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|10-25-2005||CIA leak illustrates selective use of intelligence on Iraq|
WASHINGTON - The grand jury probe into the leak of a covert CIA officer's name has opened a new window into how the Bush administration used intelligence from dubious sources to make a case for a pre-emptive war and discarded information that undercut its rationale for attacking Iraq.
CIA officer Valerie Plame was outed in an apparent attempt to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, after he challenged President Bush's allegation in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African nation of Niger.
A Knight Ridder review of the administration's arguments, its own reporting at the time and the Senate Intelligence Committee's 2004 report shows that the White House followed a pattern of using questionable intelligence, even documents that turned out to be forgeries, to support its case - often leaking classified information to receptive journalists - and dismissing information that undermined the case for war.Knight Ridder, published 10-25-2005
|11-03-2005||Italians Deny Role in Iraq Uranium Dossier|
[Enzo] Bianco said the officials denied that SISMI, Italy's secret service, "ever had a role in the dossier that was supposed to have demonstrated that Iraq was in an advanced phase of possession of enriched uranium."
The United States and Britain used the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium in Africa to bolster their case for the war. The intelligence supporting the claim was later deemed unreliable.Associated Press, published 11-03-2005
|11-16-2005||In challenging war's critics, administration tinkers with truth|
[...] Cheney's rough-edged remarks were the latest in the Bush administration's campaign to challenge critics of the war, accusing them of twisting the historical record about how and why the war was launched. Yet in accusing Iraq war critics of "rewriting history," Bush, Cheney and other senior administration officials are tinkering with the truth themselves. [...]
ASSERTION: Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, told reporters last Thursday that the Clinton administration and Congress perceived Saddam as a threat based on some of the same intelligence used by the Bush administration.
"Congress, in 1998 authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence," Hadley said.
And Rumsfeld, in briefing reporters Tuesday, seemed to link President Clinton's signing of the act to his decision to order four days of U.S. bombing of suspected weapons sites and military facilities in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.
CONTEXT: Congress did pass the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which stated U.S. support for regime change in Iraq and provided up to $97 million in overt military and humanitarian aid to opposition groups in Iraq.
But it didn't authorize the use of U.S. force against Iraq.
Clinton said his bombing order was based on Iraq's refusal to comply with weapons inspections, a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
[Note for reader, there are several of these assertions with rebuttals listed in the article. We recommend reading the article in it's entirety.]Knight Ridder, published 11-16-2005
|03-01-2006||Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq|Summary: During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, writes the intelligence community's former senior analyst for the Middle East, the Bush administration disregarded the community's expertise, politicized the intelligence process, and selected unrepresentative raw intelligence to make its public case.
PAUL R. PILLAR is on the faculty of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. Concluding a long career in the Central Intelligence Agency, he served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005.
"The Bush administration's use of intelligence on Iraq did not just blur this distinction [intelligence gathering, policy making]; it turned the entire model upside down. The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made. It went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq. (The military made extensive use of intelligence in its war planning, although much of it was of a more tactical nature.) Congress, not the administration, asked for the now-infamous October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's unconventional weapons programs, although few members of Congress actually read it. (According to several congressional aides responsible for safeguarding the classified material, no more than six senators and only a handful of House members got beyond the five-page executive summary.) As the national intelligence officer for the Middle East, I was in charge of coordinating all of the intelligence community's assessments regarding Iraq; the first request I received from any administration policymaker for any such assessment was not until a year into the war.
The Bush administration deviated from the professional standard not only in using policy to drive intelligence, but also in aggressively using intelligence to win public support for its decision to go to war. This meant selectively adducing data -- "cherry-picking" -- rather than using the intelligence community's own analytic judgments. In fact, key portions of the administration's case explicitly rejected those judgments. In an August 2002 speech, for example, Vice President Dick Cheney observed that "intelligence is an uncertain business" and noted how intelligence analysts had underestimated how close Iraq had been to developing a nuclear weapon before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. His conclusion -- at odds with that of the intelligence community -- was that "many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."
In the upside-down relationship between intelligence and policy that prevailed in the case of Iraq, the administration selected pieces of raw intelligence to use in its public case for war, leaving the intelligence community to register varying degrees of private protest when such use started to go beyond what analysts deemed credible or reasonable. The best-known example was the assertion by President George W. Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was purchasing uranium ore in Africa. U.S. intelligence analysts had questioned the credibility of the report making this claim, had kept it out of their own unclassified products, and had advised the White House not to use it publicly. But the administration put the claim into the speech anyway, referring to it as information from British sources in order to make the point without explicitly vouching for the intelligence." [...]
[Note to reader: We recommend reading this exceptionally well-written 5 page article in its entirety, available at the link.]Paul Pillar - Foreign Affairs Magazine, published 03-01-2006
|03-19-2006||A Top-Down Review for the Pentagon, by Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton (Ret.)|
...Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead our armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with our allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on our soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in our own military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.
In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld must step down. [...]
Only Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff when President Bush was elected, had the courage to challenge the downsizing plans. So Mr. Rumsfeld retaliated by naming General Shinseki's successor more than a year before his scheduled retirement, effectively undercutting his authority. The rest of the senior brass got the message, and nobody has complained since. [...]
It is all too clear that General Shinseki was right: several hundred thousand men would have made a big difference then, as we began Phase IV, or country reconstruction. There was never a question that we would make quick work of the Iraqi Army. [...]
Normally, tactics are the domain of the soldier on the ground. But in this case we all felt what L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy in Iraq, has called the "8,000-mile screwdriver" reaching from the Pentagon. Commanders in the field had their discretionary financing for things like rebuilding hospitals and providing police uniforms randomly cut; money to pay Iraqi construction firms to build barracks was withheld; contracts we made for purchasing military equipment for the new Iraqi Army were rewritten back in Washington. [...]
More vital in the longer term, Congress must assert itself. Too much power has shifted to the executive branch, not just in terms of waging war but also in planning the military of the future.
(Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general, was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004)New York Times, published 03-19-2006
|04-02-2006||General Tony Zinni (Ret.) speaks on Iraq mistakes|
MR. RUSSERT: ...General Zinni, welcome to MEET THE PRESS.
GEN. ZINNI: Thank you, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: And we’re going to talk about your book, “Battle For Peace.”
Let me bring you back to 1998, and this is what General Tony Zinni had to say:
“I think a weakened, fragmented, chaotic Iraq - which could happen if this isn’t done carefully - is more dangerous in the long run than a contained Saddam is now. ... I don’t think these questions have been thought through or answered.” Is that what we have now?
GEN. ZINNI: I think so. I think we are paying the price for the lack of credible planning, or the lack of a plan. We’re throwing away 10 years worth of planning, in effect, for underestimating the situation we were going to get into, for not adhering to the advice that was being given to us by others, and, I think, getting distracted from Afghanistan and the war on terrorism that we were committed to when we took on this adventure. [...]
MR. RUSSERT: I want to bring you back to a book you co-wrote with Tom Clancy called “Battle Ready.” And you wrote this: “In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence, and corruption.” That’s very serious.
GEN. ZINNI: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: Where did you see that? At what level?
GEN. ZINNI: Well, I—first of all, I saw it in the way the intelligence was being portrayed. I knew the intelligence; I saw it right up to the day of the war. I was asked at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing a month before the war if I thought the threat was imminent. I didn’t. Many of the people I know that were involved in the intelligence side of this, or, or in the military felt the same way. I saw the—what this town is known for: spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses, or, or shading the, the context. We, we know the mushroom clouds and, and the other things that were all described that the media’s covered well. I saw on the ground, though, a sort of walking away from 10 years worth of planning.
You know, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, there have been—there’s been planning by serious officers and planners and others, and policies put in place. Ten years worth of planning, you know, were thrown away; troop levels dismissed out of hand; General Shinseki basically insulted* for speaking the truth and giving a, an honest opinion; the lack of cohesive approach to how we deal with the aftermath; the political, economic, social reconstruction of a nation, which is no small task; a belief in these exiles that anyone in the region, anyone that had any knowledge would tell you were not credible on the ground; and on and on and on. Decisions to disband the army that were not in the initial plans. I mean there’s a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the secretary of state say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy made back here. Don’t blame the troops. They’re the ones that perform the tactics on the ground. They’ve been magnificent. If anything saves this, it will be them.
MR. RUSSERT: Should someone resign?
GEN. ZINNI: Absolutely.
MR. RUSSERT: Who?
GEN. ZINNI: Secretary of defense, to begin with. [...]
[*see entry for 02-28-2003, Pentagon contradicts General Shinseki on Iraq...
]NBC - Meet The Press, published 04-02-2006
|04-09-2006||Why Iraq Was a Mistake, by Lt. General Gregory Newbold (Ret.)|
...Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. [...]
From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough. [...]
What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. [...]Time Magazine, published 04-09-2006
|04-12-2006||Rumsfeld Rebuked By Retired Generals, Ex-Iraq Commander Calls for Resignation|
The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining several other former top military commanders who have harshly criticized the defense secretary's authoritarian style for making the military's job more difficult.
"I think we need a fresh start" at the top of the Pentagon, retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-2005, said in an interview. "We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And that leadership needs to understand teamwork."
Batiste noted that many of his peers feel the same way. "It speaks volumes that guys like me are speaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense," he said earlier yesterday on CNN.
Batiste's comments resonate especially within the Army: It is widely known there that he was offered a promotion to three-star rank to return to Iraq and be the No. 2 U.S. military officer there but he declined because he no longer wished to serve under Rumsfeld. Also, before going to Iraq, he worked at the highest level of the Pentagon, serving as the senior military assistant to Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. [...]Washington Post, published 04-13-2006
|05-25-2006||In full: new Goldsmith statement|
[British] Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has been ordered under freedom of information laws to give more details about how he reached his advice that the Iraq war was legal. Here is the "disclosure statement" from his office. [...]
[The BBC site has published the text of this disclosure statement. If and when actual copies of this and other related documents are available, we will provide copies on this site.]BBC, published 05-25-2006
|06-08-2006||Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, was killed in an air raid north of Baghdad|
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq who led a bloody insurgency of suicide bombings and kidnappings, was killed in an airstrike Wednesday, north of Baghdad.
U.S. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, confirmed that the operation which ended in al-Zarqawi's death was the result of "tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network."
A senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday afternoon U.S. forces tracked al-Zarqawi's spiritual adviser for two hours as he headed to a meeting with al-Zarqawi.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Gary North says the intelligence report was forwarded on to two F-16C pilots who were told to strike a building in which there was "a high target of interest."
At 6:15 p.m. Iraq time, one of the jets dropped two 500-pound bombs — one laser-guided, the other GPS-guided — on al-Zarqawi's safe house. The bombing came at the conclusion of a three-day operation.
Note: Osama bin Laden still not captured or killed.ABC News International, published 06-08-2006
|06-15-2006||US death toll in Iraq reaches 2,500, Civilians 40,000+|18,490 U.S. troops have been wounded since 2003 invasion, Pentagon says
WASHINGTON - The number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war has reached 2,500, the Pentagon said Thursday, more than three years into a conflict that finds U.S. and allied foreign forces locked in a struggle with a resilient insurgency.
In addition, the Pentagon said 18,490 U.S. troops have been wounded in the war, which began in March 2003 with a U.S.-led invasion to topple President Saddam Hussein.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed.
keywords: troop, troops, casualties
MSNBC/Newsweek - Interactive map of Iraq illustrates growing casualty counts of both Coalition troops, and civilians.
[Latest casualty count, with specifics, may be obtained at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
]Reuters, published 06-15-2006
|12-25-2006||U.S. military deaths in Iraq pass 9/11 toll|
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,974, one more than the number of deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, according to an Associated Press count on Tuesday.
The U.S. military announced the deaths of two soldiers in a bomb explosion southwest of Baghdad on Monday.
The deaths raised the number of troops killed to 2,974 since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.Associated Press, published 12-25-2006
|12-29-2006||Saddam Hussein executed for 148 Shiite deaths|
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Three years after he was hauled from a hole in the ground by pursuing U.S. forces, Saddam Hussein was hanged Saturday under a sentence imposed by an Iraqi court, state-run Iraqiya television reported.
The deposed president was found guilty over the killing of 148 members of the Shiite population of the town of Dujail after militants tried to assassinate him there in 1982, during Iraq’s war with Shiite Iran.Associated Press, published 12-29-2006
|12-31-2006||Death toll for US troops in Iraq reaches 3,000|
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Pentagon announced the death of a Texas soldier on Sunday, raising the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq to at least 3,000 since the war began, according to an Associated Press count and an authoritative Web site tracking war deaths.
Spc. Dustin R. Donica, 22, of Spring, Texas, was killed Thursday by small arms fire in Baghdad, the Defense Department said.
His death was not announced by U.S. military authorities in Baghdad.
At least 820 U.S. military personnel died in Iraq in 2006, according to the AP count.
keywords: troop, troops, casualties
[Latest casualty count, with specifics, may be obtained at Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
]Associated Press, published 12-31-2006