Sunday, March 23, 2008


Iraq- Intelligence Failures

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IRAQ: Intelligence failures past, and present?


Photo: After falling into disrepair and being bombed, the K-3 refinery is getting attention and investment in the hope that it will contribute to Iraq’s future productivity. Credit: Tony Perry / Los Angeles Times

Three articles in Monday's L.A. Times show the disparate challenges facing the U.S. in Iraq.

Times intelligence beat reporter Greg Miller writes about the release of a report on a touchy subject some Americans believe is counterproductive and others of utmost importance: whether the Bush administration mishandled or lied about intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq War to veer the country into a conflict that has cost nearly 4,000 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives.

Underlying the subject is whether the U.S. should be in Iraq in the first place, and a crisis of confidence in America's security and foreign policy establishments.

Here's an excerpt from Greg's story:

The long-delayed document catalogs dozens of prewar assertions by President Bush and other administration officials that proved to be wildly inaccurate about Iraq's alleged stockpiles of banned weapons and pursuit of nuclear arms. But officials say the report reaches a mixed verdict on the key question of whether the White House misused intelligence to make the case for war.The document criticizes White House officials for making assertions that failed to reflect disagreements or uncertainties in the underlying intelligence on Iraq, officials said.

Meanwhile, from Baghdad, I write about new details regarding allegations that Iran is interfering in Iraq. Rear Adm. Gregory Smith didn't present hard evidence, but fleshed out a narrative that detainees have related to their interrogator. Many Americans refuse to believe the Bush administration's allegations regarding Iran, in large part because of the intelligence failures of the Iraq war.

Here's an excerpt from Monday's story:

"Groups and elements" including Iranians and militants attached to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia are training Iraqis in Iran to act as recruiters and trainers in Iraq, Smith said. "They're being trained as trainers to set up the teams inside Iraq," he said.... The U.S. gleaned the information from Iraqi detainees who had undergone such training late last year.... "All told the same story," Smith said.... "Handlers trained by Hezbollah inside Iran came back here purposefully to support anti-coalition and anti-security elements."

Finally, from Anbar province, Times San Diego bureau chief Tony Perry files a dispatch from a dilapidated oil refinery.The facility is 70 years old and in a terrible state, but still pumps out oil.

Writes Tony:

The ragged oil refinery in a barren corner of Anbar province looks more like something out of a post-apocalyptic Mel Gibson movie than the centerpiece of an ambitious energy project.

U.S., British and Iraqi officials are having a terribly difficult time patching up the refinery. But, as one Marine points out to Tony, there are worse things they could be doing:

"These people need our help," said Marine Lt. Col. David Bellon, commander of the 3-23. "And this beats the hell out of fighting them."

Borzou Daragahi in Baghdad

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God Bless America, and our troops.

But God have mercy on the GOP.

I am a 20 year naval enlistee. I voted for President Bush.
this latest read above has further fueled my frustration of this Iraq war. When Mr. Bush first said the war was over that was a terrible miscue. This war is tantamount to vietnam and in day of the American Revolution fighting England. You can not infuse Democracy in Iraq like England's tyannical policies to American Colonies. Yes our military wants to press the fight to the terrorist but this is not the way to do it by being occupiers, doing walking and vehicle convoy patrols exposing our troops to unnecessary exposure to IEDs and Suicide Bombers. This is one Black male person who heed the writing on the wall. Pull our forces out or back and let the Iraq government stand or fall on its own.

Eugene in Hawaii

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The key to peace is education, diplomacy, increasing trade, and building friendships.

I am sure the US military is trying to build lasting frienships with the local residents and leaders beyond a handful of people. Key to their success is having not only great terror-fighting skills but also great public relations and interpersonal skills.

Working against the US military are those who ignored the Bojinka alarm bells going off both before 9/11/01 and before 8/11/06. Thankfully the second plot was stopped in time.

Ron Paul is the only candidate to adress this neglect with grit, honesty and courage. He exposed a cabal of Neo-cons who took control of foreign policy and matters of civil liberty - who in effect hid from the public the real catastrophic dangers we faced.

Thanks to Ron Paul's efforts to educate us about the risk of Neocon policy, Americans began days before 8/11 to demand better security as the crisis in Lebanon worsened. Pleas to "Stop the Bojinka Plotters Today" began appearing on the internet as well as reminders that 9/11 was only half the original plot. Three days later, British authorities rused to pull the plug on the Trans-atlantic Bojiinka plotters.

Atleast one investigator was confused however.thinking it was pre-mature as they were told only a test run was coming that weekend. And if hadn't been just a test run, what then?

Is there any doubt anymore that this occupation was for oil: an industry that funds Bush his gangs. I don't know why should american people suffer for Bush. Because of this war, per head debt has skyroketed. Out economy is going down, hate america campaign has increased many folds, we are now isolated in the world etc.

How to get out of it? Bush should be replaced by a Democrat. He is a liar and any one who supports him should not be allowed to continue his policies.

Come on people... We pull out of Iraq, Al Qaeda establishes, a firm base. US troops and 'local allies' are the only ones fighting them on the ground right now. And those local Iraqi sheiks would not have a leg to stand on and would have to abide to threat of mass murder in Anbar, and up north. US made this mess. This war let Al Qaeda establish a foothold in Iraq. Now it's up to US to address that threat and to make Iraqis capable of standing up to it, before leaving.
Meanwhile, the situation on the primary battleground of Afghanistan, deteriorates each day with Taliban and Al Qaeda slowly gaining the upper hand in some regions, by threat of massacres and mass murder, while there isn't nearly enough coalition combat troops on the ground to both address this threat and prevent Taliban financing through opium and hash trade. Who(Taliban) do this, while taking over border kishlaks, and ambushing allied troops in the mountains as well as attacking certain bases en masse. Something has to be done. But with Iraq, as it is, nothing can be done, by US and is unlikely to be done by allies, many of which are mostly good weather friends. I do not see how, the incoming administration, be it Democratic or Republican can address this issue. Pull out of Iraq will result in AQ bases and conflict escalation between Shia and Sunnis. And Saudis will go in on behalf of SUnnis and Iran on behalf of Shia.. And if they fight, oil fields get bombed, tankers get sunk. Gas prices at the pump over $60 a gallon. You think the next administration will not go back in?

We should be in afghanisstan. We were attacked from there. With that said, I hasten to add that we cannot win a war against the Pashtuns. They are trained to be fighters at an early age. Also, they make their own weapons. Therefore, we must find a way to get them on our side. One way to do this is to enter into protracted negotiations with them until we figure out what is workable and what is not.

With respect to "nearly three-decade Cold War" between US and Iran, one needs to mention the brief naval battles in the 80s during which Iran lost 2/3 of its naval fleet in the Persian Gulf. That certainly cannot be characterized as Cold War. Indeed, professor Boyle of University of
Illinois has stated a number of times that the Reagan administration unofficially declared war on Iran (based on common International law) and indeed prosecuted it for a short time.

Another interesting point in US allegations against IRI that I find interesting is the insistence that Shia militia are trained by Hezbollah in Iran. This can certainly be done but why Iran would not take the lead in training on its soil? Afterall, Hezbollah itself is trained by
Iran (So it is claimed). IRAN may be guilty of some mischief but the Pentagon's framing of the situation is just too convenient and borders propaganda.

The reason many people do not trust the allegations against Iran is that this administration has no problem with lying to the American people. Many of the "intelligence failures" discussed in the media were outright lies told to the public. That anyone would believe any of the claims made by this administration astounds me.

What I find striking is the fact that so many war supporters continue to BELIEVE that Saddam still posed a threat to the world--this time insinuating that he supposedly killed *millions* of his own people--an assertion not born out by fact, but more on simple ignorance of the truth and historical accounts.

But they still believe that this is worth the cost of 4000 of our troops, upwards to $3T dollars of our own tax-paying monies, and anywhere between 600,000 to 1 million dead Iraqis--with triple that number displaced by war.

It's not just our intelligence failures which is the root cause of this mismanaged and bungled conflict, but old Cold War fears that we still have a duty to rid the world of those so-called *evil* regimes.

And replace them not with democracy in mind, but extended US capitalism and control of the region--so that powerful corporations like Halliburton can continue to screw the American taxpayer of tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten profit.

This is what the war in Iraq is all about: CORPORATE GREED.

Combined with outdated and fixed intelligence, we can pretty much start any war we wish--and Corporate America is going to profit from it. And future GOP Presidents are going to continue to assert that a country the size of California or Texas poses a real-time danger to our nation's shores and security interests--just to get the greed machine running.

And supporters for Bush and McCain, and people following them--will continue to eat it up with a spoon; while blind to the facts and reality around them.

And who pays for these follies? Not just our American military, but everyone whom has to pay for this debacle.

Except for the rich, the wealthy, and the powerful movers and shakers.


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