Wars

Afghan-wheat.jpgAfghanistan

  About 80% of Afghanistan's 30-million population live on about $1/day. Their total annual income is only $8.8 billion. So if we took just 8% of the $115 billion we're spending there and spent it on Afghanistan's subsistence farmers, we would double their incomes.

Instead we spend less than 1%, and that goes mainly goes to Western advisers and middlemen. We invent complex programs to teach them better agricultural techniques and plant pomegranate trees, which take many years to bear fruit. These programs are designed by "development" specialists who do not seem to think about what it takes to win a war.

So our allies are not the farmers, but the warlords who make far more off opium than does the Taliban. The farmers hate growing opium and hate borrowing to grow it. And often they end up so deep in debt that they send their sons to fight with the Taliban, and not because they like the Taliban. It's just economics.

It's surely too late now, but here's the sort of thing we should being doing to defeat terrorism.  more >>


predator-firing-missile.jpg
Predator Firing Missile

Pakistan

If you think drones are bad, read about Vietnam below. B52's were easily 100 times worse in terms of killing civilians. And although drones are piloted from half way around the world, their destruction is far more visible to their pilots. This is better, not worse. It makes war less anonymous. Read on an you will see that drones may well be more popular with the locals in the targeted areas than you would ever imagine.

I'm not saying drones are the right policy. The downside in terms of Pakistani politics is enormous. But those who see them as a horrible new development never seem to look at what came before. My own preference is for shifting toward smart economic policies, as I describe for Afghanistan.
 


Baghdad_Iraq.gifIraq War

The Iraq war was not Bush's war. It was Cheney's war and it was the neoconservative's war. They organized PNAC, a neocon think tank, in 1997, mainly to overthrow Saddam (who surely deserved it). They got lucky with 9/11 and were well prepared, having already made plans for the invasion, even going so far as to estimate troop levels.

They hoped the road to Iran would lead through Bhagdad, but instead, they ended up installing a Shiite government and vastly increasing the strength of Al Qaeda in Iraq (under Saddam it was essentially non-existent).  Amazingly, nine guys with overlapping roles in three "think tanks" were responsible for the entire disaster.


Bush+Nguyen+Ho-Chi+Laura_0.jpgVietnam

 The US Defense Department sacrificed over 50,000 brave American servicemen, killed 2,000,000 Vietnamese and dropped more tonnage of bombs on Cambodia (see map) than the Allies dropped on Europe in WWII. And we bombed Laos back to the stone age. All this so that Vietnam would not be taken over by Nguyen and his wife standing below a bust of Ho Chi Minh, and George Bush would not have to shake Nguyen's hand, and Vietnam would not become a tourist destination and business partner for Americans. But this massive Pentagon project failed. Completely.

Some say we could have prevented this dreadful outcome, if only the military had not been constrained, and could have killed more, lost more men and bombed more. Or we could have just used our nukes. Surely they are right. We could have won.

Programs like health care and social security spend money helping Americans, and yes, some of the money is wasted. But that waste cannot hold a candle to the Vietnam-Cambodia war. Yet the Party that says it is most concerned with big government and waste has never noticed. They just smile and ask for more hundreds of billions.
 


 

Syria

Just getting started, 9/8/2103

Big Picture in the Middle East:

The Ba'ath Party (closely related to Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party) took power in 1963, and the Assad family gained control of that in 1971. The Assads are Alawites and odd type of Shia sect which accounts for 12% of Syria's population, and Assad's popularity does not extend much further.

Syria has been Iran's main ally in the region, and Russia is Syria's most powerful ally. Since Saudi Arabia is predominantly Sunni as is the majority of the Syrian opposition, 

American Protesters:

Strangely, US anti-war protesters joined forces with pro-Assad Syrians to back Assad and condem Obama. Generally they denied that Assad had used never gas to kill 1,400. They also failed to notice that Assad had previously killed roughly 100,000, so that argued that he must not have used the gas because he would not have killed his own people. Neither did they notice that Assad had started the war.

Syria, US, torture

Here are "progressive" protestor siding with one of the most brutal and reactionary dictators of the modern world again President Obama. They are carrying Assad's flag and a picture of him looking kindly and benevolent. Such pictures are not easy to find. (NYT, Sep 9, 2013)

Syria-NYT-demo-2013-09.jpg

Here is an account from PBS of how George Bush and the CIA used Syria to torture people they felt might be dangerous. One was a Canadian caught in New York, who was tortured for a year. Eventual he was declared innocent and the Canadian goverment paid him $10 million dollars.

Syria-PBS-renditions.png

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan

A sign of hope in Afghanistan

May 3, 2014. Top presidential contender Ashraf Ghani (Pashtun—like the Taliban) earned his Ph.D. at Columbia and is running with Abdul Rashid Dostum an Uzbek. Ghani was the country's most able finance minister, and a negotiator of the Bilateral Security Agreement (with the US) which all the major candidates would sign because it is deeply popular with the Afghan people—although hated by the corrupt Prisident Karzai. Read the full CNN report. Elections are Sat. May 5th.

Afghanistan Basics

November 27, 2011. Its population is larger, but much poorer, than Iraq's. Eighty percent of its 35 million live on an average of $1 per day (actually less). For $10 billion, one tenth of what we spend on the military, we could give those 28 million another $1 a day and double their income. Stop and think how you would feel if someone doubled your income. Doubled! We would be vastly more popular.

Given the popular support that would buy, we could cut the military budget in half and still kick out the Taliban. In fact they would lose most of their recruits which are the children of families too poor to provide for their children, even by growing opium.

But instead we run tiny aid programs that pay most of their money to Western experts and corrupt officials. And we run a war that costs ten times as much as the country's total income.

So Why Can't We Spare a Dime Out of Every Dollar We Waste?

After much reading, the only answer I can find is that "subsidies would get them hooked on subsidies and that would be bad for them." Worse than getting hooked on opium? Worse than getting hooked on credit from opium-growing war lords? Worse than a twenty year war? Worse than having the Taliban take over? What are our experts smoking?

Afghan-wheat.jpgPerhaps we should stop the subsidies to our own farmers and stop the $8 billion or so we spend subsidizing corn ethanol. But never mind. How could we actually give out the money and make sure it ended up in the right hands? As I explain, the answer is, buy wheat. And as to being hooked on subsidies, for one year's cost of the war we could taper down the subsidies over twenty years after we left and let them transition on their own. What studies of rural Afghanistan make clear is that when people get a few dollars more income they invest in farm animals, different crops, and land improvements. The Afghans are a resourceful people, and when you're living on $2 a day, you think about how you spend that money. Perhaps we should think about how we spend our money too. 


2.2 Million Girls Going to School in Afghanistan

  UNICEF xlnk.gif reports that it's helping to build 72 new schools, but that in 2008 there were 283 violent attacks on schools, killing 92 and injuring 169. As the Taliban takes over an area in Pakistan, one of the first things it does is blow up all the girls schools. This is not a Muslim, or even a Pashtun, custom. It's the Taliban's terroristic mixture of the two.

Unfortunately, the U.S. supported similar terrorists to attack the Soviets in Afghanistan, and when they won, we did nothing to stabilize the country. So the people suffered immensely under a war between the warlords—which the Taliban eventually won.


Why Obama Can't [Couldn't] Leave Afghanistan

   No American President could leave Afghanistan—even if they thought our chances there were poor. What would happen if Obama just brought our troops home? (1) The Taliban would take over most of the country for sure—they almost have now. (2) They would invite al Qaeda in again—they are still protecting them. (3) Al Qaeda would attack the U.S. and Europe more vigorously—they are now (2009) the brains behind much of what the Taliban does, and would then virtually have their own country.

This is the clincher. With more freedom to operate, they'd probably have a 50/50 chance of scoring another 9/11 or worse. If that happened, the Democratic party would be dead. If that were not enough, a Taliban controlled Afghanistan would be a perpetual threat to Pakistan, and might eventually take some nukes.

 Now that Obama has killed Osama, and now that more Republicans favor a greatly reduced presence in Afghanistan, it should be politically possible to wind down the war. And indeed Obama started that process on schedule. It is still a tragedy that American cannot stop and think about what we could do with half as much money that would transform the whole Af-Pak problem. Instead, we follow the purely military path to one disaster after another. The problem is balance. On foreign policy, we spend about 100 to 1 in favor of the military—all because helping others is considered a waste of money, but bombing them is not.


 

 

Wheat Is the Answer

Unfortunately, the US military is notoriously bureaucratic. But, still, it does seem to be learning, and it was the civilians that pushed it into Iraq and kept the focus off Afghanistan when there was a reasonable chance of success.

At this point I see no hope for a good outcome. But as late as four years ago, I think we still might have taken the country back from the drug lords and Taliban and handed it over to a more traditional government. The key to such a strategy would have been wheat.


Afghan-wheat.jpgWhy Wheat Is the Answer

  • Almost every Afghan farmer grows wheat—there's no need to teach them how.
  • High wheat-shortage prices cause farmers to shift significantly from opium to wheat.
  • Asia has chronic wheat shortages, so it would not go to waste.
  • Paying enough to make this happen costs a lot less than the war.
  • It would double the income of the 80% of the population that needs it.
  • This would solve the warlord problem.
  • They get most of the drug money. They run the country.
  • That's who we are fighting for now. If we win we lose.

Buying wheat would change the game—in our favor. It's not cheap, but it would save us a lot of money because losing for $90 B/year is not cheap either.

  • The key: Buy wheat for $1.50/kg, and sell wheat flour for $0.25/kg

What's the cost? Afghanistan only grows half its wheat now, but assume it grew it all and we bought it all. 5 billion kilograms = $6.25 B/year net cost.

Opium?  Opium is only 2 or 3 times more profitable per acre than wheat, at the normal price of wheat, $0.25/kg. But that's the wrong measure. Land is not the main cost of opium. Labor is. Figuring labor, it's much closer. In fact (PDF report Table 1 xlnk.gif) richer farmers with a little flexibility only grow about 40% poppies in the area where opium is most profitable. Even a $0.50/kg price of wheat, for a short time in 2008, made a noticeable dent in opium. A $1.50 sustained price, it would knock out most opium.

Drug lords?  Everywhere in the world where there is massive illegal drug trade, there is massive violence, instability, and corruption. No opium, no drug trade. This is already happening [as of 2008] in the north (most of Afghanistan). It can happen in the south.

Taliban?  The Taliban skims about 10% off of the $3B/year opium trade, and that would rapidly diminish. But they can tax other things if they want. Their support comes from the poorest layer of society. Average income is $1/day, so the average for the poorest half of society is probably about $0.50 or less. This comes to about $3B. In other words, this purchase would more than double their income. (Opium farmers only make $0.7B.) The choice between doubled income and a repressive religion that you don't like is an easy one.

Development:  The traditional development establishment is right; many more things matter. But this would make all of them much easier. And much would just happen. That has been seen. When people get more money, they buy farm animals, plant more kinds of crops, and agricultural trade takes off—even without expert assistance.

Security:  Fewer Taliban, fewer drug lords, much more appreciation of the foreigners. All this makes security far easier for the U.S. to provide directly or by training Afghanis.

Why hasn't this been done?  Consider the excellent effort of the British development team, DFID, which is spending about $4 million in Helmand province, the heart of Taliban opium, which accounts for 65% of Afghanistan's opium. They are using wheat to replace opium, and getting more done for their money than the Buy-Wheat approach. But they tell us "The dividend will be reaped in the medium to long term, and will require ... massive, coordinated and continuous investment. ...This provides a daunting challenge for the government. ... There are no shortcuts."

Given their extreme budget constraints they are right. But spend 1000 times more money—which is still 20 times less than the military budget—and things could speed up. A lot. There are shortcuts! And given the rapid advance of the Taliban, "no shortcut" means defeat. It is time to think different, as we say in America.

How do you prevent wheat-subsidy corruption?  There are wheat mills scattered throughout Afghanistan. NATO would have to secure a lot of these, and probably expand them. These would buy wheat at a subsidized price (Hey we know how to do this in the Midwest) and sell the flour at market prices. Milling the wheat would mean no one could sell it to you twice. There would be some middle men trying to skim off the subsidy, but farmers would fight hard to stop this, and there would be a lot of competition between middle men unless they were part of someone's army. The worst of this could be stopped and we would have most of the population on our side.


Main Afghanistan Resource Sites

UN Drugs & Crime xlnk.gif Publications
David Mansfield xlnk.gif, Top field-work researcher
US AID xlnk.gif, Afghan Provinces
World Bank xlnk.gif Afghanistan Opium Report
World Food Program xlnk.gif Afghanistan
Council on Foreign Relations xlnk.gif Standard security views.
 
Afghanistan minor sites and documents
ICoS xlnk.gif International Council on Security and Development, Favors legal medical opium cultivation. Policy advice and research
RAWA xlnk.gif Woman of Afghanistan News, opium article
Peter Dale Scott xlnk.gif, Useful bibligraphy
 

James Nathan: Buy all Afghanistan's Opium
May 9, 2009, Stoft.  Source xlnk.gif
Nathan, a former Foreign Service officer, explains why buying all of Afghanistan's Opium would do more good than 10 times the money spent on military operations. At most it would cost about $5 billion. We're now spending $65B/year. see also Jonathan Power xlnk.gif

I looked into this approach first. I ran the number on how much opium production could expand. This strategy would end in catastrophe. Buying wheat is safe and moves everyone in the right direction.

 


Clinton figures out agriculture xlnk.gif is important. But she wants to retrain the farmers and bring them electricity. Fine. But that takes five years if you're lucky. Getting this job done one year quicker will save enough money to buy all the opium for 20 years.

 

 

Taliban

The Man Who Trained the Taliban Was Trained at Fort Bragg

   He worked for the ISI the Pakistani "CIA." He trained Afghans to fight the Russians, then he trained Mullah Omar Leader of the Afghan Taliban. Then after the U.S. kicked the Taliban out and they went to Pakistan, he kept them supported there. He is "Colonel Imam," Amir Sultan Tarar xlnk.gif.

 

 

 

Colonel Imam

Colonel Imam: A man who knows the Taliban better than anyone gives his opinion to the Times of London

Perhaps no man alive knows Mullah Omar, his Taleban insurgents and the American military quite so well as “Colonel Imam”, a battle-creased Pakistani officer who wears a faded British paratrooper’s jacket and a turban.

As a top agent for the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, Colonel Imam recruited, trained and armed almost every one of Afghanistan’s prominent insurgents and warlords during the 1980s. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Ahmed Shah Massoud and Jalaluddin Haqqani were all his charges or colleagues at one time.

“I have the Green Beret,” Colonel Imam smiled, recalling the US special forces qualification gained in Fort Bragg in 1973. “But I think this Taleban beret is better.”

He escorted Charlie Wilson, the Texan congressman who funnelled millions of dollars to the Mujahidin, into Afghanistan three times and once took the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, then the CIA’s Deputy Director, to a Mujahidin camp near the border. But his closest relationship was with Mullah Omar, the Taleban’s fugitive leader, whom he taught to fight and survive, and to bring down one superpower and tie down another, over 30 years of war.

“He’s a very wise man,” the Colonel remarked of his former student. “The peace of his nation is a supreme requirement but . . . it can only come with the liberation of the area. He should stick to that. He has no means to throw the Americans out but he can tire the Americans.

“[The Taleban] will not be tired. They are used to it. They are fighting addicts who will be happy to keep fighting. America will be tired ultimately. They are already tired. They may get tired like the Soviet Union.”

Colonel Imam, now 65, is scathing about both the US military surge and Britain’s initiative to buy off biddable Taleban elements. “Every senior officer knows it is a mistake to reinforce the error, to put more fuel on the fire of failure. And the bribe strategy is a shameless job for the British.

“Gordon Brown devised it. It’s wrong and dirty. It might have been effective in 2002, 2003, when [the Taleban] weren’t clear as to their future and were disillusioned. Not today.”

He insisted that only direct dialogue between the Afghan authorities and Mullah Omar himself, without the interference of the Americans, could end the conflict — along with the withdrawal of Nato forces. “Dialogue is the deadliest weapon against them ... [The Afghans] should compromise on their stances and the occupation forces should say goodbye. But they should rehabilitate as they go, so that people don’t remember them as enemies.”

Key to the strategy outlined by Colonel Imam was the fate of al-Qaeda. “If he’s given a free hand Mullah Omar will be able to harness the al-Qaeda people,” he suggested. “He wouldn’t want to pollute the situation. He will segregate them and he’ll see what should be their disposal. No other leader can do it.”

Colonel Imam, whose real name is Amir Sultan Tarar, was chosen for the job of running Mujahidin training and operations by the ISI because of his skills and US military experience. At one time he had 200 specialist staff who put as many as 95,000 Mujahidin through US-funded camps during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

It was in one of these camps in 1985 that he met Mullah Omar. He and his comrades were being taught the skills of insurgency and being trained in bomb-making, ambush techniques and intelligence gathering.

Colonel Imam frequently accompanied and directed Mujahidin teams inside Afghanistan against the Russians and it was he who later sent Mullah Omar back to Karachi for treatment when he was wounded and lost an eye.

They saw each other again in Kandahar in 1994. The Soviets were long gone and Afghanistan was in the grip of civil war. Mullah Omar had been appointed “Emir” of the Taleban.

Colonel Imam, still a serving officer, was by then Consul-General in Herat. Colonel Imam’s critics allege that he was the senior Pakistani ISI officer who backed and directed the Taleban’s subsequent ascent to power.

“That claim is exaggerated,” he responded. “I didn’t have to advise Mullah Omar. He had a lot of experience. But I’d drop by and have a cup of tea with him. Naturally . . . then we’d talk about the situation also.”

Some Afghan intelligence figures have suggested that Colonel Imam still maintains his relationship with the Taleban, as a key figure among a renegade group of ISI officers.

“Why should I go to Afghanistan now?” he mused. “The whole world would know I was there. I wouldn’t want to create a problem for them.

“Besides, the Taleban are doing a better job than me. They’re teaching the ISI and CIA a few things too.”

Indeed, Colonel Imam insists that he has not seen the Taleban’s supreme leader since the autumn of 2001, as American bombs dropped on Kandahar. “The bombing started and I was recalled back [to Pakistan]. I said goodye to him and said, ‘If you want I can remain with you’. He said, ‘No, go back and pray for us’. I’m praying for them.”

Back in Pakistan, Colonel Imam immediately got into a furious row with Pervez Musharraf, the President at the time, over Pakistan’s sudden cessation of support for the Taleban after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

“I told him, ‘I spent 18 years with them and they cannot be defeated’,” Colonel Imam recalled. “He told me I didn’t know what a superpower was. But I’d just seen one crumble in front of me across the border and cease to exist. It hadn’t been the support of the Americans that had done that, but conviction in their cause.”

The subsequent war has served as an epitaph for the final vestiges of the Colonel’s relationship with America.

When Charlie Wilson died this month the Pakistani officer avoided his funeral. “The man was not a friend,” he said. “Otherwise I would have sold my jacket and at least gone over there, seen his grave and come back. But he used us. All Americans used us. They hijacked our problems and left us to the dogs.”

Pakistan

Drone Attacks: Interviewing the Neighborhood

  The Pakistan government complains publicly that the U.S. has violated its sovereignty each time a drone attack strikes down another handful of terrorists. But by all accounts, Pakistan authorizes, and provides intelligence for, these strikes. The complaint is just for show.

Drone Attacks are extremely difficult to research, but Farhat Taj has done it. She's a researcher with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research in Oslo, so you can be pretty sure she's no right winger, and probably not too pro-U.S. So when she tells us the drone attacks are very popular with the tribes-people of Waziristan, I think you can believe her. It makes sense. If I lived under the Taliban and Al Qaeda, I'm sure I'd be more than a little pleased every time one of those bloody bombers of Mosques, volley ball games and girls schools got blown to pieces. So read her and see if she does not give you a new perspective.


The Pakistani Dictator Flees Pakistan

  Pervez Musharraf, now "the most hated person in the country" has just fled Pakistan. Unfortunately, the U.S. supported him throughout the Bush years earning the hatred of much of Pakistan's population.

It was reported as early as Oct. 2001 that Musharraf has close links to al Qaeda xlnk.gif, yet in 2006 Bush was hosting him at the White Hose and saying xlnk.gif "He [Masharraf] understands that extremists can be defeated by freedom and democracy and prosperity and better education." In fact Musharraf protected al Qaeda, strengthened the Taliban, and largely handed education over to religious fanatics.


A Hopeful Change in Pakistan

   The Pakistan population has been pro-Taliban for years, largely because of the ISI—Pakistan's nefarious "intelligence" service. But in March, the Taliban over-played its hand so dramatically that the population largely turned against them. It looks like the ISI and the Army have also had a change of heart. This is hugely significant for the U.S.

But the change is still fragile, and the largest worry in Pakistan is that the Army will kill so many civilians, destroy so many houses, and take so long that the population will say, "enough, we'll take a chance on the Taliban." So far, there a few signs of this happening. But with 2.5 million displaces persons, and tens of thousands living in tent cities in 110 degree weather, things may change. The Taliban organized in such camps after the exodus from Afghanistan in 2001.

The U.S. can do little because its popularity is still low from backing the military dictator Musharraf. So our $200 million in aid for the displaced persons is hugely important, and so is Obama's recent speech in Cairo.


Poverty and Class Warfare Could Lead to Revolution

 A CLASS revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants has been engineered by the Taliban to help them advance deep into Pakistan. The strategy cleared a path to power for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, where the government allowed Islamic law to be imposed earlier this month, and it carries broad dangers for the rest of Pakistan, ...

 


 

 

 

Drone Attacks

The key to finding what's true in the press, is to look for someone biased against believing X, who checks into it, and tells you X is true. Here is such a case.

Drone attacks: challenging some fabrications

—Farhat Taj  Source xlnk.gif, January 2, 2010
Research fellow, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research
University of Oslo
 
The people of Waziristan are suffering a brutal kind of occupation under the Taliban and al Qaeda. Therefore, they welcome the drone attacks.
 
predator-firing-missile.jpgThere is a deep abyss between the perceptions of the people of Waziristan, the most drone-hit area and the wider Pakistani society on the other side of the River Indus. For the latter, the US drone attacks on Waziristan are a violation of Pakistani’s sovereignty. Politicians, religious leaders, media analysts and anchorpersons express sensational clamour over the supposed ‘civilian casualties’ in the drone attacks. I have been discussing the issue of drone attacks with hundreds of people of Waziristan. They see the US drone attacks as their liberators from the clutches of the terrorists into which, they say, their state has wilfully thrown them. The purpose of today’s column is, one, to challenge the Pakistani and US media reports about the civilian casualties in the drone attacks and, two, to express the view of the people of Waziristan, who are equally terrified by the Taliban and the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. I personally met these people in the Pakhtunkhwa province, where they live as internally displaced persons (IDPs), and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
 
I would challenge both the US and Pakistani media to provide verifiable evidence of civilian ‘casualties’ because of drone attacks on Waziristan, i.e. names of the people killed, names of their villages, dates and locations of the strikes and, above all, the methodology of the information that they collected. If they can’t meet the challenge, I would request them to stop throwing around fabricated figures of ‘civilian casualties’ that confuse people around the world and provide propaganda material to the pro-Taliban and al Qaeda forces in the politics and media of Pakistan.
 
I pose that challenge because no one is in a position to give a correct estimate of how many individuals have been killed so far in drone attacks. On the basis of American media estimates, 600 to 700 ‘civilian population’ have been killed. The Pakistani government, pro-Taliban political parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, Tehrik-e-Insaf, and the media are quoting the same figure. Neither the government of Pakistan nor the media have any access to the area and no system is in place to arrive at precise estimates. The Pakistani government and media take the figure appearing in the American media as an admission by the American government. The US media too do not have access to the area. Moreover, the area is simply not accessible for any kind of independent journalistic or scholarly work on drone attacks. The Taliban simply kill anyone doing so.
 
The reason why these estimates about civilian ‘casualties’ in the US and Pakistani media are wrong is that after every attack the terrorists cordon off the area and no one, including the local villagers, is allowed to come even near the targeted place. The militants themselves collect the bodies, burry the dead and then issue the statement that all of them were innocent civilians. This has been part of their propaganda to provide excuses to the pro-Taliban and al Qaeda media persons and political forces in Pakistan to generate public sympathies for the terrorists. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or other militants have never admitted to the killing of any important figure of al Qaeda or the TTP. One exception is the killing of Baitullah Mehsud that the TTP reluctantly admitted several days after his death. According to the people of Waziristan, the only civilians who have been killed so far in the drone attacks are women or children of the militants in whose houses/compounds they hold meetings. But that, too, used to happen in the past. Now they don’t hold meetings at places where women and children of the al Qaeda and TTP militants reside. Moreover, in this case too no one is in a position to give even an approximate number of the women and children of the terrorists killed in drone attacks.
 
The people of Waziristan are suffering a brutal kind of occupation under the Taliban and al Qaeda. It is in this context that they would welcome anyone, Americans, Israelis, Indians or even the devil, to rid them of the Taliban and al Qaeda. Therefore, they welcome the drone attacks. Secondly, the people feel comfortable with the drones because of their precision and targeted strikes. People usually appreciate drone attacks when they compare it with the Pakistan Army’s attacks, which always result in collateral damage. Especially the people of Waziristan have been terrified by the use of long-range artillery and air strikes of the Pakistan Army and Air Force. People complain that not a single TTP or al Qaeda member has been killed so far by the Pakistan Army, whereas a lot of collateral damage has taken place. Thousands of houses have been destroyed and hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed by the Pakistan Army. On the other hand, drone attacks have never targeted the civilian population except, they informed, in one case when the funeral procession of Khwazh Wali, a TTP commander, was hit. In that attack too, many TTP militants were killed including Bilal (the TTP commander of Zangara area) and two Arab members of al Qaeda. But some civilians were also killed. After the attack people got the excuse of not attending the funeral of slain TTP militants or offering them food, which they used to do out of compulsion in order to put themselves in the TTP’s good books. “It (this drone attack) was a blessing in disguise,” several people commented. 
 
I have heard people particularly appreciating the precision of drone strikes. People say that when a drone would hover over the skies, they wouldn’t be disturbed and would carry on their usual business because they would be sure that it does not target the civilians, but the same people would run for shelter when a Pakistani jet would appear in the skies because of its indiscriminate firing. They say that even in the same compound only the exact room — where a high value target (HVT) is present — is targeted. Thus others in the same compound are spared. The people of Waziristan have been complaining why the drones are only restricted to targeting the Arabs. They want the drones to attack the TTP leadership, the Uzbek/Tajik/Turkmen, Punjabi and Pakhtun Taliban. I have heard even religious people of Waziristan cursing the jihad and welcoming even Indian or Israeli support to help them get rid of the TTP and foreign militants. The TTP and foreign militants had made them hostages and occupied their houses by force. The Taliban have publicly killed even the religious scholars in Waziristan. 
 
I have yet to come across a non-TTP resident of Waziristan who supports the Taliban or al Qaeda. Till recently they were terrified by the TTP to the extent that they would not open their mouth to oppose them. But now, having been displaced and out of their reach, some of them speak against them openly and many more than before in private conversations. They express their fear of the intelligence agencies of Pakistan whenever speaking against the Taliban. They see the two as two sides of the same coin.
 
What we read and hear in the print and electronic media of Pakistan about drone attacks as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty or resulting in killing innocent civilians is not true so far as the people of Waziristan are concerned. According to them, al Qaeda and the TTP are dead scared of drone attacks and their leadership spends sleepless nights. This is a cause of pleasure for the tormented people of Waziristan.
 
Moreover, al Qaeda and the Taliban have done everything to stop the drone attacks by killing hundreds of innocent civilians on the pretext of their being American spies. They thought that by overwhelming the innocent people of Waziristan with terror tactics they would deter any potential informer, but they have failed. On many occasions the Taliban and al Qaeda have killed the alleged US spies in front of crowds of hundreds, even thousands of tribesmen. Interestingly, no one in Pakistan has raised objection to killings of the people of Waziristan on charges of spying for the US. This, the people of Waziristan informed, is a source of torture for them that their fellow Pakistanis condemn the killing of the terrorists but fall into deadly silence over the routine murders of tribesmen accused of spying for the US by the terrorists occupying their land.
 
The writer is a research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo and a member of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy. She can be reached at bergen34@yahoo.com

Class Warfare

Published Date: 26 April 2009 Scotland on Sunday xlnk.gif
By Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah
in Peshawar, Pakistan
 
A CLASS revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants has been engineered by the Taliban to help them advance deep into Pakistan.
The strategy cleared a path to power for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, where the government allowed Islamic law to be imposed earlier this month, and it carries broad dangers for the rest of Pakistan, particularly the militants' main goal, the populous heartland of Punjab province.
In Swat, accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.
To do so, the militants organised peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, according to the residents, government officials and analysts.
The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.
"This was a bloody revolution in Swat," said a senior Pakistani official who oversees Swat, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by the Taliban. "I wouldn't be surprised if it sweeps the established order of Pakistan."
Taliban militants who had seized a district just 60 miles from Pakistan's capital Islamabad began pulling out on Friday after the government warned that it would use force to evict them.
The withdrawal from Buner, if completed, eliminates the most immediate threat, but it is unlikely to quell fears that Islamabad is failing to deal forcefully with Islamist militants slowly expanding into the heart of the nuclear-armed country from lawless areas close to the Afghan border.
The top US military officer said that he was "extremely concerned" by the situation in Buner.
"We're certainly moving closer to the tipping point" where Pakistan could be overtaken by Islamic extremists, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said from Afghanistan, even as reports indicated a pullback was under way.
The Taliban's ability to exploit class divisions adds a new dimension to the insurgency and is raising alarm about the risks to Pakistan, which remains largely feudal.
Unlike India after independence in 1947, Pakistan maintained a narrow landed upper class that kept its vast holdings while its workers remained subservient, the officials and analysts said. Successive Pakistani governments have since failed to provide land reform and even the most basic forms of education and health care. Avenues to advancement for the vast majority of rural poor do not exist.
Analysts and other government officials warn that the strategy executed in Swat is easily transferable to Punjab, saying that the province, where militant groups are already showing strength, is ripe for the same social upheavals that have convulsed Swat and the tribal areas.
Mahboob Mahmood, a Pakistani-American lawyer and former classmate of President Barack Obama, said: "The people of Pakistan are psychologically ready for a revolution."
Sunni militancy is taking advantage of deep class divisions that have long festered in Pakistan, he said. "The militants, for their part, are promising more than just proscriptions on music and schooling," he said. "They are also promising Islamic justice, effective government and economic redistribution."
The Taliban strategy in Swat, an area of 1.3 million people with fertile orchards, vast plots of timber and valuable emerald mines, unfolded in stages over five years, analysts said.
The momentum of the insurgency has built in the past two years, as the Taliban, reinforced by seasoned fighters from the tribal areas with links to al-Qaeda, fought the Pakistani army to a standstill, said a Pakistani intelligence agent who works in the Swat region.
The insurgents struck at any competing point of power: landlords and elected leaders – who were usually the same people – and an underpaid and unmotivated police force, said Khadim Hussain, a linguistics and communications professor at Bahria University in Islamabad, the capital.
At the same time, the Taliban exploited the resentments of the landless tenants, particularly the fact that they had many unresolved cases against their bosses in a slow-moving and corrupt justice system, said Hussain and residents who fled the area.
Their grievances were stoked by a young militant, Maulana Fazlullah, who set up an FM radio station in 2004 to appeal to the disenfranchised. The broadcasts featured easy-to-understand examples using goats, cows, milk and grass.
By 2006, Fazlullah had formed a ragtag force of landless peasants armed by the Taliban, said Hussain and former residents of Swat.
At first, the pressure on the landlords was subtle. One landowner was pressed to take his son out of an English-speaking school offensive to the Taliban. Others were forced to make donations to the Taliban.
Then, in late 2007, Shujaat Ali Khan, the richest of the landowners, his brothers and his son, Jamal Nasir, the mayor of Swat, became targets.
After Shujaat Ali Khan, a senior politician in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, narrowly missed being killed by a roadside bomb, he fled to London. A brother, Fateh Ali Mohammed, a former senator, left, too, and now lives in Islamabad. Nasir also fled.
Later, the Taliban published a "most wanted" list of 43 prominent names, said Muhammad Sher Khan, a landlord who is a politician with the Pakistan Peoples Party, and whose name was on the list.
All those named were ordered to present themselves to the Taliban courts or risk being killed, he said.
"When you know that they will hang and kill you, how will you dare go back there?" Khan, who is in hiding in Punjab, said in a telephone interview. "Being on the list meant 'Don't come back to Swat.'"
One of the main enforcers of the new order was Ibn-e-Amin, a Taliban commander from the same area as the landowners, called Matta. The fact that Amin came from Matta, and knew who was who there, put even more pressure on the landowners, Hussain said.
According to Pakistani news reports, Amin was arrested in August 2004 on suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda and was released in November 2006. Another Pakistani intelligence agent said Amin often visited a madrasa in North Waziristan, the stronghold of al-Qaeda in the tribal areas, where he apparently received guidance.
Each time the landlords fled, their tenants were rewarded. They were encouraged to cut down the orchard trees and sell the wood for their own profit, the former residents said. Or they were told to pay the rent to the Taliban instead of to their now absentee bosses.
Two emerald mines that were dormant over the past few years have reopened under Taliban control. The militants have announced that they will receive one-third of the revenues.
Since the Taliban fought the Pakistan military to a truce in Swat in February, the militants have deepened their approach and made clear who is in charge.
When provincial government bureaucrats visit Mingora, the capital of Swat, they must now follow the orders of the Taliban and sit on the floor, surrounded by Taliban bearing weapons, and in some cases wearing suicide bomber vests, the senior provincial official said.
In many areas of Swat the Taliban have demanded that each family give up one son for training as a Taliban fighter, said Mohammad Amad, executive director of a nongovernmental group, the Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis.
A landlord who fled with his family last year said he received a chilling message last week. His tenants called him in Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier province, which includes Swat, to tell him his huge house was being demolished, he said in an interview here.
The most crushing news was about his finances. He had sold his fruit crop in advance, though at a quarter of last year's price.
But even that smaller financial yield would not belong to him, his tenants said, relaying the message from the Taliban. The buyer had been ordered to give the money to the Taliban.

 

Iraq War

Bush_Cheney_Rumsfeld.gif
Cheney - Bush - Rumsfeld
Axis of Incompetence

Reasons: The Iraq War Was Planned before 9 / 11

[#Cheney], [#Rumsfeld], [#Wolfowitz] and [#Feith], and others that Cheney brought into the Bush administration signed the Founding Principles of [#PNAC] in 1997. A neoconservative think tank and lobbying group, it wrote to Clinton in 1998 to urge him toward eliminate Saddam. By early 2001, before 9/11, it published a plan for the invasion that closely resembled Rumsfeld's actual strategy. The DC office of the Jerusalem-based [#IASPS] had urged Israel to take Iraq as early as 1996, and it's key author David Wurmser publish a book on why the Iraq War would be good for the US and Israel in 1999 before becoming Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser.


Bush-Cheney.jpg
Cheney    Bush

Selling the War

Rumsfeld was ready to "sweep it all up, related or not," on 9/11. Two days later, Wolfowitz called for "ending states that sponsor terrorism" and [#JINSA]  called for "regime change" in Iraq. By the end of the first week, they called a meeting of the Defense Policy Board, and  invited their Iraqi con-artist [#Chalabi]. By the end of that 19 hour meeting, they had reached concensus—invade Iraq whether or not it had anything to do with 9/11—exactly the neocon position for the previous four years.

Before the state of the union address, Cheney had convinced Bush. But to convince Congress they needed some reason besides Israel and oil. For reasons of government bureaucracy they settled on weapons of mass destruction.

 


Mission_Accomplished.jpg
Mission Accomplished (in 43 days)

Iraq War in Quotes

There are many good quotes:

  • ""Five days or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last longer."  —Rumsfeld
  • "My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."  —Bush
  • "The Intelligence Community was dead wrong [about] weapons of mass destruction."    —The President's Commission

Dick Cheney's Iraq-War Clique

  Position [#PNAC] [#IASPS] [#JINSA]
Dick [#Cheney] Vice President Yes   Yes
Paul [#Wolfowitz] Assistant Sect. of Defense Yes   Yes
Donald [#Rumsfeld] Secretary of Defense Yes    
Scooter [#Libby] Cheney's Chief of Staff Yes    
David [#Wurmser] Cheney's Middle-East Assistant   Yes  
Douglas [#Feith] Under Sect. of Defense for Policy   Yes Yes
Eliot [#Abrams] Deputy Asst. to Bush on Middle East Yes    
John [#Bolton] Under Sect. of State Yes   Yes
Richard [#Perle] Chairman of Defense Policy Board Yes Yes Yes
  • [#PNAC] — Neoconservative think tank and lobby. Backed Iraqi regime change in 1998.
  • [#IASPS] — "A Jerusalem-based think tank with an office in Washington, D.C." Lobbied Israel for Iraqi regime change in 1996.
  • [#JINSA]  — The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Backed Iraqi regime change on 9/13/2001.

zFacts-Iraq-war-cost-s.png

The Cost of the Iraq War

Many costs of the war that are difficult to tack, but we know for sure the Congressional appropriations that are earmarked for the war. These total   ###


 

Reasons (before 9/11)

To Paul [#Wolfowitz], the Iraq war was simply the final stage of the Gulf War, which Bush senior had botched. By 1997, he and a group of like-minded neoconservatives had formed [#PNAC], a neocon think tank whose primary mission was the Iraq War. You can still see (12/2011) their 1998 letter to Clinton advocating the Iraq war. On 9/11/2001 they found the excuse. Dick Cheney had brought eight fellow neocons into key positions in the Bush administration, and they were ready to go. Bush himself was eager to show up his father, who he felt had squandered his Gufl-War political capital

Cheney's Iraq-War clique all belonged to [#PNAC] or [#IASPS].  IASPS advocated regime change to increase Israeli security, while PNAC focused on our Middle East allies but named only Israel. Although the public evidence from these groups indicates that helping Israel was by far the most important reason for the war, Cheney's oil industry connections and a very explicit statement by Kissinger, as well as common sense, indicate that oil must have also been a central concern.

zFacts_neocon_clique.gif

  

  • [#PNAC]
  • [#Kristol]
  • [#Cheney]
  • [#Rumsfeld]
  • [#Wolfowitz]
  • [#Abrams]
  • [#Libby]
  • [#Bolton]
  • [#Perle]
  • [#Feith]
  • [#Wurmser]
  • [#Fairbanks]
  • [#IASPS]

 


Reasons the Iraq War was planned before 9 / 11

(It would likely not have happened without 9/11, but the neocons were pushing hard for four years before al Qaeda struck.)

1992:  Wolfowitz, in Defense Department, plans for the Iraq war, pre-emptive strikes and for U.S. to dominate the world. Plan leaked to NY Times and then quashed.

1996:  Report from IASPS, a "Jerusalem-based" lobbying group delivers "Clean Break" report from future Cheney/Rumsfeld staff to Israeli Prime Minister. It advocates Iraq War.

1998:  Newly formed PNAC sends letter from Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, etc.  to Clinton advocating Iraqi "regime change." 

Up to 9/11:  Cheney says leaving Saddam in power after Gulf war was a mistake. PNAC begins planning specifics, such as "shock and awe" tactic.

 

 

 

 

 


[#PopNotes]

[=IASPS] Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies
"A Jerusalem-based think tank with an office in Washington, D.C."
Explained importance of Iraq war for Israel.  more...
[=Clean Break] 1996 Report from Richard Perle and IASPS to Israeli Prime Minister urging Iraq war.  
[=PNAC] Project for a New American Century
Neoconservative think tank formed by Cheney,  Rumsfeld,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Libby,  Abrams,  Wurmser,  Perle, etc.
Main force behind Iraq war from 1998 (before 9/11).  more...
[=JINSA], The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
"explaining the link between U.S. national security and Israel’s security"
Served on JINSA's Advisory Board:  Cheney,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Perle  more....  
[=Board] Defense Policy Board
This board was at the heart of the push for war, from the first days after 9/11.
Richard Perle, Chairman, Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, Dan Quale, James Woolsey, etc.   more...
[=Standard] The Weekly Standard
Main neoconservative magazine.
Editor: William Kristol, co-founder of PNAC,
son of Irving Kristol, the neconservative's "godfather."  more...   
[=Abrams] Elliot Abrams, Deputy Assistant to G. W. Bush
1997, Signer of founding PNAC "Principles" with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Libby.  more...  
[=Bolton] John Bolton
Undersecretary of State. Signed PNAC Letters to Clinton (1998), Gringrich, Lott advocating Iraq War.  more...
[=Chalabi] Ahmed Chalabi
The Iraqi who conned the neocons and the CIA with fabricated evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  more...  
[=Cheney] Dick Cheney
Principle force behind Iraq war. Signed PNAC's Founding Principles in 1997.  more...
[=Fairbanks] Charles Fairbanks
Paul Wolfowitz subordinate under Reagan.
Co-authored the IASPS "Clean Break" report with Feith, Perle and Wurmser.   more...  
[=Feith] Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet.  —General Tommy Franks.
Leading member of the "Office of Special Plans" which pressured CIA to accept fake information from Chalabi.  more...
[=Kagan] Robert Kagan
Co-founder with Kristol of PNAC the main neocon lobby.   more...  
[=Kristol] William Kristol
Co-founder and chairman of PNAC. Son of neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol.  more...  
[=Libby] Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff
Indicted for revealing the identity of a CIA agent in 2005 in retaliation for her husband revealing fake WMD information.  more...   
[=Perle] Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board Chairman
In 1996 brought IASPS "Clean Break" report, advocating Iraq war,  to Israeli Prime Minister.  more...
[=Rumsfeld] Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.  more...  
[=Wolfowitz] Paul Wolfowitz, Asst. Sec.of Defense
Wolfowitz--the intellectual godfather of the war--is its heart and soul. (12/29/2003, Time)  more...
[=Wurmser] David Wurmser, Middle East Adviser to Cheney.
1999 Published book on why Saddam must go and why that's good for Israel.  more...
[=PopNotes] Just hover over green-underline links above to see the "pop" notes.

1992: Planning

The motivation for the Iraq war dates back end of the Gulf war. At that time the Cheney-Wolfowitz-Libby team that later formed the core of the Iraq-War clique became extremely upset with how Bush senior ended the war without taking out Saddam Hussein. Here's how that team migrated from Bush I to Bush II.

  1. Dick [#Cheney] (Sect. of Defense) became Vice President
  2. Paul [#Wolfowitz] (Undersecretary to Cheney) became Deputy to Rumsfeld
  3. "Scooter" [#Libby] (Assistant to Wolfowitz) became assistant to Cheney

Donald Rumsfeld (foreign policy consultant to the State Dept.) became Secretary of Defense. There is no indication that he cared much about the Shiite massacre or Saddam remaining in power.

Secret (but leaked) 1992 Defense Planning Guidance

The neocons were not happy with the elder Bush's end to the Gulf War. He encouraged the Shiites to rebel and then abandoned them to Saddam who massacred about 100,000 of them. Undoubtedly, the Bush policy left much to be desired. Reportedly Bush did not want to get into nation building and did not want Iraq fragmented into Shiite, Kurdish and Suni.

Wolfowitz was #3 at the Defense Department under Cheney at the time, and [#Libby] was under Wolfowitz. Wolfowitz and Cheney were tasked with writing a new Defense Planning Guidance. A near-final draft was leaked, received bad press and buried. It contained the following points.

  • The U.S. should prevent the emergence of a rival superpower.
  • Undertake unilateral military actions.
  • Be prepared to fight Iraq and North Korea simultaneously.

March 1992:  NY Times article on Secret Defense Planning Guidance xlnk.gif


[#PopNotes]

[=Cheney] Dick Cheney
Principle force behind Iraq war. Signed PNAC's Founding Principles in 1997.  more...
[=Libby] Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff
Indicted for revealing the identity of a CIA agent in 2005 in retaliation for her husband revealing fake WMD information.  more...
[=Wolfowitz] Paul Wolfowitz, Asst. Sec.of Defense
Wolfowitz--the intellectual godfather of the war--is its heart and soul. (12/29/2003, Time)  more...
[=PopNotes] Just hover over green-underline links above to see the "pop" notes. 

 

Wolfowitz, 1992

Lone Superpower Plan: Ammunition for Critics
By PATRICK E. TYLER (NYT) excerpt from 1186 words
NY Times: March 10, 1992

On Feb. 18, the draft "Defense Planning Guidance," prepared under the supervision of Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's Under Secretary for Policy, was circulated to General Powell, who serves as the President's principal military adviser, the secretaries of all four military departments, Mr. Cheney's under secretaries and assistant secretaries of defense and the chiefs of all four military services.

A week after the draft document was circulated, Adm. David E. Jeremiah, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the document would be issued by Mr. Cheney in early March, thus indicating it was in an advanced drafting stage. A cover memo from Mr. Wolfowitz's deputy, Dale A. Vesser, also indicates that the policy statement is near final form and asks recipients to "focus your comments on major substantive concerns."

One 15-page section of the guidance states that it has been approved by Mr. Cheney and begins, "This section constitutes definitive guidance from the Secretary of Defense" to be used in conjunction with "fiscal guidance published by the Secretary on 15 February 1992."


U.S. STRATEGY PLAN CALLS FOR INSURING NO RIVALS DEVELOP
By PATRICK E. TYLER, ( Special to The New York Times ) 2089 words
Published: March 8, 1992

In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting stage, the Defense Department asserts that America's political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to insure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union.

A 46-page document that has been circulating at the highest levels of the Pentagon for weeks, and which Defense Secretary Dick Cheney expects to release later this month, states that part of the American mission will be "convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests."

The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy. Rejecting Collective Approach

To perpetuate this role, the United States "must sufficiently account for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order," the document states.

With its focus on this concept of benevolent domination by one power, the Pentagon document articulates the clearest rejection to date of collective internationalism, the strategy that emerged from World War II when the five victorious powers sought to form a United Nations that could mediate disputes and police outbreaks of violence.

Though the document is internal to the Pentagon and is not provided to Congress, its policy statements are developed in conjunction with the National Security Council and in consultation with the President or his senior national security advisers. Its drafting has been supervised by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's Under Secretary for Policy. Mr. Wolfowitz often represents the Pentagon on the Deputies Committee, which formulates policy in an interagency process dominated by the State and Defense departments.

The document was provided to The New York Times by an official who believes this post-cold-war strategy debate should be carried out in the public domain. It seems likely to provoke further debate in Congress and among America's allies about Washington's willingness to tolerate greater aspirations for regional leadership from a united Europe or from a more assertive Japan.

Together with its attachments on force levels required to insure America's predominant role, the policy draft is a detailed justification for the Bush Administration's "base force" proposal to support a 1.6-million-member military over the next five years, at a cost of about $1.2 trillion. Many Democrats in Congress have criticized the proposal as unnecessarily expensive.

Implicitly, the document foresees building a world security arrangement that pre-empts Germany and Japan from pursuing a course of substantial rearmament, especially nuclear armament, in the future.

In its opening paragraph, the policy document heralds the "less visible" victory at the end of the cold war, which it defines as "the integration of Germany and Japan into a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic 'zone of peace.' "

The continuation of this strategic goal explains the strong emphasis elsewhere in the document and in other Pentagon planning on using military force, if necessary, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in such countries as North Korea, Iraq, some of the successor republics to the Soviet Union and in Europe.

Nuclear proliferation, if unchecked by superpower action, could tempt Germany, Japan and other industrial powers to acquire nuclear weapons to deter attack from regional foes. This could start them down the road to global competition with the United States and, in a crisis over national interests, military rivalry.

The policy draft appears to be adjusting the role of the American nuclear arsenal in the new era, saying, "Our nuclear forces also provide an important deterrent hedge against the possibility of a revitalized or unforeseen global threat, while at the same time helping to deter third party use of weapons of mass destruction through the threat of retaliation." U.N. Action Ignored

The document is conspicuously devoid of references to collective action through the United Nations, which provided the mandate for the allied assault on Iraqi forces in Kuwait and which may soon be asked to provide a new mandate to force President Saddam Hussein to comply with his cease-fire obligations.

The draft notes that coalitions "hold considerable promise for promoting collective action" as in the Persian Gulf war, but that "we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished."

What is most important, it says, is "the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S." and "the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated" or in a crisis that demands quick response.

Bush Administration officials have been saying publicly for some time that they were willing to work within the framework of the United Nations, but that they reserve the option to act unilaterally or through selective coalitions, if necessary, to protect vital American interests.

But this publicly stated strategy did not rule out an eventual leveling of American power as world security stabilizes and as other nations place greater emphasis on collective international action through the United Nations.

In contrast, the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders "must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." Sent to Administrators

The document is known in Pentagon parlance as the Defense Planning Guidance, an internal Administration policy statement that is distributed to the military leaders and civilian Defense Department heads to instruct them on how to prepare their forces, budgets and strategy for the remainder of the decade. The policy guidance is typically prepared every two years, and the current draft will yield the first such document produced after the end of the cold war.

Senior Defense Department officials have said the document will be issued by Defense Secretary Cheney this month. According to a Feb. 18 memorandum from Mr. Wolfowitz's deputy, Dale A. Vesser, the policy guidance will be issued with a set of "illustrative" scenarios for possible future foreign conflicts that might draw United States military forces into combat.

These scenarios, issued separately to the military services on Feb. 4, were detailed in a New York Times article last month. They postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea, as well as a Russian assault on Lithuania and smaller military contingencies that United States forces might confront in the future.

These hypothetical conflicts, coupled with the policy guidance document, are meant to give military leaders specific information about the kinds of military threats they should be prepared to meet as they train and equip their forces. It is also intended to give them a coherent strategy framework in which to evaluate various force and training options. Fears of Proliferation

In assessing future threats, the document places great emphasis on how "the actual use of weapons of mass destruction, even in conflicts that otherwise do not directly engage U.S. interests, could spur further proliferation which in turn would threaten world order."

"The U.S. may be faced with the question of whether to take military steps to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction," it states, noting that those steps could include pre-empting an impending attack with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons "or punishing the attackers or threatening punishment of aggressors through a variety of means," including attacks on the plants that manufacture such weapons.

Noting that the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is up for renewal in 1995, the document says, "should it fail, there could ensue a potentially radical destabilizing process" that would produce unspecified "critical challenges which the U.S. and concerned partners must be prepared to address."

The draft guidance warns that "both Cuba and North Korea seem to be entering periods of intense crisis -- primarily economic, but also political -- which may lead the governments involved to take actions that would otherwise seem irrational." It adds, "the same potential exists in China."

For the first time since the Defense Planning Guidance process was initiated to shape national security policy, the new draft states that the fragmentation of the former Soviet military establishment has eliminated the capacity for any successor power to wage global conventional war.

But the document qualifies its assessment, saying, "we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or effort to re-incorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus and possibly others."

It says that though U.S. nuclear targeting plans have changed "to account for welcome developments in states of the former Soviet Union," American strategic nuclear weapons will continue to target vital aspects of the former Soviet military establishment. The rationale for the continuation of this targeting policy is that the United States "must continue to hold at risk those assets and capabilities that current -- and future -- Russian leaders or other nuclear adversaries value most" because Russia will remain "the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States."

Until such time as the Russian nuclear arsenal has been rendered harmless, "we continue to face the possibility of robust strategic nuclear forces in the hands of those who might revert to closed, authoritarian, and hostile regimes," the document says. It calls for the "early introduction" of a global anti-missile system. Plan for Europe

In Europe, the Pentagon paper asserts that "a substantial American presence in Europe and continued cohesion within the Western alliance remain vital," but to avoid a competitive relationship from developing, "we must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO."

The draft states that with the elimination of United States short-range nuclear weapons in Europe and similar weapons at sea, the United States should not contemplate any withdrawal of its nuclear-strike aircraft based in Europe and, in the event of a resurgent threat from Russia, "we should plan to defend against such a threat" farther forward on the territories of Eastern Europe "should there be an Alliance decision to do so."

This statement offers an explicit commitment to defend the former Warsaw Pact nations from Russia. It suggests that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf. And to help stabilize the economies and democratic development in Eastern Europe, the draft calls on the European Community to offer memberships to Eastern European countries as soon as possible.

In East Asia, the report says, the United States can draw down its forces further, but "we must maintain our status as a military power of the first magnitude in the area.

"This well enable the United States to continue to contribute to regional security and stability by acting as a balancing force and prevent the emergence of a vacuum or a regional hegemon." In addition, the draft warns that any precipitous withdrawal of United States military forces could provoke an unwanted response from Japan, and the document states, "we must also remain sensitive to the potentially destabilizing effects that enhanced roles on the part of our allies, particularly Japan but also possibly Korea, might produce."

In the event that peace negotiations between the two Koreas succeed, the draft recommends that the United States "should seek to maintain an alliance relationship with a unified democratic Korea."

Photo: Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's Under Secretary for Policy, who has overseen the drafting of a policy statement on the nation's mission in the post-cold-war era. (The New York Times) (pg. 14) Map of the world indicating areas where U.S may need to retain its military power. (pg. 14) Chart: "Maintaining a One-Superpower World" According to a draft document being circulated by the Pentagon, part of the American military mission in the era after the cold war will by "convincing potential competitions that they need not aspire to a greater role," thus insuring that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge. 1. Cuba and North Korea The U.S. must be prepared for what the report describes as irrational acts from Cuba and North Korea, which are viewed as "entering period of intense crisis" in the economic and political spheres. 2. Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan and India The U.S. "may be faced with the question of whether to take military steps to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction." 3. Russia The U.S must continue to aim nuclear arms at "those assets and capabilities that current -- and future -- Russian leaders or other nuclear adversaries value most." 4. Europe The U.S must preserve a strong presence to maintain NATO alliance and Extend Western defense commitment into Eastern Europe "should there be an Alliance decision to do so." 5. Japan The U.S. must "remain sensitive to the potentially destabilizing effects" in East Asia if our allies there, "particularly Japan but also possibly Korea," take on enhanced roles as regional powers. (pg. 14)

 

1996: Report to Israel

On July 8, 1996 Richard [#Perle] delivered the "Clean Break" report  from [#IASPS] to Israel's prime minister. The report does not push for American involvement in Iraq; that idea was added in a later report from Wurmser / IASPS (see below). But the report does push for ousting Saddam Hussein.

Author Role in Bush Administration
[#Wurmser] State Department, then Mid-East Adviser to [#Cheney]
[#Perle] [#Rumsfeld]'s Chairman of Defense Policy Board
[#Feith] Under-Secretary of Defense to [#Wolfowitz]

From the "Clean Break" Report: (Full Report)

Srategic Objective:
“Israel can shape its strategic environment, ... This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right."

“Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq”

How to protect Israel from its three worst enemies. 
"Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria."

How to “manage and constrain” U.S. reactions: 
“To anticipate U.S. reactions and plan ways to manage and constrain those reactions, Prime Minister Netanyahu can formulate the policies and stress themes he favors in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the Cold War.”


Coping with Crumbling States:

A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant [#Wurmser]
A second report from [#IASPS], December, 1996.

One of the crumbling states is Iraq, and the problem is not that Saddam is a threat, but rather that Iraq is so weak that Iran or Syria (enemies of Israel) might take over.

This report by [#Wurmser], who became [#Cheney]'s Mid-East Adviser, focuses entirely on removing Hussein and on the post-Saddam situation but in 30 pages does not once mention WMD or terrorist threats to the U.S. It is just concerned with Syria and Iran taking over Iraq. This is the real reason why the neocons wanted the U.S. to remove Saddam.

From the Report. "The Levant [Mid-East] now resembles Europe of 1914: crumbling states, like Syria, locked in bitter rivalries over a collapsing entity (Iraq). ... Iraq, a nation of 18 million, occupies some of the most strategically important and well-endowed territories of the Middle East. ... Thus, whoever inherits Iraq dominates the entire Levant strategically.


Dec. 1996  Podhoretz explains the Iraqi threat to Israel Podhoretz explains in Commentary why Iraq is a threat to Israel: "with the missiles available to Iraq and Syria that could easily reach Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, many civilians would die."  "Yet surely for Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia--and for Iran as well--the opportunity to dispose of Israel once and for all would be more than enough to make them temporarily set their mutual hatreds aside and unite in a final jihad." x

 

[#PopNotes]

[=IASPS] Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies
"A Jerusalem-based think tank with an office in Washington, D.C."
Explained importance of Iraq war for Israel.  more...
[=Clean Break] 1996 Report from Richard Perle and IASPS to Israeli Prime Minister urging Iraq war.  
[=PNAC] Project for a New American Century
Neoconservative think tank formed by Cheney,  Rumsfeld,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Libby,  Abrams,  Wurmser,  Perle, etc.
Main force behind Iraq war from 1998 (before 9/11).  more...
[=JINSA], The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
"explaining the link between U.S. national security and Israel’s security"
Served on JINSA's Advisory Board:  Cheney,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Perle  more....  
[=Board] Defense Policy Board
This board was at the heart of the push for war, from the first days after 9/11.
Richard Perle, Chairman, Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, Dan Quale, James Woolsey, etc.   more...
[=Standard] The Weekly Standard
Main neoconservative magazine.
Editor: William Kristol, co-founder of PNAC,
son of Irving Kristol, the neconservative's "godfather."  more...   
[=Abrams] Elliot Abrams, Deputy Assistant to G. W. Bush
1997, Signer of founding PNAC "Principles" with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Libby.  more...  
[=Bolton] John Bolton
Undersecretary of State. Signed PNAC Letters to Clinton (1998), Gringrich, Lott advocating Iraq War.  more...
[=Chalabi] Ahmed Chalabi
The Iraqi who conned the neocons and the CIA with fabricated evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  more...  
[=Cheney] Dick Cheney
Principle force behind Iraq war. Signed PNAC's Founding Principles in 1997.  more...
[=Fairbanks] Charles Fairbanks
Paul Wolfowitz subordinate under Reagan.
Co-authored the IASPS "Clean Break" report with Feith, Perle and Wurmser.   more...  
[=Feith] Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet.  —General Tommy Franks.
Leading member of the "Office of Special Plans" which pressured CIA to accept fake information from Chalabi.  more...
[=Kagan] Robert Kagan
Co-founder with Kristol of PNAC the main neocon lobby.   more...  
[=Kristol] William Kristol
Co-founder and chairman of PNAC. Son of neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol.  more...  
[=Libby] Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff
Indicted for revealing the identity of a CIA agent in 2005 in retaliation for her husband revealing fake WMD information.  more...   
[=Perle] Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board Chairman
In 1996 brought IASPS "Clean Break" report, advocating Iraq war,  to Israeli Prime Minister.  more...
[=Rumsfeld] Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.  more...  
[=Wolfowitz] Paul Wolfowitz, Asst. Sec.of Defense
Wolfowitz--the intellectual godfather of the war--is its heart and soul. (12/29/2003, Time)  more...
[=Wurmser] David Wurmser, Middle East Adviser to Cheney.
1999 Published book on why Saddam must go and why that's good for Israel.  more...
[=PopNotes] Just hover over green-underline links above to see the "pop" notes.
 

Clean Break

First neocon report calling for Iraq invasion.  Delivered to Israel, 1996.

With contributions from: Richard [#Perle], Douglas [#Feith], and David [#Wurmser] all members of the "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy," and all key Iraq-war players in Bush administration. Published by this institute ([#IASPS]dowload report, pdf xlnk.gif. (Read about report here: www israeleconomy org/report1.htm.)

Excerpts  below. Click here for specific quotes:
Removing Saddam Hussein 
Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East 
Control Iraq ... help Israel 
Manage and constrain U.S. reactions.

Israel has a large problem. Labor Zionism, which for 70 years has dominated the Zionist movement, has generated a stalled and shackled economy. Efforts to salvage Israel’s socialist institutions—which include pursuing supranational over national sovereignty and pursuing a peace process that embraces the slogan, "New Middle East"—undermine the legitimacy of the nation and lead Israel into strategic paralysis and the previous government’s "peace process." That peace process obscured the evidence of eroding national critical mass— including a palpable sense of national exhaustion—and forfeited strategic initiative. The loss of national critical mass was illustrated best by Israel’s efforts to draw in the United States to sell unpopular policies domestically, to agree to negotiate sovereignty over its capital, and to respond with resignation to a spate of terror so intense and tragic that it deterred Israelis from engaging in normal daily functions, such as commuting to work in buses.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government comes in with a new set of ideas. While there are those who will counsel continuity, Israel has the opportunity to make a clean break; it can forge a peace process and strategy based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism, the starting point of which must be economic reform. To secure the nation’s streets and borders in the immediate future, Israel can:

• Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, "comprehensive peace" to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power.
• Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society.
• Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West. This can only be done if Israel takes serious steps to terminate aid, which prevents economic reform. 

This report is written with key passages of a possible speech marked TEXT, that highlight the clean break which the new government has an opportunity to make. The body of the report is the commentary explaining the purpose and laying out the strategic context of the passages.
 

A New Approach to Peace

Early adoption of a bold, new perspective on peace and security is imperative for the new prime minister. While the previous government, and many abroad, may emphasize "land for peace"— which placed Israel in the position of cultural, economic, political, diplomatic, and military retreat — the new government can promote Western values and traditions. Such an approach, which will be well received in the United States, includes "peace for peace," "peace through strength" and self reliance: the balance of power.

A new strategy to seize the initiative can be introduced:

TEXT:

     We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East. We in Israel cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. Peace depends on the character and behavior of our foes. We live in a dangerous neighborhood, with fragile states and bitter rivalries. Displaying moral ambivalence between the effort to build a Jewish state and the desire to annihilate it by trading "land for peace" will not secure "peace now." Our claim to the land —to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years--is legitimate and noble. It is not within our own power, no matter how much we concede, to make peace unilaterally. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension, "peace for peace," is a solid basis for the future.

Israel’s quest for peace emerges from, and does not replace, the pursuit of its ideals. The Jewish people’s hunger for human rights — burned into their identity by a 2000-year old dream to live free in their own land — informs the concept of peace and reflects continuity of values with Western and Jewish tradition. Israel can now embrace negotiations, but as means, not ends, to pursue those ideals and demonstrate national steadfastness. It can challenge police states; enforce compliance of agreements; and insist on minimal standards of accountability.

Securing the Northern Border

Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

• striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.

• paralleling Syria’s behavior by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

• striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper. 

Israel also can take this opportunity to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a "Brotherhood Agreement" in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignty. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.

Under Syrian tutelage, the Lebanese drug trade, for which local Syrian military officers receive protection payments, flourishes. Syria’s regime supports the terrorist groups operationally and financially in Lebanon and on its soil. Indeed, the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon has become for terror what the Silicon Valley has become for computers. The Bekaa Valley has become one of the main distribution sources, if not production points, of the "supernote" — counterfeit US currency so well done that it is impossible to detect.

Text:

     Negotiations with repressive regimes like Syria’s require cautious realism. One cannot sensibly assume the other side’s good faith. It is dangerous for Israel to deal naively with a regime murderous of its own people, openly aggressive toward its neighbors, criminally involved with international drug traffickers and counterfeiters, and supportive of the most deadly terrorist organizations.

Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan "comprehensive peace" and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting "land for peace" deals on the Golan Heights.

Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy

TEXT:

     We must distinguish soberly and clearly friend from foe. We must make sure that our friends across the Middle East never doubt the solidity or value of our friendship.

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein.

Changing the Nature of Relations with the Palestinians

Israel has a chance to forge a new relationship between itself and the Palestinians. First and foremost, Israel’s efforts to secure its streets may require hot pursuit into Palestinian-controlled areas, a justifiable practice with which Americans can sympathize.

A key element of peace is compliance with agreements already signed. Therefore, Israel has the right to insist on compliance, including closing Orient House and disbanding Jibril Rujoub’s operatives in Jerusalem. Moreover, Israel and the United States can establish a Joint Compliance Monitoring Committee to study periodically whether the PLO meets minimum standards of compliance, authority and responsibility, human rights, and judicial and fiduciary accountability.

TEXT:

     We believe that the Palestinian Authority must be held to the same minimal standards of accountability as other recipients of U.S. foreign aid. A firm peace cannot tolerate repression and injustice. A regime that cannot fulfill the most rudimentary obligations to its own people cannot be counted upon to fulfill its obligations to its neighbors.

Israel has no obligations under the Oslo agreements if the PLO does not fulfill its obligations. If the PLO cannot comply with these minimal standards, then it can be neither a hope for the future nor a proper interlocutor for present. To prepare for this, Israel may want to cultivate alternatives to Arafat’s base of power. Jordan has ideas on this.

To emphasize the point that Israel regards the actions of the PLO problematic, but not the Arab people, Israel might want to consider making a special effort to reward friends and advance human rights among Arabs. Many Arabs are willing to work with Israel; identifying and helping them are important. Israel may also find that many of her neighbors, such as Jordan, have problems with Arafat and may want to cooperate. Israel may also want to better integrate its own Arabs.

Forging A New U.S.-Israeli Relationship

In recent years, Israel invited active U.S. intervention in Israel’s domestic and foreign policy for two reasons: to overcome domestic opposition to "land for peace" concessions the Israeli public could not digest, and to lure Arabs — through money, forgiveness of past sins, and access to U.S. weapons — to negotiate. This strategy, which required funneling American money to repressive and aggressive regimes, was risky, expensive, and very costly for both the U.S. and Israel, and placed the United States in roles is should neither have nor want.

Israel can make a clean break from the past and establish a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership based on self-reliance, maturity and mutuality — not one focused narrowly on territorial disputes. Israel’s new strategy — based on a shared philosophy of peace through strength — reflects continuity with Western values by stressing that Israel is self-reliant, does not need U.S. troops in any capacity to defend it, including on the Golan Heights, and can manage its own affairs. Such self-reliance will grant Israel greater freedom of action and remove a significant lever of pressure used against it in the past.

To reinforce this point, the Prime Minister can use his forthcoming visit to announce that Israel is now mature enough to cut itself free immediately from at least U.S. economic aid and loan guarantees at least, which prevent economic reform. [Military aid is separated for the moment until adequate arrangements can be made to ensure that Israel will not encounter supply problems in the means to defend itself]. As outlined in another Institute report, Israel can become self-reliant only by, in a bold stroke rather than in increments, liberalizing its economy, cutting taxes, relegislating a free-processing zone, and selling-off public lands and enterprises — moves which will electrify and find support from a broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Israel can under these conditions better cooperate with the U.S. to counter real threats to the region and the West’s security. Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state. Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel’s survival, but it would broaden Israel’s base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense. Such broad support could be helpful in the effort to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

To anticipate U.S. reactions and plan ways to manage and constrain those reactions, Prime Minister Netanyahu can formulate the policies and stress themes he favors in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the Cold War which apply well to Israel. If Israel wants to test certain propositions that require a benign American reaction, then the best time to do so is before November, 1996.

Conclusions: Transcending the Arab-Israeli Conflict

     TEXT: Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them.

Notable Arab intellectuals have written extensively on their perception of Israel’s floundering and loss of national identity. This perception has invited attack, blocked Israel from achieving true peace, and offered hope for those who would destroy Israel. The previous strategy, therefore, was leading the Middle East toward another Arab-Israeli war. Israel’s new agenda can signal a clean break by abandoning a policy which assumed exhaustion and allowed strategic retreat by reestablishing the principle of preemption, rather than retaliation alone and by ceasing to absorb blows to the nation without response.

Israel’s new strategic agenda can shape the regional environment in ways that grant Israel the room to refocus its energies back to where they are most needed: to rejuvenate its national idea, which can only come through replacing Israel’s socialist foundations with a more sound footing; and to overcome its "exhaustion," which threatens the survival of the nation.

Ultimately, Israel can do more than simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict though war. No amount of weapons or victories will grant Israel the peace its seeks. When Israel is on a sound economic footing, and is free, powerful, and healthy internally, it will no longer simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict; it will transcend it. As a senior Iraqi opposition leader said recently: "Israel must rejuvenate and revitalize its moral and intellectual leadership. It is an important — if not the most important--element in the history of the Middle East." Israel — proud, wealthy, solid, and strong — would be the basis of a truly new and peaceful Middle East.

Participants in the Study Group on "A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000:"

Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader

James Colbert, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Johns Hopkins University/SAIS
Douglas Feith, Feith and Zell Associates
Robert Loewenberg, President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Jonathan Torop, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
David Wurmser, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Meyrav Wurmser, Johns Hopkins University

 

1998: Letter to Clinton

Jan. 26, 1998. Open Letter to Clinton
[#PNAC]'s first public action was an open letter to Clinton stating:

"Turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. ... including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf."

Signed by the following members of the Bush Administration: [#Rumsfeld], [#Wolfowitz], [#Perle], [#Bolton], [#Abrams], Armitage, and Woolsey.


July 31, 1998. Neocons Push Chalabi as Good for Israel
[#Wurmser] (from [#IASPS]) and Perle from both IASPS and PNAC met with members of the American Jewish community to convince them to more actively oppose Saddam and to back Chalabi and the INC (Iraqi opposition group).

These neocons' objectives were both open and reasonable. The problem comes when these objectives are later hidden from the American public and, as Wolfowitz explained the WMD excuse was used to obscure this objective.

Dec. 1, issue of the Weekly Standard with the cover “Saddam Must Go: A How-To Guide.” Two of the articles were written by current administration officials, including the lead one, by Zalmay M. Khalilzad, later special White House envoy to the Iraqi opposition, and Paul D. Wolfowitz, now deputy defense secretary.

"We will have to confront him sooner or later -- and sooner would be better," Khalilzad and Wolfowitz wrote. They called for "sustained attacks on the elite military units and security forces that are the main pillar of Saddam's terror-based regime." 


Jan. 1, 1999.  Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam
David [#Wurmser]'s book on why removing Saddam mattered to the U.S. and Israel

"Iraq's strategic importance to the US derives from a source beyond the pernicious, extortionist character of Saddam's regime. Iraq occupies some of the most strategically blessed and resource-laden territory of the middle east. ... Iraq also has large, proven oil reserves, water, ..."  [Note that lack of water is a long-standing Israeli problem.]

Wurmser also notes that Iraq threatens its neighbors but mentions only Israel.

Wurmser became Cheney's Assistant for Middle East Policy under Bush II. In the Acknowledgements, Wurmser mentions "two mentors who guided my understanding of the Middle East." One is Ahmad [#Chalabi].


  
  

[#PopNotes]

[=IASPS] Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies
"A Jerusalem-based think tank with an office in Washington, D.C."
Explained importance of Iraq war for Israel.  more...
[=Clean Break] 1996 Report from Richard Perle and IASPS to Israeli Prime Minister urging Iraq war.  
[=PNAC] Project for a New American Century
Neoconservative think tank formed by Cheney,  Rumsfeld,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Libby,  Abrams,  Wurmser,  Perle, etc.
Main force behind Iraq war from 1998 (before 9/11).  more...
[=JINSA], The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
"explaining the link between U.S. national security and Israel’s security"
Served on JINSA's Advisory Board:  Cheney,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Perle  more....  
[=Board] Defense Policy Board
This board was at the heart of the push for war, from the first days after 9/11.
Richard Perle, Chairman, Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, Dan Quale, James Woolsey, etc.   more...
[=Standard] The Weekly Standard
Main neoconservative magazine.
Editor: William Kristol, co-founder of PNAC,
son of Irving Kristol, the neconservative's "godfather."  more...   
[=Abrams] Elliot Abrams, Deputy Assistant to G. W. Bush
1997, Signer of founding PNAC "Principles" with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Libby.  more...  
[=Bolton] John Bolton
Undersecretary of State. Signed PNAC Letters to Clinton (1998), Gringrich, Lott advocating Iraq War.  more...
[=Chalabi] Ahmed Chalabi
The Iraqi who conned the neocons and the CIA with fabricated evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  more...  
[=Cheney] Dick Cheney
Principle force behind Iraq war. Signed PNAC's Founding Principles in 1997.  more...
[=Fairbanks] Charles Fairbanks
Paul Wolfowitz subordinate under Reagan.
Co-authored the IASPS "Clean Break" report with Feith, Perle and Wurmser.   more...  
[=Feith] Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet.  —General Tommy Franks.
Leading member of the "Office of Special Plans" which pressured CIA to accept fake information from Chalabi.  more...
[=Kagan] Robert Kagan
Co-founder with Kristol of PNAC the main neocon lobby.   more...  
[=Kristol] William Kristol
Co-founder and chairman of PNAC. Son of neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol.  more...  
[=Libby] Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff
Indicted for revealing the identity of a CIA agent in 2005 in retaliation for her husband revealing fake WMD information.  more...   
[=Perle] Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board Chairman
In 1996 brought IASPS "Clean Break" report, advocating Iraq war,  to Israeli Prime Minister.  more...
[=Rumsfeld] Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.  more...  
[=Wolfowitz] Paul Wolfowitz, Asst. Sec.of Defense
Wolfowitz--the intellectual godfather of the war--is its heart and soul. (12/29/2003, Time)  more...
[=Wurmser] David Wurmser, Middle East Adviser to Cheney.
1999 Published book on why Saddam must go and why that's good for Israel.  more...
[=PopNotes] Just hover over green-underline links above to see the "pop" notes.
 

Cheney before 9/11

What was [#Cheney] saying in 2000?

At a celebration dinner after the 2000 presidential campaign, he privately told a group of friends that the new White House team may have a rare historic opportunity to right a wrong committed during a previous term -- the mistake of leaving Saddam Hussein in place atop the Iraqi government. (Wall Street Journal)


"Liberate Iraq" by  Reuel Gerecht, [#PNAC]'s Director of the Middle East Initiative

Published on 5/14/2001 in The Weekly [#Standard].
This article not only argued strenuously for war, it scoped out a general strategy which was reflected in war plans after 9/11 and implemented in 2003. It includes

  • The explanation of using the shock-and-awe campaign to start the war -- "America's hayba -- its ability to inspire awe, the critical factor in the Middle East's ruthless power politics -- had vanished. And once hayba is lost, only a demonstration of indomitable force restores it."
    • Failed in the long run.
  • The estimate of a small invasion force "At minimum, two divisions -- roughly 50,000 troops -- would probably be needed in the beginning. Given the U.S. military's doctrine of overwhelming force, the Army would likely press for far more."
    • They they did, and Rumsfeld to Gerecht's small-force position, one of his biggest mistakes.
  • Count on mass defections: "Thousands of Iraqi soldiers would likely answer the opposition's call to change sides and fight."
    • Rumsfeld was far to optimistic about how we would be greeted.
  • Complete De-Baathification and Disbanding of Military "Once freed of Saddam, Iraq will need an institution, untouched by the Ba'ath.
    • This was later judged to be another huge blunder.
  • Promotion of Chalabi:  "Chalabi may be ideal for the task ... He is rich, upper class, well educated, highly Westernized, an expatriate, and, last but not least, a Shi'ite Arab. ... Chalabi also established his own intelligence service, which dwarfed the reach and understanding of the CIA's clandestine service."
    • [#Chalabi]'s intelligence on WMDs was completely fabricated according to WMD Report to the President. A Poll of Iraqis found he ranked 12th with 0.6% picking him, while 45% “did not trust him at all.” In early 2004 he was found giving extremely sensitive information to the Iranians, and the White House had the Pentagon cut off his funding.

Remember, all of this was planned before 9/11. As it turned out, PNAC's proposals were implemented with disastrous consequences. 


How Cheney Orchestrated the Iraq War 

Cheney  Brought in the Neocons.  He opposed Powell's pick for Defense Sec. and proposed Rumsfeld (C.S. Monitor). Cheney and Rumsfeld go back 36 years. Cheney brought Wolfowitz into the Bush campaign and fought for him as Undersecretary of Defense.

Cheney brought in Libbyas his Chief of Staff.  [#Libby] served under Cheney and Wolfowitz in the Gulf War when they developed their critique of leaving Saddam in power and he signed the PNAC principles with Cheney in 1997.

Cheney held enormous influence over Bush II. As one prominent Senator describes it, "Like with a horse, Powell is always able to lead Bush to the water. But just as he is about to put his head down, Cheney up in the saddle says, 'Un-uh,' and yanks up the reins before Bush can drink the water."

Cheney was motivated to get Saddam.  In public Cheney maintained the Bush I position on Iraq, which was also Bush II’s position, up until 9/11---that leaving Saddam in place had been right. Consequently, his aggressive push for war after 9/11 seemed like a reaction to that event. But Woodward tells us, “Cheney had been secretary of defense during George H.W. Bush's presidency, which included the Gulf War, and he harbored a deep sense of unfinished business about Iraq.”

This view most strongly shared with Wolfowitz and Libby who served under him in that war, and by the neocons in generally, who criticized Bush I viciously for this “failure.” Cheney's suspicions of Iraq continued to grow during the Clinton years.  He joined the American Enterprise Institute, a neocon thinktank.  "It was an article of faith in the AEI crowd that the United States had missed a chance to knock off Saddam in 1991; that Saddam was rebuilding his stockpile of WMD, and that sooner or later the Iraqi strongman would have to go."

Cheney is a "powerful, steamrolling force obsessed with Saddam and taking him out ...  Colin Powell, the secretary of state, saw this in Cheney to such an extent, he, Powell, told colleagues that ‘Cheney has a fever. It is an absolute fever. It’s almost as if nothing else exists,’ says Woodward, who adds that Cheney had plenty of opportunities to convince the president."  To go into Iraq, Cheney only needed the opportunity and he soon got one: September 11, 2001.


Middle East "War:" How Did It Come to This?

by David [#Wurmser], Published in the Washington Times, by  the American Enterprise Institute, Jan. 1, 2001, and on Our Jerusalem-dot-com, Jan. 29, 2001.

"Israel and the United States should adopt a coordinated strategy to regain the initiative and reverse their regionwide strategic retreat. They should broaden the conflict to strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the region—the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tehran, and Gaza. That would reestablish the recognition that fighting with either the United States or Israel is suicidal."

Wurmser was moved into the State Dept., then became Cheney's Middle-East Advisor.
 


 

 

 

[#PopNotes]

[=IASPS] Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies
"A Jerusalem-based think tank with an office in Washington, D.C."
Explained importance of Iraq war for Israel.  more...
[=Clean Break] 1996 Report from Richard Perle and IASPS to Israeli Prime Minister urging Iraq war.  
[=PNAC] Project for a New American Century
Neoconservative think tank formed by Cheney,  Rumsfeld,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Libby,  Abrams,  Wurmser,  Perle, etc.
Main force behind Iraq war from 1998 (before 9/11).  more...
[=JINSA], The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
"explaining the link between U.S. national security and Israel’s security"
Served on JINSA's Advisory Board:  Cheney,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Perle  more....  
[=Board] Defense Policy Board
This board was at the heart of the push for war, from the first days after 9/11.
Richard Perle, Chairman, Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, Dan Quale, James Woolsey, etc.   more...
[=Standard] The Weekly Standard
Main neoconservative magazine.
Editor: William Kristol, co-founder of PNAC,
son of Irving Kristol, the neconservative's "godfather."  more...   
[=Abrams] Elliot Abrams, Deputy Assistant to G. W. Bush
1997, Signer of founding PNAC "Principles" with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Libby.  more...  
[=Bolton] John Bolton
Undersecretary of State. Signed PNAC Letters to Clinton (1998), Gringrich, Lott advocating Iraq War.  more...
[=Chalabi] Ahmed Chalabi
The Iraqi who conned the neocons and the CIA with fabricated evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  more...  
[=Cheney] Dick Cheney
Principle force behind Iraq war. Signed PNAC's Founding Principles in 1997.  more...
[=Fairbanks] Charles Fairbanks
Paul Wolfowitz subordinate under Reagan.
Co-authored the IASPS "Clean Break" report with Feith, Perle and Wurmser.   more...  
[=Feith] Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet.  —General Tommy Franks.
Leading member of the "Office of Special Plans" which pressured CIA to accept fake information from Chalabi.  more...
[=Kagan] Robert Kagan
Co-founder with Kristol of PNAC the main neocon lobby.   more...  
[=Kristol] William Kristol
Co-founder and chairman of PNAC. Son of neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol.  more...  
[=Libby] Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff
Indicted for revealing the identity of a CIA agent in 2005 in retaliation for her husband revealing fake WMD information.  more...   
[=Perle] Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board Chairman
In 1996 brought IASPS "Clean Break" report, advocating Iraq war,  to Israeli Prime Minister.  more...
[=Rumsfeld] Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.  more...  
[=Wolfowitz] Paul Wolfowitz, Asst. Sec.of Defense
Wolfowitz--the intellectual godfather of the war--is its heart and soul. (12/29/2003, Time)  more...
[=Wurmser] David Wurmser, Middle East Adviser to Cheney.
1999 Published book on why Saddam must go and why that's good for Israel.  more...
[=PopNotes] Just hover over green-underline links above to see the "pop" notes.
 

Selling the War

After 9/11, the Iraq war was sold in two phases.

  • First it was sold to President G. W. Bush (2001 after 9/11),
  • then it was sold to Congress and the American public (2002 WMDs).

The first phase started immediately, with Rumsfeld apparently targeting Iraq from day one, and with a huge 19 hour meeting of the Defense Policy Board taking place at the end of the first week. Tellingly, [#Chalabi] played a large role at that meeting, but Colin [#Powell] was not informed until afterwards. The decision was to invade Iraq whether or not it was connected to 9/11.

[#PNAC] summarized that meeting in a letter to the Washington Times signed by 40 neocons (thought not those inside the administration). It focus almost entirely on defending Israel, giving twice as much space to Hezboolla as to Osama bin Laden. By the end of 2001, Bush had been convinced to invade Iraq.

The second phase, hinged on convincing America (the rest of the world did not fall for this) that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

... thousands of tons of ... mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas ... growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles ... to disperse chemical or biological weapons ... exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. ... smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.  —President Bush, Cincinnati, Ohio Speech, Oct. 7, 2002.

But less than three years later, after a year-long exhaustive search by a team of 1400, the President's Commission on Intelligence Capabilities filed it's report, which it summarized as follows: 

We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. 

Although, the Commission concluded, for the most part, that the CIA had just been confused, to anyone paying attention, it was obvious all along that the neocons were just conning America. Although the neocons are a smart bunch, their Achilles' heal is their arrogance. They simply believed they could predict everything that had happened and would happen in Iraq. They were frustrated by a complete lack of credible evidence for WMDs, but since they "knew" they must exist, and that the rest of us were fools for doubting them, they felt justified in using all sorts of fabricated evidence to con the Congress and the public. And, so they did. As to the CIA, they were not so stupid as they've been made out to be, and they did no which side the bread was buttered on.
 
 
   

2001 after 9/11

After four years of planning and lobbying to depose Saddam, the neocons saw 9/11 as their lucky break.

  • On 9/11 [#Rumsfeld] says:   "Go massive. Sweep it all up. Related and Not."
    • Rumsfeld had learned of four Al Qaeda connections, says he wants "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit Saddam Hussein at same time. Not only UBL [Osama]" ... "Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not." CBS News
  • On 9/13, [#Wolfowitz] was already talking about "ending states who sponsor terrorism" at a DoD press conference.
  • On 9/13, [#JINSA] Issues statement calling for "regime change" in Iraq:

"In response to the attack on September 11, 2001 JINSA calls on the United States to: [this is their 1st bullet] Halt all US purchases of Iraqi oil under the UN Oil for Food Program and to provide all necessary support to the Iraq National Congress [Chalabi's group], including direct American military support, to effect a regime change in Iraq."

  • On 15 [#Wolfowitz] argues that the US should attack Saddam Hussein, not Afghanistan
    • at Camp David's Laurel Lodge (America Alone, p.204)
  • On 9/19 Rumsfeld and [#Perle] call a two-day meeting of their Defense Policy Board
    • Invited , the Iraqi who later deceived CIA and Congress on WMD
    • Not notifying Powell, the Secretary of State, and a hero of the Gulf war.
  • On 9/20 Perle and the neocons pubish The PNAC Letter explaining Rumsfeld's order.
    • "Even if evidence does not link Iraq, ... remove Saddam Hussein."
    • "target Hezbollah" ... "Iran" ... "Syria" ... the Palesinian Authority"
    • It lasted 19 hours and included Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Chalabi, Gingrich, Kissinger, Woolsey, Quayle, and others.
    • See also reports from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair.
  • James Woolsey says Iraq should be the target, “no matter who should be responsible” for the attacks.
    • James Fallows, “Blind into Baghdad,” Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2004, pp.54-56.

At Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board Meeting of September 19-20, 2001, the lines were already drawn, and this meeting set the course for the Iraq invasion. Powell was excluded while Chalabi was invited to speak. The neocon members of the group wrote a letter, published on Sept. 20 in the Washington Times under the name of PNAC. Perle, the chairman of this board, signed the letter.

The [#PNAC] Letter to Bush Sept. 20, Washington Times was drafted by a sub-group of the Defense-Policy-Board meeting of Sept. 19-20. Bin Laden was then known to be responsible and Chalabi admitted there was as yet no evidence linking Iraq to 9/11. Powell was excluded, so the letter takes great pains to make it seem that he agrees.

The authors appear to have little interest in bin Laden but are afraid of appearing to have an agenda unrelated to the present crisis. So bin Laden is mentioned first, but given only two sentences—65 words, compared with 154 for Iraq and 127 for Hezbollah, Israel’s nemesis.

Aside from the two sentences on Osama, the letter is unified by its focus on enemies of Israel: Iraq, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and the Palestinian Authority, while it ignores entirely the two states most likely to supply bin Laden with nuclear weapons, North Korea and Pakistan.

There is nothing wrong with concern about Israel’s enemies, but nine days after 9/11 the U.S. Defense Policy Board should have been focusing on the threat to the U.S. homeland. U.S. Intelligence had already learned of two Pakistani nuclear nuclear scientists meeting with bin Laden.

What were they thinking to give Hezbollah double the attention of bin Laden? They were thinking of their long-standing goal to remove Saddam and of 9/11 only as pretext.
Details of the Meeting:
 

PNAC Letter

The PNAC Letter of 9/20/2001 reflects the dominant (neocon) conclusions from Rumsfeld's 2-day Defense Policy Board meeting.

Because this letter, basically announcing that Cheney's Iraq-War clique was going to war, was more concerned with Israel's security than with US security, it gives twice as much space to Hezbolla as to Osama bin Laden. This is just nine days after 9/11, and it we knew Osama was mainly responsible.

Quotes from the Neocon Letter of 9/20/2001
"Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, ... remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq."
"... any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah."
"We should insist that the Palestinian Authority ... imprison those planning terrorist attacks against Israel."

Context and Summary: The authors appear to have little interest in bin Laden but are afraid of appearing to have an agenda unrelated to the present crisis. So bin Laden is mentioned first, but given only two sentences—65 words, compared with 154 for Iraq and 127 for Hezbollah, Israel’s nemesis.

Aside from the two sentences on Osama, the letter is unified by its focus on enemies of Israel: Iraq, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and the Palestinian Authority, while it ignores entirely the two states most likely to supply bin Laden with nuclear weapons, North Korea and Pakistan. See discussion of Defense-Policy-Board meeting.
Page with this popNote and full text of letter.


The Honorable George W. Bush                                 September 20, 2001
President of the United States

Dear Mr. President,

We write to endorse your admirable commitment to “lead the world to victory” in the war against terrorism. We fully support your call for “a broad and sustained campaign” against the “terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them.” We agree with Secretary of State Powell that the United States must find and punish the perpetrators of the horrific attack of September 11, and we must, as he said, “go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world” and “get it by its branch and root.” We agree with the Secretary of State that U.S. policy must aim not only at finding the people responsible for this incident, but must also target those “other groups out there that mean us no good” and “that have conducted attacks previously against U.S. personnel, U.S. interests and our allies.”

In order to carry out this “first war of the 21st century” successfully, and in order, as you have said, to do future “generations a favor by coming together and whipping terrorism,” we believe the following steps are necessary parts of a comprehensive strategy.

Osama bin Laden

We agree that a key goal, but by no means the only goal, of the current war on terrorism should be to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and to destroy his network of associates. To this end, we support the necessary military action in Afghanistan and the provision of substantial financial and military assistance to the anti-Taliban forces in that country.

Iraq

We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….” It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism. The United States must therefore provide full military and financial support to the Iraqi opposition. American military force should be used to provide a “safe zone” in Iraq from which the opposition can operate. And American forces must be prepared to back up our commitment to the Iraqi opposition by all necessary means.

Hezbollah

Hezbollah is one of the leading terrorist organizations in the world. It is suspected of having been involved in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Africa, and implicated in the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Hezbollah clearly falls in the category cited by Secretary Powell of groups “that mean us no good” and “that have conducted attacks previously against U.S. personnel, U.S. interests and our allies.” Therefore, any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah. We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority

Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism, especially in the Middle East. The United States should fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism. We should insist that the Palestinian Authority put a stop to terrorism emanating from territories under its control and imprison those planning terrorist attacks against Israel. Until the Palestinian Authority moves against terror, the United States should provide it no further assistance.

U.S. Defense Budget

A serious and victorious war on terrorism will require a large increase in defense spending. Fighting this war may well require the United States to engage a well-armed foe, and will also require that we remain capable of defending our interests elsewhere in the world. We urge that there be no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed to allow us to win this war.

There is, of course, much more that will have to be done. Diplomatic efforts will be required to enlist other nations’ aid in this war on terrorism. Economic and financial tools at our disposal will have to be used. There are other actions of a military nature that may well be needed. However, in our judgement the steps outlined above constitute the minimum necessary if this war is to be fought effectively and brought to a successful conclusion. Our purpose in writing is to assure you of our support as you do what must be done to lead the nation to victory in this fight.

Sincerely, William Kristol
Richard V. Allen / Gary Bauer / Jeffrey Bell / William J. Bennett     
Rudy Boshwitz / Jeffrey Bergner / Eliot Cohen / Seth Cropsey  
Midge Decter / Thomas Donnelly / Nicholas Eberstadt / Hillel Fradkin
Aaron Friedberg / Francis Fukuyama / Frank Gaffney / Jeffrey Gedmin  
Reuel Marc Gerecht / Charles Hill / Bruce P. Jackson / Eli S. Jacobs  
Michael Joyce / Donald Kagan / Robert Kagan / Jeane Kirkpatrick
Charles Krauthammer / John Lehman / Clifford May / Martin Peretz
Richard Perle / Norman Podhoretz / Stephen P. Rosen / Randy Scheunemann
Gary Schmitt / William Schneider, Jr. / Richard H. Shultz / Henry Sokolski
Stephen J. Solarz / Vin Weber / Leon Wieseltier / Marshall Wittmann

Also available at: www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter.htm

Rumsfeld on 9/11

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2002(CBS)
CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.

That's according to notes taken by aides who were with Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center on Sept. 11 – notes that show exactly where the road toward war with Iraq began, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin.

At 9:53 a.m., just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, and while Rumsfeld was still outside helping with the injured, the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden's operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

The caller said he had "heard good news" and that another target was still to come; an indication he knew another airliner, the one that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania, was at that very moment zeroing in on Washington.

It was 12:05 p.m. when the director of Central Intelligence told Rumsfeld about the intercepted conversation.

Rumsfeld felt it was "vague," that it "might not mean something," and that there was "no good basis for hanging hat." In other words, the evidence was not clear-cut enough to justify military action against bin Laden.

But later that afternoon, the CIA reported the passenger manifests for the hijacked airliners showed three of the hijackers were suspected al Qaeda operatives.

"One guy is associate of Cole bomber," the notes say, a reference to the October 2000 suicide boat attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, which had also been the work of bin Laden.

With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." – meaning Saddam Hussein – "at same time. Not only UBL" – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.

"Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/04/september11/main520830.shtml

JINSA on 9/13

JINSA Online, September 13, 2001
Jewish Institute For National Security Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Thomas Neumann, Executive Director, JINSA
202-833-0020

This Goes Beyond Bin Laden

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2001 - In the face of horrendous acts of terrorism against the United States, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) calls on the American government and on all world leaders to be decisive in their actions to confront the terrorists and their supporters, who rely on our taking half measures in response.

We must begin by condemning them and their organizations by name; we know who they are. Osama Bin Laden, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad are only the most prominent. The countries harboring and training them include not just Afghanistan - an easy target for blame - but Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Algeria and even our presumed friends Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

We must make them believe there is not one inch of soil on the planet that is a haven or training ground for them.

The United States can have no political relationship with any country or group whose citizens celebrate the death of innocent Americans. There is nothing to justify dancing in the streets and rejoicing over an American tragedy. This behavior tells us who our friends are, and who wishes our mortal enemies well.

A long investigation to prove Osama Bin Laden's guilt with prosecutorial certainty is entirely unnecessary. He is guilty in word and deed. His history is the source of his culpability. The same holds true for Saddam Hussein. Our actions in the past certainly were not forceful enough, and now we must seize the opportunity to alter this pattern of passivity.

In response to the attack on September 11, 2001 JINSA calls on the United States to:

   • Halt all US purchases of Iraqi oil under the UN Oil for Food Program and to provide all necessary support to the Iraq National Congress, including direct American military support, to effect a regime change in Iraq.

   • Bomb identified terrorist training camps and facilities in any country harboring terrorists. Interdict the supply lines to terrorist organizations, including but not limited to those between Damascus and Beirut that permit Iran to use Lebanon as a terrorist base.

   • Revoke the Presidential Order banning assassinations.

   • Overturn the 1995 CIA Directive limiting whom the U.S. can recruit to aid counter-terrorism in an effort to boost our human intelligence.

   • Freeze the bank accounts of organizations in the US that have links to terrorism-supporting groups and their political wings. Ask other countries and financial institutions to do the same.

   • Demand that Egypt and Saudi Arabia sever all remaining ties with Osama Bin Laden, including ties with Saudi-sponsored nongovernmental organizations and groups abroad that raise money for Bin Laden and other terrorist organizations.

   • Suspend US Military Aid to Egypt while re-evaluating Egypt's support for American policy objectives, and re-evaluate America's security relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States unless both actually join in our war against terrorism.

   • Ensure that American technology, arms, technical support and personnel are not supplied to countries that do not fully support American objectives regarding terrorism, and through which terrorists might acquire American materiel. Ask our allies and other countries to undertake similar restrictions.

   • Reassess the visa process by which nationals from hostile nations are permitted to enter the United States. And tighten controls at the Canadian and Mexican borders to prevent access by people without appropriate documentation.

   • Strengthen American law enforcement efforts to identify and eliminate terrorist cells operating in the United States.

   • Take immediate steps to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

The terrorists who struck on Tuesday changed the physical and political landscape of America. We in JINSA trust that our government and our people will make them regret that day.
Source: http://www.jinsa.org/articles/view.html?documentid=1262

Rumsfeld on 9/19

A NATION CHALLENGED: SADDAM HUSSEIN;
Some Pentagon Officials and Advisers Seek to Oust Iraq's Leader in War's Next Phase
By Elaine Sciolino & Patrick Tyler
NY Times, October 12, 2001

A tight-knit group of Pentagon officials and defense experts outside government is working to mobilize support for a military operation to oust President Saddam Hussein of Iraq as the next phase of the war against terrorism, senior administration officials and defense experts said.

The group, which some in the State Department and on Capitol Hill refer to as the ''Wolfowitz cabal,'' after Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz, is laying the groundwork for a strategy that envisions the use of air support and the occupation of southern Iraq with American ground troops to install a Iraqi opposition group based in London at the helm of a new government, the officials and experts said.

Under this notion, American troops would also seize the oil fields around Basra, in southeastern Iraq, and sell the oil to finance the Iraqi opposition in the south and the Kurds in the north, one senior official said.

''The takeover would not be dissimilar to the area we occupied in the gulf war,'' the official said.

The group is building its case despite President Bush's declaration that the war against Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, Al Qaeda, must be fought first. The idea is to prepare for what its members see as the coming debate over the next phase of the war.

The group has largely excluded the State Department, where Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has adamantly argued that such an attack would destroy the international coalition that President Bush has assembled. Both Mr. Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney have said there is no evidence linking Iraq to the attacks.

''Our focus is on Afghanistan and the terrorist network hiding in Afghanistan right now,'' Mr. Bush said tonight at his news conference. But he called Mr. Hussein '' an evil man.''

''After all, he gassed his own people,'' Mr. Bush added. ''We know he's been developing weapons of mass destruction.'' He said the administration was watching Mr. Hussein ''very carefully.''

On Sept. 19 and 20, the Defense Policy Board, a prestigious bipartisan board of national security experts that advises the Pentagon, met for 19 hours to discuss the ramifications of the attacks of Sept. 11. The members of the group agreed on the need to turn to Iraq as soon as the initial phase of the war against Afghanistan and Mr. bin Laden and his organization is over, people familiar with the meetings said. Both Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz took part in the meetings for part of both days.

But while the group agreed on the goal of ousting Mr. Hussein, they presented a range of views, including a discussion of the many political and diplomatic obstacles to military action.

''If we don't use this as the moment to replace Saddam after we replace the Taliban, we are setting the stage for disaster,'' Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and a member of the group, said in an interview.

Richard Perle, who shares Mr. Wolfowitz's view that the Iraqi regime should be overthrown quickly with military force, said, ''This has never been a fringe issue.''

Neither Mr. Gingrich nor Mr. Perle discussed the substance of the meeting.

Other members of the group expressed concern that they might be pawns in what had become a bureaucratic battle. ''Both Pentagon and State are probably using us to continue to support their arguments,'' said one member of the group.

The 18-member board includes Harold Brown, President Jimmy Carter's defense secretary; former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger; R. James Woolsey, director of central intelligence in the Clinton administration; Adm. David E. Jeremiah, the former deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; former Vice President Dan Quayle; and James R. Schlesinger a former defense and energy secretary.

The State Department, including officials who work on Iraq policy, was not briefed on the two-day meeting.

There are other signs of bureaucratic disarray with regard to setting policy regarding the war on terrorism. The White House inserted a far-reaching sentence into a letter from Ambassador John D. Negroponte, the chief United States envoy to the United Nations, to the Security Council last Sunday, senior administration officials said.

''Powell was surprised to find out about it and he was quite distressed,'' a senior administration official said. ''Somebody should have called him.''

The State Department determined that Stephen J. Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, inserted the sentence, and that Mr. Negroponte and at least two senior officials in the State Department saw the final version of the letter but did not change it, officials said.

The letter put the Security Council on notice that the United States might be forced to retaliate against other state sponsors of terrorism if it turned up new evidence, stating, ''We may find that our self-defense requires further action with respect to other organizations and other states.''

In another development, the Knight Ridder newspaper group reported today that senior Pentagon officials authorized Mr. Woolsey to fly to London last month on a government plane, accompanied by Justice and Defense Department officials, on a mission to gather evidence linking Mr. Hussein to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The State Department was unaware of the trip but confirmed that it did take place, a senior State Department official said. Victoria Clarke, the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, said, ''We just don't have any information on it.'' Mr. Woolsey did not return phone calls seeking comment.

In a conversation on Wednesday, Mr. Woolsey suggested that he was building a legal case against Iraq.

''The first thing we have to do is develop some confidence that Iraq is involved in terrorist incidents against us, not meaning Sept. 11,'' he said.

Mr. Woolsey cited Iraq's alleged involvement in the assassination attempt against former President George Bush in the spring of 1993, together with its work to develop weapons of mass destruction as terrorist acts that made them ''a prime candidate for regime replacement.''

Mr. Woolsey added that eventually Mr. Hussein would fall if subjected to a military offensive that would give the United States control of the south, support from the Kurds in the north, defections of crucial Iraqis and well-supported insurgencies.

The United States must be ''willing to put up with criticism from European states and other governments,'' Mr. Woolsey said.

Not Bush

By CARLA ANNE ROBBINS and JEANNE CUMMINGS
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, June 14, 2002

WASHINGTON -- In the chaotic days after Sept. 11, as several of his top advisers argued over whether to launch a strike on Iraq, President Bush sided with those urging restraint.

There was, after all, no real evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had anything to do with the terror attacks. And President Bush wanted to keep the focus on al Qaeda, the Afghanistan-based terrorist group that engineered the deadly hijackings.

But now, a showdown with Iraq appears nearly inevitable. What happened?
....
"It's not because you have some chain of evidence saying Iraq may have given a weapon to al Qaeda," Ms. Rice says, as she recounts the evolution of Mr. Bush's thinking.
....
This focus on Iraq was far from preordained. In his first nine months in office, in fact, Mr. Bush hadn't made Iraq a top priority, and an interagency review on the country was languishing on Sept. 11. Immediately after the terror strikes on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Mr. Bush had actually overruled advisers who wanted to take on Iraq along with Afghanistan in the first wave of the new war on terrorism.

The picture is quite different from the common assumption that Mr. Bush's prime motivation is to settle an old score for his father, who drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait but failed to do away with Saddam Hussein. That bit of family business appears to have little to do with Mr. Bush's current attitude.

Even in the first weeks after Sept. 11, Iraq didn't figure prominently in Mr. Bush's thinking, particularly after Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet reported there was "no evidence" Iraq was involved. On Sept. 20, when the president made a now-famous speech to a joint session of Congress calling for a global war on terrorism, he pointedly made no mention of Iraq.
....
By the last few days of October, the White House was so persuaded about the danger that officials quietly informed local police in Washington and the Congressional intelligence committees of the dirty-bomb threat.

Mr. Tenet, the CIA director, testified in 1999 that Mr. bin Laden had declared it his religious duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. ... As part of his late October briefings, Mr. Tenet discussed which other countries had the capability and the malice to help al Qaeda acquire weapons of mass destruction. And for that, Iraq topped the list.

Visitors to the White House at the time reported privately that Mr. Bush seemed haunted by a nuclear threat. At one of his morning intelligence briefings he told his advisers, "We have to be thankful that on Sept. 11 they didn't have a weapon of mass destruction instead of an airplane," recalls one participant. And every day for at least two weeks he ended those meetings exhorting the group, "We have to make sure that this doesn't happen."

In early November, in a speech broadcast to a European antiterrorism summit, Mr. Bush made his first public mention of the danger, warning that al Qaeda is seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
...
All told, the environment was becoming more welcoming for key officials at the Pentagon, as well as members of Vice President Cheney's staff, who already were eager to target Iraq. With the Taliban suddenly crumbling in Afghanistan, the idea of waging a similar small war in Iraq "stopped looking unthinkable," says an official who is still skeptical.

Shortly after Sept. 11, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld hosted a meeting of his Defense Policy Board, an advisory panel that includes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Speakers of the House Newt Gingrich and Tom Foley, and former CIA Director James Woolsey. [But not Colin Powell.]

For two days, the group debated an attack against Iraq. Ahmed Chalabi, who leads the Iraqi National Congress, the exile group with the most sway in Washington, was invited to speak and, when asked to leave the room during the private discussions, he toured the clean-up efforts in the burned-out wing of the Pentagon. At the end of the meeting, several members of the advisory committee were convinced an attack was warranted, according to three members of the group.

Perhaps more important, Mr. Cheney [a founding member of PNAC] became more convinced of the need to act on Iraq. The vice president, who was secretary of defense during the Gulf War, always seemed more concerned about the Iraq legacy than Mr. Bush. At a celebration dinner after the 2000 presidential campaign, he privately told a group of friends that the new White House team may have a rare historic opportunity to right a wrong committed during a previous term -- the mistake of leaving Saddam Hussein in place atop the Iraqi government. He also hired a staff filled with Iraq hawks.
....
Meanwhile, Iraqi opposition groups themselves began pressing harder to turn the administration. Mr. Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, brought defectors to Washington with reports of new Iraqi weapons programs and terrorist training camps. [All of which turned out to be fabrications. —zFacts WMD Report to Pres. The hawks at the Pentagon were particularly troubled by the presentation offered by Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haidari, a concrete contractor, who told U.S. authorities in December that he had helped build dozens of Mr. Hussein's latest weapons labs, and that they were scattered throughout Baghdad underneath homes and mosques. Mr. Saeed came out of Iraq with work orders to back up his claims. Other officials, however, said they found the defectors' presentations so well-rehearsed that they suspected they may have been embroidering the facts. Still, the stream of stories added to the gathering momentum.

'Axis of Evil'

Finally, soon after Christmas, Mr. Bush and his advisers started discussing ideas for the president's late-January State of the Union address. The president made clear early on that he wanted the speech to highlight the dangers of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction, as well as list the countries that might help them. The most memorable line from that speech was Mr. Bush's depiction of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as part of an "axis of evil." Not only are these states seeking weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Bush warned, "they could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred."

Looking back, U.S. officials now say they may well have overestimated al Qaeda's access to weapons of mass destruction and the extent of the help provided by the Pakistani scientists. By late fall, American troops were on the ground in Afghanistan and sorting through al Qaeda labs, offices, houses and caves. What they found was less than originally feared, though still frightening. Designs for nuclear weapons were "rudimentary, the sort of thing you'd draw on a cocktail napkin," says one intelligence official. U.S. troops found no sign that al Qaeda had managed to acquire chemical or biological weapons or any nuclear material.

And, crucially, U.S. officials recently concluded, after an exhaustive review, that they have no hard evidence to confirm the report that Mr. Atta, the Sept. 11 hijacker, actually met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague last year.

While Mr. Bush is adamant about a regime change in Iraq, aides say the administration is still far from deciding how to make that happen. "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go. That's about all I'm willing to share with you," Mr. Bush said in an interview with British journalists in April.

Rush to War

Special Report: The Rush to Invade Iraq: The Ultimate Inside Account
by Bryan Burrough, Evgenia Peretz, David Rose, and David Wise
Vanity Fair, May 2004

....
Three days later, on Saturday, September 15, President Bush gathered his closest advisers at Camp David to discuss the shape of the coming war. Much of their discussion dealt with Afghanistan. But during a session that morning, according to Bob Woodward's 2002 book, Bush at War, Wolfowitz advocated an attack on Iraq, perhaps even before an attack on Afghanistan. There was a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq had been involved in 9/11, he argued, concluding that Saddam's "brittle, oppressive regime" might succumb easily to an American attack-in contrast to the difficulties involved in prosecuting war in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Sitting across the table, Colin Powell was appalled. To attack Iraq without clear evidence of Saddam's involvement in September 11 would drive America's allies away, he argued. Much better to go after bin Laden's obvious state sponsor, the Taliban. If that went well, it would only enhance America's ability to oust Saddam later. In front of his advisers at Camp David, and in later interviews, Bush indicated that he supported Powell's argument. During the lunch break, the president sent a message to Wolfowitz and the other neocons, indicating that he did not wish to hear any more about Iraq that day. But, according to Richard Perle, Wolfowitz had planted a seed. Bush told Perle at Camp David that once Afghanistan had been dealt with, it would be Iraq's turn.

By that Monday, Wolfowitz and his neocon colleagues were already busy studying ways to justify an eventual attack on Iraq. The next day, Tuesday, September 18, Perle convened a two-day meeting of the Defense Policy Board, a group that advises the Pentagon. (Perle has since resigned, first as chairman, amid charges of conflicts of interest because he was representing a company seeking Defense Department approval of a sale to two foreign companies, and then from the group altogether.) The board's meetings amount to a form of "organized brainstorming" with the defense secretary, his key lieutenants, and a group of well-informed outsiders, all of whom are cleared to have access to classified intelligence. The 30 members, appointed by the secretary of defense, have traditionally represented a broad spectrum of political beliefs. Under Rumsfeld, however, the board has taken a hard turn to the right, with several Democrats being ousted.

That morning the group gathered in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Washington. From there, one participant recalls, "we got into mini-buses and took off at about a zillion miles an hour. We had a full-blown police escort, motorcycle outriders, the works, and at the peak of the morning rush hour they had cleared the entire interstate across the 14th Street Bridge. It took almost no time at all to get to the Pentagon... When we got there, it was like a war zone. You could still smell the smoke."

They met in Rumsfeld's conference room. After a C.I.A. briefing on the 9/11 attacks, Perle introduced two guest speakers. The first was Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, a longtime associate of Cheney's and Wolfowitz's. Lewis told the meeting that America must respond to 9/11 with a show of strength: to do otherwise would be taken in the Islamic world as a sign of weakness-one it would be bound to exploit. At the same time, he said, America should support democratic reformers in the Middle East. "Such as," he said, turning to the second of Perle's guest speakers, "my friend here, Dr. Chalabi."

At the meeting Chalabi said that, although there was as yet no evidence linking Iraq to 9/11, failed states such as Saddam's were a breeding ground for terrorists, and Iraq, he told those at the meeting, possessed W.M.D.

2002 WMDs

Since the real reasons for the war concerned Israel and oil, [#Cheney]'s neoconservatives needed a pretext. As Paul [#Wolfowitz] explained in a phone interview with Vanity Fair:

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but -- hold on one second... [Interupted by DOD attorney]." (05/09/2003)

The neocons (Richard [#Perle] in particular) backed [#Chalabi] who provided informants (e.g "curve ball") and "information" to the CIA. Since the CIA tended to be skeptical, [#Feith] and [#Wolfowitz] created the "Office of Special Plans" in the Pentagon to "stovepipe" the "information" they liked up into the White House and Departments of Defense and State.

The final report on WMD requested by the President concluded (as described by its letter of transmittal) "the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."
  

 

 

 

WMDs ?

Was it all just a mistake?

The WMDs were destroyed in 1991 and no programs to develop them were restarted. That is the conclusion of the Pentagon, the CIA and the President's Commission on WMD.

Congress relied on "dead wrong" WMD claims when it gave permission for the war. That's what the President's Commission concluded.

How could the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department, dozens of brilliant neocons, and the President all make such a gigantic mistake for 18 months?

... thousands of tons of ... mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas ... growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles ... to disperse chemical or biological weapons ... exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. ... smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.  —President Bush, Cincinnati, Ohio Speech, Oct. 7, 2002.

"Dead wrong." —The President's Commission
The official explanation is "Oops, the CIA made a mistake." Or, in the words of the President's Commission: "What the intelligence professionals told you about Saddam Hussein's programs was what they believed. They were simply wrong."

That's on page 1, but the next 600 pages tell us there were many in the CIA who did not believe what was being said and they put it in writing time and again. A lot of those disbeliefs made it into the White House, but not one made it out of the White House to the American public. Perhaps the clearest case is that of the 500 tons of uranium ore concentrate supposedly bought by Iraq from Niger.

This claim was based on documents so badly forged it took UN investigators only a few hours with the internet to figure it out. One obvious clue: the forgers got the President of Niger wrong. Our ambassador to Niger debunked this story in early 2002. Then the CIA, which did not believe it from the start, sent Wilson to check it out and he came back and debunked it, including a direct report to the State Dept. in March 2002. But, in January 2003, the President used this "fact" in his State of the Union address, and Powell used it indirectly in his February speech at the U.N..

Finally, in March 2003, Powell admitted there was a problem, "It was the information that we had. We provided it. If that information is inaccurate, fine."

But maybe our whole government is not really this stupid. Maybe Paul Wolfowitz was right. Maybe ... "for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but"

Now do you know what happend the instant he said that. Even before he could finish his sentence the government lawyer sitting beside him cuts him off with "-- hold on one second". The they go off mike and when they come back Wolfowitz can't say any more about it.

Wolfowitz was trying to explain that the real reasons had a lot more to do with moving our troops out of Saudi Arabia (to Iraq) and some other things. The reason the "U.S. government bureaucracy" could settle on WMD is because that would get people riled up. It was real easy to explain.

In fact our goverment is not as stupid as they would like us to believe, but they're not as smart as they think they are.

President's Report

The final report on WMD requested by the President compares the Pre-War and Post-War conclusions of the CIA and Pentagon and finds the pre-war conclusions were "dead wrong." It agrees with the report of the 1400-member Iraq Survey Group report from the CIA/Pentagon, and explains the mistakes.   Findings:

  • Biological weapons destroyed in 1991.  No bio-weapon program since.
  • No nuclear weapons programs.  Capability to re-start degraded since 1991.
  • Undeclared chemical weapons destroyed in 1991. None manufactured later.
  • No intent to use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver WMD.
  • These findings prove the U.N. sanctions and inspections worked almost perfectly.

The following are quotations from the President's Report:

(March 31, 2005, www.wmd.gov/about.html)
 
From the letter of transmittal:

We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Specifically, the NIE assessed that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program and could assemble a device by the end of the decade; that Iraq had biological weapons and mobile facilities for producing biological warfare (BW) agent; that Iraq had both renewed production of chemical weapons, and probably had chemical weapons stockpiles of up to 500 metric tons; and that Iraq was developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) probably  intended to deliver BW agent.

From the Report:

These assessments were all wrong. (p.45)

The Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had not tried to reconstitute a capability to produce nuclear weapons after 1991. ...it concluded that Iraq’s ability to reconstitute its program progressively decayed after 1991. (p.60)

Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of BW [biological warfare] weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent shortly after the Gulf War. ... This took place in either the late spring or summer of 1991. (p. 86)

The ISG “found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes.” (p. 87)

The ISG concluded—contrary to the Intelligence Community’s pre-war assessments—that Iraq had actually unilaterally destroyed its undeclared CW stockpile [of chemical weapons] in 1991 and that there were no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of CW thereafter (p.119)

The ISG found no evidence suggesting that Iraq had, at the time of the war, any intent to use UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] as BW or CW delivery systems. (p.141)

Notes: Brackets, [  ], indicate zFacts' clarifications. Emphasis added.
NIE: the National Intelligence Estimate used by Congress to approve the war.
ISG: the "Iraq Survey Group" was a 1,400-member fact-finding mission organized by the Pentagon and CIA after the war to hunt for Saddam's suspected WMD.
  
  

Full Title:

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States
Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction
Report to the President of the United States

Fake Uranium

"One of the documents was a letter, dated July 2000 and apparently signed by the Niger president, discussing Iraq's agreement to purchase 500 tons of uranium oxide, and certifying that it was authorized under the Niger constitution of 1965. But U.N. officials quickly noted that Niger had promulgated a new constitution in 1999, and that the letter's signature bore little resemblance to the actual signature of President Tandja Mamadou.

Another letter, dated in 1999, was signed by the Niger foreign minister. But the letterhead belonged to the military government that had been replaced earlier in 1999, and the signatory had left the job of foreign minister in 1989." (W. Post March 22, 2003)


 

  July 8, 2003. NY Times
The White House acknowledged for the first time today that President Bush was relying on incomplete and perhaps inaccurate information from American intelligence agencies when he declared, in his State of the Union speech, that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium from Africa.
 

     
Jul. 6, 2003  

What I didn't find in Africa - more

     
Jul. 7, 2003  

White House says uranium claim should not have been in the State of the Union Address 
washingtonpost

     
Mar. 25, 2003  

Reuters reported "a senior official from the U.N. nuclear agency who saw the ... evidence ... described one as so badly forged his ``jaw dropped.'' ``It doesn't even look close to the signature of the president.'' 
nytimes

     
Mar. 22, 2003  

washingtonpost
W. Post, Page A30. "CIA officials now say they communicated significant doubts to the administration about the evidence ..."
 
20030322 W Post U Africa  (8k HTML)

     
Mar. 17, 2003  

house.gov
Rep. Waxman. In a letter sent to Bush, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) asked for a full accounting.
 
Waxman U  (65k PDF)

     
Mar. 9, 2003  

"It was the information that we had. We provided it. If that information is inaccurate, fine," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 
cnn

     
Mar. 8, 2003  

globeandmail
Toronto Globe & Mail.  The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said ... experts have determined the letters and other written material are "not authentic."  The forgeries were sold to an Italian intelligence agent by a con man.
 
030308 Globe+Mail  (17k PDF)

     
Feb. 5, 2003  

globalsecurity
Powell did not refer to the fake African documents, which conforms with the U.S. News report that he rejected parts of the speech provided by Cheney.USNews
 
030205 Powell UN  (73k PDF)

     
Jan. 29, 2003  

 Rumsfeld.  "His regime ... recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa." 
defenselink.mil

     
Jan. 24, 2003  

whitehouse.gov
Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser, in "Why We Know Iraq is Lying" states the declaration fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad."
 
030124 Condoleeza  (9k HTML)

     
Jan. 28, 2003  

whitehouse.gov
In his State of the Union address, Bush said "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
 
20030128 Bush State U  (43k HTML)

     
Dec. 29, 2002  

state.gov
State Dept. said Iraq's declaration "ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger."
 
200212 StateDpt U Africa  (7k HTM)

     
Sep. 24, 2002  

British publish report that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium for nuclear weapons in Africa.

Iraq War in Quotes

11/15/1999, Dick Cheney, CEO of Halliburton (later, Vice President)
"Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow." (at the  London Institute of Petroleum)
10/11/2000, George W. Bush, Candidate for President
"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building."
02/26/2001, L. Paul Bremmer III (became head of Iraq occupation)
"The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, `Oh, my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this?' "
09 / 11 / 2001
10/29/2001, Michael Leeden, American Enterprise Institute
"Just wage a total war against these tyrants; I think we will do very well and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

02/13/2002, Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board

"Liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."

09/18/2002,  Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense (before Congress)
"We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons. His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons -- including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas. ... His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons—including anthrax and botulism toxin, and possibly smallpox." (presentation to Congress)
10/7/2002, George W. Bush, President
"The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas."
11/01/2002, George W. Bush, President
"... for the sake of protecting our friends and allies, the United States will lead a mighty coalition of freedom-loving nations and disarm Saddam Hussein. See, I can't imagine what was going through the mind of this enemy when they hit us. They probably thought the national religion was materialism, that we were so selfish and so self-absorbed that after 9/11/2001 this mighty nation would take a couple of steps back and file a lawsuit.
11/14/2002, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
"I'm glad you asked. It has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil."
11/15/2002, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
"Five days or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last longer."
01/10/2003, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
"... something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.”
02/08/2003, George W. Bush, President
"We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner. This network runs a poison and explosive training camp in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad."
03/16/2003, Dick Cheney, Vice President
"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . [in] weeks rather than months."
03 / 19 / 2003.  Start of Iraq War
03/22/2003, General Tommy Franks
"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." 
03/27/2003, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary
"There’s a lot of money to pay for this ... the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
03/30/2003, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
"We know where they are [Iraq's weapons of mass destruction]. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
05/01/2003, George W. Bush, President
"My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."  Under the banner "Mission Accomplished."
05/09/2003, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary (phone interview with Vanity Fair)
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but -- hold on one second... [Interupted by DOD attorney]."
07/02/2003, George W. Bush, President
"There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on!  We've got the force necessary ..." 
07/24/2003, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
"No. That's someone else's business. Quagmire is -- I don't do quagmires."
09/14/2003, Dick Cheney, Vice President
"If we're successful in Iraq ... we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
09/17/2003,  George W. Bush, President
Q: Mr. President, Dr. Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld both said yesterday that they have seen no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with September 11th. THE PRESIDENT: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th."
06/28/2004, Dick Cheney, Vice President 
"Two days ahead of schedule, the world witnessed the arrival of a free and sovereign Iraq."
03/31/2005, President's Commission on WMD

We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.  —Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (Letter of transmittal pdf)

06/29/2005, Dick Cheney, Vice President
I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.
03/18/2006, Dick Cheney, Vice President,
"Q: About a year ago, you said that the insurgency in Iraq was in its final throes. Do you still believe this? Cheney: Yes."
 05/22/2006, George W. Bush, President
"We have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror."
09/10/2006, Dick Cheney, Vice President
"If we had to do it over again we would do exactly the same thing." Q: Exactly the same thing? Cheney: Yes, Sir.
09/11/2006, US Government Accounting Office, (gao.gov/new.items/d061094t.pdf)
"Attacks against the coalition and its Iraqi partners reached an all time high during July 2006."
01/18/2007, Henry Kissinger (Advisor to G. W. Bush; Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford)
"They [American forces] are there as an expression of the American national interest to prevent the Iranian combination of imperialism and fundamentalist ideology from dominating a region on which the energy supplies of the industrial democracies depend."
9/9/2008, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve through 2005. (from The Age of Turbulence, p.463)
"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

 

A Few Sources

 

8/15/2006, Cheney:
But progress has been steady. Iraqis have ratified a progressive, democratic constitution.
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060815-2.html

Government Accounting Office (GAO)
As shown in the figure below, attacks against the coalition and its Iraqi partners reached an all time high during July 2006. ... In July 2006, the State Department reported that the recent upturn in violence has hindered efforts to engage with Iraqi partners.
Source: Gao.gov/new.items/d061094t.pdf

 

  Bush, 5/22/2006
"This Saturday in Baghdad, the new Prime Minister of Iraq announced a national unity government... There have been setbacks and missteps... Yet we have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror. " —Bush, 5/22/2006
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060522-1.html

DOD Report to Congress, 8/29/2006
The graph on p. 32 shows that Coalition casualties increased for the three months after this "turning point" and Iraqi casualites increased 82 to 117 per day, as compared with the three months prior (Feb. 11 -- May 19).
Source: Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.

 

  5/1/2006  Bush:
"I appreciate [Rice and Rumsfeld sending] my best wishes to the new government and to Prime Minister-designate Maliki, as well as the new Speaker and the President... This is a -- we believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060501.html

About the new Prime Minister, Maliki
Maliki, like the previous PM, is from the Dawa party ("Islamic injunctions are the basis of legislation"). It has close ties with Iran, and Maliki visited Iran Sept. 11 to ''enhance relationships.'' (NYT, Sept. 10.) When we attacked a Shiite death squad, Maliki severely critized the US Army. Sectarian violence has increased rapidly under Maliki.

 

  Cheney, 3/18/2006
"Q: About a year ago, you said that the insurgency in Iraq was in its final throes. Do you still believe this? Cheney: Yes."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/06/20060619-10.html

"Sunni Insurgency Remains Strong and Resilient"
Section heading on p. 10 of GAO report, Stabilizing Iraq, An Assessment of the Security Situation, Sept. 11, 2006. DOD reports: "However, the Sunni Arab insurgence remains potent and viable." (p. 26.) "Conflict in Anbar Province remains centered on the Sunni insurgency." (p. 28) Anbar accounts for 27% of all attacks. (Graph, p. 32.) and "The bulk of the Rejectionist insurgency will likely continue to attack Coalition forces while they remain in Iraq. (p. 29). From The Dept. of Defense's Report to Congress (Aug. 2006). 

Sunni support for the insurgency is up to 75% from 14% in 2003 — ABC news Sept. 20, 2006. Source: ABCnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2470183&page=1
Also: select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F50F10FD3E550C718DDDA00894DE404482

 

  Cheney, 12/18/2005
"I believe that the elections were the turning point. And we had that election in January -- first free election in Iraq in decades -- and that we will be able to look back from the perspective of time, and see that 2005 was the turning point, was the watershed year."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051218-4.html

The December 2005 elections heightened sectarian tensions
"However, according to the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the December 2005 elections appeared to heighten sectarian tensions and polarize sectarian divides. According to a U.S. Institute of Peace report,8 the focus on ethnic and sectarian identity has sharpened as a result of Iraq’s political process, while nationalism and a sense of Iraqi identity have weakened." —Stabilizing Iraq: An Assessment of the Security Situation. (Statement for the Record by David M. Walker Comptroller General of the United States) Published by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
 

 

  Cheney, 12/18/2005
"2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East, and the history of freedom."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051212-4.html

DOD graph show "Sectarian Incidents" turned up sharply after the Dec. 2005 election. They went from Sectarian casualties went from 300/month in December 2005, to 400 in January, 800 in February, 1700 in march and 2000/month in June. See DOD graph from the Dept. of Defense Report to Congress, August 29, 2006.

 

  Cheney, 5/29/2005
"They're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
Source: transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0505/30/lkl.01.html

Insurgencies last up to nine years
GEN. MYERS:
 "We're involved in an insurgency, a very violent insurgency.  If there was a magic bullet, ... we've stood up here and said this is a thinking and adapting adversary. The vehicle- borne improvised explosive device is a very tough device to thwart. ... We work on it every day.  But I wouldn't look for results tomorrow.  This is a -- this -- one thing we know about insurgencies is that they last from, you know, three, four years to nine years.  These are tough fights. (5/12/2005)

What was going on in May, 2005 to provoke Cheney's comment on the 29th?
1. GEN. MYERS: "every time you have spike in violence, and we have a spike here in early May in violence, ..."
2. US fatalities were up to 80 from 35 two months before.
3. Question for Gen. Myers: "By the U.S. military's own estimates, hundreds of Iraqi civilians and security forces killed in Iraq over the last several weeks -- car bombs at an all-time high, they tell us..."
Source: Defenselink.mil/transcripts/2005/tr20050512-secdef2761.html

The American military commander in the Persian Gulf, General John Abizaid
CARL LEVIN: General Abizaid, can you give us your assessment of the strength of the insurgency. Is it less strong, more strong, about the same strength as it was six months ago?
JOHN ABIZAID: In terms of comparison from six months ago, in terms of foreign fighters, I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago. In terms of the overall strength of the insurgency, I'd say it's about the same as it was.
CARL LEVIN: Well, the Vice-President has said it's in its last throes. That's the statement that the Vice President. Doesn't sound to me from your testimony, or any other testimony here this morning, that it is in its last throes.
JOHN ABIZAID: I'm sure you'll forgive me from criticising the Vice-President.
www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2005/s1399902.htm

 

  Bush, 5/24/2005
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050524-3.html

Bush used "As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." and variations of it on 77 public occasions starting on June 28, 2005 and ending on June 26, 2006. —based on searches of GPOaccess.gov/wcomp/search.html. Cheney used it a similar number of times.

Children love to hear the same stories over and over again. —Bush, Oct. 3, 2001.
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011003-19.html

 

  Rumsfeld, 2/2/2005
"On January 30th in Iraq, the world witnessed an important moment in the global struggle against tyranny, a moment that historians might one day call a major turning point."
Source: Defenselink.mil/news/Feb2005/n02022005_2005020201.html

Iraqi casualties continue to increase
DOD tracks casualties by political period. In the election period, Iraqi casualties were 50/day. In the next period, Feb. 11 -- Aug. 28, 2005 they were 58/day. In their most recent tracking period, -- Aug. 11, 2006, they were 117/day. Coalition casualties have remained flat. Source: DOD Report to Congress, p. 32.

 

  Bush, 1/29/2005
"Tomorrow the world will witness a turning point in the history of Iraq."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051212-4.html

Takeover by fundamentalist Shiites 
The Sunnis boycotted the election and recieved only 2% of the vote. This allowed Jaafari, head of the extremist Shiite Dawa party, to win as Prime Minister over a secular candidate by one vote, thanks to 100% backing by the even more extreme Sadr block in the newly elected Nantional Assembly. The Dawa party has close ties to Iran. Sources: InfoPlease.com/spot/iraqtimeline4.html, en.WikiPedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_al-Jaafari.

 

  Cheney, 6/28/2004
"Two days ahead of schedule, the world witnessed the arrival of a free and sovereign Iraq."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/06/20040628-11.html

Fact 
Thwarting attacks believed to be planned for the Wednesday transfer date was a factor in advancing it to Monday, several American officials said. ''We have said all along that we believed that the terrorists on the ground were going to do everything they can to literally and figuratively blow up the handover of sovereignty,'' one official said. --NYT,  "Transition in Iraq,", June 29, 2004.

At the handover ceremony, Bremer read a letter ... Less than an hour later, he boarded a helicopter, according to coalition military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmett, and within two hours, he was out of the country. --CNN, "US returns sovereignty to Iraq," June 28, 2004.

 

  Bush, 6/16/2004
"A turning point will come two weeks from today. On June the 30th, governing authority will be transferred to a fully sovereign interim government, the Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist, an American embassy will open in Baghdad."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/06/20040616-4.html

Fact

 

  Bush, 11/6/2003.  "We've reached another great turning point -- and the resolve we show will shape the next stage of the world democratic movement."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031106-2.html

This was four days after 16 men were shot down near Fallujah. On Nov. 14, Gen. Abizaid said the insurgents were "increasingly well organized and well financed, and are gradually expanding their attacks" (NY Times). On Nov. 15th the US shifted course in response to growing problems and agreed to grant "sovereignty" to Iraq before they wrote a constitution (NY Times).
Fact

 

  Rumsfeld, 7/24/2003.  "Q: "Quagmire"?  // Rumsfeld: No. That's someone else's business. Quagmire is -- I don't do quagmires."
Source: Defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/tr20030724-secdef0452.html

Troop levels hit 115,000 in Feb. 2004www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/050808/8forces_2.htm

 

  Bush, 7/2003.  "Let me finish. There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on."
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/07/20030702-3.html

Saying "bring it on," kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner -- you know, "wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. --Bush, 5/25/2006
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060525-12.html

 

  Bush, 5/3/2003  "I delivered good news to the men and women who fought in the cause of freedom: their mission is complete and major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030503.html

Fact

 

  Wolfowitz, 3/27/2003.  Iraq: "can really finance its own reconstruction."  Source:House Committee on Appropriations Hearing

Fact

 

  Cheney, 12/18/2005  "CHENEY: My own judgment based on my time as secretary of Defense, and having operated in this area in the past, I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly, but we can't...  // SCHIEFFER: Weeks? // CHENEY: ...we can't count on that. // SCHIEFFER: Months? // CHENEY: Weeks rather than months"  Source:Defenselink.mil/transcripts/2002/t11152002_t1114rum.html

Fact

 

  Rumsfeld, 2/7/2003. "It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."  Source: Whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051212-4.html

Fact 
We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years. --Rumsfeld, 

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,160716,00.html
see also: http://www.murtha.org/node/111

 

  Adelman, 2/12/2005.  "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."  Source: Washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A1996-2002Feb12

Fact 
Abizaid: till spring
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N19443462.htm

 

The Clique

Almost the entire Iraq-war clique, advocated the war from 1998 on. 9/11 was only a convenient pretext. Amazingly almost all were members of just two organizations: IASPS and PNAC. Both were neoconservative, and there were many links between the two.


IASPS:  Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies
  • "A Jerusalem-based think tank with an office in Washington, D.C."
  • Began promoting the Iraq war in 1996 by lobbying the Israeli government.
  • Richard Perle (later Rumsfeld's Chairman of Defense Policy Board, delivered "Clean Break" report to Israeli Prime Minister.
  • Current views (2010): Obama is the first American president who is a dictator. We should not be surprised if he proves to be the last president.

Members in the Iraq-War clique:
David [#Wurmser]: Middle East advisor to Vice President Cheney
Douglas  [#Feith]: Undersecretary of Defense for Policy until 2005.
Richard  [#Perle]: First Chairman of Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board.
Charles  [#Fairbanks]: Former assistant to and college friend of Wolfowitz.


PNAC:  Project for New American Century

  • The main neocon lobby, it focused first on invading Iraq.
  • Founded 1997, by William Kristol & Robert Kagan.
  • First action: open letter to Clinton advocating Iraq war.

Members in the Iraq-War clique:
Cheney,  Rumsfeld,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Libby,  Abrams,  Wurmser,  Perle.


 JINSA , The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • "explaining the link between U.S. national security and Israel’s security"

Served on JINSA's Advisory Board:  Cheney,  Wolfowitz,  Feith,  Bolton,  Perle.


Defense Policy Board

  • This board was at the heart of the push for war, from the first days after 9/11.

Membership from 8/16/2001 through and beyond the start of the Iraq war:
Richard Perle, Chairman (American Enterprise Institute), Kenneth Adelman, Newt Gingrich, Henry Kissinger, Dan Quale, James Woolsey, many more.


The Weekly Standard
  • Funded by Rupert Murdoch (owner of Fox News and Wall St. Journal).
  • Editor: William Kristol, co-founder of [#PNAC],
    • son of Irving Kristol, the neconservative's "godfather."

Elliot Abrams, Deputy Assistant to the President.
  • 2002-present, Special Assistant to G.W. Bush

Connections to Iraq-War clique:  [#PNAC] with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Libby.


John Bolton: Undersecretary of State

  • 1998 Signed PNAC Letters to Clinton, Gringrich, Lott advocating Iraq War.
  • 2002 December 19. Contributed false accusation of Iraqi uranium purchase to State Dept. Fact sheet. This accusation had been debunked in March 2002 by Wilson who reported directly to the State Dept. and previously by the ambassador to Niger.

Connections to Iraq-War clique:  JINSA Advisory Board as of 1998 with Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle.


Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi who conned the neocons.

  • 1956, a secular Iraqi Shiite from a wealthy banking family, left Iraq at age 12.
  • 1985, introduced Perle to Wolfowitz.
  • 1989, fled Jordan after receiving 22 year sentence for embezzlement.
  • 1999, Wurmser says Chalabi one of two mentors concerning the Middle East. 
  • 2001, PNAC's Director of Middle East Initiative: "Chalabi may be ideal" to lead opposition. He has his own intelligence service, which dwarfed the reach and understanding of the CIA's clandestine service."
  • 2002, Fake WMD stories on 60 Minutes. Gets fake bio-weapons stories [Winnebagoes of Death] into the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimate used by Congress to vote on the war, and into Powell’s speech to the UN.
  • 2004, April poll in Iraq asks who do you trust: Chalabi 0.6%. Who do you not trust at all: Chalabi 45%, Saddam Hussein 14%.
  • 2004, Iraqi police backed by U.S. troops found counterfeit money when they raided Chalabi's Baghdad house in May. Chalabi said he collected the fake currency in his role as chairman of the Governing Council's finance committee.
  • When finally given a chance to vote in January 2005, Iraqis did not award Chalabi’s party a single seat in the new parliament.
  • 2005 Became Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq with authority over Oil for one year.

Connections to Iraq-War clique:  PNAC, Perle, Wolfowitz, Wurmser.


Dick Cheney, Vice President.

  • 1969-71, Assistant to Rumsfeld,  and also 1974--75.
  • 1989, Hired Wolfowitz and Libby as Sect. of Defense under the elder Bush.
  • 1996-00, Jinsa Advisory Board
  • 1997, Signer of founding PNAC "Principles"
  • 2001, Championed Wolfowitz and brought in Libby and Wurmser, under G.W. Bush.

Connections to Iraq-War clique:  Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Feith,  Bolton,  Perle.


Charles Fairbanks: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Reagan
  • Served under Paul Wolfowitz, a college friend.
  • Co-authored the IASPS "Clean Break" report with Feith, Perle and Wurmser.

Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (till August 2005)
  • 1982-84 Part of Reagan's DOD, Hired by Perle.
  • 1996--- JINSA Advisory Board Member
  • 1997, Co-authored the IASPS "Clean Break" report to Israel with Fairbanks, Perle and Wurmser.
  • Dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet.  —General Tommy Franks
  • Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.  —Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for Colin Powell
  • Outspoken foe of the Oslo peace process and Camp David peace agreement.
  • Leading member of the "Office of Special Plans" which relied on Chalabi to feed fake WMD info to the CIA.
  • Employed Larry Franklin who was caught passing secrets to AIPAC lobbyists (for Israel), and with 38 Top Secret document in his home.

Connections to Iraq-War clique:  Chalabi,  Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton, Fairbanks, Wurmser


Robert Kagan

  • Co-founder with Kristol of PNAC the main neocon lobby.
  • Signer of 1998 PNAC letter to Clinton advocating Iraq War.
  • His wife, Victoria Nuland, was National Security Advisor to Cheney from July 2003 until May 2005. Focused on Iraq.

William Kristol

  • Co-founder and chairman of PNAC
  • Son of neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol
  • Editor of the neocon publication “The Weekly Standard.”

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney

  • 1997, Signer of founding PNAC "Principles"
  • Told two reporters that covert CIA agent Valerie Plame worked for the CIA
  • This was Cheney's retaliation against her husband, Wilson who accurately reported Niger had not sold Uranium to Saddam.
  • Apparently part of a White-House-based plan of retribution/intimidation.
  • Jail sentence commuted by Bush

Connections to Iraq-War clique: PNAC with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Abrams.


Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board Chairman for Rumsfeld.

  • 1996 Brings IASPS report to Israeli Prime Minister.
  • 1970 Overheard discussing classified information with Israeli embassy.
  • 1981 Brought Stephen Bryen into Defense Dept.
    • (Bryen had already been found passing classified information to Israel.  While in the position Perle gave him, supplied Israel with prohibited technology.)

Connections to Iraq-War clique:
1996,     IASPS, w/ Wurmser, Feith, Principal author of report explaining why Israel needed Saddam overthrown.
1997→, Member of PNAC with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Bolton, Libby.


Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.

  • 1983 Lobbied Saddam for Trans-Iraqi oil pipeline.
  • Aware Saddam was using WMD (poison gas) on Kurds during pipeline trip.
  • Estimated war would take 5 weeks.
  • 1969-71, Office of Econ. Opportunity, Hired Cheney.
  • 1974-75, White House, Chief of Staff, Hired Cheney.
  • 1996,     Running Dole's campaign for President, meets Wolfowitz.
  • 1997---, PNAC (signer of "Principles") with  Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, Bolton, Libby.
  • 1998-00  Advisor to Bush campaign, w/ Cheney, Wolfowitz.
  • 2001---  Sec. of Defense, Brings in Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle.

Paul Wolfowitz, Asst. Sec.of Defense till June 2005

  • Wolfowitz--the intellectual godfather of the war--is its heart and soul. (12/29/2003, Time)
  • Has worked for it since G.H.W. Bush left Saddam in power.
  • A student of neocon gurus Strauss and Wohlstetter.
  • Early associate of Perle.
  • 1989-93, DOD under Cheney and over Libby.
  • 1997, PNAC (Signer of "Principles") with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Abrams, Bolton, Libby.

James Woolsey, Defense Policy Board Member.
• Former director of CIA 1993-95.

Connections to Other Neocons:
1995---, JINSA (Advisory Board Member) with
           Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Bolton
1997---, PNAC with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Bolton, Libby.


David Wurmser, Middle East Adviser to Cheney.

  • 1996 Primary author of IASPS report to Israeli Prime Minster on why to remove Saddam.
  • 1996 Writes "Coping with Crumbling States," explaining why U.S. should help Israel remove Saddam.
  • Chalabi is "mentor" for writing book on removing Saddam.
  • 1999 Publishes book on why Saddam must go and why that's good for Israel.
  • 2001  Adviser to Bolton in State Department.
  • 2003  Middle-East Adviser to Cheney.

 

Cheney

Kissinger's list of Cheney's mistakes  (Full story.)
(1) Did not send enough troops to win. =>Insurgents
(2) Held elections when the parties were almost purely sectarian. =>Civil war
(3) Focused on training Iraqi troops instead of keeping the peace. => Chaos
(4) Trained Iraqi troops who are fighting under the wrong banner. => Death squads
 

By all accounts Cheney has controlled Bush's Iraq policy from the start. WithPNAC and his neocon friends, he pushed and planned the war starting in 1998—9/11 was only his excuse. He brought the neocons into the Bush administration, and he still has a team of them working on Iraq and Iran.
His goal was a 6-week war ousting Saddam, removal of his WMD, an a spontaneous pro-American democracy. Nice goal—except there were no WMD. That wasn't the problem and never has been.
The problem is Cheney is incompetent. The danger is he is planning to attack Iran. Kissinger has listed his mistakes: Not enough troops, sectarian elections, a premature policy of "they stand up, we stand down." There were many more but ...
 

The consequences of Cheney's mistakes are what matters:
 

Negroponte

The entire US intelligence community reported in April that in Iraq a new generation of terrorists... [is] breeding resentment of US and support for global jihad...[and] fueling the spread of the jihadists. They would never have said this if it were not true. 

 

Al Qaeda is vastly stronger in Iraq than before the war
Before Cheney's Iraq war:  The 9-11 commission reported that it found no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda.
January 22, 2007:  Now the US is fighting the Omar Brigade of Al Qaeda in downtown Baghdad, not to mention the mayhem in Anbar province. In short there is now a vast "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
 
Iran and Hezbollah are far more dangerous than before
Before Cheney's Iraq war:  Mohammad Khatami was President of Iran (1997—2005). Iran's first reformist president, he won power largely due to the female and youth vote. His reforms were mainly blocked by the more conservative "Supreme Leader." Ayatollah Khamenei.
January 22, 2007:  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is President. He is extremely anti-Israel, actively backs Hezbollah, and is internally repressive. He and Hezbollah's leader are now the most popular people in the Islamic world. Even the Supreme Leader considers him dangerous.
 
He is now losing Afghanistan
Before Cheney's Iraq war:  We had won in Afghanistan.
January, 2007:  Now Western forces need more money and troops for a year-long push to defeat the Taliban, says the British head of NATO forces in Afghanistan, as the Taliban open schools in the South.
 

  
PopNotes --------------------------------------------

 

Kissinger says 2005 elections helped cause civil war
"The reliance on early elections as the key to political evolution ... caused the newly enfranchised to vote almost exclusively for sectarian parties, deepening historic divisions into chasms."

"Chasms" refers to the civil war. Bush/Cheney pushed hard for early "turning-point" elections. What do spooks say?

US Intelligence — Iraq's 2005 elections helped ignite civil war
"According to the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the December 2005 elections appeared to heighten sectarian tensions and polarize sectarian divides. more

—From "Stabilizing Iraq: An Assessment of the Security Situation." (Statement for the Record by David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States) published by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

 

Rumsfeld

The Generals' complaints about Rumsfeld:
Rumsfeld.jpg

Batiste: "has repeatedly made strategic mistakes."
Eaton: "incompetent strategically."
Newbold:     "gross errors in strategy."
Clark: "a strategic blunder."
Zinni: "a flawed strategy in going in."
Riggs: "totally underestimated what would be needed for a sustained conflict."
Van Riper:   "His idea of transformation turns on empty buzz words. There's none of the scholarship."

Rumsfeld vs. the Generals:

The generals complain of micromanagement, arrogance, and Abu Ghraib, but the most devastating complaint is that his strategic incompetence won the war and lost the peace. The core of his strategy was "shock and awe," but the transformation Van Riper refers to is a change of military doctrine. Rumsfeld switched from the military doctrine of Decisive Force (aka overwhelming force) to the new untested doctrine of Rapid Dominance, of which a key part is Shock and Awe. Many in the military criticized this from the start, and Rumsfeld claims they are just stodgy bureaucrats. But was Rumsfeld’s switch to Rapid Dominance (with S&A) a great idea or a strategic blunder? Rumsfeld struck out.

To make matters worse, Rumsfeld could not admit failure when it set in, and wasted valuable months in denial. In short, the Generals are right to revolt.

  • Rumsfeld pushed a war we didn’t really need, because he thought shock and awe would make it a cheap six-week war.
  • Rapid Dominance worked at the start, but the army concluded it did not necessarily work any better against Saddam than the old doctrine.
  • Rumsfeld took no precaution in case of failure, so when the “Dominance” part failed, a disastrous quagmire developed.

Rapid Dominance vs. Decisive Force

The six-week shock-and-awe strategy that "won" the Iraq war, was developed in the 1990's. Before 9/11, the neocons argued it was the best strategy for their proposed invasion of Iraq, and Rumsfeld then adopted it for this purpose.

Rumsfeld's mistake was to jettison all reliance on the traditional doctrine of Decisive Force and to rely solely on Rapid Dominance and its promise that:

Total mastery achieved at extraordinary speed and across tactical, strategic, and political levels will destroy the will to resist.

When Shock and Awe failed to achieve Dominance, he did not have the Decisive Force available to compensate. At first he simply denied the failure, hoping the insurgents would fade away and democracy emerge. Since then, a patchwork of tactics have been tested in vain attempts to compensate for Rumsfeld's initial blunder.

NotesShock & Awe—The Book

The National Defense University, published Shock & Awein 1996. As an Air Force (review) explains, it advocated a Rapid Dominance doctrine using shock and awe to "replace or complement" the strategy of overwhelming force by exploiting the "revolutionary potential" of existing and emerging technologies. Rumsfeld chose the "replace" option, but as the reviewer warned: "Shock and Awe offers a new strategy built from assertion and speculation" and the authors' warning that it must still confront the fog of war which "casts doubt on the feasibility of the entire concept."

The shock and awe concept relies heavily on amateur psychology as illustrated by "When the video results of these attacks are broadcast in real time worldwide on CNN, the positive impact on coalition support and negative impact on potential threat support can be decisive."    (Book's short explanation of its proposal.)

From Book to Battlefield

"Rumsfeld, an early convert to the idea [shock and awe], was one of four former defense chiefs to sign a letter to the Clinton administration in 1999 spelling out the strategy." —from CS Monitor, 1/30/2003.

The shock and awe campaign for the Iraq War was only annouced with this slide on the day the war started, March 19. It barely mentions it, but one reporter asked:
Q: I see on the list of concepts there "shock and awe." What does it represent?
Crowder: That's probably a really good question. ... the effects that we are trying to create is to make it ... so overwhelming at the very outset ... that there is no real alternative here other than to fight and die or to give up. ... But quite frankly, we really have little clear understanding of exactly what will happen. (full answer).

Did Shock and Awe Work?

According to a report (pdf) by Dr. Biddle of the Army War College:
Central finding: synergistic interaction between advanced technology and Iraqi ineptitude was necessary and sufficient for low-cost victory.
As explained in previous slides, this means (1) Iraqi ineptitude was necessary for success, and (2) speed was not necessary. In other words Rapid Dominance worked (initially) but the "Rapid" was not very critical, and it would not have worked very well without Iraqi ineptitude. It was not a bad strategy, but not a great strategy.
But, as everyone now knows it only worked on the easy part—knocking out Saddam. Unfortunately, the assumption, which came primarily from the neocons, was that the Iraqis would take care of the rest. Consequently, Rumsfeld had no plan at all for what came next. And, without Decisive Force, he did not have the resources to stabilize the country.
 


Rapid Dominance vs Decisive Force in the Shock-&-Awe Book
These structural realities [accelerating technological advances] are exciting and offer a major opportunity for real revolution and change if we are able and daring enough to exploit them. This, in turn, has led us to develop the concept of Rapid Dominance and its attendant focus on “Shock and Awe.” Rapid Dominance seeks to integrate these multifaceted realities and facts and apply them to the common defense at a time when uncertainty about the future is perhaps one of the few givens. We believe the principles and ideas underlying this concept are sufficiently compelling and different enough from current American defense doctrine encapsulated by “overwhelming or decisive force,” “dominant battlefield awareness,” and “dominant maneuver” to warrant closer examination. (p. x)

$ Cost Iraq

"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem." — George W. Bush, Jan. 2001.

zFacts-Iraq-war-cost.png
Graph shows budget authority for Iraq war in each fiscal year (ending Sept. 30). Data from CRS report RL33110, March 29, 2011 (Free iraq-war-cost clock.. ###

The US budget for Iraq in FY 2007 came to $4,988 per Iraqi. This is triple Iraq's per-person GDP. It's like spending $121,000 per person ($484,000 per family of 4) in the US. Why not just bribe the whole country?  (I'm saying how it must seem to Iraqis. Think how it would be if some other planet invaded the U.S. and spent $121,000 per American per year to straighten out our country. We'd say—Just give us the money and we'll do it ourselves."). Of course we could not just dump money on them, but there were much better ways to get the job done.

Before the war, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay estimated the cost at $100 to $200 billion. So the White House got rid of him and "re-estimated" the cost at $50 to $60 billion. It's now over $800 billion.
The neocons, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc. were just totally unrealistic. "We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." – Wolfowitz, March 28, 2003.

 

 

in Iraq [=script type="text/javascript" src="http://zfacts.com/giz/G15iwq.js">[=/script>

Terrorism

The Saudis

 We know that 19 out of 20 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was bin Laden, but consider this: "We know from WikiLeaks that the US government regards the Saudi monarchy as a “critical financial support base” for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other terrorist groups." (NYRB xlnk.gif)
 


 

Vietnam

Did America cut and run from Vietnam? Did the Democrats lose the war?

The US dropped more than four times the tonnage of bombs trying to win Vietnam as the allies used to flatten Germany in World War II. At a minimum, over 2 million people were killed including 58,000 Americans. Two and a half million Americans served in Vietnam. This was not cut-and-run, it was digging deeper when in a hole.

Anti-war protests? The most effective anti-war protests were by the US troops who "fragged" (threw fragmentation grenades at) 788 officers. Eighty six officers were killed by their own troops and 714 wounded. This had more impact than the kids with placards. You can't fight a war that the troops are sick of after ten years without progress.

Did South East Asia go communist and threaten the US? That was predicted. The countries we bombed did go communist, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but they were no threat. The important ones, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, did not. Most importantly, 30 years later, this is the result of losing the Vietnam war:

Mr. President, and Madam Chi, the reason I'm smiling is because I'm really happy to be here. And so is Laura. ... Vietnam is a remarkable country. For decades you had been torn apart by war. Today the Vietnamese people are at peace and seeing the benefits of reform. The Vietnamese own their own businesses, and today the Vietnamese economy is the fastest growing in Southeast Asia. —George Bush, WhiteHouse.com

To prevent this outcome, pro-war extremists think we should have killed more millions and sacrificed more American kids.

But weren't there bloodbaths when we left? There were. The biggest was in Cambodia where 1.7 million were killed by the Khmer Rouge. Before the US bombing, they had fewer than five thousand poorly armed guerrillas. Years later, a former Khmer Rouge officer, stated "It was because of their dissatisfaction with the bombing that they kept on co-operating with the Khmer Rouge, joining up, sending their children off." The CIA’s Directorate of Operations, after investigations south of Phnom Penh, reported in May 1973 that the Communists were “using damage caused by B-52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda.” All told, the US dropped 2,756,941 tons of bombs on Cambodia (slightly smaller than Oklahoma). This is the same amount dropped by the US and Great Britain in the European theatre during all of World War II. Bombing of that magnitude changes a country's history.

The idea that America should have killed another million or two peasants in North Vietnam to prevent a bloodbath is morally indefensible and a mistake. It would not have brought peace or victory, but only more bloodletting. In Vietnam, surging to win (then it was called escalation) was tried again and again for 12 years (1959-70). Each time, the pro-war extremists thought it was the path to victory.

Bombing Cambodia

6,727,084 tons of bombs dropped on Indo China by the US during the Vietnam War. (from Vietnam Veterans Supporting Veterans xlnk.gif )
 
2,700,000 tons dropped by Allies in European theather
656,400 tons dropped by Allies in Pacific war
US Strategic Bombing Survey, 1945 xlnk.gif
 

2,756,941 tons of bombs dropped on Cambodia. Full-size map xlnk.gif Graph xlnk.gif

Cambodia-Map-sxlnk.gif

This only shows the bombing of Cambodia, not Vietnam and Laos.
Source: Bombs Over Cambodia xlnk.gif by Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan, mapping by  Taylor Owen. Published in Walrus magazine (Canadian).