Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Iraq Primer: Key Documents on Operation Iraqi Freedom

Document 1: U.S. Central Command, "Desert Crossing Seminar: After Action Report," June 28-30, 1999
Source: Freedom of Information Act
In late April 1999, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), led by Marine General Anthony Zinni (ret.), conducted a series of war games known as Desert Crossing in order to assess potential outcomes of an invasion of Iraq aimed at unseating Saddam Hussein. Desert Crossing amounted to a feasibility study for part of the main war plan for Iraq – OPLAN 1003-98 – testing "worst case" and "most likely" scenarios of a post-war, post-Saddam, Iraq. This After Action Report was an interagency product assisted by the departments of defense and state, as well as the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency, among others. It presented recommendations for further planning regarding regime change in Iraq.
The report's pessimistic conclusions in many ways closely paralleled events that actually occurred after Saddam was overthrown. It forewarned that regime change might cause regional instability by opening the doors to "rival forces bidding for power" which, in turn, could cause societal "fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines" and antagonize "aggressive neighbors." Further, the report illuminated worries that secure borders and a restoration of civil order might not be enough to stabilize Iraq if the replacement government were perceived as weak, subservient to outside powers, or out of touch with other regional governments. An exit strategy, the report said, would also be complicated by differing visions for a post-Saddam Iraq among those involved in the conflict.
The Desert Crossing report was similarly pessimistic when discussing the nature of a new Iraqi government. If the U.S. were to establish a transitional government, it would likely encounter difficulty, some groups discussed, from a "period of widespread bloodshed in which various factions seek to eliminate their enemies." The report stressed that the creation of a democratic government in Iraq was not feasible, but a new pluralistic Iraqi government which included nationalist leaders might be possible, suggesting that nationalist leaders were a stabilizing force. Moreover, the report suggested that the U.S. role be one in which it would assist Middle Eastern governments in creating the transitional government for Iraq.

Document 2a: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Information Memo from Edward S. Walker, Jr. to Colin Powell, "Origins of the Iraq Regime Change Policy," January 23, 2001.
Source: Freedom of Information Act
Document 2b: U.S. Executive Office of the President, Office of the Press Secretary, "Statement by the President" attaching "Iraq Liberation Act" text, October 31, 1998.
Source: Freedom of Information Act
Just three days after President Bush's inauguration, this memo informs the new secretary of state, Colin Powell, that the origin of the United States' Iraq regime change policy is the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, and provides several quotes from President Bill Clinton supporting concepts included in the act, but not a U.S. invasion. In the attached statement accompanying his signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, President Clinton indicates that the U.S. is giving Iraqi opposition groups $8 million dollars to assist them in unifying, cooperating, and articulating their message.

Document 3: U.S. Department of Defense, Notes from Donald Rumsfeld, [Iraq War Planning], November 27, 2001; Annotated.
Source: Freedom of Information Act
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used these notes to brief Central Command chief Gen. Tommy Franks during a visit to Tampa to discuss a new plan for war with Iraq. Rumsfeld prepared them in consultation with Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. They list steps Defense Department officials believed could lead to the collapse of the Iraqi government, and reflect elements of an existing plan developed with and for the Iraqi National Congress, including seizure of Iraq's oil fields, protection of a provisional government, transfer of frozen Iraqi assets to said government, giving it Iraq's oil revenues, and regime change. The notes list some triggers the administration could use to initiate war, including Iraqi military actions against the U.S.-protected enclave in northern Iraq, discovery of links between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 or recent anthrax attacks, and disputes over United Nations WMD inspections ("Start now thinking about inspection demands."). They show that Rumsfeld wanted Franks to get ready to initiate military action before a full complement of U.S. forces were deployed to the region. A section in the notes on "radical ideas" was withheld from release. The notes include Feith's point: "Unlike in Afghanistan, important to have ideas in advance about who would rule afterwards." They conclude by calling for an "influence campaign" with a yet-to-be established start time.

Document 4: United Kingdom, Matthew Rycroft, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Minutes of Discussion, S 195/02, July 23, 2002
Source: Printed in The Sunday Times, May 1, 2005, Downing Street Documents
These notes offer insight into the attitude of the Bush administration toward regime change, the U.N. approach, and propaganda efforts. The document contains the now-notorious statement in which Sir Richard Dearlove, chief of British foreign intelligence ("C"), reports from his talks in Washington: "There was a perceptible change in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction between terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Dearlove also reported that Bush's "NSC has no patience with the UN route." Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of defense staff, then added a briefing on actual plans for an invasion, showing these to be far advanced at this date, before U.N. inspections were even accepted by all parties concerned. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, noting "the case was thin," argued for enlisting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to persuade President Bush to back U.N. inspections, but he warned, "It seemed clear that Bush has made up his mind to take military action."

Document 5: U.S. Central Command Slide Compilation, ca. August 15, 2002; Top Secret / Polo Step, Tab K [1003V Full Force - Force Disposition]
Source: Freedom of Information Act
Military plans for war with Iraq were repeatedly updated at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's behest throughout 2002 and up to the March 2003 invasion. A series of declassified briefing slides document these planning revisions. Rumsfeld wanted the Iraq invasion to be an exemplar of modern technological warfare, so the troop levels recommended by planners for a successful invasion were downgraded over time during the planning phase in accordance with the secretary's philosophy. In addition, the administration hoped for Turkish support for the invasion and included forces based in that country in its plans. These hopes were dashed when Turkey decided not to join the invasion, in accordance with overwhelming popular opinion.
This set of slides shows the administration's optimism about its ability to achieve its objectives in Iraq: Phase IV, a term used for post-invasion operations, was, according to this set of slides, expected to last some three to four years as the U.S. troop presence declined to 5,000 personnel. The end game within this time frame was to lead to a "stable democratic Iraqi government" engaged in security cooperation with the U.S. In reality, the invasion led to a far more prolonged U.S. military presence, years of unanticipated violence, massive population displacement, the breakdown of Iraqi society on sectarian grounds, and the ultimate failure of the U.S. to achieve the cooperative military and intelligence partnership with Iraq's government that it had anticipated as planning for the invasion was underway.

Document 6a: Director of Central Intelligence, National Intelligence Estimate, Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, October 2002. Top Secret [Excerpt].
Source: The White House
Document 6b: Director of Central Intelligence, National Intelligence Estimate, Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, October 2002. Unclassified version.
Source: CIA public release
Document 6c: United States Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. Released on July 7, 2004 [Excerpt].
Source: SSCI
There have been three separate releases of the famous October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The NIE concluded that Iraq continued its weapons of mass destruction programs despite U.N. resolutions and sanctions and that it was in possession of chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges exceeding U.N. imposed limits. In addition, it was judged that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program and, if left unchecked, would probably have a nuclear weapon before the end of the decade – assuming it had to produce the fissile material indigenously. If Iraq could acquire sufficient fissile material from abroad it could construct a nuclear weapon within several months to a year, the estimate reported. The NIE also examined Iraq's possible willingness to engage in terrorist strikes against the U.S. homeland and whether Saddam would assist al-Qaeda in conducting additional attacks on U.S. territory.
The released key judgments section is also notable for its reporting of dissents within the Intelligence Community on two related issues – when Iraq could acquire a nuclear weapon, and its motive in seeking to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes. The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence Research (INR) argued that while Saddam wished to acquire a nuclear weapon, it did not believe that Iraq's recent activities made a compelling case that a comprehensive attempt to acquire nuclear weapons was being made. INR, along with the Department of Energy, questioned whether the high-strength aluminum tubes Iraq had been attempting to acquire were well-suited for use in gas centrifuges used for uranium enrichment.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report also posted here contains a harsh critique of the intelligence community's assessments on Iraq. In addition, the committee pointed out the CIA's troubling decision to heavily redact the NIE including withholding embarrassing topics such as the ways the initial public portions of the estimate sharply misrepresented the intelligence community's views by deleting caveats, hedged language and dissents in the underlying intelligence.

Document 7: Donald Rumsfeld, Snowflake, "An Illustrative List of Potential Problems to Be Considered and Addressed," ("Parade of Horribles"), October 15, 2002
Source: The Rumsfeld Papers
Donald Rumsfeld wrote this list of setbacks to be anticipated from an Iraq invasion in the midst of the administration's deliberations over whether to attack Iraq. The document is a so-called "snowflake," one of a "blizzard" of short memos - some just a few words in length - that Rumsfeld sent to colleagues and subordinates in the government during his tenure at the Pentagon. Reportedly intended for President Bush, this one itemizes 29 potentially negative outcomes, several of which were highly prescient and show that top U.S. officials were aware of the serious risks involved when they made the decision to go forward with Operation Iraqi Freedom. For example, item 13 says, "US could fail to find WMD on the ground in Iraq and be unpersuasive to the world." Item 14 reads, "There could be higher than expected collateral damage - Iraqi civilian deaths." Point 17 notes that "US could fail to manage post-Saddam Hussein Iraq successfully ..." while #19 predicts that "Rather than having the post-Saddam effort require 2 to 4 years, it could take 8 to 10 years, thereby absorbing US leadership, military and financial resources."

Document 8: State Department, "The Future of Iraq Project," Oil and Energy section, April 20, 2003.
Source: Freedom of Information Act
The "Future of Iraq Project" was a mammoth 13-volume State Department study obtained by the National Security Archive and others under the Freedom of Information Act. It was one of the most comprehensive U.S. government planning efforts for raising Iraq out of the ashes of combat and establishing a functioning democracy. To prepare the report, the Department organized over 200 Iraqi engineers, lawyers, businesspeople, doctors and other experts into 17 working groups to strategize on topics including the following: public health and humanitarian needs, transparency and anti-corruption, oil and energy, defense policy and institutions, transitional justice, democratic principles and procedures, local government, civil society capacity building, education, free media, water, agriculture and environment and economy and infrastructure.
One of the more optimistic sections dealt with oil and energy. The study understood that Iraq's oil reserves represented "a tremendous asset which can be used to benefit every last citizen of the country, regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation." This enthusiasm was echoed by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who told the House Appropriations Committee on March 27, 2003, "We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." However, the report underscored that Iraqis would not embrace the idea of having the Coalition run the country's oil industry because "nationalism in Iraqi oil industry is very strong."

Document 9a: Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 1: "De-Ba'athification of Iraqi Society," May 16, 2003.
Document 9b: Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2: "Dissolution of Entities," August 23, 2003.
The responsibility for reviving and rebuilding Iraq fell largely to the Coalition Provisional Authority, headed by State Department official L. Paul Bremer from May 2003 to June 2004. The monumental task included everything from creating a representative government to reviving the economy to reforming the justice system to restoring basic public services. In hindsight, many observers have pointed to certain basic actions taken by Bremer as key miscalculations that led to critical problems in the rebuilding process. One was the order on the "De-Ba'athification of Iraqi Society (Order No. 1), which Bremer later said was based on the same principle as de-Nazification after World War II. Critics pointed out that the CPA carried out the process in a sweeping manner that took little account of individual cases and wound up alienating important segments of Iraqi society. Another such order was to dissolve a range of presidential, government and military entities including the army, the police and security forces (Order No. 2). Most observers agree that the effect of this order was to send a message to key elements of Iraqi society, whose efforts and support would be needed in the rebuilding of the country, that they were not going to be welcomed as a part of the process.

Document 10: Saddam Hussein Conversation with FBI Agent George Piro, June 11, 2004.
Source: Freedom of Information Act
After the capture of Saddam Hussein by U.S. troops in December 2003, FBI special agents carried out 20 formal interviews with the former Iraqi dictator and at least 5 "casual conversations," according to once-secret FBI reports released through the Freedom of Information Act to the National Security Archive. The records of these fascinating encounters include historically valuable insights into Saddam's thinking on a wide variety of topics from his sense of his relationship to the Iraqi people, to the catastrophic Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Even though Saddam knew he was speaking to an American interrogator, and may be expected to have slanted his comments accordingly, the materials represent significant resources for studying the ex-Iraqi leader and his rule over the country. In this excerpt, a "casual conversation" from June 2004, Saddam expounds on one of the main reasons for his dissembling about Iraq's WMD capabilities to U.N. inspectors and the world: his fear of the threat emanating from Iran.

Document 11: "Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD," with Addendums (Duelfer Report), April 2005 [Excerpt].
Source: CIA
Charles A. Duelfer, a Special Adviser to CIA Director George Tenet, prepared this report on Iraq's weapons programs. It was completed in October 2004. His lengthy investigation concluded that most of Saddam Hussein's secret programs had been destroyed as a result of the 1991 Persian Gulf war and later inspections by the United Nations. Contrary to assertions by senior former Bush administration officials, he found no evidence of "concerted efforts" by Iraq to restart the program. This applied to nuclear as well as to biological and chemical weapons. "We were almost all wrong," Duelfer said later. The report stated that Saddam Hussein may have had it in mind to rebuild his capabilities but there was no organized effort or strategy to do so and in any case his interest was not to attack the U.S. but to build up Iraq's image abroad and specifically to deter outside adversaries, primarily Iran.

Document 12: Central Intelligence Agency, Analysis, "Misreading Intentions: Iraq's Reaction to Inspections Created Picture of Deception," January 5, 2006
Source: Mandatory Declassification Review request to CIA
This CIA analysis of its own failure to realize that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program was non-existent is, along with other (public) records such as the Duelfer report and the Robb-Silberman report[1], part of the lessons-learned aspect of the Iraq experience for the United States. The assessment describes the intelligence community's error (mirrored by other governments, to be sure) as the consequence of "analytic liabilities" and predispositions that kept analysts from seeing the issue "through an Iraqi prism." Despite heavy redactions, the declassified version of the document reveals some striking comments. For example, on page 14, it reports, "Given Iraq's extensive history of deception and only small changes in outward behavior, analysts did not spend adequate time examining the premise that the Iraqis had undergone a change in their behavior, and that what Iraq was saying by the end of 1995 was, for the most part, accurate." On page 16, the authors add, "Analysts tended to focus on what was most important to us – the hunt for WMD – and less on what would be most important for a paranoid dictatorship to protect. Viewed through an Iraqi prism, their reputation, their security, their overall technological capabilities, and their status needed to be preserved. Deceptions were perpetrated and detected, but the reasons for those deceptions were misread."

No comments: