12-23-2004, 11:30 PM #1
Iraq.....what is really going on??
Time to face reality
Think tanks slam US Iraq strategy
Thursday 23 December 2004 12:30 AM GMT
Iraq has been convulsed by violence since the 2003 invasion
Two influential thinktanks have roundly criticised US strategy in Iraq.
The Wasington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC) said on Wednesday that the US is facing increasingly deadly attacks in Iraq because it has failed to honestly assess facts on the ground.
And in a report published on the same day, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said Iraqi hostility towards the US-led "occupation" means that Washington can no longer achieve its pre-war goals.
The CSIC report, prepared by senior fellow Anthony Cordesman, said administration spokesmen had appeared to live "in a fantasyland" when giving accounts of events in Iraq.
Cordesman, a former Pentagon official who has made several trips to Iraq, said Iraqi spies are a serious threat to US operations and there is no evidence that the numbers of anti-US fighters is declining despite vigorous US and Iraq attacks.
After the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, the US "assumed that it was dealing with a limited number of insurgents that coalition forces would defeat well before the election" of a new Iraqi government, Cordesman said.
"It did not see the threat level that would emerge if it did not provide jobs or pensions for Iraqi career officers or co-opt them into the nation-building effort ... . It acted as if it had years to rebuild Iraq using its own plans, rather than months to shape the climate in which Iraqis could do it."
Cordesman said in the first year of the US occupation, Washington "failed to come to grips with the Iraqi insurgency ... in virtually every important dimension".
Under the heading "Denial as a method of counter-insurgency warfare", the report accused the US of minimising the anti-US and criminal threat in Iraq and of exaggerating popular support for US-led efforts.
"It [the US] did not see the threat level that would emerge if it did not provide jobs or pensions for Iraqi career officers or co-opt them into the nation-building effort"
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Washington "in short ... failed to honestly assess the facts on the ground in a manner reminiscent of Vietnam", Cordesman wrote.
He said that as late as July 2004, administration spokesmen still lived "in a fantasyland in terms of their public announcements", including putting the core anti-US fighting force at 5000 individuals when experts in Iraq knew the correct number to be 12,000 to 16,000.
Sympathisers within the Iraqi interim government and Iraqi forces, as well as Iraqis working for US-led forces, media and non-governmental organisations, "often provided excellent human intelligence [about US-led operations] without violently taking part in the insurgency", the report said.
Cordesman said US attempts to vet these Iraqis cannot solve the problem because "it seems likely that family, clan and ethnic loyalties have made many supposedly loyal Iraqis become at least part-time sources".
Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group (ICG), a conflict-resolution organisation, said on Wednesday that Iraqi confidence in the US "is in free fall".
Soaring resentment feeds anti-US violence, making the transition process a source of, not the solution to, Washington's legitimacy deficit.
Bush said Iraq would become a
model for the region
The US said its initial objective was to turn Iraq into a model for the region - a democratic, secular and free-market oriented government, sympathetic to US interests, not openly hostile towards Israel, and possibly home to long-term American military bases.
But the Bush-administration now needs to limit its ambitions and focus on achievable goals, the ICG said.
Specificially, it should gradually disengage politically and militarily from Iraq and let Iraq disengage politically from it.
"Washington has to realise - you occupy the Iraq you have, not the Iraq you might wish to have later," said Robert Malley, director of the IGC's Middle East/North Africa Programme.
"The credibility of Iraqi institutions depends essentially on their ability to respond to the Iraqi population's needs and aspirations, which inevitably will entail distancing themselves from the US-led occupation"
International Crisis Group
Moreover, the IGC said the US should design a counter-insurgency strategy which is less focussed on militarily eliminating its opponents in Iraq, thus gaining more support within the country.
The report said Iraqis must believe they are building a unified, independent state which must define itself at least partially in opposition to US policies or risk provoking the ire of many of its own citizens.
"The credibility of Iraqi institutions depends essentially on their ability to respond to the Iraqi population's needs and aspirations, which inevitably will entail distancing themselves from the US-led occupation," said Peter Harling, the IGC's Middle East analyst.
12-24-2004, 12:22 AM #2New Member
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I totally agree. And I got to go there for another 12 months in march.
12-24-2004, 12:32 AM #3New Member
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Things are going to have to change, starting hopefully with a new sec. of defence.
12-24-2004, 05:02 AM #4
in the wise words of Mr.T......"I pitty the fool that hates freedom"
In Iraq we are fighting terrorism cause they attacked us on september 2001 and they had weapons of mass destruction that they wanted to destroy us with and eliminate freedom as we know it.
12-24-2004, 10:19 AM #5New Member
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9-11 commission found no evidence of iraqi involvement. We need to be going after osama.
12-24-2004, 10:36 AM #6
Ltr to Bob Brockish from his son Dave
Dear Dad -
Just came out of the city and I honestly do not know where to start. I am afraid that whatever I send you will not do sufficient honor to the men who fought and took Fallujah.
Shortly before the attack, Task Force Fallujah was built. It consisted of Regimental Combat Team 1 built around 1st Marine Regiment and Regimental Combat Team 7 built around 7th Marine Regiment. Each Regiment consisted of two Marine Rifle Battalions reinforced and one Army mechanized infantry battalion.
Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) consisted of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (3rd LAR), 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5); 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1)and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (2/7). RCT-7 was slightly less weighted but still a formidable force. Cutting a swath around the city was an Army Brigade known as Blackjack. The Marine RCT's were to assault the city while Blackjack kept the enemy off of the backs of the assault force.
The night prior to the actual invasion, we all moved out into the desert just north of the city. It was something to see. You could just feel the intensity in the Marines and Soldiers. It was all business. As the day cleared, the Task Force began striking targets and moving into final attack positions. As the invasion force commenced its movement into attack positions, 3rd LAR led off RCT-1's offensive with an attack up a peninsula formed by the Euphrates River on the west side of the city. Their mission was to secure the Fallujah Hospital and the two bridges leading out of the city. They executed there tasks like clockwork and smashed the enemy resistance holding the bridges. Simultaneous to all of this, Blackjack sealed the escape routes to the south of the city. As invasion day dawned, the net was around the city and the Marines and Soldiers knew that the enemy that failed to escape was now sealed.
3/5 began the actual attack on the city by taking an apartment complex on the northwest corner of the city. It was key terrain as the elevated positions allowed the command to look down into the attack lanes. The Marines took the apartments quickly and moved to the rooftops and began engaging enemy that were trying to move into their fighting positions. The scene on the rooftop was surreal. Machine gun teams were running boxes of ammo up 8 flights of stairs in full body armor and carrying up machine guns while snipers engaged enemy shooters. The whole time the enemy was firing mortars and rockets at the apartments. Honest to God, I don't think I saw a single Marine even distracted by the enemy fire. Their squad leaders, and platoon commanders had them prepared and they were executing their assigned tasks.
As mentioned, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry joined the Regiment just prior to the fight. In fact, they started showing up for planning a couple of weeks in advance. There is always a professional rivalry between the Army and the Marine Corps but it was obvious from the outset that these guys were the real deal. They had fought in Najaf and were eager to fight with the Regiment in Fallujah. They are exceptionally well led and supremely confident.
2/7 became our wedge. In short, they worked with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. We were limited in the amount of prep fires that we were allowed to fire on the city prior to the invasion. This was a point of some consternation to the forces actually taking the city. Our compensation was to turn to 2/7 and ask them to slash into the city and create as much turbulence as possible for 3/1 to follow. Because of the political reality, the Marine Corps was also under pressure to "get it done quickly." For this reason, 2/7 and 3/1 became the penetration force into the city.
Immediately following 3/5's attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley's and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase[line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.
There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.
I could go on and on about how the city was taken but one of the most amazing aspects to the fighting was that we saw virtually no civilians during the battle. Only after the fighting had passed did a few come out of their homes. They were provided food and water and most were evacuated out of the city. At least 90-95% of the people were gone from the city when we attacked.
I will end with a couple of stories of individual heroism that you may not have heard yet. I was told about both of these incidents shortly after they occurred. No doubt some of the facts will change slightly but I am confident that the meat is correct.
The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety. The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds.
The second example comes from 3/1. Cpl Mitchell is a squad leader. He was wounded as his squad was clearing a house when some enemy threw pineapple grenades down on top of them. As he was getting triaged, the doctor told him that he had been shot through the arm. Cpl Mitchell told the doctor that he had actually been shot "a couple of days ago" and had given himself self aide on the wound. When the doctor got on him about not coming off the line, he firmly told the doctor that he was a squad leader and did not have time to get treated as his men were still fighting. There are a number of Marines who have been wounded multiple times but refuse to leave their fellow Marines.
It is incredibly humbling to walk among such men. They fought as hard as any Marines in history and deserve to be remembered as such. The enemy they fought burrowed into houses and fired through mouse holes cut in walls, lured them into houses rigged with explosives and detonated the houses on pursuing Marines, and actually hid behind surrender flags only to engage the Marines with small arms fire once they perceived that the Marines had let their guard down. I know of several instances where near dead enemy rolled grenades out on Marines who were preparing to render them aid. It was a fight to the finish in every sense and the Marines delivered.
I have called the enemy cowards many times in the past because they have never really held their ground and fought but these guys in the city did. We can call them many things but they were not cowards.
My whole life I have read about the greatest generation and sat in wonder at their accomplishments. For the first time, as I watch these Marines and Soldiers, I am eager for the future as this is just the beginning for them. Perhaps the most amazing characteristic of all is that the morale of the men is sky high. They hurt for the wounded and the dead but they are eager to continue to attack. Further, not one of them would be comfortable with being called a hero even though they clearly are.
By now the Marines and Soldiers have killed well over a thousand enemy. These were not peasants or rabble. They were reasonably well trained and entirely fanatical. Most of the enemy we have seen have chest rigs full of ammunition and are well armed are willing to fight to the death. The Marines and Soldiers are eager to close with them and the fighting at the end is inevitably close.
I will write you more the next time I come in about what we have found inside the city. All I can say is that even with everything that I knew and expected from the last nine months, the brutality and fanaticism of the enemy surprised me. The beheadings were even more common place than we thought but so were torture and summary executions. Even though it is an exaggeration, it seems as though every block in the northern part of the city has a torture chamber or execution site. There are hundreds of tons of munitions and tens of thousands of weapons that our Regiment alone has recovered. The Marines and Soldiers of the Regiment have also found over 400 IEDs already wired and ready to detonate. No doubt these numbers will grow in the days ahead.
In closing, I want to share with you a vignette about when the Marines secured the Old Bridge (the one where the Americans were mutilated and hung on March 31) this week. After the Marines had done all the work and secured the bridge, we walked across to meet up with 3rd LAR on the other side. On the Fallujah side of the bridge where the Americans were hung there is some Arabic writing on the bridge. An interpreter translated it for me as we walked through. It read: "Long Live the Mujahadeen. Fallujah is the Graveyard for Americans and the end of the Marine Corps."
As I came back across the bridge there was a squad sitting in their Amtrac smoking and watching the show. The Marines had written their own message below the enemy's. It is not something that Mom would appreciate but it fit the moment to a T. Not far from the vehicle were two dead enemy laying where they died. The Marines were sick of watching the "Dog and Pony show" and wanted to get back to work.
Last edited by Jdawg50; 12-24-2004 at 10:40 AM.
12-24-2004, 10:48 AM #7Originally Posted by manster_34
The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies.
According to the memo--which lays out the intelligence in 50 numbered points--Iraq-al Qaeda contacts began in 1990 and continued through mid-March 2003, days before the Iraq War began. Most of the numbered passages contain straight, fact-based intelligence reporting, which some cases includes an evaluation of the credibility of the source. This reporting is often followed by commentary and analysis.
The relationship began shortly before the first Gulf War. According to reporting in the memo, bin Laden sent "emissaries to Jordan in 1990 to meet with Iraqi government officials." At some unspecified point in 1991, according to a CIA analysis, "Iraq sought Sudan's assistance to establish links to al Qaeda." The outreach went in both directions. According to 1993 CIA reporting cited in the memo, "bin Laden wanted to expand his organization's capabilities through ties with Iraq."
The primary go-between throughout these early stages was Sudanese strongman Hassan al-Turabi, a leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated National Islamic Front. Numerous sources have confirmed this. One defector reported that "al-Turabi was instrumental in arranging the Iraqi-al Qaeda relationship. The defector said Iraq sought al Qaeda influence through its connections with Afghanistan, to facilitate the transshipment of proscribed weapons and equipment to Iraq. In return, Iraq provided al Qaeda with training and instructors."
One such confirmation came in a postwar interview with one of Saddam Hussein's henchmen. As the memo details:
4. According to a May 2003 debriefing of a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, Iraqi intelligence established a highly secretive relationship with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and later with al Qaeda. The first meeting in 1992 between the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) and al Qaeda was brokered by al-Turabi. Former IIS deputy director Faruq Hijazi and senior al Qaeda leader [Ayman al] Zawahiri were at the meeting--the first of several between 1992 and 1995 in Sudan. Additional meetings between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda were held in Pakistan. Members of al Qaeda would sometimes visit Baghdad where they would meet the Iraqi intelligence chief in a safe house. The report claimed that Saddam insisted the relationship with al Qaeda be kept secret. After 9-11, the source said Saddam made a personnel change in the IIS for fear the relationship would come under scrutiny from foreign probes
A decisive moment in the budding relationship came in 1993, when bin Laden faced internal resistance to his cooperation with Saddam.
5. A CIA report from a contact with good access, some of whose reporting has been corroborated, said that certain elements in the "Islamic Army" of bin Laden were against the secular regime of Saddam. Overriding the internal factional strife that was developing, bin Laden came to an "understanding" with Saddam that the Islamic Army would no longer support anti-Saddam activities. According to sensitive reporting released in U.S. court documents during the African Embassy trial, in 1993 bin Laden reached an "understanding" with Saddam under which he (bin Laden) forbade al Qaeda operations to be mounted against the Iraqi leader.
Another facilitator of the relationship during the mid-1990s was Mahmdouh Mahmud Salim (a.k.a. Abu Hajer al-Iraqi). Abu Hajer, now in a New York prison, was described in court proceedings related to the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as bin Laden's "best friend." According to CIA reporting dating back to the Clinton administration, bin Laden trusted him to serve as a liaison with Saddam's regime and tasked him with procurement of weapons of mass destruction for al Qaeda. FBI reporting in the memo reveals that Abu Hajer "visited Iraq in early 1995" and "had a good relationship with Iraqi intelligence. Sometime before mid-1995 he went on an al Qaeda mission to discuss unspecified cooperation with the Iraqi government."
Some of the reporting about the relationship throughout the mid-1990s comes from
a source who had intimate knowledge of bin Laden and his dealings. This source, according to CIA analysis, offered "the most credible information" on cooperation between bin Laden and Iraq.
This source's reports read almost like a diary. Specific dates of when bin Laden flew to various cities are included, as well as names of individuals he met. The source did not offer information on the substantive talks during the meetings. . . . There are not a great many reports in general on the relationship between bin Laden and Iraq because of the secrecy surrounding it. But when this source with close access provided a "window" into bin Laden's activities, bin Laden is seen as heavily involved with Iraq (and Iran).
Reporting from the early 1990s remains somewhat sketchy, though multiple sources place Hassan al-Turabi and Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden's current No. 2, at the center of the relationship. The reporting gets much more specific in the mid-1990s:
8. Reporting from a well placed source disclosed that bin Laden was receiving training on bomb making from the IIS's [Iraqi Intelligence Service] principal technical expert on making sophisticated explosives, Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed. Brigadier Salim was observed at bin Laden's farm in Khartoum in Sept.-Oct. 1995 and again in July 1996, in the company of the Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti.
9 . . . Bin Laden visited Doha, Qatar (17-19 Jan. 1996), staying at the residence of a member of the Qatari ruling family. He discussed the successful movement of explosives into Saudi Arabia, and operations targeted against U.S. and U.K. interests in Dammam, Dharan, and Khobar, using clandestine al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia. Upon his return, bin Laden met with Hijazi and Turabi, among others.
And later more reporting, from the same "well placed" source:
10. The Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti, met privately with bin Laden at his farm in Sudan in July 1996. Tikriti used an Iraqi delegation traveling to Khartoum to discuss bilateral cooperation as his "cover" for his own entry into Sudan to meet with bin Laden and Hassan al-Turabi. The Iraqi intelligence chief and two other IIS officers met at bin Laden's farm and discussed bin Laden's request for IIS technical assistance in: a) making letter and parcel bombs; b) making bombs which could be placed on aircraft and detonated by changes in barometric pressure; and c) making false passport [sic]. Bin Laden specifically requested that [Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed], Iraqi intelligence's premier explosives maker--especially skilled in making car bombs--remain with him in Sudan. The Iraqi intelligence chief instructed Salim to remain in Sudan with bin Laden as long as required.
The analysis of those events follows:
The time of the visit from the IIS director was a few weeks after the Khobar Towers bombing. The bombing came on the third anniversary of a U.S. [Tomahawk missile] strike on IIS HQ (retaliation for the attempted assassination of former President Bush in Kuwait) for which Iraqi officials explicitly threatened retaliation.
IN ADDITION TO THE CONTACTS CLUSTERED in the mid-1990s, intelligence reports detail a flurry of activities in early 1998 and again in December 1998. A "former senior Iraqi intelligence officer" reported that "the Iraqi intelligence service station in Pakistan was Baghdad's point of contact with al Qaeda. He also said bin Laden visited Baghdad in Jan. 1998 and met with Tariq Aziz."
11. According to sensitive reporting, Saddam personally sent Faruq Hijazi, IIS deputy director and later Iraqi ambassador to Turkey, to meet with bin Laden at least twice, first in Sudan and later in Afghanistan in 1999. . . .
14. According to a sensitive reporting [from] a "regular and reliable source," [Ayman al] Zawahiri, a senior al Qaeda operative, visited Baghdad and met with the Iraqi Vice President on 3 February 1998. The goal of the visit was to arrange for coordination between Iraq and bin Laden and establish camps in an-Nasiriyah and Iraqi Kurdistan under the leadership of Abdul Aziz.
That visit came as the Iraqis intensified their defiance of the U.N. inspection regime, known as UNSCOM, created by the cease-fire agreement following the Gulf War. UNSCOM demanded access to Saddam's presidential palaces that he refused to provide. As the tensions mounted, President Bill Clinton went to the Pentagon on February 18, 1998, and prepared the nation for war. He warned of "an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers, and organized international criminals" and said "there is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein."
The day after this speech, according to documents unearthed in April 2003 in the Iraqi Intelligence headquarters by journalists Mitch Potter and Inigo Gilmore, Hussein's intelligence service wrote a memo detailing coming meetings with a bin Laden representative traveling to Baghdad. Each reference to bin Laden had been covered by liquid paper that, when revealed, exposed a plan to increase cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda. According to that memo, the IIS agreed to pay for "all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden." The document set as the goal for the meeting a discussion of "the future of our relationship with him, bin Laden, and to achieve a direct meeting with him." The al Qaeda representative, the document went on to suggest, might provide "a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden."
Four days later, on February 23, 1998, bin Laden issued his now-famous fatwa on the plight of Iraq, published in the Arabic-language daily, al Quds al-Arabi: "For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples." Bin Laden urged his followers to act: "The ruling to kill all Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it."
Although war was temporarily averted by a last-minute deal brokered by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, tensions soon rose again. The standoff with Iraq came to a head in December 1998, when President Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox, a 70-hour bombing campaign that began on December 16 and ended three days later, on December 19, 1998.
According to press reports at the time, Faruq Hijazi, deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, met with bin Laden in Afghanistan on December 21, 1998, to offer bin Laden safe haven in Iraq. CIA reporting in the memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee seems to confirm this meeting and relates two others.
15. A foreign government service reported that an Iraqi delegation, including at least two Iraqi intelligence officers formerly assigned to the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan, met in late 1998 with bin Laden in Afghanistan.
16. According to CIA reporting, bin Laden and Zawahiri met with two Iraqi intelligence officers in Afghanistan in Dec. 1998.
17. . . . Iraq sent an intelligence officer to Afghanistan to seek closer ties to bin Laden and the Taliban in late 1998. The source reported that the Iraqi regime was trying to broaden its cooperation with al Qaeda. Iraq was looking to recruit Muslim "elements" to sabotage U.S. and U.K. interests. After a senior Iraqi intelligence officer met with Taliban leader [Mullah] Omar, arrangements were made for a series of meetings between the Iraqi intelligence officer and bin Laden in Pakistan. The source noted Faruq Hijazi was in Afghanistan in late 1998.
18. . . . Faruq Hijazi went to Afghanistan in 1999 along with several other Iraqi officials to meet with bin Laden. The source claimed that Hijazi would have met bin Laden only at Saddam's explicit direction.
An analysis that follows No. 18 provides additional context and an explanation of these reports:
Reporting entries #4, #11, #15, #16, #17, and #18, from different sources, corroborate each other and provide confirmation of meetings between al Qaeda operatives and Iraqi intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. None of the reports have information on operational details or the purpose of such meetings. The covert nature of the relationship would indicate strict compartmentation [sic] of operations.
Information about connections between al Qaeda and Iraq was so widespread by early 1999 that it made its way into the mainstream press. A January 11, 1999, Newsweek story ran under this headline: "Saddam + Bin Laden?" The story cited an "Arab intelligence source" with knowledge of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. "According to this source, Saddam expected last month's American and British bombing campaign to go on much longer than it did. The dictator believed that as the attacks continued, indignation would grow in the Muslim world, making his terrorism offensive both harder to trace and more effective. With acts of terror contributing to chaos in the region, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait might feel less inclined to support Washington. Saddam's long-term strategy, according to several sources, is to bully or cajole Muslim countries into breaking the embargo against Iraq, without waiting for the United Nations to lift if formally."
INTELLIGENCE REPORTS about the nature of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda from mid-1999 through 2003 are conflicting. One senior Iraqi intelligence officer in U.S. custody, Khalil Ibrahim Abdallah, "said that the last contact between the IIS and al Qaeda was in July 1999. Bin Laden wanted to meet with Saddam, he said. The guidance sent back from Saddam's office reportedly ordered Iraqi intelligence to refrain from any further contact with bin Laden and al Qaeda. The source opined that Saddam wanted to distance himself from al Qaeda."
The bulk of reporting on the relationship contradicts this claim. One report states that "in late 1999" al Qaeda set up a training camp in northern Iraq that "was operational as of 1999." Other reports suggest that the Iraqi regime contemplated several offers of safe haven to bin Laden throughout 1999.
23. . . . Iraqi officials were carefully considering offering safe haven to bin Laden and his closest collaborators in Nov. 1999. The source indicated the idea was put forward by the presumed head of Iraqi intelligence in Islamabad (Khalid Janaby) who in turn was in frequent contact and had good relations with bin Laden.
Some of the most intriguing intelligence concerns an Iraqi named Ahmed Hikmat Shakir:
24. According to sensitive reporting, a Malaysia-based Iraqi national (Shakir) facilitated the arrival of one of the Sept 11 hijackers for an operational meeting in Kuala Lumpur (Jan 2000). Sensitive reporting indicates Shakir's travel and contacts link him to a worldwide network of terrorists, including al Qaeda. Shakir worked at the Kuala Lumpur airport--a job he claimed to have obtained through an Iraqi embassy employee.
One of the men at that al Qaeda operational meeting in the Kuala Lumpur Hotel was Tawfiz al Atash, a top bin Laden lieutenant later identified as the mastermind of the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole.
25. Investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 by al Qaeda revealed no specific Iraqi connections but according to the CIA, "fragmentary evidence points to possible Iraqi involvement."
26. During a custodial interview, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi [a senior al Qaeda operative] said he was told by an al Qaeda associate that he was tasked to travel to Iraq (1998) to establish a relationship with Iraqi intelligence to obtain poisons and gases training. After the USS Cole bombing in 2000, two al Qaeda operatives were sent to Iraq for CBW-related [Chemical and Biological Weapons] training beginning in Dec 2000. Iraqi intelligence was "encouraged" after the embassy and USS Cole bombings to provide this training.
The analysis of this report follows.
CIA maintains that Ibn al-Shaykh's timeline is consistent with other sensitive reporting indicating that bin Laden asked Iraq in 1998 for advanced weapons, including CBW and "poisons."
Additional reporting also calls into question the claim that relations between Iraq and al Qaeda cooled after mid-1999:
27. According to sensitive CIA reporting, . . . the Saudi National Guard went on a kingdom-wide state of alert in late Dec 2000 after learning Saddam agreed to assist al Qaeda in attacking U.S./U.K. interests in Saudi Arabia.
And then there is the alleged contact between lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. The reporting on those links suggests not one meeting, but as many as four. What's more, the memo reveals potential financing of Atta's activities by Iraqi intelligence.
The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, [Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir] al Ani, on several occasions. During one of these meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office.
And the commentary:
CIA can confirm two Atta visits to Prague--in Dec. 1994 and in June 2000; data surrounding the other two--on 26 Oct 1999 and 9 April 2001--is complicated and sometimes contradictory and CIA and FBI cannot confirm Atta met with the IIS. Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross continues to stand by his information.
It's not just Gross who stands by the information. Five high-ranking members of the Czech government have publicly confirmed meetings between Atta and al Ani. The meeting that has gotten the most press attention--April 9, 2001--is also the most widely disputed. Even some of the most hawkish Bush administration officials are privately skeptical that Atta met al Ani on that occasion. They believe that reports of the alleged meeting, said to have taken place in public, outside the headquarters of the U.S.-financed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, suggest a level of sloppiness that doesn't fit the pattern of previous high-level Iraq-al Qaeda contacts.
Whether or not that specific meeting occurred, the report by Czech counterintelligence that al Ani ordered the Iraqi Intelligence Service officer to provide IIS funds to Atta might help explain the lead hijacker's determination to reach Prague, despite significant obstacles, in the spring 2000. (Note that the report stops short of confirming that the funds were transferred. It claims only that the IIS officer requested the transfer.) Recall that Atta flew to Prague from Germany on May 30, 2000, but was denied entry because he did not have a valid visa. Rather than simply return to Germany and fly directly to the United States, his ultimate destination, Atta took pains to get to Prague. After he was refused entry the first time, he traveled back to Germany, obtained the proper paperwork, and caught a bus back to Prague. He left for the United States the day after arriving in Prague for the second time.
Several reports indicate that the relationship between Saddam and bin Laden continued, even after the September 11 attacks:
31. An Oct. 2002 . . . report said al Qaeda and Iraq reached a secret agreement whereby Iraq would provide safe haven to al Qaeda members and provide them with money and weapons. The agreement reportedly prompted a large number of al Qaeda members to head to Iraq. The report also said that al Qaeda members involved in a fraudulent passport network for al Qaeda had been directed to procure 90 Iraqi and Syrian passports for al Qaeda personnel.
The analysis that accompanies that report indicates that the report fits the pattern of Iraq-al Qaeda collaboration:
References to procurement of false passports from Iraq and offers of safe haven previously have surfaced in CIA source reporting considered reliable. Intelligence reports to date have maintained A that Iraqi support for al Qaeda usually involved providing training, obtaining passports, and offers of refuge. This report adds to that list by including weapons and money. This assistance would make sense in the aftermath of 9-11.
Colin Powell, in his February 5, 2003, presentation to the U.N. Security Council, revealed the activities of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Reporting in the memo expands on Powell's case and might help explain some of the resistance the U.S. military is currently facing in Iraq.
37. Sensitive reporting indicates senior terrorist planner and close al Qaeda associate al Zarqawi has had an operational ******** with Iraqi officials. As of Oct. 2002, al Zarqawi maintained contacts with the IIS to procure weapons and explosives, including surface-to-air missiles from an IIS officer in Baghdad. According to sensitive reporting, al Zarqawi was setting up sleeper cells in Baghdad to be activated in case of a U.S. occupation of the city, suggesting his operational cooperation with the Iraqis may have deepened in recent months. Such cooperation could include IIS provision of a secure operating bases [sic] and steady access to arms and explosives in preparation for a possible U.S. invasion. Al Zarqawi's procurements from the Iraqis also could support al Qaeda operations against the U.S. or its allies elsewhere.
38. According to sensitive reporting, a contact with good access who does not have an established reporting record: An Iraqi intelligence service officer said that as of mid-March the IIS was providing weapons to al Qaeda members located in northern Iraq, including rocket propelled grenade (RPG)-18 launchers. According to IIS information, northern Iraq-based al Qaeda members believed that the U.S. intended to strike al Qaeda targets during an anticipated assault against Ansar al-Islam positions.
The memo further reported pre-war intelligence which "claimed that an Iraqi intelligence official, praising Ansar al-Islam, provided it with $100,000 and agreed to continue to give assistance."
CRITICS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION have complained that Iraq-al Qaeda connections are a fantasy, trumped up by the warmongers at the White House to fit their preconceived notions about international terror; that links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have been routinely "exaggerated" for political purposes; that hawks "cherry-picked" bits of intelligence and tendentiously presented these to the American public.
Carl Levin, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made those points as recently as November 9, in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." Republicans on the committee, he complained, refuse to look at the administration's "exaggeration of intelligence."
Said Levin: "The question is whether or not they exaggerated intelligence in order to carry out their purpose, which was to make the case for going to war. Did we know, for instance, with certainty that there was any relationship between the Iraqis and the terrorists that were in Afghanistan, bin Laden? The administration said that there's a connection between those terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. Was there a basis for that?"
There was, as shown in the memo to the committee on which Levin serves. And much of the reporting comes from Clinton-era intelligence. Not that you would know this from Al Gore's recent public statements. Indeed, the former vice president claims to be privy to new "evidence" that the administration lied. In an August speech at New York University, Gore claimed: "The evidence now shows clearly that Saddam did not want to work with Osama bin Laden at all, much less give him weapons of mass destruction." Really?
One of the most interesting things to note about the 16-page memo is that it covers only a fraction of the evidence that will eventually be available to document the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. For one thing, both Saddam and bin Laden were desperate to keep their cooperation secret. (Remember, Iraqi intelligence used liquid paper on an internal intelligence document to conceal bin Laden's name.) For another, few people in the U.S. government are expressly looking for such links. There is no Iraq-al Qaeda equivalent of the CIA's 1,400-person Iraq Survey Group currently searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction.
Instead, CIA and FBI officials are methodically reviewing Iraqi intelligence files that survived the three-week war last spring. These documents would cover several miles if laid end-to-end. And they are in Arabic. They include not only connections between bin Laden and Saddam, but also revolting details of the regime's long history of brutality. It will be a slow process.
So Feith's memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee is best viewed as sort of a "Cliff's Notes" version of the relationship. It contains the highlights, but it is far from exhaustive.
One example. The memo contains only one paragraph on Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, the Iraqi facilitator who escorted two September 11 hijackers through customs in Kuala Lumpur. U.S. intelligence agencies have extensive reporting on his activities before and after the September 11 hijacking. That they would include only this brief overview suggests the 16-page memo, extensive as it is, just skims the surface of the reporting on Iraq-al Qaeda connections.
Other intelligence reports indicate that Shakir whisked not one but two September 11 hijackers--Khalid al Midhar and Nawaq al Hamzi--through the passport and customs process upon their arrival in Kuala Lumpur on January 5, 2000. Shakir then traveled with the hijackers to the Kuala Lumpur Hotel where they met with Ramzi bin al Shibh, one of the masterminds of the September 11 plot. The meeting lasted three days. Shakir returned to work on January 9 and January 10, and never again.
Shakir got his airport job through a contact at the Iraqi Embassy. (Iraq routinely used its embassies as staging grounds for its intelligence operations; in some cases, more than half of the alleged "diplomats" were intelligence operatives.) The Iraqi embassy, not his employer, controlled Shakir's schedule. He was detained in Qatar on September 17, 2001. Authorities found in his possession contact information for terrorists involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 embassy bombings, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the September 11 hijackings. The CIA had previous reporting that Shakir had received a phone call from the safe house where the 1993 World Trade Center attacks had been plotted.
The Qataris released Shakir shortly after his arrest. On October 21, 2001, he flew to Amman, Jordan, where he was to change planes to a flight to Baghdad. He didn't make that flight. Shakir was detained in Jordan for three months, where the CIA interrogated him. His interrogators concluded that Shakir had received extensive training in counter-interrogation techniques. Not long after he was detained, according to an official familiar with the intelligence, the Iraqi regime began to "pressure" Jordanian intelligence to release him. At the same time, Amnesty International complained that Shakir was being held without charge. The Jordanians released him on January 28, 2002, at which point he is believed to have fled back to Iraq.
Was Shakir an Iraqi agent? Does he provide a connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11? We don't know. We may someday find out.
But there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to plot against Americans.
Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.
12-24-2004, 10:49 AM #8
Why We Went to War
From the October 20, 2003 issue: The case for the war in Iraq, with testimony from Bill Clinton.
by Robert Kagan & William Kristol
10/20/2003, Volume 009, Issue 06
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"When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions."
--Bill Clinton, July 22, 2003
FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON is right about what he and the whole world knew about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs. And most of what everyone knew about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction had nothing to do with this or any other government's intelligence collection and analysis. Had there never been a Central Intelligence Agency--an idea we admit sounds more attractive all the time--the case for war against Iraq would have been rock solid. Almost everything we knew about Saddam's weapons programs and stockpiles, we knew because the Iraqis themselves admitted it.
Here's a little history that seems to have been completely forgotten in the frenzy of the past few months. Shortly after the first Gulf War in 1991, U.N. inspectors
discovered the existence of a surprisingly advanced Iraqi nuclear weapons program. In addition, by Iraq's own admission and U.N. inspection efforts, Saddam's regime possessed thousands of chemical weapons and tons of chemical weapon agents. Were it not for the 1995 defection of senior Iraqi officials, the U.N. would never have made the further discovery that Iraq had manufactured and equipped weapons with the deadly chemical nerve agent VX and had an extensive biological warfare program.
Here is what was known by 1998 based on Iraq's own admissions:
* That in the years immediately prior to the first Gulf War, Iraq produced at least 3.9 tons of VX, a deadly nerve gas, and acquired 805 tons of precursor ingredients for the production of more VX.
* That Iraq had produced or imported some 4,000 tons of ingredients to produce other types of poison gas.
* That Iraq had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax.
* That Iraq had produced 500 bombs fitted with parachutes for the purpose of delivering poison gas or germ payloads.
* That Iraq had produced 550 artillery shells filled with mustard gas.
* That Iraq had produced or imported 107,500 casings for chemical weapons.
* That Iraq had produced at least 157 aerial bombs filled with germ agents.
* That Iraq had produced 25 missile warheads containing germ agents (anthrax, aflatoxin, and botulinum).
Again, this list of weapons of mass destruction is not what the Iraqi government was suspected of producing. (That would be a longer list, including an Iraqi nuclear program that the German intelligence service had concluded in 2001 might produce a bomb within three years.) It was what the Iraqis admitted producing. And it is this list of weapons--not any CIA analysis under either the Clinton or Bush administrations--that has been at the heart of the Iraq crisis.
For in all the years after those admissions, the Iraqi government never explained, or even tried to explain, to anyone's satisfaction, including most recently, that of Hans Blix, what had become of the huge quantities of deadly weapons it had produced. The Iraqi government repeatedly insisted that most of the weapons had been "secretly" destroyed. When asked to produce credible evidence of the destruction--the location of destruction sites, fragments of destroyed weapons, some documentation of the destruction, anything at all--the Iraqis refused. After 1995, the U.N. weapons inspection process became a lengthy cat-and-mouse game, as inspectors tried to cajole Iraqis to divulge information about the fate of these admitted stockpiles of weapons. The inspectors fanned out across the country looking for weapons caches, stashes of documents, and people willing to talk. And sometimes, the inspectors uncovered evidence. Both American and French testers found traces of nerve gas on remnants of warheads, for instance. The Iraqis claimed the evidence had been planted.
After 1996, and partly as a consequence of the documents they had discovered and of Iraqi admissions, weapons inspectors must have started getting closer to uncovering what the Iraqis were hiding. For at about that time, inspectors' demands to visit certain facilities began to be systematically blocked by Saddam. There was the famous confrontation over the so-called "presidential palaces," actually vast complexes of buildings and warehouses, that Saddam simply declared off-limits to inspectors.
At the end of 1997, this limitation on the inspectors' freedom of movement precipitated an international crisis. The Clinton
administration demanded that the inspectors be given full access to the "palaces." The Iraqis refused. Instead, Saddam demanded the removal of all Americans from the U.N. inspection team and an end to all U-2 flights over Iraq, and even threatened to shoot the planes down. In case there was any doubt that his aim was to conceal weapons programs that the inspectors were getting close to discovering, Iraq at this time also began moving equipment that could be used to manufacture weapons out of the range of video cameras that had been installed by the U.N. inspection team.
The New York Times reported at the time that the U.N. weapons inspectors (not American intelligence) believed that Iraq possessed "the elements of a deadly germ warfare arsenal and perhaps poison gases, as well as the rudiments of a missile system" that could launch the warheads. But because of Saddam's action at the end of 1997, the Times reported, the U.N. inspection team could "no longer verify that Iraq is not making weapons of mass destruction" and specifically could not monitor "equipment that could grow seed stocks of biological agents in a matter of hours." Saddam's precipitating of this crisis was a bold move, aimed at splitting the U.N. Security Council and isolating the Clinton administration. And it worked. The Clinton administration tried but failed to get French and Russian support at the Security Council either for military action or for a tightening of sanctions to force Saddam to cease these activities and comply with his commitment to disarm. The French and Russian position by 1997 was that the "books" should be closed on Iraq's WMD programs, sanctions should be lifted, and relations with Saddam should be normalized. That remained the French position for the next five years.
It was in response to this crisis that we at this magazine began calling for Saddam Hussein's ouster by means of a ground invasion. And in a letter sent to President Clinton on January 26, 1998, we and a number of other former government officials urged military action against Saddam on the grounds that the situation had become untenable and perilous. As a result of recent events, we wrote, the United States could
no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades U.N. inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam's secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons. Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East.
IN EARLY 1998, the Clinton administration, following this same logic, prepared for war against Iraq. On February 17, President Clinton spoke on the steps of the Pentagon to explain to the American people why war was necessary. The speech is worth excerpting at length, because it was then and remains today the fundamental case for the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.
President Clinton declared that the great threat confronting the United States and its allies was a lethal and "unholy axis" of international terrorists and outlaw states. "They will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them." There was, Clinton declared, "no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us." Before the Gulf War of 1991, Clinton noted, "Saddam had built up a terrible arsenal, and he had used it. Not once, but many times in a decade-long war with Iran, he used chemical weapons against combatants, against civilians, against a foreign adversary and even against his own people." At the end of the Gulf War, Saddam had promised to reveal all his programs and disarm within 15 days. But instead, he had spent "the better part of the past decade trying to cheat on this solemn commitment." As Clinton explained:
Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave the lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports. For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months, and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM.
In 1995 Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law and the chief organizer of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more. Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities--and weapons stocks. Previously it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth.
Now listen to this: What did it admit? It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability, notably, 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And I might say UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production. . . .
Next, throughout this entire process, Iraqi agents have undermined and undercut UNSCOM. They've harassed the inspectors, lied to them, disabled monitoring cameras, literally spirited evidence out of the back doors of suspect facilities as inspectors walked through the front door, and our people were there observing it and had the pictures to prove it. . . .
Over the past few months, as [the weapons inspectors] have come closer and closer to rooting out Iraq's remaining nuclear capacity, Saddam has undertaken yet another gambit to thwart their ambitions by imposing debilitating conditions on the inspectors and declaring key sites which have still not been inspected off limits, including, I might add, one palace in Baghdad more than 2,600 acres large. . . .
One of these presidential sites is about the size of Washington, D.C. . . .
It is obvious that there is an attempt here, based on the whole history of this operation since 1991, to protect whatever remains of his capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, the missiles to deliver them, and the feed stocks necessary to produce them. The UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons. . . .
Now, let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction.
And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal. . . . In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now--a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers, or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed.
If we fail to respond today, Saddam, and all those who would follow in his footsteps, will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council, and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program.
The Clinton administration did not in fact respond. War was averted by a lame compromise worked out by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. But within a few months, Saddam was again obstructing U.N. inspectors, driving a deeper wedge into the U.N. Security Council and attempting to put a final end to the inspections process. He succeeded. At the end of 1998, the Clinton administration launched Operation Desert Fox, a four-day missile and bombing attack on Iraq that was aimed principally at known and suspected facilities for producing weapons of mass destruction and missiles. The effect of the bombings on Iraq's programs and stockpiles, however, was unknown, as Clinton acknowledges. But one effect of Operation Desert Fox was that Saddam expelled the U.N. inspectors altogether. Beginning in December 1998 and for the next four years, there were no U.N. inspectors in Iraq.
What did Saddam Hussein do during those four years of relative freedom? To this day, no one knows for sure. The only means of learning Iraqi activities during those years were intelligence, satellite photography, electronic eavesdropping, and human sources. The last of these was in short supply. And, as we now know, the ability to determine the extent of Saddam's programs only by so-called technical means was severely limited. American and foreign intelligence services pieced together what little information they could, but they were trying to illuminate a dark cave with a Bic lighter. Without a vast inspection team on the ground, operating unfettered and over a long period of time, it was clear that the great unanswered questions regarding Iraq--what happened to the old stockpiles of weapons and what new programs Saddam was working on--could never be answered.
The rest of the story, we assume, most people remember. The Bush administration's threat of war beginning last summer led France and Russia to reverse themselves and to start taking the Iraq weapons issue seriously again. In U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the Security Council agreed on a new round of inspections, during which Saddam was to do finally what he had promised to do back in 1991 and ever since: make a clean breast of all his programs, answer all the unanswered questions about his admitted stockpiles of weapons, and fully disarm. Resolution 1441 demanded that, within 30 days, Iraq provide "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material."
Iraq did not comply with this demand within 30 days--or, for that matter, within 90. In his March 6, 2003, report to the U.N. Security Council, Hans Blix reported that the declared stocks of anthrax and VX remained unaccounted for. In the last chance given to Iraq by Resolution 1441, Iraq had failed to provide answers. As Blix reported again in May 2003, "little progress was made in the solution of outstanding issues....the long list of proscribed items unaccounted for and as such resulting in unresolved disarmament issues was not shortened either by the inspections or by Iraqi declarations and documentation."
We have retold this long story for one simple reason: This is why George W. Bush and Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar led their governments and a host of others to war to remove the Saddam Hussein regime in March 2003. It was not, in the first instance, to democratize the Middle East, although we have always believed and still believe that the building of a democratic Iraq, if the United States succeeds in doing so, will have a positive impact on the Arab world. It was not to increase the chances of an Arab-Israeli peace, although we still believe that the removal of a dangerous radical tyrant like Saddam Hussein may make that difficult task somewhat easier. It was not because we believed Saddam Hussein had ordered the September 11 attack, although we believe the links between Saddam and al Qaeda are becoming clearer every day (see Stephen F. Hayes's article on page 33 of this issue). Nor did the United States and its allies go to war because we believed that some quantity of "yellowcake" was making its way from Niger to Iraq, or that Saddam was minutes away from launching a nuclear weapon against Chicago. We never believed the threat from Saddam was "imminent" in that sense.
The reason for war, in the first instance, was always the strategic threat posed by Saddam because of his proven record of aggression and barbarity, his admitted possession of weapons of mass destruction, and the certain knowledge of his programs to build more. It was the threat he posed to his region, to our allies, and to core U.S. interests that justified going to war this past spring, just as it also would have justified a Clinton administration decision to go to war in 1998. It was why Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, and many other top officials had concluded in the late 1990s that Saddam Hussein was an intolerable menace to his neighbors, to American allies, and ultimately to the United States itself, and therefore had eventually to be removed. It was also why a large number of Democrats, including John Kerry and General Wesley Clark, expressed support for the war last year, before Howard Dean and his roaring left wing of the Democratic party made support for "Bush's war" untenable for Democratic candidates.
NOTHING THAT HAS or has not been discovered in Iraq since the end of the war changes this fundamental judgment. Those who always objected to the rationale for the war want to use the failure so far to discover large caches of weapons to re-litigate the question. Democrats fearful of their party's left wing are using it to jump off the positions they held last year. That's politics. But back in the real world, the fact that David Kay's inspections teams have not yet found out what happened to Saddam's admitted stockpiles is not surprising. U.N. weapons inspectors did not find those caches of weapons in 12 years; Kay and his team have had about four months. Yes, we wish Saddam had left his chemical munitions and biological weapons neatly stacked up in a warehouse somewhere marked on the outside with a big, yellow skull and crossbones. We wish he had published his scientists' nuclear designs in the daily paper. Or we wish we could find the "Dear Diary" entry where he explains exactly what happened to all the weapons he built. But he did not leave these helpful hints behind.
After Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. military was led by an Iraqi to a part of the desert where, lo and behold, a number of MiG fighter jets had been buried under the sand. Note that the Americans did not discover the jets themselves. Discovering chemical and biological munitions will be somewhat harder. Kay recently reported to Congress that there are approximately 130 Ammunition Storage Points scattered across Iraq, a country the size of France. Many of the ammunition depots take up more than 50 square miles. Together they hold 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs, and other ordinance. Under Saddam, U.N. inspectors learned, the Iraqi military stored chemical ordnance at the same ammunition depots where the conventional rounds were stored. Do you know how many of the 130 Iraqi ammunition depots have been searched since the end of the war? Ten. Only 120 to go.
Saddam Hussein had four years of unfettered activity in which to hide and reconfigure his weapons programs. Our intelligence on this, as we noted earlier, may have been lousy. David Kay's task has essentially been to reconstruct a story we don't know. In fact, he's learned quite a bit in a very short time. For instance, as Kay reported to Congress, his team has uncovered "dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the U.N. during the inspections that began in late 2002" (emphasis added). In addition, based on admissions by Iraqi scientists and government officials, Kay and his team have discovered:
* A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment suitable for research in the production of chemical and biological weapons. This kind of equipment was explicitly mentioned in Hans Blix's requests for information, but was instead concealed from Blix throughout his investigations.
* A prison laboratory complex, which may have been used in human testing of biological weapons agents. Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections in 2002 and 2003 were explicitly ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the prison complex.
* So-called "reference strains" of biological organisms, which can be used to produce biological weapons. The strains were found in a scientist's home.
* New research on agents applicable to biological weapons, including Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and continuing research on ricin and aflatoxin--all of which was, again, concealed from Hans Blix despite his specific request for any such information.
* Plans and advanced design work on new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers--well beyond the 150-kilometer limit imposed on Iraq by the U.N. Security Council. These missiles would have allowed Saddam to threaten targets from Ankara to Cairo.
In addition to these banned activities, which were occurring right under the noses of the U.N. inspectors this past year, Kay and his team also discovered a massive effort to destroy evidence of weapons programs, an effort that began before the war and continued during it and even after the war. In the "looting" that followed the fall of Baghdad, computer hard drives were destroyed in government buildings--thus making the computers of no monetary value to actual looters. Kay also found documents burned or shredded. And people whom the Kay team tried to interview were in some cases threatened with retaliation by Saddam loyalists. Indeed, two of the scientists were subsequently shot. Others involved in the weapons programs have refused to talk for fear of eventual prosecution for war crimes.
Nevertheless, Kay has begun piecing together the story of what happened to Saddam's weapons and how he may have shifted direction in the years after 1998. It is possible that instead of building up large stockpiles of weapons, Saddam decided the safer thing would be to advance his covert programs for producing weapons but wait until the pressure was off to produce the weapons themselves. By the time inspectors returned to Iraq in 2002, Saddam was ready to be a little more forthcoming, because he had rejiggered his program to withstand somewhat greater scrutiny. Nevertheless, even then he could not let the inspectors see everything. Undoubtedly he hoped that if he could get through that last round, he would be home free, eventually without sanctions or further inspections.
There are no doubt some Americans who believe that this would have been an acceptable outcome. Or who believe that another six months of inspections would have uncovered all that Saddam was hiding. Or that a policy of "containment"--which included 200,000 troops on Iraq's borders as an inducement to permit inspections--could have been sustained indefinitely both at the U.N. Security Council and in Washington. We believe the overwhelming lesson of our history with Saddam is that none of these options would have succeeded. Had Saddam Hussein not been removed this year, it would have been only a matter of time before this president or some future president was compelled to take action against him, and in more dangerous circumstances.
There are people who will never accept this logic, who prefer to believe, or claim to believe, that the whole Iraq affair was, in the words of Ted Kennedy, a "fraud" "made up in Texas" for political gain, or who believe that it was the product of a vast conspiracy orchestrated by a tiny little band of "neoconservatives." Some of the people propagating this conspiratorial view of the Iraq war are now running for the Democratic nomination for president; one of them is even a former general who led the war against Slobodan Milosevic in 1999. We wish them the best of luck selling their conspiracy theories to the American people. But we trust Bill Clinton won't be stumping for them on this particular issue.
--Robert Kagan & William Kristol
12-24-2004, 10:50 AM #9
Would You Regard this as a Formidable Military Force?
-709,000 regular (active duty) personel.
-293,000 reserve troops.
-8 standing army divisions
-20 Air Force and Navy Wings with 2,000 combat aircraft
-232 strategic bombers
-19 strategic ballistic missile submarines with 3,114 nuclear warheads on 232 missiles.
-500 ICBM's with 1,950 warheads.
-4 aircraft carriers and 121 surface combat ships and submarines.
-Plus all the support bases, shipyards and logistical assests needed to sustain such a naval force.
Is this country:
Great Britain? No.
France? Wrong Again!
These are the American Military Forces that were eliminated during the administration of Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
12-24-2004, 10:51 AM #10
Positive News From Iraq Since The End Of Major Combat
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty·
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...nearly all of Iraq’s 400 courts are functioning.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...on Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts—exceeding the pre-war average.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, by October 1, Coalition forces had rehabbed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than their target.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...doctors’ salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...the Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s children.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...a Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals. They now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...we have restored over three-quarters of pre-war telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... there are 4,900 full-service connections. We expect 50,000 by January first.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...the wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns. Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...95 percent of all pre-war bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...the central bank is fully independent.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... Iraq has one of the world’s most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... Iraq (has) a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...satellite dishes are legal.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...foreign journalists aren't on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for “minders” and other government spies.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... there is no Ministry of Information.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...there are more than 170 newspapers.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... you can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... foreign journalists and everyone else are free to come and go.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...a nation that had not one single element—legislative, judicial or executive-- of a representative government, does.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...in Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad’s first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq’s history, run the day-to-day business of government.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...the Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...Shia religious festivals that were all but banned, aren't.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... for the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...the Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of (a) strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...Uday and Queasy are dead - and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to his zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games...murdering critics.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or are forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...millions of longsuffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...Saudis will hold municipal elections.*
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents.*
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.*
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian -- a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.* ~ * VP Cheney, 10/17
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...he has not faltered or failed.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...Saddam is gone.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... Iraq is free.
Q: You will not deny the use of force is only the last resort?
A: "I not only deny it, I denounce it as a mischevious, dangerous cliche. Force should be resorted to when the absence of force does not affect an imperative national objective and should always be used when less force guards against the use of more force at a later time. A lesser force used against Hitler in 1937 would have prevented the need for a greater force used against him beginning in 1941. The difference between the two modes of force is measured by about 45 million lives."
William F. Buckley Jr.
12-24-2004, 05:22 PM #11
Yeah JDAWG.......things are going SO well.......that's why there are suicide bombers walking right into mess halls.......you really don't get it do you?.....
IRAQ is free?......that's why one of the biggest contractors just pulled out because of security concerns.......that's why tens of thousands of civilians have died......
Why didn't we start with requiring a democracy in Kuwait when we saved their butts???......huh JDAWG???.......why is there still a MONARCHY there????
WHY'S THAT????.........how about SAUDI ARABIA????......why no democracy there JDAWG????.........maybe because the asshole politicians you so dearly love have sold their souls??
12-24-2004, 08:14 PM #12Originally Posted by Badgerman
You can thank our troops in the future, just like you should be thanking Ronald Reagan for winning the last war...
12-24-2004, 09:11 PM #13
If god comes down and shouts in a thunderous voice that Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had a link then i gaurantee you even he was misinformed! because the Saddam hussein regime would never become allies with a lowly poorly armed and worthelss scum (in saddams opinion). He could easily afford the best russian and french and eastern european military technology so why do u still think he wanted to train crappy sag-bellies that were deported from saudi and other places and went to afghanistan?
You can believe the ties all u want man, its all over and done with now, we have saddam and bin laden is drinking egg-nog with bush and saddam waiting for the day they 'announce' his capture.
12-24-2004, 09:45 PM #14
this is a picture of my roomates best freind in highschool. My sister is going to alabama then getting deployed to Iraq.
12-27-2004, 08:02 AM #15
If you are so much better than the leaders that have been thouroughly schooled in war from schools such as Westpoint, then why don't you get off your a$$, stop posting pointless $hit in online forums, join the military, work your way up the ranks, and do something about it.
It's people like you that have never served that have all the opinions. Unless you have served in the military, your opinion is invalid. Just like if you don't vote, your opinion is invalid when bitching about the president.
I served my time and I know about the stressfull decisions you have to make. And I also know that if the country or the military were led by pussies like you, we would be equalls to France, Pakistan, or even Iraq.
So shut the f*ck up you little b1tch.
12-27-2004, 07:39 PM #16Originally Posted by 9000rpm
12-27-2004, 07:45 PM #17Writer
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
Keep it civil.
12-27-2004, 10:23 PM #18
Just pointing out Cheney never served.......
but 9000 probably thinks he's a god......
12-28-2004, 04:58 PM #19Originally Posted by Badgerman
12-28-2004, 05:01 PM #20
I love Cheney.............he makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside!
I need a t-shirt that says that to go with my I love Halliburton shirt!
12-28-2004, 05:12 PM #21Originally Posted by 1victor
12-28-2004, 11:10 PM #22Originally Posted by 9000rpm
So Cheney was a great guy doing business with Iran through the Cayman island subsidiary of Halliburton???...............you have a strange definition of wonderful.....
12-29-2004, 03:02 AM #23Originally Posted by Jdawg50
12-29-2004, 10:10 AM #24Originally Posted by cjp85
calling me on my own game... I do, its weak though.. I can at least admit it, and I am sure I can find the data, although I'm not going to.
Dont have time, kinda dun with this whole thing if ya know what I mean.
As soon as I heard about Cheney and Halburton... I was done with this thread.. already been there done that.
Besides I have not seen anyone try to refute that data.
12-29-2004, 03:25 PM #25Originally Posted by Jdawg50
12-29-2004, 03:38 PM #26Originally Posted by 9000rpm
I worked in DC for congress during the Clinton administration (For a Repub Congressman) and saw the same thing. So, there is 2 additional anacdotal stories.
Still waiting for a rebuttle of those numbers
12-29-2004, 03:56 PM #27
I have even read articles about how his civilian office staffers were always very rude to even the higher ranking generals while in the White House. I have read these same remarks in several different places, so I can see them being true. The Clinton admin. was just a military unfriendly admin. And look where it got us.
I think Clinton was a pretty good president, but he also made TONS of bad decisions about defense. I think Madeline Albright had bigger balls than he did. That was one tough b*tch. I totally respect her,....even though she's a democrat.
12-29-2004, 03:56 PM #28
Actually it was probably Reagan that started alot of the problems.......and who was pres when the Shah of Iran was installed??......President after president has made bonehead moves in the mideast.......who started the CIA relationship with Bin Laden???
Blame 911 on that prez.
Who started the CIA relationship with Saddam??.....blame both gulf wars on that prez.
Cutting the military does not cause terrorist attacks......diplomatic blunders do the most damage.
12-29-2004, 04:11 PM #29
Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Endangered America's Long-Term National Security
by Robert Patterson
Here is a great first hand account of what when on during the Clinton administration.
I have an additional copy if you want it.
Last edited by Jdawg50; 12-29-2004 at 04:27 PM.
12-29-2004, 04:20 PM #30Originally Posted by Badgerman
And for the middle east, I'm fed up with that whole situation. After the oil runs out, I say pull out and leave all of those cracker jack countries to fight amongst themselves and kill each other. The more of them that die, the better the rest of the world will be. Why can't tsunami's happen to the ****ty places in the world like the middle east. I say drown that whole area under water.
12-29-2004, 04:54 PM #31Originally Posted by 9000rpm
I'm sure the people of the world wish we would drown......reduce the burden on the earth's natural resources by alot.......toys toys toys......consume consume consume........but I must admit the Japanese are the WORST with regards to the ocean.......they would eat EVERYTHING in the sea if given the chance
12-29-2004, 05:46 PM #32
OK, What pres was great? Carter?
Is there anyone you do like?
12-29-2004, 05:56 PM #33
As you all know I am "a bit" religious.
We are all to blame, all nations all governments, all religions. Greed is the key factor in all of it. Greed for power and money. Essentially evil people have been steering the wheel since recorded time. I can't understand those people. Living on the backs of others. Is success a sin? No. Is having nice things and cars? No.
Doing it at the cost of others is. No one that I am aware of has ever gotten Forbes list type wealthy without it. I have seen the greed factor in people I knew as good people. The more they get the less they want to share it with the people who got them rich. Greed grows and grows.
I believe that the anti-Christ will arise from the middleast, and it has already begun.
12-29-2004, 06:05 PM #34Originally Posted by Jdawg50
12-29-2004, 06:12 PM #35New Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
you cant dispute Cheney's intellegence, his experience is impressive.
12-29-2004, 10:39 PM #36Originally Posted by kage
12-29-2004, 10:58 PM #37
How about an answer? Who do you admire as a political figure?
12-29-2004, 11:23 PM #38Originally Posted by Jdawg50
12-30-2004, 01:08 AM #39Originally Posted by cjp85
12-30-2004, 01:27 AM #40
As a PERSON I think Jimmy Carter is a good man.......he kind of got stuck with a bad economy. The basic problem is that the people who NEED to be our leaders don't do it because they have real lives. It goes from the local level on up. Right here in our little town the mayor and councilmen are just power hungry knobs with special interests pulling strings. Most good people don't want the hassle of being a politician. People that desire the presidency have to have a kind of power hungry mentality that is difficult to stomach......imagine running around for eight years with secret service all around you?....or running around campaigning......personally you couldn't give me the job.....yuck......so it takes a style of person that I really don't particularly find appealling or heroic at all. A friend of mind knew a secret service guy for LBJ.....I guess he was just a totally gross knoob.......
Presidents are kind of like rock stars with suits.......not my idea of a hero.
I like Colin Powell pretty well but I think he gets stuck in tough spots........I also liked Rev. Sharpton......pretty smart guy but unelectable.
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