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Tip of the iceberg?

03/28/2003

(My apologies in advance to readers for a post that will be somewhat off-topic. It begins and ends with Iraq, but wanders a bit along the way.)

Was the American decision to go to war in Iraq based on false assumptions? Or were actual falsehoods involved?

Thursday's Washington Post contains an article that seems to herald the outbreak, perhaps soon, of a scandal of grim proportions, the sort of thing capable of destroying a Presidency.

"Analysts Say Threat Warnings Toned Down: Guerrilla Tactics Were Predicted," write Walter Pincus and Dana Priest:

Intelligence analysts at the CIA and Pentagon warned the Bush administration that U.S. troops would face significant resistance from Iraqi irregular forces employing guerrilla tactics, but those views have not been adequately reflected in the administration's public predictions about how difficult a war might go, according to current and former intelligence officials.
Compare this claim with an article by Rick Atkinson in Friday's Post, which quotes Army commanders on the ground in Iraq to striking effect:
"The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we'd war-gamed against," [Lt. Gen. William S.] Wallace, commander of V Corps, said during a visit to the 101st Airborne Division headquarters here in central Iraq...

Wallace... gave public voice to what senior officers in Iraq have been saying privately for several days. Asked whether combat developments in the past week increased the likelihood of a much longer war than some planners had forecast, Wallace said, "It's beginning to look that way."...

"Everybody's frame of reference is changing," Col. Ben Hodges, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 101st, said shortly after arriving here Wednesday night... "I personally underestimated the willingness of the Fedayeen to fight, or maybe overestimated the willingness of the Shiites to rise up."

It certainly doesn't sound as if these top officers were told what the intelligence community knew.

The previous log entry described the scandal of our current situation in Iraq--a scandal of incompetence. It did not take into account the possibility of a different sort of scandal, one of willful misdeeds. At this point, we must ask: have members of the Administration been lying to Congress? To the President?

Consider what President Bush told the press about North Korea this past March 6:

The United States honored its side of the agreement; North Korea didn't. While we felt the agreement was in force, North Korea was enriching uranium.
This assessment clashes egregiously with what the CIA told Congress in November:
We recently learned that the North is constructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational -- which could be as soon as mid-decade.
That is to say, North Korea isn't enriching uranium, and won't be until 2005 at least. Did Bush fail to understand? Was he simply rejiggering the facts to his own liking? Or was he actually misled? On what basis are crucial war-and-peace decisions being made in the Bush White House?

Add to this the Administration's touting of specious evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program -- the aluminum-tubes story and the fake Iraq-Niger documents -- both exposed by the IAEA's experts. Who is lying to whom? What will the consequences be for the United States, Iraq, North Korea, and the world? And what is next?

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000048.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Editor @ 08:21 AM CST [Link]

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Replies: 2 comments

I support the effort to remove Saddam and hope that the Israelis help us!!
Best, Natan

Posted by Neal @ 03/31/2003 02:53 PM CST

I support the effort to remove Saddam and hope that the Israelis help us!!
Best, Natan

Posted by Neal @ 03/31/2003 02:53 PM CST


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