Our Iraqi Disaster.
Coffins of US Soldiers being loaded onto Aircraft and an unidentified corpse In Iraq
To put our fortunes in Iraq in such terms as the title suggests may seem a bit melodramatic, that is if your only source of news is the cable TV networks in America. Our war in Iraq is not quite a disaster but is rapidly moving in that direction. Why is it not a disaster yet? Because we have not had fatalities number in the thousands. We have had casualties that are in the tens of thousands, but fatalities have been thankfully light. This is good, but the number of men and women who will be permanently disabled as a result of combat is very high.
The effect that this war has had and will have on the US military is very significant and will not be soon forgotten. This, is in my opinion, other than the casualty list is the most significant result of Bush War on Iraq. I need not mention that many firmly believe that this war was unnecessary and unwise as well as being a poorly planned and executed endeavor. This is not to besmirch our men and women in uniform whose courage and heroism in the face of a determined enemy is to be commended. No. The blame does not lie in the rank and file military, especially not with the enlisted force or even the officer corps, below the staff level.
There are fine people in Iraq trying to bring peace to a desperate situation. I know some of them. They are hard working loyal, honest people who want to see Iraq build itself up into a state that is peaceful and ready to participate in the 21st century’s challenges and hopes. The lack of vision does not come from the rank and file, but from our political leadership whose lack of vision is outmatched only by its incompetence. This Iraqi adventure should never have happened. It was embarked upon under false pretenses, with abysmal planning and a calloused disregard for Iraqi culture, history and its recent sufferings. This war will end badly for America. Whatever chance we once had of bringing about a peaceful transition is past, though there are some who are not quite convinced of this.
Do we really know where we are going? I suspect not. Recriminations against this inept foreign policy debacle aside, it is important in any military operation to have coherent, well defined and achievable objectives. This was never done with any clarity by the Bush administration. Remember this, entire adventure, according to the President, was conducted to find weapons of mass destruction. Then, when none were found and we were still looking for Saddam, the reasons changed to toppling a brutal dictator. Now, after a year of searches we have found no WMD’s and are not likely too. If these were the stated objectives we have succeeded in one and the other is a point of serious contention as those who have read the recent headlines can see, the need for our continued presence is a question that needs to be answered. There obviously were no WMD’s, certainly not of any amount to launch a full scale invasion of a sovereign nation. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that the intelligence assessments that were used were inaccurate at best and fraudulent at worst. Weapons inspectors, who had actually gone into the facilities that American intelligence services directed, were astonished at the low quality and inaccuracy of American intelligence reporting. It is important to remember that it was known that the bulk of Saddam’s WMD program was destroyed after the first Gulf war, in the presence of UN and American weapons inspectors. It is also known that Saddam was badly weakened after the first Gulf war, with 10 years of sanctions and the US essentially dictating the use of its oil revenues. It would have been extremely difficult for Saddam to develop and maintain a program of any size without discovery. This was known to him and with all of his myriad faults, Saddam Hussein was no fool.
So now that we have reached our stated goals or at least realized that the primary assumptions for our invasion in the first place were either invalid or fraudulently stated, why are we still in Iraq? In short, we have been told, to bring some sort of legitimate government to Iraq so that it will not descend into chaos and civil war. This is most noble. To unilaterally go into a sovereign nation, remove the only thing that is holding it together and remain to keep it from the chaos we so adeptly brought it.
Yet, truly there is nobility in staying to help the Iraqi people, if that is indeed the real objective. Yet this is not a military objective and militaries are not designed to fulfill these clearly diplomatic and political objectives. This falls within the realm of diplomacy. Yet, there is not any real diplomacy going on any substantive level in Iraq today, at least not anymore. No, the military is being called upon to reach a ‘settlement’ by force of arms, without any clearly defined ‘target’. This is a subtle but very important shift in military objectives because during the planning phase, we were told (though I and many others inside the beltway knew differently) that we would be greeted as liberators; that is clearly no longer the case, if indeed it ever really was. We are now viewed as occupiers and we are increasingly looking upon the Iraqi population as hostile combatants. This is hardly the picture of cheering Iraqi crowds, tossing bouquet’s, welcoming our soldiers as we invaded their country that Donald Rumsfeld painted to the President and the American people.
Rumsfeld’s own handpicked intelligence unit portrayed a tainted picture of what our operations in Iraq would be like. In their lust for Global pre-eminence they misrepresented the facts to trick America into what is now proving to be a political and military nightmare. Their actions, in the long, run may very well severely undermine the very supremacy that they sought to exploit and enhance. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rove, et al. are all equally responsible for America’s military disaster in Iraq and should be held accountable for their falsification of Intelligence estimates for their own narrow political and/or personal financial objectives.
Because of the shortsighted polices of the Bush administration, America has no good options at her disposal in Iraq. The only two are to 1) remain and have our troops picked off one by one or 2) turn tail and run, dealing the most significant blow to American military power since Vietnam. The only other options are to enhance and redouble diplomatic efforts to bring some sort of ruling body that will be respected by Iraqi’s. This is where we have already failed. This is due to America’s obsession with leaving a government in place that was friendly to US corporate interests. This was and still is the fundamental flaw in US efforts to rebuild Iraq. A stable Iraqi government that is respected by its people can only exist if it reflects the desires and hopes of its people. America has been the prime motivator behind 10 years of sanctions that have starved Iraqi’s and left millions embittered and angry at America foreign policy and its political establishment. Of all the nations on earth, the Iraqi’s have the most reason to hate us. You cannot starve people literally to death for 10 years, deny their children critical medial supplies and expect to find a friend when you arrive in a tank that just destroyed a village. Whatever goodwill that once existed, and it was evident that many were willing to work with the US to build Iraq, has been squandered on ex-patriot leadership that was too closely allied with American corporate interests. These potential leaders were found by most Iraqi’s to be wholly to beholden to those interests to be of any use to Iraq’s restive population. This was and still is the fundamental flaw in US foreign policy thinking; that we can have an Iraq that is friendly to US interests after 10 years of sanctions, two wars, hundreds of thousands dead and a growing militant Islamic underclass whose ranks swell with each passing day America remains in Iraq.
The simple fact is that we had about three months to build a government in Iraq that could possibly have succeeded under our watchful eye. One year later the battle lines are drawn and the machine guns have been given full clips of ammunition. If America remains in Iraq much longer we will find ourselves in the middle of a Civil War that will claim many a life, American and Iraqi.
Thus we come to the crux of the matter; should we remain and attempt to mediate, diplomatically and militarily between rival groups? Ironically, herein lies any hope that we may have of salvaging the situation. America could remain during a civil war and once the real fighting begins, we could simply choose the side that is best for our own polices and interests and then begin to aid and even fight alongside it. Such a course of action may seem cynical but it may provide Iraq with a stable government after the smoke has cleared and many thousands lay dead.
Granted this may seem a rather cold-blooded and Machiavellian solution to most. Yet some sort of solution to this problem must be put forward. Iraq cannot be allowed to fall into the hand of a radical Islamic regime or fragment into smaller pieces to be used by its even more radical neighbors. This is not what America nor most Iraqi’s want.
America runs a serious military risk however in Iraq. Our supply lines are not in the best of shape. Our troops are worn out and suffer from very low morale and need relief. There is none to send. We are 'tapped out' as far as new troops are concerned. This again is a failing of the Rumsfeld Defense Department. His overly optimistic war planning did not include the kind of pitched resistance we are now facing. This kind of lack of planning is inexcusable and frankly borders on treasonable malfeasance. Every voice that tried to warn him of the very threat we now face was drummed out of the military and lambasted by the administration. General Zinni recently said,
"I'm surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling him that it was going to be thus," -General Zinni
Zinni has been lambasted by the administration for the terrible crime of pointing out the obvious. Indeed, it seems clear that after three years of former Bush administration officials explaining to the people what is really going on in this administration, that the Bush administration’s shortsightedness is only matched by its maliciousness. Zinni, the former commander of Central Command, points out that these things were clearly expounded to Rumsfeld but that these warnings went unheeded. This is the story we hear over and over again. It is clear that this administration is run by a very dangerous group of incompetents who seek to destroy any and all who tell the people the things it needs desperately to hear. Hiding the bodies of America servicemen who die or are maimed in Iraq from public view is just one symptom of an administration that far too obsessed with secrecy. The last administration so thoroughly obsessed in the same manner was that of Richard Nixon, whose criminal conduct led him to resign. Today the shadow of Nixon falls darkly on the Bush White House. Indeed, it is Nixon’s chief Vietnam architect Henry Kissinger that has his own private office in the White House. It is he who really runs much of US foreign policy through his protégé, Condoleeza Rice. It is this administrations obsession with secrecy and its inability to accept dissenting views maturely that is a serious hindrance to its ability to formulate a coherent and workable policy on Iraq.
One of the fundamental changes that this war is likely to bring about is the destruction of the all volunteer force that created an agile, powerful and extremely lethal military force. The continued existence of that force is in serious jeopardy. This is for several reasons. First and foremost it is because this administration has failed to take in to account many of the issues that are adversely affecting morale today. These being the lack of replacement troops and the continual pushing back of rotation dates and the implementation of stop-loss on some military personnel to keep them in theater past their enlistment dates. This has an extremely bad effect on morale and causes recruitment efforts to suffer. These factors alone enough to put a significant dent on attracting new enlistees. But there are other factors as well.
There is a serious question leadership at the lower officer levels. A lack of experience and the inability to correctly assess tactical situations has left many a GI seriously questioning its leadership. Yet the problems that are experienced at the lower levels are merely a reflection of chaotic planning at mid and upper level military leadership. There are many causes for this and they are not all to be laid at the feet of the Bush administration.
Clinton’s military policies drove out our best and brightest military leaders both in the NCO and officer corps. His obsession with ensuring gays could serve, that no off-color jokes be told, that any who believed in a Constitutional Republic be removed from service, destroyed the backbone of the military. The lack of backbone can be observed by the spineless acquiescence to our current civilian leadership’s concocted intelligence and inane military planning without the slightest word of protest. The Clinton era’s preoccupation with political correctness over military efficiency left us with the uncreative and supine leadership we have today. That is not to say there are still not some bright lights in the US military today. There are, but they are shuffled off to command units in the arctic or to administer military prisons as soon as that light begins to shine too brightly.
Thus, the US military will undergo a transformation of some sort in the years ahead. It seems clear that there will in some shape or form be a draft in America in the not too distant future. This author believes this is likely regardless of which candidate gets elected. It is unlikely that Kerry will be able to avoid it as he is not likely to ‘turn tail and run’ and leave Iraq in shambles. He will attempt to get UN support for our efforts but this will eventually fail, in my estimation. It is not likely that any troops from NATO will participate and it is the NATO nations that have the required training and international stature that could bring about some sort of cease fire. Any Islamic nations participation on a large scale will be looked upon with suspicion by at least some Iraqi combatants whose religious factions are the leading cause of much of the current instability. Thus it seems likely that he will also be forced to institute a draft of some sort, in order to give relief to our troops. This will be imperative by the time 2005 rolls around for if relief is not given to the bulk of our troops by then, a military disaster of biblical proportions is almost certainly inevitable. While our military leaders will dispute this dire prediction, it is incumbent to remember whose incorrect prognostications got us into this mess in the first place.
A draft will be the likely result of Bush’s term in office. Being forced to consider a draft in these uncertain economic times is a reflection on how much this Iraqi misadventure has affected our military and its ability to attract and retain its military personnel. Once this misadventure is concluded, we will see a mass exodus from the military because the bulk of our forces feel that they are being ‘had’ and abused by poor leadership, both civilian and military.
America is becoming increasingly isolated in Iraq and in the middle East. Iraqi's who originally were assisting with reconstruction have stopped assisting Americans. Some countries have decided to cease operations in Iraq, and even long term friends in the middle east are turning a cold shoulder to America, as Jordan's king has done recently by postponing talks with President Bush. While Jordan's actions are more closely related to Bush's recent bombshell announcement on Israeli-Palestinian relations it does signal a troubling trend in American relations in the Middle East. Bush's unilateral polices have led us exactly where his critics said they would, bogged down in Iraq, isolated on the international stage and facing a rising tide of increasingly dangerous Anti-Americanism. This is having a deleterious effect on the oil markets today. Before the invasion it was believed that oil would flow from Iraqi oil wells freely into American SUV's. Today the scene is very different and so are the oil markets. Increasingly we see nations around the world looking not to America to develop, transport and sell oil but to other nations instead. There is deep mistrust of the oil interests that are in control of American foreign policy today and that mistrust is showing up in new relationships to develop the worlds oil resources. As Marshall Auerback of the Prudent Bear Fund points out regarding Saudi Arabia and its new found friends;
· July, 2003 – The Saudi government announces gas agreements with Shell and Total
· August – State visit to Moscow by Crown Prince ‘Abd’ Allah-al-Saud
· September – OPEC Minister’s adopt Saudi Arabia’s proposals to reduce quotas in spite of expectations of the maintenance of the status quo in advance of the meeting.
· January, 2004 – Saudi Arabia announces gas agreements with Lukoil, Sinopec, Agip, and Repsol
· February – OPEC Ministers adopt another Saudi proposal to reduce quotas.
Note the complete exclusion of US energy companies in prominent new Saudi energy ventures; this is hardly consistent with an ostensible pledge to flood the market with oil around October to guarantee the election of a President viewed to be fundamentally hostile to Islamic interests by the vast majority of OPEC nations. It is equally salient that the officially stated OPEC range of $22-$28 per barrel has been largely ignored - Marshall Auerback
This has been the unfortunate result of the Bush foreign policy. While Bush made public statements that 'you are either with us or with the terrorists' the rest of the world has said, 'we may not be with the terrorists, but we certainly are not with you'. While an oil grab in the middle east seems to have been a big part of the overall strategy of the Bush administration's Iraq war, it is backfiring badly and may leave us without the easy and cheap access to key oil reserves Americans have been used to. In the future if our policy continues to be so openly antagonistic to Arab interests, we may find meeting our energy needs increasingly difficult. Indeed, the specter of a Saudi-Russian oil alliance, signifying the serious cooperation between two largest oil producing nations on earth, is one that should send alarm bells ringing in Washington as it signals a fundamental shift in Saudi foreign and economic policy.
The unilateralism that has marked the Bush foreign policy is one that is fundamentally at odds with 50 years of post war American foreign policy. It has irreparably harmed our relations with many of our strongest allies and seriously undermined the political base of many other friends that have at least attempted to appease the Bush administration. A continuation of these policies could very well spell the end of American pre-eminence on the global stage politically and economically. This could happen militarily as well if we suffer a major defeat in Iraq.
Having worked for over a decade in the intelligence community, I can testify that is neither intelligent nor a community. Five decades of existence without adequate public scrutiny and effective congressional oversight have left our intelligence agencies crippled with bloated budgets and government bureaucrats who are good at territorial and budgetary 'pitch battles' but incapable of providing timely, relevant and accurate intelligence information to its consumers. The game of intelligence is less about the essentials of information gathering than about money (in the form of budgets) and who gets to spend it. Most Americans realize and respect the need for secrecy in these matters. Secrecy is essential to most intelligence disciplines. It is not this kind of secrecy that is being challenged here, but the kind of secrecy that is less about protecting sources and methods than about protecting highly paid civil servants and political appointees' mistakes, incompetence and the consequences of poor decision making. Congress has not done its job and those on the Intelligence Oversight Committees often are too closely aligned with the agencies they oversee and their contractors to be of any real oversight value. The tragic culmination of this trend displayed itself in all of its infamy with the so-called intelligence failure of 911, the lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction that President and intelligence community said were present in Iraq and Osama's Bin Laden's continued freedom of action on a global scale. This goes to the heart of both sides of the intelligence community, those who gather, analyze, and disseminate intelligence and those that are involved in what is best termed 'covert action'.
The intelligence community needs to be completely reworked and managers as well as political appointees need to have the cold antiseptic light of public scrutiny shine on their failures in order to clean up at least some vestige of our once highly effective intelligence community. This coupled with a serious look at the high degree of redundancy in the intelligence community where you often have three or four agencies looking at as well as being budgeted for the same things has led to a great deal of confusion. However the solution put forward by some in the administration for an 'Intelligence Czar' is a poor one. While having many agencies and the concomitant redundancies is a serious problem, further centralizing intelligence management will only provide an easier bureaucratic method of expunging important yet contrary views on the pertinent issues of the day. Such a vetting process has been politicized in the past but never so blatantly as in the present administration. Threats were issued as well as carried out against those inside the intelligence community who attempted to provide a more balanced view of available intelligence on Iraqi WMD's and the real result (quagmire) of an American invasion of Iraq. The fact that this could be done today without a serious outcry from the Congress and the establishment press is the result of too much secrecy and using the phony red flag of 'National Security' to question the integrity of those who attempt to responsibly point out to the American people the very real problems inside the Intelligence Community. It is a conundrum that will probably never be adequately resolved. Yet it is imperative that we do make some significant changes and in very short order. Solid intelligence is something that is disparately needed in Iraq today and the lack of it is killing both American troops as well as the Iraqi people. The fear factor is now in effect in the Intelligence Community as many who see where the real problems lie are afraid to speak and provide the guidance that is needed to fix the problem lest they find themselves bureaucratically sidelined and/or professionally ruined. This administration, with the surprising exception of the CIA, has abused the intelligence process and sodomized it beyond recognition and usefulness. The CIA is everyone's whipping boy and often deserves to be, but it does not deserve the blame in formulating our Iraq Disaster. Yes, the agency has some real and deep seated problems. However, every attempt was made behind the scenes by the agency to tell this President the reality of Iraqi WMD's, the folly of an invasion and the quagmire it would certainly bring about. These warnings went unheeded, and the political pressure at the time was such that it was either the Director would 'get on board' with the administration or risk losing his job. While that may seem noble (resigning) to many on the outside, one must seriously consider what kind of CIA director Bush and the Neo-cons would put in in his place. Tenet may not be the ideal, but he is certainly better than any choice Bush would make.
If America cannot get the problems in the intelligence community fixed our military might will suffer as well. Our troops will die, our ability to influence global policies will diminish and our status of a superpower will be challenged. Remember this, if we were not at war then such a corrective action could be delayed and politicized as it usually is in Washington. We do not have that luxury. Our troops are being killed every day in Iraq because of faulty intelligence and situational assessments which give rise to poor policies. While it is arguable that even given good information, this administration would be hard pressed to find policy makers capable of using it in an effective way, these changes in the Intelligence Community still need to be made as soon as possible, lest we find ourselves with not just thousands injured but with thousands dead.
These things written here may shock a few readers, yet they are true as any real insider will tell you. The lack of good information is a tribute to our times and the Pentagons efforts at what it calls ‘information warfare’. There are those on the inside who are doing the hard work and are really trying to let America know what is going on in the real world, as opposed to the ‘bubbleheaded-bleach-blond’ foolishness on Cable News and the ‘lock-and-load’ paranoia of short-wave and patriot radio. Tragically, there is a dearth of solid information coming out of Iraq as to what is really going on. It is most unfortunate that one must go to foreign news sources to get any solid information on what is going on today. However, if anyone wants to be well informed, he must extricate himself from American news reporting, both print and electronic. Fortunately, there are some good US web sites but they are usually run by small groups of like-minded individuals who are not paid well at all for their hard work. If America wants to keep its military in tact for the 21st century and not become the single greatest pariah nation since Nazi Germany, then its citizens must stop behaving as though a single sub-atomic particle makes up the entirety of their individual cerebrums. America's ignorance and the mentally handicapped thinking that goes on in its political system, news networks and its general population is becoming a serious threat to Global Security today. Sooner or later, the world will tire of America's violence and abject ignorance and if only to save the world from a new dark age, it will be forced to stand against her. This can only be prevented if Americans decide that independent thinking is better that a collective reflex and the cold hard truth is better than a comfortable lie. I speak here more of who was responsible for 911 than of anything else. There is a mountain of evidence that shows that the official story on the events of this horrible attack is simply not true. Once again, this is not said to speak ill of those who have made tremendous sacrifices in this war. But if we have not correctly identified the elements responsible for 911, how can we wage a war against them?
Pictures of Iraq you Wont See on CNN
By Alan Friedman
A Secret History on How America Armed Iraq. If you want to know why America thought Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, this book will explain it to you in detail. Using agricultural credits and illegal loans, America armed Saddam with the latest and greatest in weapons, including biological and chemical weapons.
War On Freedom
By. N.M. Ahmed
As far as the facts on record are concerned, the best explanation of them, in the opinion of this author, is one that points directly to U.S. state responsibility for the events of September 11th 2001. A detailed review of the facts points not only to Kabul, but to Riyadh, Islamabad and most principally, Washington. Furthermore, in the opinion of this author, the documentation presented in this study strongly suggests, though not necessarily conclusively, that significant elements of U.S. government, military and intelligence agencies had exclusive advance warning of the September 11th attacks, and were in various ways complicit in those attacks. This is certainly not a desirable inference, but it is one that best explains the available data.
 It had been suggested that we may find some just before the November elections in a ‘miracle’ election boosting find.
 It is difficult if not impossible to trust the statements and policies of this administration at this point in time after this debacle and new revelations about its actions just before 911.
 The images we saw of cheering Iraqi Crowds were more often than not Media concoctions and staged events. One such Image of the statue of Saddam falling was akin to a Hollywood movie Shoot. See Image. This is what really happened with the so-called toppling of the Saddam statue we saw on TV. The whole thing was staged. http://www.littletinylies.com/archives/000650.html
 Most Iraqi’s ground observers have noted are still very much enamored with Americans and American culture. It is not the American people they hate, just its government.
 Chalabi is a prefect example of this.
 Stop Loss is keeping soldiers on active duty past their enlistment contract. For example if a solder has enlisted for 4 years he can be involuntarily extended until the Secretary of Defense says he can be released.
 Information warfare is a combination of many disciplines that in essence seeks to control the flow of information to and from the enemy and to and from the American population whose education is something the War planners seek desperately to prevent. The American population’s education is viewed as a threat to military operations if such education leads the population to protest, write their congressman or attempt to influence the political landscape in a way that the Pentagon views as unfavorable.