Shortly before World War I, Anglo-Persian managed to find a new backer - and good customer - in the British government. The deal was struck by Winston Churchill whose interest was to secure strategic oil supplies for the Navy. In 1935 the company was renamed Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Limited. Anglo-Iranian was not renamed British Petroleum Company Limited until it had lost its concessions in Iran which were nationalised in 1951.

The Iraq Petroleum Company Limited was incorporated in 1911 as the African and Eastern Concessions Limited. Its name was changed to the Turkish Petroleum Company Limited in 1912.

The Ottoman Empire was on the German side in World War I (Lawrence of Arabia and all that) and at the end of the War it was stripped of its Arab provinces. As part of the secret Anglo-French Sykes-Picot agreement for the post-war carve-up of the Ottoman Empire into UK and French zones of influence (Iraq – Jordan – Palestine to the UK – Lebanon and Syria to France) a previous assurance to the Kurds that they would be given their own state was ignored and the Kurdish provinces of Kirkuk and Mosul were incorporated into what was to become Iraq.

The name of the Turkish Petroleum Company was changed to the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) and by the San Remo Oil Agreement of 1920 the shareholding in IPC was set out as Anglo-Persian (Iranian) Oil Company Limited (47.5 %), Shell (22.5 %), Compagnie Française des Petroles (25%), C. S. Gulbenkian (5 %). Thus IPC started out in life with what is now BP being its largest shareholder and the British Government controlling BP (Until the 1960’s every BP tanker was designed in collaboration with the Admiralty to be easily converted to use as a fleet oiler in wartime).

There are 17 linear metres of papers of IPC held in the BP Archive at the University of Warwick. These document show what happened next.

At that time the USA was self-sufficient in oil, but the possibility of the USA being short of oil in wartime had begun to rear its head as possibility. Under US Government pressure, negotiations begin in 1922 for American entrance into IPC. The US oil companies were represented by W. C. Teagle, president of Standard Oil of New Jersey. After six years of haggling, the U.S. oil majors were on 31st July 1928, granted a combined 23.75 % shareholding in IPC which was held by Near East Development Corporation, a jointly owned US corporation. The shareholdings in NEDC were: Atlantic Refining Company 16.666%, Gulf Oil Corporation 16.666%, Pan American -AMOCO- Standard of Indiana 16.666%, Standard Oil of New jersey 25% and Standard Oil of New York 25%).

Under the IPC Red Line Agreement of 1928, within an area circumscribed on a map by a "Red Line" encompassing most of the old Ottoman Empire (including Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and adjoining sheikdoms, but excluding Iran, Kuwait. Israel, and Trans-Jordan), the owners agreed to be interested in oil only through the Iraq Petroleum Company. The Red Line Agreement was an outstanding example of a closed cartel over a large portion of the world's supply by a group of companies which together dominated the world market.

The West's desire to control Middle Eastern oil therefore goes to the manner in which the Kurds were denied nationhood in 1918 when Iraq was formed out of the corpse of the Ottoman Empire so as to keep Kurdish oil-fields under the control of the IPC.

The US desire to have a share goes to the forced entry of US oil majors into the IPC cartel.

It also accounts for the special relationship created between the US Government and Aramco and the Saudi royal family shortly before WW2. The British could not afford to keep their concessions in Saudi Arabia – at that time undeveloped. The concessions were sold by IPC for a song to a US consortium (Aramco) on the strength of a report by an IPC petroleum geologist to the IPC board that there was “no prospect of finding oil in commercially exploitable quantities”(ouch!).

Aramco drilled rather deeper than IPC had and found they were drilling on the world’s largest oilfields. President Roosevelt signed an Executive Order declaring Saudi Arabia to be a vital security interest of the United States – thus enabling Aramco to pay the cost of its concessions with US government money.

Oil and National Security
It has long been the national security policy of the United States to have absolute security of oil supply. That is an objective which has been supported by all US Administrations since 1914.

Until the 1950’s security of supply was achieved by having concessions. Western controlled companies owned the oil in the ground and could dictate whom the oil was sold to. The US/UK/French governments could in turn dictate to the companies.

If oil reserves are nationalised, there is not the same security of supply. The producing country can turn the taps on and off, up or down whenever they like.

It was the desire to keep control of Gulf oil which led to CIA involvement in the overthrow of the Mossadeq government in Iran and the re-imposition of the Shah – which in turn led to the Iranian revolution.

The same desire led to the overthrow of the Quassem government in Iraq and – with the assistance of the CIA - to the installation of the Baath regime in Iraq – which in turn led to Saddam Hussein and to US support of his government.

Iraq and Bush Senior
Even after Saddam gassed the Kurds in 1988, the Bush (père) administration thought it proper to keep sending weapons to Iraq. According to House Committee on Government Operations report "Strengthening the Export License System," from July 18 right up until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait, the Bush administration approved of $4.8 million in advanced technology product sales to Iraq -- the end-user being Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI), which was identified in 1988 as a facility for Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs report, "the Reigle report" stated that the US last delivered a pathogen to Iraq on 28th November 1989. Business Week has reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director sent former Sen. Donald Reigle a list of "all biological materials, including viruses, retroviruses, bacteria and fungi, which CDC provided to the government of Iraq from October 1, 1984, through October 13, 1993."

Not a pretty record, but matched by other US allies including France, Germany and the United Kingdom .

When a truce between Iraq and Iran was arranged, Iraq found the war had cost it dear. Its $30 billion in foreign currency reserves had been converted into debts of $80 billion, owed largely to the Gulf monarchies and Western powers. The Iraqi oil industry had been crippled from Iranian attacks and oil revenue had declined substantially.

The US Administration had expected Iraq to reward it for the support it had provided during the Iran-Iraq war. It had hoped there would be preferential opportunities for US interests in the post-war state. As these failed to materialise, US opinion started to swing against Iraq.

A 12th January 12, 1990 State Department policy document set the new tone. After stating that in the Gulf region, “For the US, the starting point is oil,” the document concluded that while it might be preferable to support an important regional ally, there was no power suitable for that role.

It said:-
“The US was comfortable with actively supporting the Iranian build-up in the 1970s because (1) we trusted Iran and (2) Iran was willing and able to assume the role of defender of our oil interest. The US trust in Iran was based on mutually shared perceptions on the nature of the Soviet threat, about the need to preserve the political status quo in the Gulf, and about the importance of Israel’s security.

While the US is prepared today to act unilaterally to defend its interests in the Gulf, in an ideal world it would be preferable to do so in concert with a friendly, regional hegemon. However, none of the Gulf powers have (a) the capability to play that role and (b) share a vision of Gulf order with which we are comfortable. Iraq, for example, might meet requirement (a) - especially for the northern Gulf - but not (b). Saudi Arabia meets requirement (b) but not (a)”
.

The document concluded noting that a “key objective” will be to “force Saddam to make hard choices.”

The Bush Senior Administration expected Saddam Hussein to reward the USA by creating a more favourable climate for the US oil majors to operate in Iraq. As is by now well known, in a move which can only be characterised as insane, Saddam Hussein elected instead to invade Kuwait, thereby forfeiting all the support he had received from the West and the Arab World in his war against Iran. Saddam may even have believed that the USA would stand by and allow this to happen. He could not have been more mistaken.

George Bush Senior was to characterise the move as "a betrayal". There followed the 1st Gulf War, in which a large coalition with UN support proceeded (largely at Saudi/Kuwaiti expense) to liberate Kuwait. But for whatever reason, the Bush Senior Administration was not prepared to topple the Saddam Hussein regime.

The reasons why George Bush Snr elected to leave Saddam Hussein in power at the end of the 1991 Gulf War remain hotly debated.

There is good reason to believe that this was at the behest of Gulf State rulers in the coalition who did not want to risk a majority Shia administration in a post-Saddam Iraq and made this a condition of their financial underwriting of the US costs of going to war.

The Enterprise of Iraq
The desire to regain control of Iraq oil was certainly a major, indeed probably the dominant, factor in the Bush (fils) Administration’s invasion decision. That was denied, of course.
In a 2003 article in Foreign Policy in Focus, entitled “The New Oil Order - Washington's War on Iraq is the Lynchpin to Controling Persian Gulf Oil” Michael Renner wrote:-
“Only in the most direct sense is the Bush administration's Iraq policy directed against Saddam Hussein. In contrast to all the loud talk about terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and human rights violations, very little is being said about oil. The administration has been tight-lipped about its plans for a post-Saddam Iraq and has repeatedly disavowed any interest in the country's oil resources. But press reports indicate that U.S. officials are considering a prolonged occupation of Iraq after their war to topple Saddam Hussein. It is likely that a U.S.-controlled Iraq will be the linchpin of a new order in the world oil industry. Indeed, a war against Iraq may well herald a major realignment of the Middle East power balance.

The Bush administration’s ties to the oil and gas industry are beyond extensive; they are pervasive. They flow, so to speak, from the top, with a chief executive who grew up steeped in the culture of Texas oil exploration and tried his hand at it himself; and a second-in-command who came to office with a multi-million dollar retirement package in hand from his post of CEO of Halliburton Oil. Once in office, the vice president developed an energy policy under the primary guidance of a cast of oil company executives whose identities he has gone to great lengths to withhold from public view.

The pariah state of Iraq is a key prize, with abundant, high-quality oil that can be produced at very low cost (and thus at great profit). At 112 billion barrels, its proven reserves are currently second only to Saudi Arabia's. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that additional probable and possible resources could amount to 220 billion barrels. And because political instability, war, and sanctions have prevented thorough exploration of substantial portions of Iraqi territory, there is a chance that another 100 billion barrels lie undiscovered in Iraq’s western desert. All in all, Iraq's oil wealth may well rival that of Saudi Arabia.

At present, of course, this is mere potential - the Iraqi oil industry has seriously deteriorated as a result of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, the 1991 Gulf War, and inadequate postwar investment and maintenance. Since 1990, the sanctions regime has effectively frozen plans for putting additional fields into production. It has also caused a severe shortage of oil field equipment and spare parts (under the sanctions regime, the U.S. has prevented equipment imports worth some $4 billion). Meanwhile, questionable methods used to raise output from existing fields may have damaged some of the reservoirs and could actually trigger a decline in output in the short run.

But once the facilities are rehabilitated (a lucrative job for the oil service industry, including Vice President Cheney's former employer, Halliburton) and new fields are brought into operation, the spigots could be opened wide. To pay for the massive task of rebuilding, a post-sanctions Iraq would naturally seek to maximize its oil production. Some analysts, such as Fadhil Chalabi, a former Iraqi oil official, assert that Iraq could produce 8-10 million b/d within a decade and eventually perhaps as much as 12 million.

The impact on world markets is hard to overstate. Saudi Arabia would no longer be the sole dominant producer, able to influence oil markets single-handedly. Given that U.S.-Saudi relations cooled substantially in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, rifts that may widen further, a Saudi competitor would not be unwelcome in Washington. An unnamed U.S. diplomat confided to Scotland's Sunday Herald that a rehabilitated Iraq is the only sound long-term strategic alternative to Saudi Arabia. Its not just a case of swapping horses in mid-stream, the impending U.S. regime change in Baghdad is a strategic necessity.

Washington would gain enormous leverage over the world oil market. Opening the Iraqi spigot would flood world markets and drive prices down substantially. OPEC, already struggling with overcapacity and a tendency among its members to produce above allotted quotas (an estimated 3 million barrels per day above the agreed total of 24.7 million b/d), might unravel as individual exporters engage in destructive price wars against each other.
If a new regime in Baghdad rolls out the red carpet for the oil multinationals to return, it is possible that a broader wave of denationalization could sweep through the oil industry, reversing the historic changes of the early 1970s. Squeezed by a decade of sanctions, the current regime has already signalled that it is prepared to provide more favourable terms to foreign companies. Such an invitation by Baghdad would be in tune with larger changes that are afoot, as a growing number of oil producing countries are opening their industries to foreign direct investment.

Regime change in Baghdad would reshuffle the cards and give U.S. (and British) companies a good shot at direct access to Iraqi oil for the first time in 30 years - a windfall worth hundreds of billions of dollars. U.S. companies relish the prospect: Chevron's chief executive, for example, said in 1998 that he'd love Chevron to have access to Iraq's oil reserves.
In preface to the passage of Security Council Resolution 1441 on November 8, there were thinly veiled threats that French, Russian, and Chinese firms would be excluded from any future oil concessions in Iraq unless Paris, Moscow, and Beijing supported the Bush policy of regime change. Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an exile opposition group favoured by the Bush administration, said that the INC would not feel bound by any contracts signed by Saddam Hussein's government and that American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil under a new regime.

Although the U.S. military presence [in the region] is not solely about oil, oil is a key reason. In 1999, General Anthony C. Zinni, then the head of the U.S. Central Command, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Persian Gulf region is of vital interest to the U.S. and that the country must have free access to the region’s resources.

Bush administration officials have, however, categorically denied oil is one of the reasons why they are pushing for regime change in Iraq. Nonsense, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told 60 Minutes Steve Kroft in mid-December 2002: "It has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil."

But oil industry officials interviewed by 60 Minutes on December 15 painted a different picture. Asked if oil is part of the equation, Phillip Ellis, head of global oil and gas operations for Boston Consulting replied: "Of course it is. No doubt."

In fact, oil company executives have been quietly meeting with U.S.-backed Iraqi opposition leaders. According to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress: "The future democratic government in Iraq will be grateful to the United States for helping the Iraqi people liberate themselves and getting rid of Saddam." And he added that, "American companies, we expect, will play an important and leading role in the future oil situation in Iraq."


Chalabi, the embezzler was, of course, the Neocon and Administration choice for the post Saddam President of Iraq – the only problem being that after the invasion he proved unacceptable to the Iraqi people.

Chalabi was promoted by, inter alia by the Neoconservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Prior to the invasion, there were to be found on the Heritage web site, very detailed proposals for the denationalisation of the Iraq National Oil Company, for the sale of its shares to a cartel of US oil companies, for the conclusion of binding agreements with a new (Chalabi) administration fixing the maximum rates of corporation and petroleum tax at 18% (half the prevailing rate for North Sea oil) – foreign taxation which could be offset against US taxation

and with proposals for the construction of a pipe-line to supply Iraqi oil to Israel.

It did not escape the notice of the Neocons that while the USA and Euope get less than half their oil needs from the Gulf, Japan and Korea get 90% of their oil from there, as does China.

Needless to say, the proposals would have also denied to the new Iraq state the greater part of the benefits from its own resources.

They also enabled the Neoconservatives to hold out the prospect of the war being self-financing.

Since the Enterprise of Iraq has not turned out to bring those benefits, the publications have gone missing from the Heritage Fondation’s web site.

A side wind of the proposals was that he need to control and protect the oil justified the idea of a substantial permanent military presence and incidentally also to protect the state of Israel.

The true reasons for the Iraq invasion were Oil and Israel.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum
 

"the annotated and thoroughly documented first hand reporting in Mr. Feith's book"

True enough -- Feith's book does have footnotes. Eo ipso, his argument is intellectually serious. So it deserves an intellectually serious response.

Douglas Feith is the stupidest f***ing guy on the planet. [1]

NOTES
1. See, e.g., Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
 

Watch Josh Marshall's video on Feith at:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/
 

mourad said...

My dear deluded Bart,

This thread is about how the US public and most members of the Congress were deceived into supporting the unlawful invasion of Iraq. There were a number of genuine reasons and a number of spurious reasons for the invasion. Two of the genuine reasons were (i) to enhance the security of Israel and (ii) to get control over Iraqi oil.


Good heavens, do you also believe that 9/11 was an Israeli plot?

You may want to start getting your news from sources other than the BBC and the Guardian.

You also be sure to let us all know when the United States start taking all that Iraqi oil we conquered in the war. Gasoline is getting rather pricy here.
 

q:

Footnotes to actual documentation provides corroboration for his first hand reporting of the events leading up to the war, not his opinions as to the wisdom of the Administration's acts and omissions.

You are free to discard as you wish Mr. Feith's multiple criticisms of the Bush Administration's execution of the Iraq War as merely his opinions. The book is hardly a rah rah tome. It is an after action review.
 

Bart the deluded apolgist for the Neocons wrote:-

"Good heavens, do you also believe that 9/11 was an Israeli plot?
You may want to start getting your news from sources other than the BBC and the Guardian."


Bart, you dolt! Do you take me to be as big a fool as you plainly are?

Of course I do not believe that 9-11 was an Israeli plot.

Nor do I believe that 9-11 was a genuine reason for the Bush/Blair Enterprise of Iraq, any more than I believe there was any solid evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The proposition that Iraq gave aid and comfort to Al-Qaida and the proposition that Iraq still had WMD were two of the 'noble lies' - spurious reasons invented by Feith and the other Neocons as justifcations for the real reasons for the Iraq invasion.

And BTW, it was the BBC and the Guardian, inter alia, who exposed the British Government's 'dodgy dossier' used by Blair to ram through Parliament a resolution authorising UK participation in the invasion.

Further, if your gas is too expensive for your liking:-

a) - one reason is because the Enterprise of Iraq failed abysmally in its real objective of getting hold of Iraq oil for US benefit;

b) - brace yourself for substantial increases - the US is competing with China, Japan and the Asean states for the same oil and a US dollar doesn't buy what it used to.

c) - relax, in Europe we pay between $8 and $10 for a gallon.

d) - given the deficit financing of the invasion and occupation, the US dollar is set to to keep sliding making your gas even more expensive.

Note the news today that Qatar is going to uncouple its currency from the US Dollar - expect other Gulf states to do the same.

And BTW far from diminishing the Al-Quaida threat, the Enterprise of Iraq and the continued presence of US troop in Iraaq is a gift to Al-Quaida recruiters world-wide.

So stop kidding yourself, my dear fellow. Those Neocons you profess to admire got your country into the Mess in Mesopotamia and getting out is going to be painful and expensive, both for the USA and for your fellow citizens. Higher gas prices are a small part of that.
 

Mourad: Formidable!

The contrast between your wide-ranging erudition and Bart's empty bombast is striking indeed.
 

Maurad:

:::chuckle:::

What mess in Mesopotamia?

Isn't the UK news media covering the Coalition victory in Iraq as reported by the Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Al Qeada outside Iraq, the doomsayers at CIA, the anti war ghouls who count the casualties in Iraq, the US anti war press, and even the EU anti war press.

Well, perhaps the term Coalition" victory is too broad. It took the Iraqi military to clean out the Shia gangsters whom the Brits allowed to run amok in Basra because the UK was afraid of taking casualties. Call it a US and Iraqi victory with some help from the Aussies, Kiwis and Eastern Europe.

Has the British press at least heard of the victory against al Qaeda across the world as the terrorist organization alienated most of the Islamic world by mass murdering Iraqi muslims and then were slaughtered as the Iraqi people joined the US to hunt down the terrorists?

Instead of being the killing fields of the US Army, Iraq ended up being al Qaeda's graveyard.

If you are ignorant of the Yank and Iraqi victory in Iraq, you may want to start reading something besides the surrender media in the UK.

BTW mattski, no amount of educated erudition can conceal self inflicted ignorance. Follow the links to the facts.
 

mourad said...

The proposition that Iraq gave aid and comfort to Al-Qaida and the proposition that Iraq still had WMD were two of the 'noble lies' - spurious reasons invented by Feith and the other Neocons as justifcations for the real reasons for the Iraq invasion.

Apparently, you require further education.

1) Iraq and al Qaeda: The Coalition captured roughly 500,000 Iraqi intelligence service and military documents. A couple months back, I drafted a multi page annotated and linked analysis of the DoD report on their review of a fraction of the classified documents and several unclassified documents which confirm that Saddam operated a massive terrorist state which recruited, trained, funded and supplied several Iraqi and foreign Islamic terrorist organizations, including the Egyptian Islamic Group when it attacked the World Trade Center in 1993 and at least four known al Qaeda groups. Moreover, captured Iraqi Intelligence Service documents indicate that Iraq helped plan terrorist operations by the al Qaeda terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad against the Egyptian government - the operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda which the 9/11 Commission did not have the intelligence data to find. There is no real doubt anymore of Saddam's support for al Qaeda.

2) Iraq's Nuclear Program. My third comment above posted at 5:34 PM provided links to the translations of several captured Iraqi documents which reveal that Saddam had detailed plans for nuclear weapons and had an active nuclear weapons program assisted by Russian and German scientists.

If you want to continue your vacation from reality, go argue with the Iraqis themselves.
 

If the mountain won't go visit Muhammad's web site, Muhammad will just have to go to the mountain and spew links around, hoping for some traffic. Sad. What gets you hits is if you sound like you know WTF you're talking about (and that means not mis-citing cases and maintaining extreme positions that even the maladministratin is too embarrassed to hold), or provide something else of value, like humour (something dreadfully scarce in "Bart" DeDicta's writing). If that applies, then people may be interesting reading more of your spew. But methinks pretty much everyone here would actually like to read less of "Bart", not more....

Cheers,
 

Bart,

If you wish to reference me, you might try to spell my name right.

As a Muslim born in the UK and a firm believer in religious tolerance, the secular state and the rule of law, I have been concerned with the phenomenon of salafist terrorism for many years. The threat is real.

Take the UK alone: On 19th January 2008 the UK Home Secretary attended the International Conference on Radicalisation and Political Violence in London. In a wide-ranging speech she set out the government's plans to respond to terror groups trained abroad who spread their messages of hate and rage to vulnerable youths on the internet. These are the highlights:
1. The threat posed by terror Svengalis who work to seduce young people into believing that terrorism is a fully feasible outlet for their teenage anger is not insubstantial, she said.
2. The Security Service estimated that the number of people in the UK believed to be operating terrorists actually increased in 2007 from 1,600 to 2,000.
3. While some of that increase reflects the work done by police and counter-terror agents to identify those who pose a risk to society, some was undoubtedly down to increased recruitment by terror groups.
4. In 2007, 42 people were convicted for terrorist offences relating to 16 known operations. Half of them pleaded guilty.
5. So far this year there are 5 major terrorism trials underway in courts around the UK.

Far from reducing the threat levels US conduct in Iraq is making matters worse – around the globe – every day of the year. Do you think that the news that a US soldier had defiled the Holy Koran took more than a few moments to circulate globally? Do you think the report that a US soldier was proselytising in uniform by handing out coins with a verse from the Christian bible inscribed on it in Arabic did not likewise flash round the world? The mere fact that there are US forces in Iraq is propaganda enough in the hands of the terrorist recruiters.

Do you know what the colloquial word is on the streets of Iraq for US forces is? Let me tell you. It’s “Yahudis” – the Jews. The occupation is conflated with US support for Israel against the Palestinians.

I note that you suggest in another post that I go to Iraq. Firstly I have not been there since the Iran-Iraq war. I have no need to go to be aware of what is going on.

I have many Iraqi friends here in London. For £4 we can dial up and speak via Turkey with people in Iraqi Kurdistan for 3-4 hours.

Kurds in Iraq have a much closer idea of what's going on in the other provinces than you do, and I suspect they know a damn sight more than the US Embassy and "Coalition HQ" do (cut off as they are inside the Green zone).

Essentially, the US presence knows what the Iraqis choose to tell them. That's the fate of all occupiers. Here's a relevant quotation from the Kurdish Globe two days ago from a Kurdish interpreter for US forces:-

Ali said there were always quarrels among Kurd, Shiite, and Sunni interpreters, but they always tried to hide it from the Americans by saying they were just joking with each other.

"Arab interpreters all the time complained to the Americans that Kurdish authorities won't let Arabs enter Kurdistan Region; we told them that if we let all Arabs enter Kurdistan then the situation in Kurdistan Region would become like Baghdad and Mosul," said Ali.

People in Kurdistan Region do not consider those who work for the American Army "traitors," unlike most Iraqi Arabs, who consider anyone who works for the Americans "A'ameel," which is Arabic for collaborator, or, literally, "agent."


Most Iraqis think those who work for US forces are "collaborators" - that doesn't sound to me like success in winning hearts and minds.

For you to speak of “victories in battles against Al-Quaida” shows your ignorance of the whole nature of the fight against terrorism.

Firstly, there was no Al-Quaida in Iraq before the US invaded.

Secondly, it is not the armed bands in either Afghanistan or Iraq that are the problem. They are containable and yes, they can be wiped out.

But in doing that the way the US is doing more terrorists are created – people of a different kind.

It’s the home-made bomb-makers operating in small cells around the world who can sow terror and persuade free societies to over-react and give rise to still more terrorists.

And it’s not the great and good of the Arab world, nor the bourgeoisie in Arab states that have to be won over, it’s the 17-25 year old unemployed youths with no job prospects and no hope who are vulnerable to recruitment. And there is no need for sophisticated technology. A pretty effective bomb can be made from agricultural fertiliser and a bag of nails. The IRA used to call the mixture “Paxo”.

In Europe bombers can’t be taken out by simply bombing the urban centres out of existence as US forces have done in Iraq – making a desert and calling it peace.

Nor can that be achieved with any prospect of success in all the vulnerable states in the Muslim world. While I was in Algeria not so long ago, the authorities had 40,000 personnel deployed in their capital and still 2 bombs went off in the city during the 5 days I was there.

This is a “hearts and minds” struggle and the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has made matters worse not better.

But I do not expect you to understand that. In fact I do not think you have any understanding of terrorism at all. But for that matter, there are very few in the Department of Defense or the Bush Administration who do - and those who do are keeping their heads down while the lunatics are still in charge of the asylum.

If there is régime change in January, you may learn quite a lot.
 

Bart, you are famous for posting links which do not support your case. Here you are true to form again:

Iraq accounts for 80 percent of all deaths counted. But if you set aside the war there, terrorism has in fact gone way down over the past five years.

Well, sure, if you set aside most of the bad news, then the news appears much better. Hey, that's some sophisticated argument there. Not only that, but if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. I kid you not.

Here's another small problem with your "thesis" concerning the "victory" against AQ. Even if we grant that their disgusting use of violence against fellow Muslims has alienated many, many Muslims (and I do not doubt that it has) still, THERE WAS NO AQ IN IRAQ BEFORE WE INVADED.

So if you consider it "progress" that a problem which we created entirely by our unprovoked war of aggression is now not as great as it was, say, 3 yrs ago then I'm not sure you're average American businessman capable of reading a balance sheet would be impressed with your acuity.
 

mattski:

One little nit:

I'm not sure [your] average American businessman capable of reading a balance sheet would be impressed with your acuity.

The average corporate American businessman tends to be overly (if not obsessivley) concerned with the quarterly results, and short-term trends. This is an unfortunate side-effect of the stock market (and the mindset of the players there).

Cheers,
 

mourad:

2) Since the liberation of Iraq, there have been no attacks in the United States and almost none against US interests internationally outside of the Iraq and Afghan war zones. The handful of freelance terrorists in the US have been easily rolled up because they have no training.

2) After some fumbling around, the US military relearned some forgotten counter insurgency doctrine and terrorism is collapsing in Iraq as well. To use a poker term, al Qaeda went "all in" in Iraq and has been largely destroyed as a movement and a military force as a result.

3) The UK has some serious internal problems with Islamic terror which the US does not share. Blaming them on Iraq is a copout. Rather, it appears the UK has to do some fence mending with its muslim community in general and a need to clamp down on the the Islamic fascist movement in particular. Given the lack of recent violence in the UK, it appears that the Brits are getting a handle on the situation.

4) Your continued insistence against all evidence that al Qaeda was not in Iraq before the war is getting silly. I have provided you with the evidence. The 1700 al Qaeda and al Qaeda allies (many of whom fled from Afghanistan to Iraqi sanctuary) that the US Special Forces and Kurd Peshmerga fought and defeated in Iraq were not phantoms.
 

If you want to continue your vacation from reality, go argue with the Iraqis themselves.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:44 PM


Baghdad, why do you think the Pentagon and CIA both refuse to support your delusions about Iraq's WMD and Al Qaeda connections?
 

Since the liberation of Iraq, there have been no attacks in the United States and almost none against US interests internationally outside of the Iraq and Afghan war zones.

So fucking what? For the last 5 years there have been daily attacks against the targets you idiots sent over to Iraq for them. Only a complete lunatic would try to argue that there have been no attacks, except for the daily attacks that I'd prefer to pretend don't count.
 

4) Your continued insistence against all evidence that al Qaeda was not in Iraq before the war is getting silly.

Baghdad, not even the Pentagon is still trying to sell this load of crap.
 

Bart says (@9:44 pm):

"Saddam [] had an active nuclear weapons program assisted by Russian and German scientists."

Based on my review of the links, Bart, it appears that:
(1) there is no indication that the Russians in question were nuclear scientists;
(2) the Germans in question were involved in technology transfers to Iraq strictly before the first gulf war; and (3) indications of an ongoing nuclear weapons program go little beyond notes indicating that a meeting with the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Organization occurred.

Is there more than this to support your claim?
 

off to one side of the thread:

The Pew people have released a survey showing massive disapproval of the US in Islamic countries. No surprise there.

What is interesting is that there is an increasing disapproval in those same countries for the use of suicide bombing as a means of advancing political agendas.

It would seem that the Islamic countries are beginning to tire of both sides in the "War on Terror".
 

leovy:

Is there more than this to support your claim?

No. For "Bart", vague insinuations and faint suspicions are sufficient. Look how such type overblown hysteria got us into Iraq, and that worked out for the best, despite the fact that those spoil-sport cheese-eating U.N. inspectors called the U.S. 'intelligence' "garbage, garbage, and more garbage"....

Cheers,
 

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7: 20.

My dear Bart,

In an earlier post, I suggested that the Neocons developed both genuine reasons to invade Iraq (reasons why they wanted an invasion) and spurious reasons (reasons they knew were not genuine but wanted to use to “sell” the invasion to the unsuspecting public).

I suggested that 2 genuine reasons were Oil and Israel and that 2 spurious reasons were WMD and Terrorism.

Let us now look at the WMD issue. This post deals with the run-up.

A little history
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council adopted a series of resolutions imposing upon Iraq certain post-Gulf War obligations. Chief among these were the removal of all Iraq's weapons of mass destruction ("WMD") capability and the establishment of a monitoring system to ensure that Saddam Hussein did not reconstitute those weapons. The weapons specified were nuclear, chemical, and biological, and the missiles that could carry them.

A special commission ("UNSCOM") was established to supervise the disarmament process and a UN sanctions regime was imposed to compel compliance. UN inspectors were appointed to supervise the destruction of the Iraqi armaments.

Most of UNSCOM's history between 1991 and 1999 can be discovered from its web pages on the UN server. UNSCOM had a degree of success. It destroyed much of Saddam Hussein's WMD capability. However, there can be no doubt that Saddaam Hussein attempted to hide certain programmes and capabilities from the UNSCOM inspectors.

Once that was found out, the Iraqi regime ceased co-operating with UNSCOM and, unfortunately, the USA had given Iraq a pretext to do so on a plate: some of the UNSCOM people were US spies.

In the event, in 1999, UNSCOM was disbanded and replaced by UNMOVIC (see below) and UN Sanctions remained in place. From the end of 1999 onwards, ways and means were sought of persuading the Iraqi regime to readmit the UNMOVIC inspectors. Sanctions remained in place - to the great hardship of the Iraqi people.

In the West, we tend to think of the United Nations as being well-meaning, with high ideals, perhaps not all that efficient, but in general a force for good in the world. This is not how the Neoconservatives see the UN. Nor is it how the Arab World sees the UN because:-

(1) the UN is powerless to do anything about the very considerable Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction - including a considerable stockpile of nuclear weapons and that means that the UN is seen as pro-Israel on WMD issues. See a very informative MSNBC page on Israeli WMD capability - so full of facts one wonders how it got past the censors.
[http://www.msnbc.com/news/wld/graphics/strategic_israel_dw.swf];

(2) the continuing vetoes interposed by the US in favour of Israel means the UN is seen as not caring about the rights of Palestinians and as unwilling to protect them against human rights abuses;
(3) the sanctions regime imposed after the Gulf War was administered by the UN. It caused incredible hardship to the Iraqi people while failing to have any real impact on the Saddam Hussein dictatorship.

The Neocons in the Bush Administration had determined on assuming office that the USA was going to war with Iraq. September 11th 2001 gave the Administration the opportunity to sell the war to the American people.

The Cheney/Rumsfeld Neocon Axis were absolutely opposed to a return to the UN. UK PM Blair explained the difficulties he would have with the UK Parliament, if he were asked to come in on the invasion without the benefit of a UN Resolution.

Blair argued that the UN could be used to “wrong foot” Saddam Hussein and obtain a UN Chapter 7 resolution which would make the invasion lawful in international law. Cheney/Rumsfeld agreed that they needed a 6 month window to get the invasion forces positioned. That could be used to play UN games.

Blair came back to the UK and spun his discussions as Blair educating Bush on international diplomacy. What he did not say was that he had promised the Bush Administration that the UK would support the US decision to invade, whether or not the invasion received UN approval.

In effect, the whole exercise before the UN Security Council was a deception practised on the other members of the UN Security Council. Nobody would have been more disappointed than the Blair government if Saddam Hussein had actually complied to the letter with all the demands of the UN Security Council and if the UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors had been allowed to give the Saddam Hussein regime in Baghdad the clean bill of WMD health which the UK-US Iraq Survey Group was eventually forced to do after the invasion.

What evidence of Iraq's WMD capability was in the public domain prior to the invasion? There were some sources: the UN documents relating to Iraq provided basic information and they are collected on the Global Security web site (http://www.globalscurity.org).

The evidence the United States of America and the United Kingdom claimed to have about the progress of Saddam Hussein's rearmament efforts was not forthcoming at all until 24th September 2002 when the UK Government published a dossier on the subject. In the post-invasion questioning of the British Government's case for war, the document is known as "the September dossier" to distinguish it from what because notorious later as "the Dodgy Dossier" which turned out to be a piece of gross internet plagiarism by the Downing Street spin doctors.

The general international reaction to the UK Government's publication of its dossier was that it contained little hard information that was new. It was at best a justification for seeking the return of UN inspectors, but it was not received internationally as justifying immediate pre-emptive military action.

UN General Assembly - September 2002 – Iraq on Agenda

Secretary-General Kofi Annan:-
”I stand before you today as a multilateralist – by precedent, by principle, by Charter and by duty. I also believe that every government that is committed to the rule of law at home, must be committed also to the rule of law abroad.
All States have a clear interest, as well as a clear responsibility, to uphold international law and maintain international order. On almost no item on our agenda does anyone seriously contend that each nation, or any nation, can fend for itself. Even the most powerful countries know that they need to work with others, in multilateral institutions, to achieve their aims.
Any State, if attacked, retains the inherent right of self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter. But beyond that, when States decide to use force to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, there is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations.
Member States attach fundamental importance to such legitimacy and to the international rule of law. They have shown – notably in the action to liberate Kuwait, twelve years ago – that they are willing to take actions under the authority of the Security Council, which they would not be willing to take without it.”


President Bush's speech was as much a challenge to the UN as to Iraq:-
”We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.
The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?”


At the time of its delivery, the Bush speech sounded like an honest challenge.

But we can now consider it with the benefit of hindsight and of the contemporary cabinet-level documents disclosed in the British press in 2004 showing conclusively that the Anglo-American approach to the UN Security Council on Iraq was being made, not with the intent that the UN should enforce its will and disarm Saddam Hussein, but with the intent that the UN Security Council should "wrongfoot" Saddam Hussein and provide the USA and UK with a pretext for an invasion and "regime change".

The UN Security Council Acts
Obtaining the support, or at least the abstention of the Security Council permanent members is a prerequisite to any effective UN Resolution. The original draft of what became resolution 1441 proposed to the permanent members of the Security Council by the US/UK appeared to most UN observers to have been couched in such terms as to invite rejection because it called upon the Security Council effectively to delegate to the United States the decisions when and how to use force against Iraq.

If it had been passed as drafted, it would have given the Bush Administration a blank cheque to invade Iraq as and when it saw fit, i.e., the Bush Administration was asking the Security Council to abdicate its responsibilities in the same way as the US Congress did.

Therefore, France proposed that the UN should first resolve the return of the UN Inspectors to Iraq with enhanced powers.

The French insisted that if, and only if, the Inspectors then reported that they were obstructed in their work, matter should return to the United Nations for a further resolution on the use of such measures of coercion as the Security Council might at that time determine.

On 11th October 2002, President Putin indicated that this was also the preferred option of the Russian Federation.

On 16-17th October 2002, the UN Security Council held an open meeting at which all member states were free to express their views for the information of the Council. The representatives of 40 Member states spoke including the representatives of all 15 Security Council Members. Most countries which spoke in the debated insisted that Iraq should give up all weapons of mass destruction, but also warned of the "grave consequences" of military action outside a UN framework. That was "diplospeak code" warning Washington that there would be opposition to military action unless a new UN resolution could be agreed.

On 25th October 2002, in a surprise move, the US formally proposed its draft to Security Council, even though it had not been agreed by all the other permanent members. The effect of proposing the draft Resolution was that the non-permanent members of the Security Council also became involved.

Over the weekend, the White House piled on the pressure only to rebuffed, inter alia, at the Asia Pacific summit in Mexico by President Vincente Fox of Mexico, who expressed his disagreement publicly with Bush glowering at him. [NB: - Relations between the two presidents were at the time not good - Bush had turned down a request for clemency for a Mexican due to be executed in Texas - Fox had cancelled a visit to Bush's Crawford ranch].

On 28th October 2002, after weeks of "no comment", the French Foreign Ministry summoned journalists to a press conference at which the Foreign Minister stated that France stood firm on its insistence that the Security Council resolution should have no "automaticity" - that is to say it should contain no automatic authority for the use of force.

On 31st October 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the US would give weapons inspectors time to do their job. This statement was interpreted as presaging a climb-down by the US in the Security Council with the US accepting that it did not have the Security Council votes for the sort of resolution it originally sought.

On 6th November 2002, the US presented a revised draft resolution to the Security Council. The revised draft represented a considerable US/UK movement towards the French/Russian position.

On 8th November 2002, the UN Security Council adopted the revised draft of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. Unanimously.

Security Council members emphasised after the meeting that it did not authorise the use of force, i.e., there was no "automaticity".

Naturally enough, the US and UK did not emphasise the point that the resolution was much changed from the original draft.

Interestingly, Syria, said that the resolution, and the chance it gave to the Saddam Hussein regime "represented the best chance for Iraq to preserve its territorial integrity". This was widely read as a suggestion that it was a last chance to avoid invasion. It might also have been a reference to concern about the possible break-up of the Iraqi state.
(to be continued)

BTW – I read your post in which you wrote:-
“The UK has some serious internal problems with Islamic terror which the US does not share. Blaming them on Iraq is a copout. Rather, it appears the UK has to do some fence mending with its Muslim community in general and a need to clamp down on the the Islamic fascist movement in particular. Given the lack of recent violence in the UK, it appears that the Brits are getting a handle on the situation.”

I have already posted on the terrorism threat in the UK. We do have problems. I do not blame them on Iraq, but I do blame them in part on US/UK actions in Iraq and elsewhere, including Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay, Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, Baha Moussa etc; in part on the longstanding abuse of human rights in occupied Palestine; in part on the long-standing US support for corrupt regimes in the Middle East, and in part on long-term fallout of the Reagan decision to support the fundamentalist ’jihad’ in Afghanistan and in part on other social problems.

Terrorism is not “Islamic”, please. Islam is about peace. Do not insult my faith and that of the millions of Muslims world wide by associating the words “terrorism” and “fascism” with Islam. Otherwise you are wittingly or unwittingly a contributor to the problem.

Anyway, you are a fine one to talk. Neoconservatism is fascism wrapped in the Stars and Stripes.
 

Mourad, it is quite likely that Baghdad Bart has been battered enough on this threat to have caused him to run away.

Cut and run is one of his favorite tactics.
 

mourad said...

Let us now look at the WMD issue. This post deals with the run-up.

A little history

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council adopted a series of resolutions imposing upon Iraq certain post-Gulf War obligations. Chief among these were the removal of all Iraq's weapons of mass destruction ("WMD") capability and the establishment of a monitoring system to ensure that Saddam Hussein did not reconstitute those weapons. The weapons specified were nuclear, chemical, and biological, and the missiles that could carry them.


Actually, the Coalition set these conditions for the Ceasefire with Iraq after the Persian Gulf War. The UN simply adopted them. This is important because there was never a peace treaty with Iraq. We remained in a state of war with Iraq suspended under a Ceasefire. When Iraq violated the Ceasefire, the Coalition legally returned to a state of war.

UNSCOM had a degree of success. It destroyed much of Saddam Hussein's WMD capability. However, there can be no doubt that Saddaam Hussein attempted to hide certain programmes and capabilities from the UNSCOM inspectors.

Agreed.

Once that was found out, the Iraqi regime ceased co-operating with UNSCOM and, unfortunately, the USA had given Iraq a pretext to do so on a plate: some of the UNSCOM people were US spies.

Iraq had no rights under the Ceasefire to refuse inspections. The US could have filled the inspection teams full of CIA. Iraq's only alternative under the Ceasefire was to return to war.

Indeed, it appears from the disclosed Iraqi documents to which I linked, the Iraqis had penetrated the UN and knew ahead of time when and where the inspections would take place.

In the event, in 1999, UNSCOM was disbanded and replaced by UNMOVIC (see below) and UN Sanctions remained in place. From the end of 1999 onwards, ways and means were sought of persuading the Iraqi regime to readmit the UNMOVIC inspectors.

There was no duty for the Coalition to convince Iraq to comply with their duties under the Ceasefire. Failure to comply was an act of war by Iraq.

Sanctions remained in place - to the great hardship of the Iraqi people.

Agreed. This is why I believe containment was an untenable and immoral alternative to either Iraq's compliance with the Ceasefire or finishing the war begun in 1991.

In the West, we tend to think of the United Nations as being well-meaning, with high ideals, perhaps not all that efficient, but in general a force for good in the world. This is not how the Neoconservatives see the UN.

Agreed again. The UN is a corrupt bureaucracy which cannot do anything much of use without the initiative, money and militaries of the great powers.

The Neocons in the Bush Administration had determined on assuming office that the USA was going to war with Iraq. September 11th 2001 gave the Administration the opportunity to sell the war to the American people.

Really? Evidence please.

The Cheney/Rumsfeld Neocon Axis were absolutely opposed to a return to the UN.

Rummy was never a neocon. However, The neocons and Rummy both knew from experience that the UN would not enforce its own resolutions and would instead be tied up by Saddam's allies France, Germany and Russia. They were proven correct.

UK PM Blair explained the difficulties he would have with the UK Parliament, if he were asked to come in on the invasion without the benefit of a UN Resolution. Blair argued that the UN could be used to “wrong foot” Saddam Hussein and obtain a UN Chapter 7 resolution which would make the invasion lawful in international law. Cheney/Rumsfeld agreed that they needed a 6 month window to get the invasion forces positioned. That could be used to play UN games.

Powell told Bush the same thing, which is why the US played the fruitless UN game.

In effect, the whole exercise before the UN Security Council was a deception practised on the other members of the UN Security Council.

The deceptions were the false assurances given by the French, Germans and Russians that they were amenable to voting for a UN resolution to enforce their own prior resolutions. Powell was played for a fool.

Nobody would have been more disappointed than the Blair government if Saddam Hussein had actually complied to the letter with all the demands of the UN Security Council and if the UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors had been allowed to give the Saddam Hussein regime in Baghdad the clean bill of WMD health which the UK-US Iraq Survey Group was eventually forced to do after the invasion.

This is one of the more interesting nonevents in the lead up to the war.

Saddam could have short circuited the return to war by simply allowing full and unfettered inspections and by sending an Iraqi division over to clean out the al Qaeda / al Insar camp with the press invited along to see his participation in the "War on Terror."

However, after all of our dithering over the prior decade, Saddam simply did not take our renewed threats seriously. Mr. Clinton had threatened regime change in 1998 and did nothing. Mr. Bush came to office on a campaign of humility in foreign policy.

This is a frequent problem for opponents of the United States. Generally, the US does not go to war at the drop of a hat. The US did nothing of substance in the face of almost a decade of terrorist attacks and Saddam's Ceasefire violations prior to 9/11. Our enemies become complacent during these periods of inactivity and stop taking the US seriously.

However, when we are attacked in force and the United States gets angry, it is a very bad time to keep pulling on Uncle Sam's beard. Given our reluctance to take action in the past, opponents often do not know to take that anger seriously and keep on pulling that beard. The results of such misjudgment are usually utterly devastating for opponents because the world has rarely seen total war as practiced by the United States. (See the Indian tribes, the Confederacy, Germany, Japan, the Baathists and the Taliban)

But we can now consider it with the benefit of hindsight and of the contemporary cabinet-level documents disclosed in the British press in 2004 showing conclusively that the Anglo-American approach to the UN Security Council on Iraq was being made, not with the intent that the UN should enforce its will and disarm Saddam Hussein, but with the intent that the UN Security Council should "wrongfoot" Saddam Hussein and provide the USA and UK with a pretext for an invasion and "regime change".

How does one "wrongfoot" Saddam here? All Saddam had to do is comply with the terms of the Ceasefire and the causus belli disappears. The burden is completely on Hussein. Neither the UN nor the Coalition had any duty to give Hussein any benefit of the doubt. Thus, there was no pretext.

The UN Security Council Acts

Interesting choice of words for the title of a section describing UN inaction.

Obtaining the support, or at least the abstention of the Security Council permanent members is a prerequisite to any effective UN Resolution. The original draft of what became resolution 1441 proposed to the permanent members of the Security Council by the US/UK appeared to most UN observers to have been couched in such terms as to invite rejection because it called upon the Security Council effectively to delegate to the United States the decisions when and how to use force against Iraq.

No, the resolution was rejected because it called for the use of force to actually enforce prior UN resolutions. Saddam's allies France, Russia and Germany opposed the use of force no matter who was running the show.

Therefore, France proposed that the UN should first resolve the return of the UN Inspectors to Iraq with enhanced powers.

The French insisted that if, and only if, the Inspectors then reported that they were obstructed in their work, matter should return to the United Nations for a further resolution on the use of such measures of coercion as the Security Council might at that time determine.

On 11th October 2002, President Putin indicated that this was also the preferred option of the Russian Federation.


These are called delaying tactics. Saddam had been given dozens of prior chances to comply. The time for second chances came and went several years before.

The only question before the UN was whether it was going to enforce its own resolutions with force.

On 28th October 2002, after weeks of "no comment", the French Foreign Ministry summoned journalists to a press conference at which the Foreign Minister stated that France stood firm on its insistence that the Security Council resolution should have no "automaticity" - that is to say it should contain no automatic authority for the use of force.

Translation: The UN answered the question of whether it intended to enforce its own resolutions with a no.

BTW – I read your post in which you wrote:-
“The UK has some serious internal problems with Islamic terror which the US does not share. Blaming them on Iraq is a copout. Rather, it appears the UK has to do some fence mending with its Muslim community in general and a need to clamp down on the the Islamic fascist movement in particular. Given the lack of recent violence in the UK, it appears that the Brits are getting a handle on the situation.”

I have already posted on the terrorism threat in the UK. We do have problems. I do not blame them on Iraq, but I do blame them in part on US/UK actions in Iraq and elsewhere, including Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay, Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, Baha Moussa etc; in part on the longstanding abuse of human rights in occupied Palestine; in part on the long-standing US support for corrupt regimes in the Middle East, and in part on long-term fallout of the Reagan decision to support the fundamentalist ’jihad’ in Afghanistan and in part on other social problems.


Funny. I place all the blame on the terrorists themselves.

Terrorism is not “Islamic”, please. Islam is about peace. Do not insult my faith and that of the millions of Muslims world wide by associating the words “terrorism” and “fascism” with Islam. Otherwise you are wittingly or unwittingly a contributor to the problem.

I do not mean any insult to Islam. I have read much of the English annotated edition of the Quran I purchased in Saudi Arabia after the Persian Gulf War when I was serving in the US Army. I agree that Christians and Muslims are both peoples of the book who practice remarkably similar faiths of peace.

However, evil men have distorted our faiths during history for their own purposes. It is difficult to speak of the Crusades or the Inquisition without referring to them as Christian movements. Likewise, I would suggest that al Qaeda's fascism cannot be spoken of without referring to it as an Islamic movement. al Qaeda is not Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or secular. Rather, it preaches a virulent and evil bastardization of Islam.

Anyway, you are a fine one to talk. Neoconservatism is fascism wrapped in the Stars and Stripes.

If I only had a dollar for every time some leftist who is ignorant of real fascism calls a conservative a "Nazi" or a "Fascist," I could retire in luxury. This epithet when tossed between members of a liberal democracy is a crutch for the unthinking.
 

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7: 20.

My dear Bart,

In an earlier post, I suggested that the Neocons developed both genuine reasons to invade Iraq and spurious reasons which they knew were not genuine but wanted to use to “sell” the invasion to the unsuspecting public). I also suggested that 2 genuine reasons were Oil and Israel and that 2 spurious reasons were WMD and Terrorism.

Having dealt with one genuine reason (Oil), in my last post I started to look at a more complex spurious reason, the false allegation that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

I have set out the events preceding UN Security Council Resolution 1441 as part of the read-in to the WMD issue. Here is the continuation of my account.

Iraq’s Disclosure

UN Security Council 1441 set out a series of steps for Iraq to take:-
By 15th November 2001, Iraq was to notify the UN that it accepted the Resolution – Iraq complied.
By 18th November 2001, Iraqi was to re-admit the UNMOVIC/IAEA inspectors – Iraq complied.
By 8th December 2001, Iraq was to declare its weapons stocks to the UN – Iraq complied.

Iraq delivered a very substantial Declaration in compliance with its disclosure obligation under Resolution 1441.

The Bush Administration immediately declared to the Security Council that omissions in the 12,000-page inventory submitted by Baghdad constituted a "material breach" of Iraq's obligations to the UN under Resolution 1441.

But Iraq's Declaration was seen in full only by the USA. In a very strange episode, many pages were removed by the USA from the version given to the UN Security Council. There has never been a satisfactory explanation as to why the declaration was given by the UN to the USA at all, nor of what the removed pages contained. The expurgated report was delivered to the elected members of the Security Council in time for a meeting on 19th December 2002.

Why the expurgation? Diplomatic speculation at the time was that the Bush Administration was anxious to take out from the document the identities of US suppliers of military materials to Iraq – not least because some were government entities (eg for US supplies of chemical/biological agents).

Speculation only increased after a German newspaper, Die Tagszeitung, published a list of the non German companies named in the Iraqi declaration. It is also not clear why the names of the 80 or so German companies involved were not published. The companies stated by the paper to be named in the Iraq Declaration included:-

From the USA: Honeywell, Spectra Physics, Semetex, TI Coating, Unisys, Sperry Corp., Tektronix, Rockwell, Leybold Vacuum Systems, Finnigan-MAT-US, Hewlett-Packard, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, American Type Culture Collection, Alcolac International, Consarc, Carl Zeiss - U.S Cerberus (Ltd), Electronic Associates, International Computer Systems, Bechtel, Logic Data Systems, Inc., Canberra Industries Inc., Axel Electronics Inc., US Gov AEC Labs at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia

From the UK: Euromac Ltd-Uk, C. Plath-Nuclear, Endshire Export Marketing, International Computer Systems, MEED International, Walter Somers Ltd., International Computer Limited, Matrix Churchill Corp., Ali Ashour Daghir, International Military Services (the trading arm of the UK Ministry of Defence) Sheffield Forgemasters, Technology Development Group International, Signal and Control, Terex Corporation, Inwako, TMG Engineering, XYY Options, Inc

There were similar lists for Russia, France, other European countries, Japan and the Peoples’ Republic of China. The various suppliers had capabilities in the nuclear, missile, biological, chemical and conventional arms fields.

None of the information was very new and a very great deal appeared to relate to supply of technology pre 1991 that is to say at a time when it was both US and UK policy to arm Saddam Hussein and to assist him to make war on Iran, provided only that he was paying cash for the purchases (which largely came from the Gulf Sheikdoms and Saudi Arabia – all of whom did not want Iran to win, given the Shia majority in Iraq).

Much of the material supplied was undoubtedly "dual use" - ie with both civilian and military applications, like the US supplied “crop spraying” helicopters used to gas the Kurds and the Iranians, or some of the biological agents used for the same purposes.

However, the indications of the degree of US participation in the supply of Biological and Chemical Weapons agents is of undoubted interest in the light of a Rumsfeld statement on the subject to Senator Byrd that he had "no knowledge" of this supply. There is quite a body of evidence that the US Defense Department was very interested in evaluating the impact of nerve agents and other chemical warfare munitions by watching Saddam use them on the Iranians.

Many of the British names were familiar and their participation in the arming of Iraq was very publicly explored in the judicial enquiry charged by Lord Justice Scott ("the Arms to Iraq Enquiry").

The principal perceived deficiency in the declaration was a failure to account adequately for materials known to have been supplied before the Gulf War - UNMOVIC and the IAEA work on a balance sheet principle – once materials are in the inventory, their use or disposal must be proved.

In the chaotic conditions immediately after the 1st Gulf War, it is hardly surprising that some of the book-keeping was unsatisfactory. Dr Blix and his colleagues considered that these deficiencies could be resolved by a return of the inspectors.

Inspection
The deadline for allowing UNMOVIC/IAEA inspectors to resume inspections was 22nd December 2002 and Iraq complied.

The UNMOVIC/IAEA teams of Inspectors returned to Iraq with commendable speed and resumed their work where UNSCOM had left off 4 years previously.

Throughout the brief period of their return to Iraq, there was quite ruthless briefing against Dr Blix and his team from members of the Rumsfeld team in the Pentagon, notably from Neocon Richard Perle.

From 27th January 2003, the unattributable briefing machines in both London and Washington moved into high gear, seeking to convert a sceptical public towards the need for war. In particular, there were briefings to the effect that there was evidence that the UN Inspectors "had been deceived" . If that were the case, why were the Inspectors not given evidence?

On 20th December 2002 there was a quite significant report in the London Independent newspaper to the effect that UK security officials were unhappy with what was happening in Washington:-

”The United States has failed to provide Britain with full details of its "solid evidence" proving that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction, security sources say. There is also concern in London that the Americans are again trying to link Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida network, a link British and European intelligence agencies do not believe exists.

The main problem is, of course, known to us all. After all, it was Paul Wolfowitz, who said:

'Iraq isn't a country where we've had human intelligence for years'."

The UN Inspectors made an interim report to the Security Council on 9th January 2002. In questioning after the report, the Inspectors said that, despite requests , they were not receiving from the USA/UK information the two governments claimed to have. This explains the French Diplomatic Note after the meeting addressed to all Security Council Members reminding them that they too had their obligations of disclosure of such information pursuant to Resolution 1441.

On 31st December 2002, a report appeared in the LA Times:

“In their search for hidden Iraqi arms, U.N. inspectors have so far faced little conflict, have found little evidence and have received little outside intelligence to guide them, said one inspector. The teams have discovered two technical matters that could be considered violations of U.N. resolutions but have yet to find a smoking gun, a trace of radiation or a single germ spore.

"If our goal is to catch them with their pants down, we are definitely losing," the inspector said on condition he wouldn't be named. "We haven't found an iota of concealed material yet."

"Even private facilities which are not part of their state-run military industrial complex open up for us — like magic," he said. "But even if they open all the doors in Iraq for us and keep them open 24 hours a day, we won't be able to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it is not there. We need help. We need information. We need intelligence reports if they exist."

The inspector said he and his colleagues feel acute pressure from Washington to find something soon. But if the U.S. has provided its long-promised intelligence, they haven't seen it yet. "We can't look for something which we don't know about. If the United States wants us to find something, they should open their intelligence file and share it with us so that we know where to go for it," he said.

A senior Bush administration official said Monday that the U.S. has passed along "high-quality" information regarding suspected chemical or biological sites but that the inspectors haven't acted on it yet.

"By being silent, we may create the false illusion that we did uncover something," the inspector said. "But I must say that if we were to publish a report now, we would have zilch to put in it."

The chemical experts haven't found a trace of the tons of chemical agents that Iraq is suspected of having, he said. The biologists are taking air samples to find spores, but the biological agents don't have a long shelf life and probably have long been buried or disposed of. The nuclear inspectors found that the massive installations used to enrich uranium were practically undisturbed since they were decommissioned and sealed by the previous inspection team. They are convinced that the old facilities are not being used. But the inspectors are still searching for secret stores of enriched uranium, small caches of which could be hidden almost anywhere in the country.


That report is a pretty accurate summary of the then position: the inspectors were getting full co-operation in Iraq but not from Washington or London. They were finding nothing to suggest the US/UK allegations were true.

The UN Inspectors felt they were being set up. This from The Observer on 5th January 2003:-

UN weapons inspectors in Iraq fear their work - which has failed to turn up any evidence thus far of weapons of mass destruction - will still be used as an excuse to trigger a US-led invasion of Iraq.

Leaks from the inspections teams - and the two agencies in charge of them, Unmovic and the International Atomic Energy Agency - have fuelled an increasingly frenetic diplomatic effort among opponents of the war. The weapons inspection teams in Iraq have visited breweries and former nuclear plants, and raided missile factories and pharmaceutical production lines. They have examined former weapons factories and interviewed scientists and university technicians. As of yesterday they had checked 230 sites in all. If one is to believe the few inspectors who have been prepared to be interviewed anonymously, they have found absolutely nothing.

Nuclear weapons sites that the British and the Americans claimed as late as last September had been reactivated have been revealed as rusting, disabled shambles.

It may be that Iraq has squirreled away its most portable weapons and components. But as one inspector complained to the LA Times last week, they had found 'zilch'. He is not alone in his assessment. Another inspector in Baghdad complained to Newsday : 'If our goal is to catch them with their pants down, we are definitely losing. We haven't found an iota of concealed material yet.' Other reports have suggested that there have been just two violations uncovered in Iraq - neither of them involving weapons of mass destruction.

Neither the vast nuclear and chemical laboratories alleged by the Iraqi opposition and hawks in the US administration, nor the mobile biological laboratories said to be travelling the wastelands of Iraq, have been traced.

Some of the inspectors are understood to be convinced that their mission has become a 'set-up job' and America will attack Iraq regardless of what they find.



UN Security Council balks at invasion timetable
The Bush/Blair spin doctors had pencilled in a timetable for the run-up to the invasion:-

-27 Jan 2003 - Inspectors Report
-28 Jan 2003 - State of the Union Message
-29 Jan 2003 - Security Council Meeting to authorise the use of force
-31 Jan 2003 - Blair to Washington for Invasion Planning Conference
-Date To be announced - UN authority for invasion
-Date to Be Announced - Addresses to the American and British people.

But, back in New York, other permanent members of the Security Council were getting more than a little annoyed by the refusal of the United States government to cooperate with the Inspectors as it should have done under the terms of Article 10 of UN Resolution 1441 and this came to a head on 20th January 2003.

The Bush Administration at this time was saying publicly that it had proof that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction in violation of U.N. resolutions. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said administration officials would not have spoken so plainly and bluntly about Iraq if they did not have a solid basis for saying what they said.

Dr Blix called for Article 10 disclosure by the Bush Administration as did other world leaders. Yet despite the Presidential spokesman's claims, the UN Inspectors did not receive any sufficient evidence from the US Government. Other Security Council members found this behaviour of the Bush Administration to be quite extraordinary.

On 20th January 2003, France which was then occupying the rotating presidency of the Security Council called a Security Council meeting at foreign minister level ostensibly to discuss terrorism issues. The meeting went on to discuss inspections in Iraq.

After the meeting, the Security Council Members used the opportunity to set out for the press their positions on the progress of the inspection regime. The vast majority of Council Members - including the French, Russians and Chinese, who all had veto power - wanted to hear the inspectors' assessments and give them time to do their jobs. Their aim was to ensure there was no credible threat to international peace and security from weapons of mass destruction.

What they did not wish to further was the true US objective of regime change and a grab for control of Iraqi oil.

Some Security Council members privately objected to being pressured by the USA to meet a timetable for invasion which was more based on being able to send in the troops before the hot weather came than on the possible conclusions of the Inspectors - which had not by then been delivered. Several Members made it clear that they were happy to see the inspection and destruction process go on for months if need be.

Caught on the wrong foot, a shaken Colin Powell told reporters after the meeting that when the Inspectors had presented their Report, the Security Council would be faced with difficult choices. "Hopefully there will be a peaceful solution, but if Iraq does not come into full compliance, we must not shrink from the responsibilities that we set before ourselves when we adopted 1441 on a unanimous basis," Powell said.

"Poodle" Blair's Foreign Secretary also chimed in to the same tune. "There has to come a moment when our patience must run out, and we are now near that point with Iraq," yapped Straw.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan took an opposing position saying the inspections were proceeding apace and that the United Nations should give the teams more time to complete their work.

France suggested it would wage a major diplomatic fight, including possible use of its veto power, to prevent the Security Council from passing a premature resolution authorising military action against Iraq.

"If war is the only way to resolve this problem, we are going down a dead end," Foreign Minister de Villepin told reporters. "Already we know for a fact that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs are being largely blocked, even frozen. We must do everything possible to strengthen this process."

The United Nations, he said “…should stay on the path of cooperation. The other choice is to move forward out of impatience over a situation in Iraq to move towards military intervention. We believe that today nothing justifies envisaging military action."

De Villepin was asked whether France would use its veto power to which he responded that “France will shoulder its responsibilities, faithful to the principles it has. We would never associate ourselves with military intervention that is not supported by the international community"

De Villepin added: "We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution."

The French and Chinese positions were supported by Russia and Germany as well. Russia presciently pointed out that an unnecessary war in Iraq would be a distraction from the fight against terrorism.

The German position was later rubbished by a clearly rattled Colin Powell who said the United Nations should not be scared into "impotence" in the face of Baghdad's defiance.

It came out very clearly from the press briefings that what the overwhelming majority of the Security Council wanted was an effective inspection and destruction process - taking as much time as might be necessary - with a view to thereafter ending the sanctions regime which had reduced the Iraqi people to destitution.

This, of course, was the time when certain ignorant Us persons spoke of “cheese eating surrender monkeys” and “freedom fries”.

To a great extent this meeting appeared to have been used by the Security Council members as a calculated reminder to the Bush Administration that they would remain true to its duties under the Charter in spite of the hectoring and bullying tactics the Administration and its surrogates were employed against them as much as against the Iraqi regime.

This 20th January 2003 meeting really marked the end of any prospect that a common position could be reached in the Security Council.

The Neocons Strike Back
Heads of State and Government do not take kindly to being lectured on behalf of a President whose competence in foreign affairs is, to put it as charitably as possible, questionable.

Particularly when the criticisms are voiced by someone of the likes of Richard Perle, a person of no military experience, who at this time had the temerity to accuse French President Chirac, a decorated war veteran, of a "lack of moral fibre".

In the wake of the Franco-UK Summit in Le Touquet, where Chirac did no more than restate the correct position in international law on the role of the UN Security Council, the yobbish Neocon Chairman of the US Defense Policy Advisory Board dropped another clanger in the Times of 5th February 2003:-

France is no longer an ally of the United States and the NATO alliance "must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance" the head of the Pentagon's top advisory board said in Washington yesterday.

Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now chairman of the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board, condemned French and German policy on Iraq in the strongest terms at a public seminar organized by Iraqi exiles and American Middle East and security officials.

While dismissing Germany's refusal to support military action against Iraq as an aberration by "a discredited chancellor," Mr. Perle warned that France's attitude was more dangerous and more serious.

"France is no longer the ally it once was," Mr. Perle said. He went on to accuse French President Jacques Chirac of believing "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor."

France has insisted it will oppose any military action against Iraq without a second resolution by the U.N. Security Council, where it holds veto power. "It is now reasonable to ask whether the United States should now or on any other occasion subordinate vital national interests to a show of hands by nations who do not share our interests," Mr. Perle said. "I have long thought that there were forces in France intent on reducing the American role in the world. That is more troubling than the stance of a German chancellor, who has been largely rejected by his own people," Mr. Perle said.


This statement was largely ignored by the US media, but it was spotted overseas and made headlines. No sooner had it hit the newspapers than the US White House Spokesman denied that this particular "Perle of Bush Administration Wisdom" represented the foreign policy of the United States. Too late.

In a strange way, we should all thank God for Richard Perle.

During this time he so often stated the downright unacceptable and showed the Bush Administration in its true light. What he actually achieved may well have been to stiffen the resolve of the Members of the Security Council to resist the mad rush to war which the US/UK governments were then advocating.

This has preserved for the Security Council a degree of credibility which may now be sorely needed if there is to be any chance of remedying the “Mess in Mesapotamia” which the US and UK Governments so hubristically created in Iraq.

(to be continued)

BTW, in a post responding to the initial time-line, you wrote (among other assertion and comments):-

“The deceptions were the false assurances given by the French, Germans and Russians that they were amenable to voting for a UN resolution to enforce their own prior resolutions. Powell was played for a fool.”

Incorrect. The deception of the Security Council by the USA and UK was the assertion that the USA and UK had credible evidence that Iraq still had a real WMD capability. They in fact had none which is why they did not provide any to the UN Inspectors.

The French, Germans, Russians and Chinese called the US/UK bluff and, in effect, said “put up your evidence or shut up and let the inspections continue.”

As we shall see when we get the the joint US/UK Iraq Survey Group and post-invasion enquiries eventually demonstrated that the US/UK WMD assertions were unsupported by credible evidence and were the result of reliance on faulty intelligence.
 

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7: 20.

My dear Neoconservative Bart,

In an earlier post, I suggested that the Neocons developed both genuine reasons to invade Iraq and spurious reasons which they knew were not genuine but wanted to use to “sell” the invasion to the unsuspecting public). I also suggested that 2 genuine reasons were Oil and Israel and that 2 spurious reasons were WMD and Terrorism.

Having dealt with one genuine reason (Oil), I then started to look at a more complex spurious reason, the false allegation that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The Story so Far
Two previous posts have taken the chronology up to the key UN Security Council meetings. The chronology so far is that Iraq has complied with all the demands of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. The Inspectors have returned to Iraq and found nothing of significance. Iraq has co-operated fully with the Inspectors.

The Bush Administration, seconded by “Poodle” Blair, asserts that the Iraqi Declaration is incomplete and claim to have “hard evidence” that Saddam is hiding WMD. But,in breach of their own obligations under UNSC 1441, the USA/UK have not disclosed that information to the Inspectors who fear they are being set-up.

The other permanent Security Council Members: China, Russia and France, supported by Germany and others have made it plain that without evidence of non-compliance, there will be no resolution in favour of the invasion. The inspection process should continue.

There is furious briefing against both the UN inspectors and the other Security Council member states, particularly France and Germany.

Now read on:-

An Officer and a Gentleman
The classic definition of "a diplomat" comes from an aphorism of Sir Henry Wotton, the Ambassador of King James I: "a diplomat is a gentleman who is sent to lie abroad for the good of his country"..

Colin Powell, then the US Secretary of State, is most certainly an officer and a gentleman - indeed he may well have been the only gentleman in the Bush Administration foreign policy team. He could so easily have been the first black President of the United States. It is well-known that he refused to run out of deference to the wishes of his wife, who probably had good reason not to wish to see her husband go the way of JFK, RFK and Dr Martin Luther King. General Powell regularly received a public approval rating a good 10 points ahead of President Bush and to the world outside the USA he was the acceptable face of an unacceptable US Administration.

For that reason during his time as Secretary of State he regularly drew the short straw and was sent off to push the Bush Administration line to people who do not wish to hear it, memorably at the world climate change summit. Good soldier that he is, Secretary Powell was utterly faithful to his Commander-in-Chief and he presented the Administration's case on that occasion to the best of his ability, no matter what he may privately have thought of his brief.

General Powell’s presentation to the UN Security Council on 5th February 2003 of the US case for war against Saddam Hussein was yet another such occasion.

Charlotte Beers is an advertising executive who was drafted in as US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She is the only executive in the advertising industry to have served as Chairman of two of the top 10 worldwide advertising agencies: J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. Prior to her appointment to the State Department spin machine, Ms. Beers was Chairman of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, having returned to the very agency in which she started her advertising career. She was Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather from 1992-97.

With talent like hers at his disposal it was to be expected that Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council would be slick in the Madison Avenue sense of that word. Slick it most certainly was. However, selling the case for war to the UN Security Council and the world is not the same as selling Uncle Ben's Rice to the US housewife (or even to a French one) and slickness of presentation is no substitute for substance.

In the terminology of the skating world, the US presentation got high marks for artistic impressions but few for technical merit. Here is a summary of the key allegations:

On Inspections and Intercepts: "The burden is on Iraq to comply and disarm. Inspectors are inspectors, not detectives. Intercepts show and Iraqi behaviour indicates that Iraq is making no effort to disarm. Saddam Hussein and his regime are doing everything they can to make sure the inspectors find absolutely nothing.”.

On the United Nations: ”Iraq is in an "active and systematic" effort to defy the UN. This body places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately. I believe that Iraq is now in further material breach of its obligations. I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable. Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences. Leaving Saddam Hussein unopposed is "not an option" in a post-11 September world. Iraq still remains in material breach of UN resolutions and by not seizing its last chance to comply it has put itself in deeper material breach. We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibilities. Clearly, Saddam will stop at nothing until something stops him"

On Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Weapons: ” The Iraqis have failed to account for any of the biological and chemical warfare materials they were known to possess as a result of earlier inspections which ended in 1995. Iraq has the ability to produce the smallpox virus for use in biological weapons. The Iraqi authorities had conducted experiments on people, with one source reporting that 1,600 convicted prisoners had been transferred to special units where such experiments were carried out. Autopsies were later conducted to check the results. The United States estimates that Iraq has 100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons agents. There is more than a decade of proof that "Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb". Iraq already possesses two of the three components needed to produce a nuclear bomb, and is now focussing on acquiring sufficient fissile material needed for an explosion. Iraq has programmes to produce ballistic missiles which can fly more than 1,200 kilometres. Such missiles are not intended for self-defence, but to deliver chemical, biological and - if we let him - nuclear warheads.

On Links to Terrorism: Iraq "harbours" a terrorist network headed by al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab Zarqawi. This network helped establish another poison and explosives training camp in north-east Iraq. Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and al-Qaeda together Some al-Qaeda groups are operating in northern areas of Iraq. Although they are in Kurdish areas outside the direct control of Baghdad, Iraqi agents are working with the groups. Iraqis visit Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and provided training to al-Qaeda members. Iraq maintains active links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, using its embassy in Pakistan as a "liaison office".

All pretty thin in terms of evidence rather than assertion. With his intellect and military knowledge, General Powell undoubtedly knew that. He also knew that he was presenting a briefing to world leaders, two of whom at least (France and Russia), undoubtedly had access to more human intelligence assets in Iraq than the USA.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this was a brief General Powell was unhappy with, but like the good soldier he was, he put his duty to his Commander-in-Chief before his own personal honour.

This is what Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005 said in a CNN Documentary in August 2005:

"I wish I had not been involved in it. I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life. (Powell) came through the door ... and he had in his hands a sheaf of papers, and he said, 'This is what I've got to present at the United Nations according to the White House, and you need to look at it'. It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."

Wilkerson told CNN that Powell and he spent four days and nights in a CIA conference room with then-Director George Tenet and other top officials trying to ensure the accuracy of the presentation. "There was no way the Secretary of State was going to read off a script about serious matters of intelligence that could lead to war when the script was basically un-sourced"

In one dramatic accusation in his speech, Powell showed slides alleging that Saddam had bioweapons labs mounted on trucks that would be almost impossible to find.

"In fact, Secretary Powell was not told that one of the sources he was given as a source of this information had indeed been flagged by the Defense Intelligence Agency as a liar, a fabricator," said David Kay, who served as the CIA's chief weapons inspector in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. That source, an Iraqi defector who had never been debriefed by the CIA, was known within the intelligence community as "Curveball."

[BTW - I’ll be coming back to “Curveball”].

After searching Iraq for several months across the summer of 2003, Kay began e-mailing Tenet to tell him the WMD evidence was falling apart. At one point, Wilkerson said Tenet called Powell to tell him the claims about mobile bioweapons labs were apparently not true.

"George actually did call the Secretary, and said, 'I'm really sorry to have to tell you. We don't believe there were any mobile labs for making biological weapons. This was the third or fourth telephone call. And I think it's fair to say the Secretary and Mr. Tenet, at that point, ceased being close. I mean, you can be sincere and you can be honest and you can believe what you're telling the Secretary. But three or four times on substantive issues like that? It's difficult to maintain any warm feelings."

After the US/US Joint Survey Group had reported (an event the Bush/Blair conspirators sought to delay as much as possible, a Congressional Committee report found much of the Powell presentation to be “dead wrong”. So did a UK Parliamentary Committee (although in more measured terms perhaps).

So, thus far, dear Neocon Bart, the evidence is clear: The case for war made by General Powell to the UN Security Council was untrue.

A question raised in this thread was whether the media was at fault. I suspect they could have done more – but, seriously, it’s tough to stand up and say “the President (or Prime Minister) and their Cabinet Officers are telling porky pies” on a matter as serious as invading a foreign country. It's certainly not done without evidence.

In a democracy one starts with the assumption that elected officials are honourable men, not engaged in telling "noble lies" to deceive the people into supporting a war of aggression.

But as I believe, that's what Neoconservatives do believe to be permissible - as did Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini - remember the pretexts for the invasion of Poland, or have they slipped your memory?


(to be continued)
 

Mourad:

The Bush Administration immediately declared to the Security Council that omissions in the 12,000-page inventory submitted by Baghdad constituted a "material breach" of Iraq's obligations to the UN under Resolution 1441.

Actually, one of the initial complaints was that the material had "too many notes" (to quote from Amadeus). They said that the 12,000 pages was being used to "snow" the council with way more information than necessary....

Why anyone would think this was a legitimate objection is beyond me, but the Dubya maladministration pretended it was.

I"d also note that UNSCR placed an obligation on all parties having relevant information to hand it over. The U.S. refused for months to hand over its shaky 'intelligence' (probably because they didn't want any outsiders seeing how bad it was, not to mention because they didn't want to help the UNMOVIC people in any way actually find out what the real situation was). So the U.S. was arguably in violation of UNSCR1441. When they finally did turn it over, Blix and company were finding "chickensh*t" (literally) at supposed missile sites, and one inspector termed the U.S 'intelligence' "garbage, garbage, and more garbage".

All the warning signs were there. The French and Russian approach was shown to have been the cautious and prudent one, but the U.S., as is blindingly obvious to everyone but "Bart" and the 23% "dead enders", was going to have their war, no matter what. This conclusion, which a majority of the U.S. has come around to, is only reinforced with every passing week, as more and more of the "process" within the Dubya maladministration is revealed. After Jan., 2009, I suspect that the whole thing will be busted wide open ... but that the Democrats won't pursue it further than just laying it out for the public ... in a spirit of "truth and reconciliation".

Cheers,
 

Mourad:

In a democracy one starts with the assumption that elected officials are honourable men, not engaged in telling "noble lies" to deceive the people into supporting a war of aggression.

Dubya wasn't elected. He was installed by his buddies.

And, of course, the "noble lie" is the SOP of the neocons/RWAs, which group the Dubya maladministration is [still] suffuse with. They know better than us proles what's good fer us.... "You can't handle the truth" is their favourite movie moment; they thought that Nicholson was the "good guy"....

Cheers,
 

Oh wow, the "near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq." Hurray!

Or in other words, we've made no progress at all. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq when we invaded. Hello? True fact. Don't believe me; check it. Turns out it's true.

So here's the other little point: AQI doesn't matter anyway.

Why? Just ask Malcolm Nance, "the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. 'Al-Qaeda in Iraq,' according to Nance, 'is a microscopic terrorist organization.'"
(Andrew Tilghman of the Washington Monthly
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2007/0710.tilghman.html
emphasis mine)

Then there's the point that "near defeat" means "not defeat". English, you know.

So to put it all together, we may not celebrate the fact that we have to date been unable to defeat a microscopic terrorist organization; there may be little to celebrate in our record of increasing al-Qaeda presence in Iraq in the course of an invasion we justified by fighting terrorism; we may be more accurate in calling this zero steps forward, two steps back, and admitting there's nothing to celebrate about that. That's the reality-based community's general evaluation of where we are with AQI.

Or wait, we could go for neocon nonsense happy talk, and pretend that AQI is the problem and it's almost solved. Hurray! Celebrate!
 

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