"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Invasion of Iraq Trumps War on Terror

The struggle against terrorism was substantially weakened because the Bush administration decided to redirect to the Persian Gulf many intelligence units that had been focused on Al Qaeda and other terrorists in Afghanistan. To this day, there is no certain knowledge about why the US decided to invade Iraq.

The the drive for war with Iraq brought to an end day-to-day intelligence cooperation with Syria, which had strong reasons to work with Washington against Al Qaeda. The US demanded Syrian help with the preparations for war and threatened that country after the successful Second Gulf War. Syria possessed vital information about how Saudi Arabia used the Muslim Brotherhood to assist terrorists. European intelligence experts acknowledged that the US was successful in rounding up many Al Qaeda leaders, but they suggested that US policy had increased the number of Al Qaeda recruits: “There are fewer leaders but more followers.” Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorist groups were clearly gaining much more support throughout the Islamic world. In a memo leaked in 2003, even Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the US war on terrorism was producing more terrorists than it was killing or rounding up.

The Bush administration did almost nothing to stop the terrorists from “distorting Islam into a new ideology of hate.” The attack on Muslim Iraq fueled the argument that America was launching a crusade against Islam, making Bush and the US effective recruiters for Al Qaeda. In return for Russian support of the American attack on Afghanistan, George W. Bush supported the Russian efforts in Chechnya, calling the Chechens “the killers who came to America.” This pronouncement strengthened Al Qaeda’s case that the US consistently pursued anti-Islamic policies. The US also endorsed China’s long campaign to reduce in numbers the Islamic Uighur ethnic group in western China. Moreover, the US essentially gave Israel a free hand in dealing with Palestinians, particularly in Jenin, Bethlehem, and Rafah. A 2003 Pew poll showed that Moslem hostility to the US was based on US policies rather than on disapproval of US values. Yet the Administration continually insisted that Islamic opposition was based on hatred for the way we live, which discouraged a mature reconsideration of our foreign policies. Hostility to the US became so great in the Islamic world that President Pervez Musharraf, an American ally, told the UN on September 23, 2004, “Action has to be taken before an iron curtain finally descends between the West and the Islamic world.” A pro-Taliban Pakistani senator explained, “The hatred has increased because of the continued anti-Muslim policies of the US leadership.” He claimed, “The basic reason for this growing gap is US policies. The US wants to grab natural resources of the Muslim world by brute power, and the Muslims have become aware of its design.”

First Steps in Going After Saddam
Early in the morning of September 12, 2001, NSC counter terrorism expert Richard Clarke returned to the White House after showering and changing clothes at home. He was surprised to walk “into a series of discussions about Iraq.” He had expected to hear talk about retaliating against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld saw the attack as an excuse to attack Iraq. Secretary Rumsfeld was ready to go against Iraq, saying, “Sweep it all up. Things related, things not.” Wolfowitz did not believe such an act of terror could be without a state sponsor and had previously stated that he adhered to the discredited conspiracy theory that Iraq was behind the first attack on the World Trade Center. Laurie Mylroie of the American Enterprise Institute, who wrote Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America, propounded it. The author noted that Wolfowitz and his then wife “provided crucial support.” It was claimed that Iraq was behind almost all the attacks on America in the 90s, and held that the crash of flight 800 in 1996 was the work of Iraqi agents. Likewise, the 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa were “the work of Bin Laden and Iraq.” After the attacks on 9/11, which involved skilled Iraqi pilots, the remaining Iraqi plotters left the United States. Richard Perle, an important architect of Neo Conservative foreign policy, said the book was “splendid and wholly convincing.” Acceptance of this book by Neo Conservative advisors might explain why President Bush told assistants after 9/11, “I believe that Iraq was involved, but I’m not going to strike them now.” Dr.Mylroie, a Middle East expert, insisted that the real Ramzi Yousef was not being held by federal authorities but was with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. She charged that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the acknowledged designer of the terrorist attacks, was also a secret Iraqi agent. Yousef was really the mastermind of the Muhabarat, Iraqi intelligence, which was considered as competent as the Keystone Cops. His real name was Abdul Rahman Yasin. James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, was dispatched by Wolfowitz to Great Britain where he was to obtain proof that Mohammed Atta, the lead terrorist on 9/11, was working with Iraqi intelligence and involved in the mailing of anthrax to journalists and politicians. To prove his theory, Wolfowitz tried to get Ramzi Ahmed Yousef declared retroactively an “enemy combatant” as late as February 2003. He wanted the prisoner removed to someplace where he could be persuaded to reveal how Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were linked. In 2004, Mylroie complained that Bush was unable to get any intelligence people to investigate the validity of her claims “because of bureaucratic obstructionism.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was proclaiming that he had “bullet proof” evidence that Al Quada was linked to Iraq in the 9/11 attacks.

Later, on September 12, President Bush instructed Clarke to Ago back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way....” He added AI want to know any shred....” During the campaign of 2000, George W. Bush criticized Clinton’s efforts at “nation building “ and said his foreign policy would show considerable humility. He repeatedly talked about removing Saddam Hussein from power, but his words did not convince many that he would soon want to go to war against However, former Secretary of Treasury Paul O’Neill, who had also been a member of the National Security Council, noted that from the first days of the Bush administration, it was clear that the president and his inner circle were determined to bring about regime change in Iraq. In January 2001, the Bush administration was discussing the postwar occupation of Iraq and looking over very specific proposals for dividing up Iraq’s fields. The U.S. had become dangerously dependent upon Saudi oil, and it was necessary to find a suitable counterweight. The Saudis faced serious opposition from Shia opposition in their Eastern Province, and it was suspected that many in its their government were not loyal. Another reason was that America’s allies had become disenchanted with sanctions against Iraq. They were less and less effective, and the time was coming when they would collapse altogether. Invasion made unnecessary a losing fight to prop them up.

Days after 9/11, the Defense Policy Board was convened to consider attacking Iraq. Notice of the meeting was not given to the NSC, CIA, or State Department. James Woolsey’s trip to London was undertaken as part of his responsibilities as a member of the DPB, and the other agencies were not informed about the nature of his mission. Even the Defense Intelligence Agency was left out in the cold, perhaps due to its close ties to the CIA. This would be the beginning of a circle of Neo Conservatives and their allies in the Bush government to see that their policies were followed. It is likely that it was this group that was behind efforts to persuade Chinese military brass to engineer a coup against Kim Jong II. John Bolton, a NeoCon in the Pentagon, openly ridiculed the two Koreas peace process even though his department supported it. Michael Ledeen, friend of NSC chair Richard Perle, renewed ties with Manichur Ghorbanifer to drive a wedge between Iran and Syria even though other elements in the US government wanted to encourage those ties in part because both were working together against Al Qaeda. Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy appears to have been behind these moves. Feith and Wolfowitz worked closely with the Vice President’s office, which was filled with Neo Conservatives who shared their views. Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowsky noted that she witnessed several incidents in which officers were told not to work with their counterparts in other departments and agencies. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility, that this tight circle of people shaped policy and brought along President Bush through his ties with Dick Cheney. There is no way to know what role Condoleezza Rice had, other than as an apologist for Bush policies. After the second Iraq war was won, soon became obvious that the Shiites would control the South and that it would be necessary for the US to deal with their sponsor Iran. However, that door had been largely closed.

There is no certain information about why the United States went to war. One important fact is that there was general agreement that Saddam Hussein could not be relied upon to produce predictable flows of oil. The State Department, interested in controlling Iraq’s OPEC seat, proposed to remedy that with its Walnut Creek strategy. It proposed briefly inserting troops and using force to produce a coup and install a different government under a General Nazir Khazraji then living in Denmark. The Neo Conservatives, centered in the Vice President’s office and the Pentagon insisted on occupying Iraq so that they could privatize Iraqi oil and other business interests. They thought privatization would drive down oil prices, and they expected the new owners to pump far more oil. Their working plan was a document entitled, “Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Sustainable Growth.” In the end they privatized much of the Iraqi economy, but US petroleum interests insisted that the new Iraqi government nominally control the oil. Their rationale was that this would keep OPEC prices high. It was also their intention to curtail Iraqi production in order to boost oil prices.

A Republican columnist remarked that Bush’s circle is " more inbred, secretive, and vindictive than the Mafia.” The testimony of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke makes it clear the administration was talking about grabbing Iraq’s oil long before 9/11. The so-called Downing Street Memo could also be seen as making this case. It did eventually become clear that either intelligence was misused to sell the war or the intelligence the administration had was just plain wrong. Almost three years after the invasion, a high-ranking CIA official went on the record. Soon after retiring, Paul L. Pilar, formerly national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, said the administration misused the intelligence it had been given. The whole body of intelligence suggested there would be a “messy aftermath” and that going to war was not in the national interest. He dismissed the findings of the Silverman-Robb Commission on whether intelligence had been cooked and the interim report of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Those documents only were concerned with whether there had been the crudest attempts at politicization. There were many subtle pressures, and the administration continually framed questions to get answers it wanted to confirm a policy already decided upon.

The CIA was estimating then that by 2015, 75% of Middle Eastern oil would go to Asia, mainly China. However, Donald Rumsfeld later said, that the war had “nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” Even before the war, the Neo Conservatives had a plan in place to sell off Iraq’s oil fields, but that plan ran into problems, including the fears of American firms that it could damage the OPEC price structure. Vice President Cheney’s office came up with a 323-page plan B on behalf of the big oil interests, which is now being implemented. However, in 2003, the American-dominated oil ministry said that almost none of its previous contracts with foreign firms would be honored. In 2005 and 2006, the Iraqis worked out Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) with American firms. Most oil countries avoid PSAs because they hold down the producer’s share of the profits.
Selling the Second Iraq War

Sherman has written African American Baseball: A Brief History, which can be acquired from LuLu Publishing on line.http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum

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Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!