July 27, 2003

Bearers of Bad Tidings

AP's Tom Raum notices an interesting pattern:

Boston.com / Latest News / Washington / WASHINGTON TODAY: Bush loyalists stay on job despite Iraq intelligence flap : ...One curious fact stands out. Some who gave President Bush unwelcome information that turned out to be accurate are gone. Those who did the opposite are still around. Former economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni and former Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki voiced concerns about the expense, aftermath and forces that would be needed concerns now proving to be true. These men are no longer in the picture. By contrast, nobody so far has come under apparent pressure to resign in the events that led up to the president's mention in his State of the Union address in January of a British intelligence report that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa. That claim was based on forged documents and challenged by the CIA. Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to get his hands on nuclear weapons was an important part of Bush's case....

While resignations may yet come, all the major players in the drama have expressed strong loyalty to Bush, noted Stephen Hess, a scholar with the Brookings Institution. ''And it's pretty hard to lose much by being loyal to the boss.'' Meanwhile, the naysayers on Iraq are becoming an endangered species. Lindsey, while chairman of Bush's National Economic Council, suggested in September that the cost of war with Iraq could range from $100 billion to $200 billion. The White House openly contradicted him, saying that figure was far too high. He was eased out in a winter shake-up of Bush's economic team. But his estimates are bearing out. Congress in April passed an initial $62.4 billion measure to pay for the fighting. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld recently put the cost at $3.9 billion a month. Also, L. Paul Bremer, the top civilian administrator of Iraq, last week said $29 billion will be needed just to repair Iraq's electricity and water systems.

Zinni, a retired Marine general who was Bush's Middle East mediator, angered the White House when he told a foreign policy forum in October that Bush had far more pressing foreign policy priorities than Iraq and suggested there could be a prolonged, difficult aftermath to a war. He was not reappointed as Mideast envoy. Shinseki, then-Army chief of staff, told a Senate committee in February that a military occupying force for postwar Iraq could amount to several hundred thousand troops. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz immediately denounced that level as ''wildly off the mark.'' Nearly 150,000 U.S. military personnel are in Iraq now. Shinseki retired in June.

This pattern does provide an explanation for Condi Rice's and Stephen Hadley's... lack of curiosity about what Saddam Hussein's weapons programs actually were.

I suspect that if you were to ask them--either of them--why they didn't focus on the quality of the intelligence evidence about Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons programs, and if they were to tell you the truth, they would say:

Look: The President decided to attack Iraq at the end of 2001. He decided that Saddam Hussein was a very bad man [which he is], that conquering Iraq would be incredibly easy [which it was], that our troops would be gratefully welcomed as liberators, that Saddam had close ties with Al-Qaeda, and that his terror weapons were a threat to the world. The President is a stubborn man. Given these decisions of his, I could do one of two things: (i) I could focus on and learn all about the quality of information supporting these judgments of his, and bring him information calling his decisions and judgments into question, and get fired. (ii) I could spend my time working on real questions where I could make a big positive difference, and not get caught up in the fact that Tenet thinks that intelligence report Y is bogus. Who can blame me for doing the second?

For Rice and Hadley to know too much about the flaws in assertions that Saddam's reconstructed nuclear weapons program was going full-steam or that there were close links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden would be to risk the fate of Larry Lindsey--who knew too much about how much wars really cost--or Eric Shinseki--who knew too much about how military occupations really work.

Posted by DeLong at July 27, 2003 07:49 PM | TrackBack


To be fair, President Clinton knew that Iraq was a problem that the next administration would need to fix. For Christ's sake, we were bombing them every other day with thousands of causualties resulting from the embargo/bombing lack of medicine etc. This could not continue. The problem is not that Bush Inc decided to do something about it. The problem is that they decided that no one else would join them and they went in alone. They ignored the CIA and State about the postwar. They assumed the best and received the worst. In other words, they failed our soldiers and they failed our country by taking us into a war when we were not prepared to win the peace. The lack of planning should be an albotross around the neck of Mr. Bush. How many companies did he run into the ground before he was elected president? Is this not an indication of his incompetence? Mr. Bush abused our troops by sending them on a wild goose chase for WMD that his administration KNEW did not exist. Mr. Bush abused our troops for failing to define their mission once they conquered Iraq. Provide electricity and elementary services. Provide police. By his failure, Mr. Bush has once again demonstrated his incompetence, Arbusto, Harkin, Specrum 7. If you support Bush buy stock in these turkeys. IF you don't, it is time for him to go.

Posted by: bakho on July 27, 2003 08:50 PM

I suspect BDL's material dropped a "not" here and there (I'm mostly thinking of "Who can blame me for [not] doing the first?"). It's like the famous "Adulterers' Bible" that went astray on one of the ten commandments. We all get that sort of finger trouble from time to time so it's no personal flaw, though I do wonder how this unwelcome information might be received...

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 27, 2003 11:20 PM

Bush cherry-pick his intelligence for a reason. It was just that Bush "decided that Saddam Hussein was a very bad man" even if he was...

The question now is why doesn't he go back to the UN since Zinni was right when he said that if we go into Iraq we wouldn't be coming out.

Turkey has just told the Bush administration that it will take a while to decide on send troops -- They are stalling again because they don't want to send troops and yet don't want to anger the US.

NOW Bush and company cannot find WMD so they say it's about Iraqi liberation while failing to be interested in liberating of Liberia. The newspaper said Bush would only protect the US vital interest in Liberia so that shiping 2000 troops to location and then stay aboard ship is simply doing nothing -- what about the Liberia's liberation - isn't that as important as Iraqi liberation? Isn't this Charles Taylor a bad man too?

Bush doesn't care about the Iraqis anymore then he cares about the people of Liberia.

At this point in time Bush should be going back to the UN for help. The fact that Bush isn't doing this suggest that he is protecting the already awarded oil contracts and doesn't care about our troops in Iraq nor the daily body bages that are coming back to the US every day. All the Bush administration cares about is his campaign contributor's contacts. This bit about Bush being to embarrassed to go back to the UN is simple BS.

We as a nation should be screaming for Bush to go back to the UN. WHY AREN'T the Democrats screaming about the need to go back to the UN. If the US doesn't do this (even though our troops may get Saddam,) the US still will be receiving large numbers of body bags from Iraq and in ever increasing numbers so it's time to pull the plug on Bush's quagmire.

I'm with John Kerry in that, if Bush can't go back to the UN, I want the US to start withdrawing our troops from Iraq. IT is clear that Bush is protecting oil contracts NOT people and this fact is getting so obvious that the war was about oil and nothing else.

The evidence is too overwhelming - how long do we as a nation have to pretend it's anything else other then those oilfields? HOW American are going to die before we realize that Bush doesn't care about Americans citizens only his paying campaign contributor's wish.

Posted by: Cheryl on July 28, 2003 03:47 AM

>"...I suspect that if you were to ask them--either of them--why they didn't focus on the quality of the intelligence evidence about Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons programs, and if they were to tell you the truth, they would say:..."

"YOU do the 'math'."

The thing about hierarchical bureaucracies, especially those tasked with "sensitive" missions such as gathering intelligence--bureaucracies like NSA, CIA, FBI & etc.--is that everything that IS "produced" by the people at the lower levels of them flows, essentially unimpeded, to the very few people at the "apex" of the "pyramid" (the jargon for this feature of the process is "compartmentalized"). What this means in practice is that MOST people involved in the process don't know what the other people at their OWN "level" in their OWN bureaucracy know--never mind what their "superiors" might be privvy to--and forget about what might be "common knowledge" in any of the other bureaucracies.

This ALSO means that the onus of "putting the puzzle together" (and, NOT incidentally, directing and deploying bureaucratic efforts and assets accordingly) falls upon the very few persons at the top--the "fortunate few"--who actually get to see everything that is produced by the various sections, branches and stations of the various bureaucracies: EVERYTHING depends upon their competence and "good faith". If THESE people, for whatever reason, are disposed (or determined) not to notice (or do anything about) something "peculiar", odds are it won't be noticed or investigated or disturbed or disrupted....

9/11 Attack Investigators Complain About Hindrances

Bush team is dragging its feet on access to papers and is cowing witnesses, they say.

July 9, 2003

By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Leaders of a federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks complained Tuesday that the Bush administration has been too slow to provide access to key documents and is intimidating witnesses by insisting that CIA and FBI "minders" attend sensitive interviews....


July 19, 2003, 12:12AM

U.S. tallied up assets well before war

Documents list Cheney group's activities


Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- The energy task force led by Vice President D*ck Cheney was examining maps of Iraq's oil assets in March 2001, two years before the United States led an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, newly released documents show...




U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba

By David Ruppe

N E W Y O R K, May 1 — In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war...



Blood Money
By William Rivers Pitt

Thursday 27 February 2003

George W. Bush gave a speech Wednesday night before the Godfather of conservative Washington think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute. In his speech, Bush quantified his coming war with Iraq as part of a larger struggle to bring pro-western governments into power in the Middle East. Couched in hopeful language describing peace and freedom for all, the speech was in fact the closest articulation of the actual plan for Iraq that has yet been heard from the administration.

In a previous truthout article from February 21, the ideological connections between an extremist right-wing Washington think tank and the foreign policy aspirations of the Bush administration were detailed.

The Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, is a group founded in 1997 that has been agitating since its inception for a war with Iraq. PNAC was the driving force behind the drafting and passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act, a bill that painted a veneer of legality over the ultimate designs behind such a conflict. The names of every prominent PNAC member were on a letter delivered to President Clinton in 1998 which castigated him for not implementing the Act by driving troops into Baghdad.

PNAC has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a Hussein opposition group called the Iraqi National Congress, and to Iraq's heir-apparent, Ahmed Chalabi...

...There are a number of depths to be plumbed in all of this. The Bush administration has claimed all along that this war with Iraq is about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, though through it all they have roundly failed to establish any basis for either accusation. On Wednesday, Bush went further to claim that the war is about liberating the Iraqi people and bringing democracy to the Middle East. This ignores cultural realities on the ground in Iraq and throughout the region that, salted with decades of deep mistrust for American motives, make such a democracy movement brought at the point of the sword utterly impossible to achieve.

This movement, cloaked in democracy, is in fact a PNAC-inspired push for an American global empire. It behooves Americans to understand that there is a great difference between being the citizen of a constitutional democracy and being a citizen of an empire. The establishment of an empire requires some significant sacrifices.

Essential social, medical, educational and retirement services will have to be gutted so that those funds can be directed towards a necessary military buildup. Actions taken abroad to establish the preeminence of American power, most specifically in the Middle East, will bring a torrent of terrorist attacks to the home front. Such attacks will bring about the final suspension of constitutional rights and the rule of habeas corpus, as we will find ourselves under martial law. In the end, however, this may be inevitable. An empire cannot function with the slow, cumbersome machine of a constitutional democracy on its back. Empires must be ruled with speed and ruthlessness, in a manner utterly antithetical to the way in which America has been governed for 227 years.

And yes, of course, a great many people will die.

It would be one thing if all of this was based purely on the ideology of our leaders. It is another thing altogether to consider the incredible profit motive behind it all. The President, his father, the Vice President, a whole host of powerful government officials, along with stockholders and executives from Halliburton and Carlyle, stand to make a mint off this war. Long-time corporate sponsors from the defense, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.

Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Boycott the French, the Germans, and the other 114 nations who stand against this Iraq war all you wish. France and Germany do not oppose Bush because they are cowards, or because they enjoy the existence of Saddam Hussein. France and Germany stand against the Bush administration because they intend to stop this Pax Americana in its tracks if they can. They have seen militant fascism up close and personal before, and wish never to see it again.

Would that we Americans could be so wise.



Operation Oily Immunity
by Steve Kretzmann and Jim Vallette

During the initial assault on Baghdad, soldiers set up forward bases named Camp Shell and Camp Exxon. Those soldiers knew the score, even if the Pentagon's talking points dismissed any ties between Iraqi oil and their blood.

The Bush/Cheney administration has moved quickly to ensure US corporate control over Iraqi resources at least through the year 2007. The first part of the plan, created by the UN under US pressure is the Development Fund for Iraq which is being controlled by the US and advised by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The second is a recent Bush executive order that provides absolute legal protection for U.S. interests in Iraqi oil...


Posted by: Mike on July 28, 2003 06:14 AM


American soldiers 106
British soldiers 11
117 Since May 1

American 245
British 44
289 Totals

Note: American forces have risen to 148,000
British forces have been cut from 10,000 to 5,000

Posted by: lise on July 28, 2003 10:46 AM

We find out 31 years after the Watergate break-in that it was Nixon that (may have) ordered this - all along. So we will know the truth about those '16 words' by 2034?

Posted by: Hal McClure on July 28, 2003 12:32 PM

We find out 31 years after the Watergate break-in that it was Nixon that (may have) ordered this - all along. So we will know the truth about those '16 words' by 2034?

Posted by: Hal McClure on July 28, 2003 12:35 PM

Its pretty obvious that the 16 words where not about Niger.


The question still remains, did Iraq try to buy Uranium from an African country.


While this question still remains unanswered, it is not the same issue the papers are trying to make it.

Posted by: james on July 29, 2003 07:54 AM
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