Post-9-11 events and analyses
Monday, January 31, 2005
Michael Crichton and Global Warming
: "How do people learn about global warming? That, more than the merits of any scientific argument, is the most interesting question posed by Michael Crichton's State of Fear." Excellent review of the popular argument on warming, from Brookings' David Sandalow. 9:55:44 AM
Scott Ritter speculates on the al-Zarqawi myth: "Reflecting back, one cannot help but wonder if al-Zarqawi was used as a lure to trap the Americans into taking this action. On the surface, the al-Zarqawi organisation seems too good to be true. A single Jordanian male is suddenly running an organisation that operates in sophisticated cells throughout Iraq. No one man could logically accomplish this. But there is an organisation that can - the Mukhabarat (intelligence) of Saddam Hussein.
A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi government..
According to former Iraqi intelligence personnel I have communicated with recently, the Mukhabarat, under instructions from Saddam Hussein, had been preparing for some time before the invasion of Iraq on how to survive, resist and defeat any US-led occupation of Iraq. A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi government.
Another factor was to shift the attention of the US military away from the true heart of the resistance - Saddam's Baathist loyalists - and on to a fictional target that could be manipulated in an effort to control the pace, timing and nature of the US military response.
According to these sources, the selection of al-Zarqawi as a front for these actions was almost too easy. .. According to my contacts, the goal in creating a foreign Islamist face for the violence taking place in Iraq is to get the Iraqi populace to turn away from Iyad Allawi and the US military as a source of stability, and endorse the return of the Baathists (under a new guise, to be sure), who would then deal with the Islamists by shutting down an operation the Mukhabarat thinks they control.
But engaging these activists may not be without cost. Having created a fiction, there is a potential danger of it becoming a reality. Al-Zarqawi may not be the real force behind the anti-US resistance in Iraq, but many now, in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world, believe him to be.
Having created this giant the Mukhabarat may not be able to control it. The real danger in Iraq is not the inevitable defeat of the United States and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, but the fact that the longer it takes for the United States to realise that victory cannot be achieved, the more emboldened the Islamists become. " An AP correspondent carries on the thread, quoting Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic International Studies among others. 12:29:44 AM
A haunting end to hunt for WMD: Great editorial [14 Jan 2005]. "This week’s news that the Pentagon has officially ended its search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was the quiet denouement to one of the most contentious issues in our nation’s recent history. While the beginning of the hunt for Saddam Hussein’s rumored chemical, biological and nuclear weapons came in like a lion, it went out like a lamb.
The final chapter of a story that has dominated American newspapers’ front pages for more than two years was published deep inside them. The Virginian-Pilot ran the news on Page A6, along with several routine stories and a gutter cleaning ad. Most other papers did the same. A few, such as The Washington Post, posted the story on its front page, but tucked it into an unobtrusive, below-the-fold corner. ..
And America is left with a seemingly endless war in Iraq, but without a rationale for it.
A senior intelligence official told The Washington Post that chief weapons hunter Charles Duelfer’s interim report to Congress, which contradicted nearly every prewar claim of the Bush administration, will stand as the group’s final conclusion. While the official end to our hunt for weapons is a sad, significant milestone, almost more noteworthy is our — Americans’ and the media’s — muted reaction to that news. The story’s placement in the folds of the paper reflects its place in our thoughts. We’ve made note of it, but parked it in an out-of-the-way corner where it won’t demand or command our attention.
It’s a national humiliation akin to a personal one: It’s too painful to dwell on. Dead U.S. soldiers, dead Iraqi civilians, a war with no end in sight — it makes us cringe. So, we expel it from our minds, if not our lives, bury it and move on.
We’re in Iraq now, we tell ourselves. We have to make it work. But while we can hide this story in our newspapers and in the backs of our minds, the consequences of our failure to find WMD will haunt us, one way or another, for decades to come. " 12:10:14 AM