Post-9-11 events and analyses
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Hans Blix -- March 2004: Delay was feasible without ruling out regime change. "I don't think the Europeans actually were saying we would never exclude use of armed force. They did not. They rather said they would like to have longer period of inspections. And we broke them off at three and a half months, which was a very short time. There was nothing in the resolution from 2003 that suggested that it should be so short. So if the Iraqis would have practiced cat and mouse in the spring of 2003 on inspectors, then I think the Europeans would have come along. There would have been an authorization of the Security Council and there would have been legitimacy for the action..
I think it proved that international inspections, if independent of individual countries, and which is run professionally, came to conclusions which were closer to reality than intelligence agencies which were linked to political governments that had preconceived ideas.
And I think that's a lesson for the future because the world will need inspections in the future in Iran, in Libya and in North Korea. And in my view, the best would be to have these inspectors coming in, demanding the cooperation of the countries and also have the leverage of the political and military support. I have no doubt that we would not have been admitted into Iraq if it had not been for the U.S. military buildup in the summer of 2002, so both are needed. But in both cases, I think critical thinking is essential. " 9:03:13 PM
The new Pentagon papers
: A high-ranking military officer and analyst tells the colorful story of the neocons in Pentagon and the buildup for Iraq: "War is generally crafted and pursued for political reasons, but the reasons given to the Congress and to the American people for this one were inaccurate and so misleading as to be false. Moreover, they were false by design. Certainly, the neoconservatives never bothered to sell the rest of the country on the real reasons for occupation of Iraq -- more bases from which to flex U.S. muscle with Syria and Iran, and better positioning for the inevitable fall of the regional ruling sheikdoms. Maintaining OPEC on a dollar track and not a euro and fulfilling a half-baked imperial vision also played a role. These more accurate reasons for invading and occupying could have been argued on their merits -- an angry and aggressive U.S. population might indeed have supported the war and occupation for those reasons. But Americans didn't get the chance for an honest debate. " 3:37:30 PM
Sy Hersh update on Pakistan, Iran, nukes and Osama: Wide ranging review of current info. "A former senior intelligence official said to me, .. “It’s a quid pro quo: we’re going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with Khan.” Some of the most highly skilled Special Forces units, such as Task Force 121, will be shifted from Iraq to Pakistan [in February and March]. ..
The centrifuge materials that the inspectors found in Libya had not been assembled—in most cases, in fact, the goods were still in their shipping cases. “I am not impressed by what I’ve seen,” a senior nonproliferation official told me. “It was not a well-developed program—not a serious research-and-development approach to make use of what they bought. It was useless. But I was absolutely struck by what the Libyans were able to buy. What’s on the market is absolutely horrendous. It’s a Mafia-type business, with corruption and secrecy.”
I.A.E.A. inspectors, to their dismay, even found in Libya precise blueprints for the design and construction of a half-ton nuclear weapon. “It’s a sweet little bomb, put together by engineers who know how to assemble a weapon,” an official in Vienna told me. “No question it’ll work. Just dig a hole and test it. It’s too big and too heavy for a Scud, but it’ll go into a family car. It’s a terrorist’s dream.” ..
[An] operative said, it was “the Libyans who blew up the Pakistanis,” and who made the role of Khan’s black market known. The Americans, he said, asked “questions about those orders and Libya said it had them.” It was, in essence, a sting, and was perceived that way by Musharraf. He was enraged by what he called, in a nationally televised speech last month—delivered in Urdu, and not officially translated by the Pakistani government—the betrayal of Pakistan by his “Muslim brothers” in both Libya and Iran... The intelligence operative went on, “Qaddafi is very pragmatic and studied the timing. It was the right time. The United States wanted to have a success story, and he banked on that.” ..
Another nonproliferation official depicted the challenge facing the I.A.E.A. inspection regime as “a seismic shift—the globalization of the nuclear world.” The official said, “We have to move from inspecting declared sites to ‘Where does this shit come from?’ If we stay focussed on the declared, we miss the nuclear supply matrix.” At this point, the international official asked me, in all seriousness, “Why hasn’t A. Q. Khan been taken out by Israel or the United States?”" 3:34:25 PM
Iraqi exiles gave false information to media: It would be quite a competition to find the biggest fool and scoundrel, among the INC, the Congress, and the many ideologes in the administration: "A June 26, 2002, letter from the Iraqi National Congress to the Senate Appropriations Committee listed 108 articles based on information provided by the INC's Information Collection Program, a U.S.-funded effort to collect intelligence in Iraq. Knight Ridder, which obtained a copy of the INC letter, reviewed all of the articles in what the document called a ``summary of ICP product cited in major English language news outlets worldwide (October 2001-May 2002).' The articles made numerous assertions that so far haven't been substantiated 11 months after Baghdad fell..
Feeding the information to the news media, as well as to selected administration officials and members of Congress, helped foster an impression that there were multiple sources of intelligence on Iraq's illicit weapons programs and links to bin Laden. .. U.S. intelligence officials have determined that virtually all of the defectors' information was marginal or useless, and that some of the defectors were fabricators or embellished the threat from Hussein.
The Information Collection Program (ICP) was financed out of the more than $18 million that Congress approved for the Iraqi National Congress, led by Chalabi, now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, between 1999 and 2003. The group remains on the Pentagon's payroll. The INC letter said that it voluntarily fed ICP information to Arab and Western news media and to two officials in the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the leading invasion advocates.
The information bypassed U.S. intelligence channels and reached the recipients even after CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and FBI officers questioned the accuracy of the materials or the motives of those who supplied them. .. The CIA and the State Department had long viewed the INC as unreliable." 2:25:53 PM
"This year, Bush says the federal government, outside of Social Security, will spend $1,939 billion but raise only $1,264 billion in revenues, for a deficit of $675 billion. More than a third of regular budget outlays will be financed with borrowed money.
Bush's assertion that he'll cut the deficit in half by 2009 includes the following explicit assumptions: Spending on defense and homeland security will fall by 14% as a share of the economy by 2009. Total domestic appropriations will plummet by 24%, with huge cuts in science (-19%), pollution control (-27%), transportation (-18%), disaster relief (-49%), education (-22%), housing assistance (-33%), and law enforcement (-20%). The alternative minimum tax will be fixed, but at no cost -- rather than the $65 billion that even a modest correction would cost in 2009 alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Even with all these ridiculous assumptions, Bush's projected regular budget deficit for 2009 remains at $501 billion. He offsets that against the $263 billion he projects as Social Security's surplus that year. Voila! A "unified deficit" of a mere $237 billion. " 9:39:48 AM
Rumsfeld and Friedman:
Classic -- Rumsfeld caught in the act, trying to claim that he didn't call Saddam an immediate threat, Friedman nails him. What a weasel. A must-watch. 9:18:38 AM