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Powell's Case, a Year Later: Gaps in Picture of Iraq Arms

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  • Powell's Case, a Year Later: Gaps in Picture of Iraq Arms

    A nice reminder of why the USA went to war, and what's left of Uncle Powell's story hour at the UN, one year later

    (too long to quote here, read the entire article HERE )

    This part I've really enjoyed, it's about the missiles the USA feared to much:

    Brig. Mumtaz Abu Sakhar, an engineer with the Military Industries Commission and a consultant on the missile project, said recently in an interview in Baghdad that progress was not as great as it appeared. Denied sophisticated tools, Brigadier Sakhar said, Iraqi engineers were barely able to develop a missile that could stay within the maximum range allowed under the United Nations sanctions. While they sent a glowing report to Mr. Hussein announcing this, he said, the scientists did not mention that the missiles were wildly inaccurate. "If you wanted to hit a target," he said, "the missile would sometimes fly off in the other direction. It was of no use."
    LOL, yeah, really scary Just imagine, that trying to hit Israel with missiles could have ended in bombarding Syria or Iran (or Baghdad) .. LOL Gives the combination 'threat' and 'Iraqi missiles' a whole new meaning




    WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 ó A year ago this weekend, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell holed up in a conference room next to George J. Tenet's office at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, applying a critical eye to the satellite photos, communications intercepts and reports that would form the basis for the Bush administration's most comprehensive ó and carefully worded ó public case about the urgent threat Iraq posed to the world.

    After several lengthy sessions, he appeared in New York on Feb. 5, with Mr. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, seated behind him, to tell the United Nations Security Council that the evidence added up to "facts" and "not assertions" that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and that it was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program and building a fleet of advanced missiles.

    Mr. Powell's testimony, delivered at a moment of high suspense as American forces gathered in the Persian Gulf region, was widely seen as the most powerful and persuasive presentation of the Bush administration's case that Iraq was bristling with horrific weapons. His reputation for caution and care gave it added credibility.

    A year later, some of the statements made by Mr. Powell have been confirmed, but many of his gravest findings have been upended by David A. Kay, who until Jan. 23 was Washington's chief weapons inspector.

    Doubts had surrounded much of the evidence ever since American inspectors arrived in Iraq. Yet in the days since Dr. Kay definitively declared that Iraq had no significant stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons when the invasion began in March, Washington has been seized by the question of how and why such an intelligence gap happened.

    Even some Republican lawmakers are talking about a failure of egregious proportions ó akin, some think, to the failure to grasp the forces pulling apart the Soviet Union in the late 1980's. President Bush is considering whether to order an investigation into the intelligence failure, an action he has so far resisted.

    Some answers can be found in a dissection of the case that Mr. Powell presented, and an examination of some of the underlying intelligence information that formed its basis. Interviews with current and former senior intelligence officials, a handful of Iraqi engineers, Congressional officials involved in investigations of the C.I.A. and current and former administration officials, suggest that Mr. Powell's case was largely based on limited, fragmentary and mostly circumstantial evidence, with conclusions drawn on the basis of the little challenged assumption that Saddam Hussein would never dismantle old illicit weapons and would pursue new ones to the fullest extent possible.

    Even one of the most compelling sections of Mr. Powell's presentation, satellite photographs of suspected chemical weapons sites, appears to have been misjudged. The suspicious-looking movement at several sites of what were believed to be decontamination vehicles and trucks covered with tarps more likely involved more benign commercial activity; inspectors found no evidence of weapons production.

    "I'm not sure that they did a good enough job challenging conventional wisdom," said Representative Porter J. Goss, the Florida Republican who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. But more broadly, Mr. Goss said, despite the tone of certainty that infused Mr. Powell's presentations and other public pronouncements, the intelligence agencies were severely limited in their analysis by inadequate information about Iraq and what it intended.

    Relying on Human Agents

    According to the interviews conducted by The New York Times, the administration's argument that Iraq was producing biological weapons was based almost entirely on human intelligence of unknown reliability. When mobile trailers were found by American troops, the White House and C.I.A. rushed out a white paper reporting that the vehicles were used to make biological agents. But later, an overwhelming majority of intelligence analysts concluded the vehicles were used to manufacture hydrogen for weather balloons or possibly to produce rocket fuel ó a view now shared by Dr. Kay. The original paper was still posted on the C.I.A.'s Web site on Saturday.


    (too long to quote, read the entire article HERE )
    "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

    Henry Alfred Kissinger

  • #2
    More the time pass and more I have the impression that everybody knew that Saddam didnít have any WMDs, or quasi no WMDs, and everybody knew that a war for this reason was not necessary. But, for many reasons, nobody wanted to claim it openly. Of course, concerning the US, they wanted to attack and then needed those WMDs, and couldnít say that they didnít exist. And concerning the people who were against the war, they couldnít openly attack the USA by saying that they lied.
    At the same time, why Bush and co shouldnít have used this excuse ? That worked very well and now even if some people ask questions, I donít see any commission or something like that making searches on those problems, I donít see any impeachment.
    In fact, now, nobody cares about what Powell and others said one year ago.

    LaPalice.
    Monsieur de La Palice est mort
    Mort devant Pavie.
    Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
    Il ťtait encore en vie...

    Comment


    • #3
      We are talking about what the administration could have known before the war and Dr Kay admitted that the assumption that Iraq had WMD's was a reasonable one.
      Originally posted by Lapalice
      I don’t see any commission or something like that making searches on those problems, I don’t see any impeachment.
      Bush announced today an investigation into the CIA concerning Iraq.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Priest
        Bush announced today an investigation into the CIA concerning Iraq.
        Can't say I expect anyone to do otherwise, but investigating the CIA misses the point completely. All that does is start the investigation by naming a scapegoat and shifting blame. On the other hand, an indepedent inquiry into all branches of government that had a role in going to war with Iraq would probably be a waste of taxpayer money, as the Whitehouse seems quite adept at classifying all the juicy stuff.
        "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the governmentís purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

        Ė Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Priest
          We are talking about what the administration could have known before the war and Dr Kay admitted that the assumption that Iraq had WMD's was a reasonable one.

          Bush announced today an investigation into the CIA concerning Iraq.

          The CIA is only a scapegoat there. The commission should go in the Rumsfeld's, Powell's and Bush's papers.

          LaPalice.
          Monsieur de La Palice est mort
          Mort devant Pavie.
          Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
          Il ťtait encore en vie...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LaPalice
            The CIA is only a scapegoat there. The commission should go in the Rumsfeld's, Powell's and Bush's papers.

            LaPalice.
            You know Lapalice if you have evidence of wrongdoing maybe you should hand it over to thr press.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Priest
              You know Lapalice if you have evidence of wrongdoing maybe you should hand it over to thr press.
              No, I prefer to keep them for my archives.
              Otherwise, it is very easy to understand that the CIA is used as a scapegoat in this affair, as usual. It is always the fault of the secret services.
              As MikeJ expalins it, why only the CIA ? And not all the part of the power in America ?

              LaPalice.
              Monsieur de La Palice est mort
              Mort devant Pavie.
              Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
              Il ťtait encore en vie...

              Comment


              • #8
                You know LaPalice I'm starting to believe that Don is right about you guys, that this has nothing to do with truth at all, it's just character assasination pure and simple.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Powel should be held responsible along with Bush and Blair. They should be held without trial as 'persons who have aided or assisted in unlawful acts or war against the ancient civilisations of Iraq and Afghanistan' and put in Camp Bender, Isle of Mull. They should not be allowed to see lawyers or solicitors and must be chained up like pig dogs ands have theie heads bagged when walking from A to B, incase their eyes have secret laser weapons inserted in them.They should be tried for war crimes and when found guilty should be stoned to death by an angry Iraqi/Afghani mob made up from relatives of those murderded by the poor mis-guided US military.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LaPalice
                    Otherwise, it is very easy to understand that the CIA is used as a scapegoat in this affair, as usual. It is always the fault of the secret services.
                    As MikeJ expalins it, why only the CIA ? And not all the part of the power in America ?

                    LaPalice.
                    The CIA is not completely innocent. I believe the Bush Administration pressured the intelligence community for proof to confirm his own assess-ment. He did not consider other factors such as reports on Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government. It was the job of the intelligence anaylsts not to bend to this kind of pressure and maintain an unbiased posture.

                    It is tragic we did not focus more on developing a better understanding of the Iraqi regime we were so eager to topple. Our assessment of Saddam's absolute control never held up to doctrine, and we paid dearly. We now know Saddam was not in total control, and fewer people in his administration feared him than was previously suggested. There were some reports warning that Saddam did not own WMDs, but had taken an suspecious posture. The reasons involved paranoia and appearance.

                    There is no excuse for this failure. The US intelligence community made a similar mistake in Vietnam. We didn't know Hanoi's relationship with the USSR was not strong at all. There is even evidence the government pushed it's old military hero out of the war because of his close relationship with the Russians.

                    I see the investigation as important to ensure the mistakes the intelligence community made in Iraq are not repeated. At this stage, I still don't believe Bush has violated American law. Poor leadership is not necessarily a crime. I feel he pressured the intelligence community, and ignored those reports that contradicted his own views. This could be a criminal offense if the evidence is overwhelming. However, one must bare in mind the President relies on the intepretation presented by his staff to help formulate his decision. Everyday, aides provide him with their assessment. He doesn't see the details, only what they feel is important. Tragically, if the President does not provide guidance, the system can kill itself, as subordinates fight it out. Cheney, Rice, Powell, and Rumsfield had the responsibility of providing the President with a clear and honest appraisal of their conclusions on the facts. If they were grossly negligent, they should be held accountable.

                    Finally, I would like to add that based on the comments here, the inter-national community is making a horrible mistake. I'm an analysts and know for a fact numerous governments, including the French and Germans felt there was enough evidence that Iraq had WMDs to warrant foriegn policies that supported sanctions and inspections of some sort. It would be a horrible mistake to pass this off as an American and British intelligence failure. Most of our governments acted on what is now clearly flawed information that originated from international and domestic assessments. If your countries are unwilling to examine this fact, the debate has degenerated to something closer to Anti-Americanism and character assassination.
                    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Priest
                      You know LaPalice I'm starting to believe that Don is right about you guys, that this has nothing to do with truth at all, it's just character assasination pure and simple.
                      You may be right, it may be a character assassination. At the same time it is inherent to the presidential function, to any function at this level, in America or in any country in the world, at least in a democracy. Before him it was the case of Bill Clinton who suffered, and suffer, many attacks, certainly as numerous as Bush, even if the people who attack Clinton are not the same as the ones who attack Bush.
                      I think that Deltapooh gives a good description of the situation, even if I still think that Bush and his administration are at least as guilty as the CIA concerning the lies about the WMD's.

                      LaPalice.
                      Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                      Mort devant Pavie.
                      Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                      Il ťtait encore en vie...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A leader is always responsible for the actions of his/her subordinates and I have not heard anyone in the current administration suggest otherwise. If you believe Bush will try to pin the "blame" on anyone else, then you know little about George W. Bush. You may disagree with President Bush, and you may believe his solutions to various problems are wrong. Some of you may also dislike the president's personality and direct way of speaking. Fair enough, but I think that even most opponents of President Bush will admit that he is a man of character and believes what he says.

                        First, Deltapooh is correct that nearly every nation agreed that Iraq had either existing weapons of mass destruction, or at least some active WMD programs. That's why France, Germany, Russia, China, etc continually voted to extend the sanctions on Saddam and pass new UN resolutions. Let's not re-write history and make believe that Iraq never had these programs. Iraq not only had them, but used them on a mass scale in more than one instance. The burden of proof was on Saddam to comply, not for any other nation or organization to be saddled with the burden of digging out all his hidden stockpiles to justify action. Saddam did have such stockpiles at one time because the UN inspectors found them and destroyed many of them. This is not supposition, but documented fact.

                        If we agree -- and the proof is overwhelming -- that Saddam either had WMD or some degree of WMD programs, then what was all the disagreement about last year? The disagreement was about what to do about the problem. The US, UK, Australia, Poland, Kuwait, and a few others wanted to use force to oust Saddam and find out what the true situation was. Most others wanted to continue with the existing inspections and "wait and see." No one, including European and Asian governments, seriously doubted that Saddam would immediately rebuild his arsenals the minute the sanctions were lifted, but some nations were willing to take this risk because they knew they probably wouldn't be potential targets for Saddam's aggression.

                        It's totally disingenuous to claim that anyone knew all along that Saddam had no WMD immediately available. No one made that claim. Even France believed Saddam was a dangerous threat; they simply differed with the US approach to dealing with the problem.

                        Second, no one ever said that WMD were the sole reason for taking Saddam down. President Bush said over and over that Iraq was "a growing and gathering threat." And I may also point out that the book has yet to be closed on this issue. We may yet have much to learn on what was going on within Saddam's inner circle. From what we have learned so far, Saddam and his sons were obsessed with WMD. They asked key personnel about them all the time, however, Saddam's henchmen fearing for their lives, brought him overly optimistic reports about how quickly his programs could be reconstituted. High level defector after high level defector brought the West the same information: that Saddam's clear intent was to rebuild a secret arsenal. It seems likely that Saddam was being fed fairy tales by his own people. That Saddam intended to build illegal weapons still seems more than likely, even with what we have discovered so far.

                        All the other claims made by both the Bush and Blair administrations have proved to be correct. Mass genocide was going on and Saddam did have secret facilities for training terrorists. These were bombed in the early stages of the campaign. Follow up patrols by dismounted SF units discovered traces of ricin. Were mass graves filled with thousands of mutilated corpses discovered? Yes, more than we first imagined.

                        Does it appear that the collective intelligence gathered by the whole international community overestimated Saddam's existing WMD stockpiles? That does appear to be the case at this particular point in time. We may never really have an answer to that question. Are the world and the Iraqi people far better off with Saddam behind bars? Absolutely. It's very difficult for anyone to make a case that the world would be a better place with Saddam back in power.

                        The choice was between doing something and doing nothing. Who here thinks we should release Saddam and put him back in power?
                        Editor-in-Chief
                        GameSquad.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It is sure that I donít know a lot Bush, I canít really judge him. But he is a politician and in general they donít have many scruples. And there are elections in some months.

                          Saddam used his WMDís in the end of the 80ís. Since that there was the first Gulf War, there was the inspection until 98, there was the embargo. If Saddam had the capacity to build WMDís, he lost a great part of it after the Gulf War 1. Then if he had WMDís in the past that doesnít mean that now he has WMDís. And I am sure that US, British, French, RussianÖ secret services were able to know what kind of weapons Saddam had or didnít have just before the war. Otherwise everybody except America and Great Britain that Saddam didnít have any immediately available WMDís, otherwise they would have right for an immediate attack. They werenít sure about what Saddam had and wanted to know before what he had. But you can say too that they want to prove by the inspections that Saddam did not have anything any more, or quasi nothing.

                          It is sure that the Iraqis and the world is better without Saddam. So why donít the American give a true the Chinese a true democracy ? Or why nothing was done in Liberia ? Why donít the Americans clean Pakistan and Saudi Arabia of all the elements which help the terrorism ? Sorry, but claiming that you liberated the Iraqis is pure hypocrisy, as Bush and his administration didnít care about the Iraqis and only thought about geostrategy and American interests.

                          LaPalice.
                          Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                          Mort devant Pavie.
                          Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                          Il ťtait encore en vie...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I wish we would stop trying to prove the otherside wrong. This is a situation where those who did not support the war is either just as right or wrong as those who did. No matter what your beliefs are, there is justification and fault in your position.

                            Saddam was tyrannt and a brute. However, even the strongest dictators can not survive without the will of the people. More importantly, if we are unable to stablize Iraq, the problems that will arise could very well be worse than any threat Saddam posed. The Middle East is a vital region to many countries, not just the US. We have long held the ideal that regional stability outweighed almost everything else. While that meant we had to standdown in the face of less than acceptable behavior, there is wisdom in that strategy.

                            At the same rate, removing Saddam Hussein was not a bad ideal. While it does appear Saddam did not have huge stockpiles of WMDs, there is considerable evidence that supports the position he still had interest in them. As has been stated in the past, disarmarment can not be guaranteed without removing the value of them from the idealogy of political and military leaders. Inspections were not a final solution. We all knew that. Unfortunately, no one had a backup plan an acceptable backup plan.

                            Secondly, Saddam did hurt alot of people. Using force to remove such people should always be an option and favorable to allowing them to suffer. I would think everyone, particularly our allies in Western Europe, should respect that, even if they feel it were applied selectively.

                            So in truth, we were all justified and wrong. Proving the other guy wrong might make us feel better, but it really is not worth all the stress and strain. I believe we've all done enough damage to a vital relationship. Continuing to open wounds out of pure watonness is not going change anything, but the amount of pain felt.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It is sure that the Iraqis and the world is better without Saddam. So why donít the American give a true the Chinese a true democracy ? Or why nothing was done in Liberia ? Why donít the Americans clean Pakistan and Saudi Arabia of all the elements which help the terrorism ? Sorry, but claiming that you liberated the Iraqis is pure hypocrisy, as Bush and his administration didnít care about the Iraqis and only thought about geostrategy and American interests.
                              We depend on China's labor for our economy. Every time I buy something and look to see where it was made, it says "made in China". To be fair to Bush, it is pretty clear that he and most of the administration sincerely believe that they were liberating Iraq. Why they believe that is another story altogether and has nothing to do with liberating anyone.
                              Get the US out of NATO, now!

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