Friday, November 11, 2005

Iraq Archive

Online Resources

Iraqanalysis.org
Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children from 1990 Through 1998: Assessing the Impact of the Gulf War and Economic Sanctions
Brookings Institution:Iraq
C-SPAN Iraq Coverage

Blogs that Discuss Iraq

Back to Iraq 2.0
Daily Howler
Brad DeLong
Political Animal/Kevin Drum
Talking Points Memo/Joshua Micah Marshall
Nouriel Roubini's Global Economics Weblog
MaxSpeak,You Listen!
TAPPED

Debate Chronology/Meta-Narrative

2002

9/7
White House: Bush Misstated Report on Iraq
An MSNBC article mysteriously taken down recovered by The Memory Hole.
10/22
For Bush, Facts Are Malleable
Dana Milbank enumerates several Bush falsehoods in the Washington Post.
10/25
Dead Parrot Society
Paul Krugman expands on Milbank’s emphasis on Iraq to recapsulate mendacity going back to the election of 2000.
11/6
Malleable Facts
The Dubya Report goes so far as to chart the Bush falsehoods from the Milbank article.

2003

4/17
Where Are Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Brad Delong asks.

4/29
Matters of Emphasis
Paul Krugman on the Bush Administration’s hype of the Iraqi threat.
5/1
All the President’s Lies
Contrasts Bush’s rhetoric with the actual content of his policies.
5/13
The Say-Anything School
EJ Dionne updates Bush Administration misinformation.
5/14
Intelligence Designed
Harold Meyerson details Bush Administration end-runs around bureaucratic channels to derive the desired intelligence product.
5/15
WMD? MIA
David Corn of the Nation decries what he sees as the Bush Administration’s dangerously lackadaisical search for WMD.
6/1
Bush Remarks Confirm Shift in Justifying War
Dana Milbank on Bush’s downshifting claims on Iraq. From the Washington Post.
6/3
The Truth About Bush’s “Lies”
Byron York of the National Review defends Bush.
6/10
Who's Accountable?
Paul Krugman on the failure of the Bush Administration to account for previous claims.
6/19
The Selling of the Iraq War. The First Casualty.
A cumulative accounting of the Bush Administration’s ministrations of intelligence regarding Iraq by Spencer Ackerman and John Judis in The New Republic.
6/24
Denial and Deception
Paul Krugman on the response – or lack thereof – to the Bush Administration’s spin on its case for war.
6/26
Pants on fire...
The Likely Story compiles Bush lies about Iraq.
6/27
Was Bush Lying About WMD?
Fred Kaplan makes a case for misreading of the evidence.
6/29
Is Bush Lying About Iraq?
Orcinus makes a case.
6/30
The War Against Bush
Stephen Hayes of Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard responds to the Ackerman/Judis piece.
10/1
Unilateralism Disgraced
In the American Prospect, Ivo H. Daalder of Brookings and James M. Lindsey of the Council on Foreign Relations on Bush's wrong unilateral assumptions on Iraq.
11/17
WAR AFTER THE WAR
George Packer in The New Yorker on the chaos which led to the chaos.

2004

2/8
Vial Mendacity [originally posted at Suite101.com]
8/7
Who Parses the Parsers?
Paul Krugman writes in to Matthew Yglesias.
10/26
Security in Iraq
Ivo Daalder, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Max Boot on The Diane Rehm Show.
10/29
Lancet Report 'Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq'

The Lancet study and related links at Iraqanalysis.org

2005

5/1
Blair hit by new leak of secret war plan
London Times reporting on how the war decision preceded justification.

The secret Downing Street memo:


SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY


DAVID MANNING
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY

Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.


The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

Conclusions:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.


(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)


MATTHEW RYCROFT

(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)
5/6
British memo indicates Bush made intelligence fit Iraq policy
A Knight Ridder report of Bush administration tailoring of intelligence to fit policy.
11/7
Who Is Lying About Iraq?
Norman Podhoretz writing in Commentary.
11/9
MARKETING THE WAR....
Kevin Drum responds....
11/10
The Case For War
Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics responds.
11/11
President Commemorates Veterans Day, Discusses War on Terror
White House transcript:
While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.(Applause.)
Instapundit:
The White House needs to go on the offensive here in a big way -- and Bush needs to be very plain that this is all about Democratic politicans pandering to the antiwar base, that it's deeply dishonest, and that it hurts our troops abroad.

And yes, he should question their patriotism. Because they're acting unpatriotically.
Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars?
Brad DeLong:
History Is Written By the Mission Accomplishers - Wonkette:
In a Veteran's Day speech today, Bush came out with the administration's official policy on criticizing the war in Iraq: "While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began."
Yes. It is. Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.
11/12
Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument
Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus provide Washington Post coverage.
Talking Points Memo
Josh Marshall enumerates talking points of the Bush administration's bad faith on Iraq:
1. Longstanding effort to convince the American people that Iraq maintained ties to al Qaida and may have played a role in 9/11. This was always just a plain old lie. (And if you want to see where the real fights with the Intelligence Community came up, it was always on the terror tie angle and much less on WMD.) The president and his chief advisors tried to leverage Americans' horror over 9/11 to gain support for attacking Iraq. Simple: lying to the public the president was sworn to protect.

2. Repeated efforts to jam purported evidence about an Iraqi nuclear weapons program (the Niger canard) into major presidential speeches despite the fact the CIA believed the claim was not credible and tried to prevent the president from doing so. What's the explanation for that? At best a reckless disregard for the truth in making the case for war to the American public.

3. Consistent and longstanding effort to elide the distinction between chem-bio-weapons (which are terrible but no immediate threat to American security) and nuclear weapons (which are). For better or worse, there was a strong consensus within the foreign policy establishment that Iraq continued to stockpile WMDs. Nor was it an improbable assumption since Saddam had stockpiled and used such weapons before and, by 2002, had been free of on-site weapons inspections for almost four years. But what most observers meant by this was chemical and possibly biological weapons, not nuclear weapons. Big difference! The White House knew that this wasn't enough to get the country into war, so they pushed the threat of a nuclear-armed Saddam for which there was much, much less evidence.

4. The fact that the administration's push for war wasn't even about WMD in the first place. Scarcely a week goes by when I don't get an email from a reader who writes, "I always knew that Saddam didn't have WMDs. How is that you, with all your access and reporting, didn't know that too?" Good question. They were right. And I was wrong. But like many things in this reality-based universe of ours, this was a question subject to empirical inquiry. No one really knew what Saddam was doing between 1998 and 2002. And US intelligence made a lot of very poor assumptions based on sketchy hints and clues. But the solution, at least the first part of it, was to get inspectors in on the ground and actually find out. That is what President Bush's very credible threat of force had done by the Fall of 2002. But once there the inspectors began making pretty steady progress in showing that many of our suspicions about reconstituted WMD programs didn't bear out, the White House response was to begin trying to discredit the inspectors themselves. By early 2003, inspections had shown that there was no serious nuclear weapons effort underway -- the only sort of operation which could have represented a serious or imminent threat. From January of 2003 the administration went to work trying to insure that the war could be started before the rationale for war was entirely discredited. They wanted to create fait accomplis, facts on the ground that no subsequent information or developments could alter. The whole thing was a con. It wasn't about WMD.

11/15
Another Set of Scare Tactics
EJ Dionne:
There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.

The current President Bush did the opposite. He pressured Congress for a vote before the 2002 election, and the war resolution passed in October.
More:
The bad faith of Bush's current argument is staggering. He wants to say that the "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate" who "voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power" thereby gave up their right to question his use of intelligence forever after. But he does not want to acknowledge that he forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.

By linking the war on terrorism to a partisan war against Democrats, Bush undercut his capacity to lead the nation in this fight. And by resorting to partisan attacks again last week, Bush only reminded us of the shameful circumstances in which the whole thing started.

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