Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Click the title to read the Time news release regarding their article which quotes many current and former intelligence officers on the conduct of the Iraqi war. It is simply a must read.

Of particular interest to me was this snippet: A Focus on WMD: A decision in the spring of 2003-to make the search for WMD the highest intelligence priority-also hampered the U.S. ability to fight the insurgents. In June, former weapons inspector David Kay arrived in Baghdad to lead the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which had 1,200 intelligence officers and support staff members assigned to search for WMD. They had exclusive access to literally tons of documents collected from Saddam's office, intelligence services and ministries after the regime fell. Kay clashed repeatedly with U.S. military leaders who wanted access not only to the documents but also to some of the resources-analysts, translators, field agents-at his disposal. "I was in meetings where (General John) Abizaid was pounding on the table trying to get some help," says a senior military officer. "But Kay wouldn't budge."

This means that the administration made the calculation that it was more important to find the evidence of non-existent WMD than to put down the early insurgency. They gave the expertise in analysts, interpreters and field agents to David Kay who led the search rather than properly supporting the military in the early days of the occupation. It is a given that the post war planning for occupation was sorely lacking. But evidently the plan for finding those non existent WMD's was very much thought out and followed through on. As noted in the Time article, according to David Kay, General Abizaid told him: "You have the only organization in this country that's working." It really is a crying shame that this administration apparently was more interested in justifying its folly than in actually seeing to it that the folly didn't spiral out of control as has happened. If only the administration had forseen the most basic results of unplanned occupation, even to the simple extent of trying to stop the looting in the days immediately following the invasion. Thanks to this absolutely inane lack of planning literally hundreds of tons of ammunition and explosives were looted from dumps around the countryside while the Administration placed guards on... the Ministry of Oil and the oil rigs. I wont even go into the absolute disaster to the occupation that has followed by just allowing looting of the infrastructure in the immediate aftermath of invasion. This lack of post invasion planning (except in regards to that search for the justification of the invasion, and Iraqi oil) is absolutely a criminally negligent oversight by this administration.

The last paragraph in the Time news release reads: No Plausible Roadmap to Stability in Iraq: But the Pentagon leadership is unlikely to support a strategy that concedes broad swaths of territory to the enemy. In fact, none of the intelligence officers who spoke with TIME or their ranking superiors could provide a plausible road map toward stability in Iraq. It is quite possible that the occupation of Iraq was an unwise proposition from the start, as many U.S. allies in the region warned before the invasion. Yet, despite their gloom, every one of the officers favors continuing-indeed, augmenting-the war effort. If the U.S. leaves, they say, the chaos in central Iraq could threaten the stability of the entire Middle East. And al-Qaeda sympathizers like al-Zarqawi could have a relatively safe base of operations in the Sunni triangle. "We have never taken this operation seriously enough," says a retired senior military official with experience in Iraq. "We have never provided enough troops. We have never provided enough equipment, or the right kind of equipment. We have never worked the intelligence part of the war in a serious, sustained fashion. We have failed the Iraqi people, and we have failed our troops."

What we are facing in other words is a situation where America must either significantly increase troop numbers, or continue in the quagmire we find ourselves in. Increasing troop numbers is not feasible in the face of the current Iraqi government calling on troop reductions, and in the face of increasing domestic opposition to the war. Withdrawal leads to chaos, and a probable sanctuary to terrorists. As quoted in the last paragraph: "It is quite possible that the occupation of Iraq was an unwise proposition from the start, as many U.S. allies in the region warned before the invasion." We chose to ignore our allies and now we are faced with a no win situation. We can thank this administration for this turn of events. They must be held to account for this travesty. Not only have "we" failed our troops and the Iraqi people, we the people have been failed by this administration.

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