Thursday, October 12, 2006

In the months after September 11th, 2001, the administration of George W. Bush put together a plan to strike back at the terrorists who attacked the United States. In hindsight it is obvious that this was a misguided and incomplete plan. The reasons for going to war were fabricated and inaccurate. After a year of deliberation, the combined forces of the Unites States Intelligence Community developed vapid threads connecting Iraq to the Al-Qaida attackers. In fact, Bush practically made the case that Iraq could very well be behind all the terrorist threats to the free world and that we had to take the War on Terror to the shores of those who presented the greatest known threat.

Statements made by high profile members of the Bush administration before the intelligence analysis was complete created pressure on the Intelligence Community to come up with evidence to support their claims.

“Saddam Hussein has said in no uncertain terms, that he would use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He has, at this moment, stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and is pursuing nuclear weapons.” - Rumsfeld, Testimony Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 9/19/02

“Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. And the battlefield has now shifted to America…” - President Bush, 9/19/2002

“You can’t distinguish between Al-Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror” – President Bush, 9/25/02

“We know they have weapons of mass destruction. We know they have active programs.” - Rumsfeld, DoD News Briefing, 9/26/02

“The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons… and according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given.” - President Bush, Radio Address, 9/28/06

On October 1, 2002 the National Intelligence Community presented the classified NIE report on Iraq’s WMD assessment. The NIE, or National Intelligence Estimate, is to provide policy-makers with the best, most unbiased, collaborative, assessment of the combined resources of the National Intelligence Community as a whole. Usually an assessment like this takes months to prepare but this NIE was cobbled together within weeks. A few days later the declassified White Papers were released. This report contained the evidence many congressmen used to base their decision to vote for the use of force, if necessary, in Iraq. As well, the public viewed the White Papers as the Intelligence Community’s final conclusions on the threat, which painted a grim picture of a madman with his finger on the button to destroy America and its interests at anytime.

Conclusion that the NIE drew, that Congress used to vote for the War in Iraq are outlined as follows:

- We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in defiance of UN resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.
- Iraq has largely rebuilt missile and biological weapons facilities.
- Baghdad has exceeded UN range limits of 150 km with its ballistic missiles and is working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
- Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them.
- If Baghdad acquires sufficient fissile material from abroad it could make a nuclear weapon within several months to a year.
- Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009
- We assess that Baghdad has begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, GF (cyclosarin), and VX; its capability probably is more limited now than it was at the time of the Gulf war, although VX production and agent storage life probably have been improved.
- We judge that all key aspects--R&D, production, and weaponization--of Iraq's offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf war.
- Iraq maintains a small missile force and several development programs, including for a UAV probably intended to deliver biological warfare agent.
- We have low confidence in our ability to assess when Saddam would use WMD.
- Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger cause for making war.
- Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al-Qa'ida--with worldwide reach and extensive terrorist infrastructure, and already engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the United States--could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct.

Confidence Levels for Selected Key Judgments in This Estimate:

High Confidence:

· Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding, its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.
· We are not detecting portions of these weapons programs.
· Iraq possesses proscribed chemical and biological weapons and missiles.
· Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grad fissile material

Moderate Confidence:

· Iraq does not yet have a nuclear weapon or sufficient material to make one but is likely to have a weapon by 2007 to 2009. (See INR alternative view, page 84).

Low Confidence

· When Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction.
· Whether Saddam would engage in clandestine attacks against the US Homeland.
· Whether in desperation Saddam would share chemical or biological weapons with al-Qa'ida.

The resolution to use force against Iraq passed the House on October 10, 2002, and by the Senate on October 11, 2002. Most of the Senators and Congressmen used this flawed report as a basis to vote for the use of force. President Bush signed the law on October 16, 2002.

In November the U.N. adopt Resolution 1441 that says that Iraq must submit to tougher U.N. inspections but does not allow for the United States to use force. The U.N. inspectors then had unfettered access to all the plants and sites that they want to inspect. Despite multiple pleas from the inspectors get copies of American Intelligence reports on the production of WMDs, the U.S.did not produce such documents. All the while, the administration claimed that they wanted more and better evidence that Iraq did not have an existing WMD program. Rumors abounded that Iraq buried the WMDs in the desert before the inspectors could find them. Saddam Hussein allowed the inspections to go on within Iraq.

In Press Conferences Ari Fleisher continued to reiterate the fact that the administration of the United States and the United Kingdom knew for sure that Iraq had WMDs and in order to stem an invasion attack, Saddam Hussein must produce them. He also flaunted the absurdity of believing Saddam Hussein over the opinions of highly respected Americans like George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

After weapons inspectors failed to prove or disprove Iraq harbored secret WMDs, Colin Powell stood in front of the U.N. to present his multi-part report that exposed Iraq’s danger to the world. Most of what he presented was uncorroborated and unverified. To date, the evidence against Iraq has been very thin and transparently fabricated from old reports and evidence based on what is not there rather than what is.

On the 20th of March of 2003 the United States, Great Britain and a loose coalition of nations went to war with the nation of Iraq. With an offensive attack called “Shock and awe” the United States dropped bombs and launched missiles into Baghdad that were meant to demoralize the enemy and break its will to fight. If the idea worked, there would be little if any ground fighting. American forces could march right into the capital, destruction laced among the buildings and thoroughfares of the Iraqi city, and take control with minimal U. S. casualties. Comparisons were made to Hiroshima; such was the impact the military meant to impose on Iraq.

“Shock and Awe” also is known in the National Defense University as rapid dominance. Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, the authors of the strtegy, describe rapid dominance as attempting "to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary to fit or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe," (1) and "impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on . . . [to] seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary's perceptions and understanding of events that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at the tactical and strategic levels." (2)

Since that time it has been anything but a quick and decisive battle. Despite the proclamation of the president when he dressed up as a fighter pilot (ironic since in the Air National Guard he was suspended from flight duty) the mission has not been accomplished.

According to the Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Iraq’s relationship to Al-Qaida was misread and unsupported considering his previous dealings with extremists groups.

He viewed extremists as a threat to his regime and any information about Al-Qaida’s view of the relationship was contradictory as both a desire to gain support from Saddam Hussein and a distain of working with secular regimes like Iraq. Debriefing of Abu Zubaydah, a captured Al-Qaida senior coordinator of training, revealed that Abu felt that any relationship between Saddam and Al-Qaida would be viewed by bin Laden as distracting to its mission although he did say that Al-Qaida contact Abu Mu’sab al-Zarqawi had a good relationship with Iraqi Intelligence. The assessment, despite evidence to the contrary, was that Al-Qaida and Iraq had meetings. The real evidence supports the assumption that the contacts were through third parties and not very strongly supported by the leadership on either side.

Reports that there were close ties between Iraq and Al-Qaida and that Al-Qaida had set up training facilities within Iraq’s borders are at the most unreliable and contradictory. The only two pieces of evidence connecting the Iraqi government to the September 11th hijackers were deemed by the CIA itself to be tenuous and unsubstantial. They relied on two instances where alleged Iraqi nationals were to have met with directly assisted in the facilitation of the attacks of the attackers.

Saddam Hussein’s human rights records were also held up as reasons for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although ancillary in its appeal when all else fails the supporters of the war effort could point to undeniably atrocious acts by Saddam Hussein and his regime on his own people. The list of his abuses is long and publicly available. It is well known that Saddam Hussein carried out atrocities against the Iraqi Kurdish minority, the Shia Arabs and that he used chemical weapons against the Kurds and the Iranian military in the Iran-Iraq War.

The White Papers report released in 2002 also outline the atrocities dating back to 1983. In that time, from 1983 to 1988, Hussein used chemical weapons such as Mustard Gas, a blister agent causing blistering and burning of skin, eyes and lungs and Tabun and other nerve agents which causes convulsions and loss of consciousness, against thousands of Kurds and Iranians. The period of time covered predates the War in Iraq by a period of 15 to 20 years. The report also outlined biological weapons testing—including Anthrax—from 1988 to 1991, a period predating the War in Iraq by 12 to 20 years.

Iraq has not stopped at human abuse and has showed little hesitation in using ecological destruction as part of its war efforts. During the Gulf War in 1991 he had his army set fires to the Kuwaiti oil wells and pumped oil into the Persian Gulf. He drained the marshlands of the Marsh Arabs to essentially destroying their habitat and culture.

Looking at the original claims and assesments of the Intelligence community in 2002, the terror threat to the United States and the free nations of the world have not significantly dropped. Countless acts of terror against countires in Eruope and against individuals in Iraq have been carried out against us in the Jihad of the Muslim extremists. Even in the shadow of the evil that these terrorists do, America’s reputation has been severly damaged on the world stage. Bush claimed in 2004, when he won the national election, that he had political capital to spend. He has now bankrupted the political coffer, taking all of America down with him.

Several sources were used to write this article:

Iraq WMD National Intelligence Estimate Report retrieved from FAS website and the website of George Washington University.

Info on FAS from Wikipedia.

1. Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, Shock And Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance
2. Ullman and Wade, , Shock And Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance

1 comment:

Manny said...

Please forgive me for the insensitive remarks in my latest post. It was not my desire to anger any community except the Religious Right. They are acting like little children with their fingers in their ears going, "La la la...I can't hear you!"
If you go through my whole stupid blog, you will see that I am a follower of the TEACHINGS of Jesus, and that they apply to EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION.
The Jews are God's chosen people. NOT the "Born Againers", or anyone else for that matter. The Christians support the Nation of Isreal, yet they believe that all Jews are going to hell because we won't "admit" that Jesus is the Messiah.
So, please forgive me for the callousness of the post. (I was listening to the Bruch Violin Concerto as I wrote it.)