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Iraq War Made the Global Terror Problem Worse

UPDATE: The Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte has declassified the Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate (pdf). Excerpt with emphasis in bold addded:
    • The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.

We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
    • The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
    • Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq "jihad;" (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims—all of which jihadists exploit.

You could read the entire four page document, but it does not contain anything new. It confirms, however, what many experts have concluded and many Americans and Europeans believe. Why were these "Key Judgements" classified? The Instapundit opines: "If this is the quality of intelligence we're getting, no wonder we haven't won yet." [End of  Update]

Michael Scheuer served in the CIA for 22 years before resigning in 2004; he served as the chief of the bin Laden unit at the Counterterrorist Center from 1996 to 1999. He is the formerly anonymous author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror and Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America (Amazon.com, Amazon.de). He told Harpers Magazine:
 
Iraq is in the Arab heartland and, far more than Afghanistan, is a magnet for mujahideen. You can see this in the large number of people crossing the border to fight us. It wasn't a lot at the start, but there's been a steady growth as the war continues. The war has validated everything bin Laden said: that the United States will destroy any strong government in the Arab world, that it will seek to destroy Israel's enemies, that it will occupy Muslim holy places, that it will seize Arab oil, and that it will replace God's law with man's law. We see Iraq as a honey pot that attracts jihadists whom we can kill there instead of fighting them here. We are ignoring that Iraq is not just a place to kill Americans; Al Qaeda has always said that it requires safe havens. It has said it couldn't get involved with large numbers in the Balkans war because it had no safe haven in the region. Now they have a safe haven in Iraq, which is so big and is going to be so unsettled for so long. For the first time, it gives Al Qaeda contiguous access to the Arabian Peninsula, to Turkey, and to the Levant. We may have written the death warrant for Jordan. If we pull out of Iraq, we have a problem in that we may have to leave a large contingent of troops in Jordan. All of this is a tremendous advantage for Al Qaeda. We've moved the center of jihad a thousand miles west from Afghanistan to the Middle East.
Read all "Six Questions for Michael Scheuer on National Security" in Harpers.
The NY Times has learned:
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States," it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe. An opening section of the report, "Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement," cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The report "says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse," said one American intelligence official.
Has any European paper written something along the lines of "America kept Western Europe safe during the Cold War, but now America makes Europe less secure."?
Related: The Washington Note comments on a recent Cheney interview:
"Part of my job is to think about the unthinkable, to focus upon what in fact the terrorists may have in store for us," Cheney told NBC's "Meet the Press" when asked about his "dark side."
Cheney didn't think the unthinkable -- he did the predictable. He sorted out who he thought were the good guys and the bad guys -- lumped the bad guys together in ways they should not have been -- and focused American military power recklessly at the wrong targets connected to 9/11, thus puncturing America's mystique in the world and exposing before our allies and our foes both our military and financial limits.
Sensing American weakness, our allies are counting on America less and our foes are advancing their agendas. That is what Cheney's predictable behavior and lack of strategy has done to undermine American interests and our basic security.
The "Unthinkable" (and the smarter strategy) would have been Cheney crafting a grand bargain with Iran after the Iranians had helped the U.S. temporarily stabilize post-Taliban Afghanistan.

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clarence on :

Jörg, You wrote: "Has any European paper written something along the lines of "America kept Western Europe safe during the Cold War, but now America makes to Europe less secure."?" Is that a sincere question? If so, I congratulate you for not polluting your mind with the insanity of British journalism. Yes, we have been frequently blamed for making Europe less safe. What a shame, since Europe is _such_ a great ally of ours. The NYT has a neat, subtle point, which is no different than saying: "the Japanese Kamikaze attacks in 1943 show that their resolve is STRONGER than it was in 1941!! Run away !!!!!" Which is exactly what the NYT editors would like the USA to do. In 1945, when the US President proposed war crime trails for Göring & colleagues, Winston Churchill was quoted as saying: "just shoot them all." That is still a succinct approach to your contry's enemies. Perhaps, after the next election, we will have a President with a bit more resolve. You would perhaps like us to surrender to the Islamic fascist? Please hold your breath while waiting. Herzlich, Clarence

clarence on :

Jörg, Incidentally, we do not have "16 disparate spy services" in the USA, and that bit of propoganda should tell you volumes about the integrity of the NYT. If you disagree: please name them, and remember the adjective "SPY" service.

David on :

The blind faith of the Bush cultists... The NYTimes was quoting from the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate). Here is what the Washington Post says about the 16 spy agencies: "As part of the intelligence reforms enacted in 2004, control of the NIC was transferred from the CIA director to Negroponte's newly created office, with a mandate to cast a wider net for information throughout the 16-agency intelligence community and among nongovernmental experts." The story has been picked up and reported by over 1,800 (mostly domestic) news outlets according to Google News. Are they ALL anti-Bush propaganda vehicles?

clarence on :

David, It helps as you go through life not to be rude ("cultists"), and not to advertise your inability to read the English language. "Spy" and "intelligence" are not synonymns. (Is English a second language for you?)

David on :

For you I have unlimited reserves of rudeness.

Don on :

It seems to be a more general attribute of yours.

Don on :

'Has any European paper written something along the lines of "America kept Western Europe safe during the Cold War, but now America makes Europe less secure."?' I've heard the latter part 'making Europe less secure' a couple of jillion times I'd guess. But not the first part. Either it never happened or it's ancient history as relevant to the present as Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain.

alec on :

The answer to the "Does America kept Western Europe safe during the Cold War, but now America makes to Europe less secure" question is a mild yes. I would say it is a strong yes if you are speaking about Great Britain. Do the 7/7 terror attacks in London occur if the British are not involved in Iraq? To me, the answer is a clear no.

clarence on :

Alec, I completely agree with you, but you seem to miss the larger point: if a country chooses to fight instead of to surrender, the short-term costs are always higher. London would not have been bombed in 1940 if Churchill had just surrendered; the US casualties at Iwo Jima alone surpassed Pearl Harbor, but we could have avoided that by not fighting at all. Surrender is the easy way out, and that is the NYT's agenda.

alec on :

You are completely right, I don't know how I allowed 23 years of formal liberal education to blindside my intellect. I call for a jihad against the New York Times. Praise be Allah and Pat Robinson!

Zyme on :

@clarence Here in germany, we have a total of 19 (!) seperate secret services. Unfortunately, 17 of them (1 Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz and 16 Landesämter) are directed at our own people, while only the other two (BND and MAD) are directed towards foreign influence..

BernieGoldberg on :

@ Clarence: "[...] if a country chooses to fight instead of to surrender, the short-term costs are always higher." Thanks for the Rove talking point! Your two options are fighting or surrendering. Welcome to Surrender Monkey Land a.k.a. Germany a.k.a. continental Europe. When do you start to wake up to the complexities of the fight against terrorism? Will you ever get rid of your ridiculously stupid stereotypes? The 7/7 bombers all grew up in GB as did other terror plotters in Europe. Now don't tell me the Iraq war has prevented any terrorist attack! Wake up to the fact that the Iraq war has made things infinitely worse, and documentedly so. Stop rewriting history and reality. When will you start to take into account the widely available policy recommendations on how to become better in fighting terrorism? Read Richard Clarke and Michael Scheuer. Read the RAND and CSIS reports. Read what intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are saying. And stop chewing on the laughable propaganda of the Bush administration! Most of the fight against terrorism is to be fought by non-military means! The military aspect has been totally exagerrated in the US and unfortunately by Blair's Britain. Even David Cameron gets that! Read his latest speech on the folly of neoconservatism and be prepared that the Brits will get out of the poodle straightjacket that Blair has gotten them into. Whether Gordon Brown or David Cameron is next almost doesn't matter. The US has lost Britain over Iraq. Now flush those neocon and liberal hawk ideas that the US is there to remake the world in its own image down the toilet and join the discussion on practical steps forward. A debate on policies that pay tribute to the finite nature of American and Western power and builds on the traditional positive leadership which has served the US so well during the Cold War.

clarence on :

Bernie, Are you and David British? (Your rudeness is uncommon in Germany.) I won't quarrel with your description of Germany, but I would not have used such a sweeping generalization; I agree with you that the 7/7 bombers being homegrown points to a serious social problem in GB. However, neither problem is ours. Your comments do underscore a point I have made to Jörg on several occasions: the USA no longer has much common interest with Europe. It's time to sever the cords (NATO). Regarding what you termed a "talking point", we certainly disagree. You cannot negotiate with someone who wishes to kill you. Churchill understood that; so, eventually, did Sharon; you do not.

Bernie Goldberg on :

I like you lecturing me about rudeness, lol. Let me ask you a question: where did I recommend to negotiate with Bin Laden? Well, of course, I did not. You didn't read, at least not understand, my post. Consequently, you can't deal with it. Keep on shooting the messenger, you will eventually shoot yourself. Enough said.

GM Roper on :

Interesting, but ultimately pointless arguments about who is rude, ruder, rudest! Has the US presense in Iraq possibly made the threat of terrorism greater? Of course it has, but the terrorists were active and terrorizing long before 9/11 or the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Iraq did not creat terrorism from the islamofascists. Using these facts can be likened to the French and English declaration of war against Germany in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Did the British and French response increase the attempt of the fascists to conquer the world, of course it did, and so what, the alternative was to do nothing. Was there a link between Al Qaeda and 9/11? Probably not, but was there a link between Saddam's Iraq and state support for terrorism? Denying that is arguing against the facts. It is easy to disparage the thoughts and reasoning of others, much more difficult to lay out the facts and show linkage; terrorism as a tactic has been around for a period of time long before Iraq, long before 9/11 the USS Cole, the US Embassies in Africa, Mogadishu etc. The free world including the US, the EU had better get their acts together for, in the words of that great American, Thomas Paine "If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately."

GM Roper on :

"Was there a link between Al Qaeda and 9/11?" My bad, that should read "Was there a link between Saddam's Iraq and Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attack?"

Anonymous on :

@ Clarence You mention 1941 and 1943, i.e. only two years. The current war on terrorism started five years ago. Now there are more terrorists and more supporters of these terrorists than five years ago. And they get their training in Iraq rather than Afghanistan. How long was US participation in WWII? Much shorter! It took you much less than five years to defeat the fascist alliance. Before you mention how long the Cold War was: It was a COLD war. This one is hot.

clarence on :

Anonymous: It took less time, because (a) we were willing to endure vastly higher casualties, and (b) we used Nukes. Hmmm, maybe time for (b). ;-)

Assistant Village Idiot on :

As more of the report has been declassified, why don't we wait until those parts have been examined and analyzed? The Bush Administration has come off quite well in most of these sudden eruptions once all the information is in hand. The eagerness to treat journalist's summaries of a selective CIA leak in the run-up to an election as reliable information betrays a certain impatience for one answer only. Meta-communication. I don't think that david, alec, and bernie are having the effect they intend. When I encounter such asides as YOU ARE CULTISTS! I AM EDUCATED! WAKE UP TO THE COMPLEXITIES, YOU SIMPLETON! I immediately conclude that the person is making a social argument, which he thinks is an intellectual one. It is hard to take the rest of your content at face value when you have betrayed that such things are important to you. No one would make a social argument if he did not believe that it should be persuasive. Compare this to the comment by anonymous to Clarence. It was vivid and unsparing, but devoid of insult. I used to speak and write like that during my own days on the Left, so I have certain immunity to condescension now.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

AVI, thank you for your comment! I appreciate your criticism of the debate here in the comments section. We really should avoid name calling and focus on the issues. Please. Re the declassified report: I have written an update of this post. I don't think there is much in this report to examine and analyse. The report pretty much confirmed what many experts have said for years, does not it?

Bernie Goldberg on :

I get easily worked up when people like Clarence continue to use the most simplistic right wing talking points available and think they contribute to a constructive debate. He's insinuating that all Europeans (probably with a few exceptions) are appeasers/pacifists/cut-and-runners and that we ought to "fight"/stay the course etc. LET IT BE SAID ONE MORE TIME: IRAQ IS A DISASTER!!! IT'S NOT A GOOD FIGHT! IT'S NOT BEEN WORTH THE COSTS! EVERYBODY DENYING THIS LACKS COMMON SENSE, SORRY! I had a reason to question Clarence' judgement. And I did so provocatively because he's been wrong, condescending and insulting before. In a different comment, a couple of days ago, he has said that "The Economist" looked pale in comparison with "Der Spiegel's" anti-American propaganda. In response I pointed out that "The Economist" actually employs two of the most well respected authorities on conservative America. They write the most accurate comments on contemporary politics in the US available. (The Economist is even standing by its decision to support the Iraq war.) Micklethwait's and Wooldrige's book on conservative power in the US, "The Right Nation," comes close to being a bible in some conservative circles. If Clarence has something to contribute to this debate he should drop the offensive rhetoric and calm down a bit. If he wants to "sever the cords" with Europe, as he claims, he is the wrong person to talk to in the US (or wherever he's from) anyway.

Chris on :

"the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began" In spring 2006, we got around to that piece of analysis. That should show you how much of a grasp our leadership has on this situation. Not good. You know, this NIE mentions sourcing only once: "all-source reporting". The reason it is very predictable is that these analysts are working off reports in the MSM and the blogosphere, in addition to intelligence reports from the military (leaked to MSM at times) and SIGINT we don't get to hear.

ROA on :

A more accurate NIE assessment would have been: For the last 25-30 years, Muslim immigration to Europe, which should have produced an enlightened Muslim community ready and willing to lead Islam into the 21st century, has instead produced a hotbed of Islamic radicals ready and willing to support the most radical strains of Islamic thought. And with typical European arrogance and condescension the will take no responsibility for the problems they have caused. Instead they want to blame everything on America.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

ROA, You are partly right. [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/85-Europes-angry-Muslims-are-considered-a-risk-to-US-security.html]"Europe's angry Muslims" are a risk to US security and we wrote about it. [/url] I think most Europeans admit that the integration of most Muslim immigrants was not successful in the last few decades. Many Turks in Germany for example are still not fully integrated, but many are. Besides, hardly any Turks in Germany are radical. The Turks are the largest group of Muslims in Germany. However, it is unfair to blame Europe only. Some of the 9/11 hijackers have lived in Germany for a couple of years. However, none of them grew up here. Thus you can't blame failure of integration. They were probably radical before they came to Germany. Besides, how do you explain that they attacked the US rather than European targets? The terrorists who did 7/7 in London mentioned the Iraq war as their motivation. They were pretty well integrated in Brtain. The "hotbed of Islamic radicals ready and willing to support the most radical strains of Islamic thought" is not in Europe, but in Saudi Arabia and in those countries that get "development aid" from Saudi arabian "charities". We all finance the Saudis when we buy gasoline. [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/153-The-US-Saudi-relationship-Oil-supply-at-the-expense-of-US-security-and-moral-values.html]The United States is Saudi Arabia's biggest customer and a close ally, who is not putting enoug pressure on Saudi Arabia to stop spreading anti-Western hatred.[/url] Most of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Just like Osama bin Laden... Thus the key is to end appeasement of Saudi Arabia and to get rid of our oil addiction. Many Americans accuse Europeans of appeasement regarding the Arab world. When will the US stop appeasing Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Arab states that support Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism? Why do you still appease Mubarak in Egypt and support him with two (three? billions of dollars every year? Aren't you preventing democracy that way?

Assistant Village Idiot on :

bernie - "...everybody denying this lacks common sense." You may be right about Clarence - I don't know him from other threads and have no comment. But your comment, quoted above, cannot be an improvement. All foreign policy moves by all governments have complicated and wide-ranging effects. All are subject to cost/benefit analyses. While we can assess along the way as best we can whether things are trending where we would like or whether our efforts are not appearing successful, no full assessment can be done until well after the events have settled. And even then, historians will argue it and highlight different elements in an effort to understand What Happened. Any black/white assessment such as you make, including such terms as "disaster," must necessarily fail to illuminate matters. I submit again: you betray that your political beliefs have a large social component of identifying with The Smart People. I reflexively consider such assessments unreliable.

Bernie Goldberg on :

AVI, I take your point that there is more to judgements on foreign policy than black/white categorizations. But, in my humble opinion, there should also be moral clarity when needed as opposed to moral relativism. It's a matter of ethical realism to point out things that are morally wrong. You can take issue with that, of course, and I would be delighted to have a dicussion with you on the merits of the Iraq war that pertain to the larger fight on terror. My point came across as provocative (and to you maybe as "besserwisserisch") because I called a spade a spade from my point of view. Your meta-perspective may sound convincing at first--and I agree that skepticism vis-a-vis self-identified "smart people" is a healthy reaction--but it can also prevent engaged debating that is sometimes necessary. On the topic of Iraq I think it's overdue to point out the flaws in this war enterprise. As I said before, I have a deep aversion to the Bill O'Reilly style of debating which some right wingers think they have to copy instead of thinking for themselves. Best regards, Bernie Goldberg

Assistant Village Idiot on :

bernie, deeper and deeper. Moral clarity versus moral relativism - yes, by all means. But compared to what war or what conflict does OIF fall short? If you are imagining some standard which we must not fall below or we should not fight at all, then evil men will always overrun good ones, because the good are not perfect. GK Chesterton wrote that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Even if I were to grant arguendo that the conduct of the war has been atrocious, that would still not mean it is not worth doing. OIF comports with Just War theory. In its execution, it has been a far kinder war, with far less loss of life to civilians, than any previous conflict. It exceeds all previous standards by a large measure. This is not to claim that all US actions have been good, or even justified, but to simply note what an observer from Mars would find most salient about the conflict. What then, do you find so morally egregious that OIF exceeds most previous wars - even recent wars - to an extent that its immorality is absolutely clear? Be cautious that you do not stumble on the same stone you accuse the conservatives of tripping on, and simply repeat the tired talking points of the left. I have gone the round of whack-a-mole many times, answering all the standard objections A through Z, only to have my opponent start over with A again, without having refuted any of my alphabet. The mere incantation of UN...WMD...imperialism...oil... is not going to freeze me.

Bernie Goldberg on :

Deeper and deeper, AVI. You say that I risk to "[...] simply repeat the tired talking points of the left." And that the "mere incantation of UN...WMD...imperialism...oil... is not going to freeze" you. Well, what can I say? Thanks for the verdict. I'm not a leftie and I don't believe in the UN or a "war for oil." And I also believe that the US populace has generally no hunger for imperialism. The WMD thing was a bit shady, though. By your standards (none?) there cannot be a forceful debate. I believe that truth, or our imagination of it, emerges individually and temporarily as the debate moves along. I think that as long as assertions are supported by some facts by discussants there can be useful exchange of viewpoints. My standard for the Iraq war is not WWII or the growing precision of smart bombs and I don't know any person who would argue this. If I met one, I'd shake my head and move on to greener pastures. I don't need to cross swords with, pardon me, idiots. It's the Reagan principle that matters. Is the world and Iraq better off after the war? (Even Bush and his ilk are arguing that only time can tell..., a very weak defense.) Let me suggest that the world would be better off with Saddam (yes, the ruthless evil dictator that tried to assassinate Bush sen. and has killed an awful lot of people in rape rooms and torture chambers) still in power. More stability in the region, less sectarian violence, less death squads, less terrorists, most importantly: fewer people killed/per day. At the same time: more US power (hard and soft) to do good in the world. The US has to re-learn to focus on the feasible instead of the desirable. As Fulbright puts it: "I believe that a man's principal business, in foreign policy as in domestic policy and in his daily life, is to keep his own house in order, to make life a little more civilized, a little more satisfying, and a little more serene in the brief time that is allotted him. I think that man is qualified to contemplate metaphysics but not to practice it. The practice of metaphysics is God's work." (The Arrogance of Power, 1966, p.255)

Olaf Petersen on :

[b][color=red]+++BREAKING NEWS+++ Osama Bin Laden moved to Iraq for "security reasons"[/color][/b]

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I don't know what happened. There is no comment from you waiting in moderation.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Try again I'm quite glad to have adifferent set or arguments Bernie. We had 40,000 troops in Iraq already. The Oil-For-Food program, which we knew was leaking and suspected was near collapse, we now know in hindsight was worse than we even thought. I cannot accept that situation as "stable" under Saddam. Iraqis believe that life is better and will get better still. The loaded question whether Iraqis in Iraq think the US should ever have come needs to be taken with a grain of salt. There are still many there who claim "we were just about to do it ourselves. You should have let us." Perhaps. But there were no signs of it. I think it is the comforting rationalization of a people who feel embarassed that someone else had to solve their problems. Iraqis abroad are almost unanimous in their approval. My Iraqi friends assure me that the remaining violence is driven by the 10% of people who previously had power, plus the 100,000 criminals that were released just prior to the American arrival, and Islamists from other countries who have designs of their own. They also perhaps exagerrate in this, but it certainly does bear imagining what the situation would be like without those criminals and outsiders. As to the previous elite, I don't know how we find countries without them to invade next time.

BernieGoldberg on :

Boy, you're being serious about defending the debacle... I hope you have some Iraqi friends that don't live in the Kurdish area where people do rather well. If 3000 innocent people die per week in a country something is surely rotten. 3,5 years after the invasion there is civil war like turmoil and anarchy in the most important parts of the country. Most notably the capital. The oil-for-food scandal is a post hoc rationalization for the war by some neocons. It's all emotional. Oh, Kofi did something wrong, oh, his son too... And Mark Malloch Brown is an agent of the devil...,oh! Don't buy into that. The UN is not responsible for the unnecessary war in Iraq. But if you ask yourself: Was it worth it? You gotta say "What has failed in Iraq has been not just the strategy of the Bush administration, but a whole American way of looking at the world. This consists of the beliefs that America is both so powerful and so obviously good that it has the ability to spread democracy throughout the world; that if necessary, this can be through war; that this mission can also be made to advance particular U.S. national interests; and that this combination will naturally be supported by good people all over the world, irrespective of their own political traditions, national allegiances, and national interest." (Hulsman/Lieven: "Ethical Realism" 2006) Vigilant containment of Iraq would have worked just fine. Saddam's best years were over anyway. Now the US is stuck there while Iran is salivating and getting overly confident.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Could you please elaborate on this: "The Oil-For-Food program, which we knew was leaking and suspected was near collapse, we now know in hindsight was worse than we even thought." What I know is that the media wrote that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi kids have died because of the sanctions and the inadequacy of the oil-for-food program. And Madeline Albright thought that is a price worth paying. However, the Oil for food skandal as seen in the US focuses on corruption. I don't understand the extend of this outrage. Saddam sold lots of oil to Jordan and Turkey, who are both strong US allies. Trucks delivered that oil everyday on ordinary roads to Jordan and Turkey. Why did not the US intervene? Inaction regarding this oil smuggling, but outrage at oil for food strikes me as hypocrisy. Or am I missing something? When Bremer ran Iraq after the war, billions of US dollars were lost. Why is nobody focusing on this scandal? Besides, I wonder why the media reports that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died because of the sanctions were not used as a justification for the Iraq war. Or did I miss that? Or are those reports untrue? Or would it have been possible to have better smart sanctions against Iraq without those effects on children and public health in general? I remember there were was talk that Europe wanted to change sanctions, but the US said that would have enabled Saddam to develop WMD.

BernieGoldberg on :

This Reuters headline fits nicely into the debate here: Woodward: Bush concealing level of Iraq violence http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-09-29T083710Z_01_N28210876_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-USA-WOODWARD.xml&src=rss The Bush administration is concealing the level of violence against U.S. troops in Iraq and the situation there is growing worse despite White House and Pentagon claims of progress, journalist Bob Woodward said in advance of a new book. Insurgent attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq occurred, on average, every 15 minutes, Woodward said in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview taped for broadcast on Sunday. "It's getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," Woodward said in excerpts of the interview released on Thursday before the release of his book on the administration, called "State of Denial." "The assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon (saying) 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" Woodward added. Parts of a National Intelligence Estimate that President George W. Bush ordered released this week showed an upsurge in Islamic militancy, while a new U.N. report said the Iraq war was providing al Qaeda with a training center and fresh recruits. A senior administration official saw little new in Woodward's charges "except that Bob believes he has a lot of making up to do since the Washington establishment criticized him for being too soft in his first two books (on the Bush administration)." "We've seen this movie before, and we shouldn't be surprised of another critical book about the Bush administration 40 days before an election," said the official. Bush's Republican Party faces a strong challenge from Democrats as it seeks to retain control of Congress in the November 7 elections. The unpopular war in Iraq is a major issue in the campaign. The official added there was nothing revealing in Woodward's account of the daily attack numbers. "You print them all the time." Woodward said Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney often met with Henry Kissinger as an adviser. Kissinger was President Richard Nixon's national security adviser and then secretary of state during the Vietnam War. The reporting of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein played an important role in exposing the Watergate scandal that forced Nixon to resign in 1974. According to Woodward, Bush was absolutely certain he was on the right course on Iraq. The writer said that when Bush invited key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, the president told them, 'I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me,'" referring to his wife and Scottish terrier.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Sorry to take so long to get back. I was volunteering at seafarers mission and had family business after. Oil-For-Food was not a problem to be fixed by invading Iraq. OFF was supposed to be a solution that removed the need to invade Iraq. Its miserable failure is not merely a problem of corruption - corruption, as you pointed out, occurs in many places (though seldom $64B worth) - it meant that what we were doing to contain Saddam was not working, and some other solution would be needed. To interdict the oil, as you suggest, would have been correctly perceived as an invasion. Iraqis would have, um, fought back, necessitating a troop level at least comparable to what we have now. And the "all about oil" accusations would have been the same. I don't see much advantage to your "simpler" solution. To reiterate: corruption was not a reason for invasion; corruption was evidence that the previous solution was unworkable. Because you fail to consider that distinction, you consider that OFF is a post-hoc rationalization. On the contrary, I recall many conversations leading up to OIF that "sanctions were working." If the actions of others seem to have only an emotional and not a logical basis to you, perhaps it is your failure of understanding, eh? In the face of oil for food, I am not sure what vigilant containment you are imagining. The Ethical Realism quote is an excellent example of poor reasoning on many levels. The authors imagine they know the motives of Americans - They say what many people think, but I do not believe that the Motive-o-graph has yet been perfected. It is a false dichotomy. It is a straw man. It is possibly projection. I don't see that the blame for the starvation of Iraqis during sanctions falls to the US, even in part. The Europeans wanted to change the sanctions? Yes indeed, especially France, Germany, and Switzerland, I imagine, whose companies were already benefitting and stood to benefit more. Bernie's suggestion of what is feasible rather than what is desirable applies here. As to tending one's own garden, it is sometimes excellent advice (though Tolkien said it better) in specific situations. As a general rule, it would prevent any action on behalf of others whatsoever. I doubt that was the intent, but it is certainly one of those elastic pieces of advice that can be made to fit anything, good or bad. Up until the last UN resolution on Iraq, there was agreement. Joerg and Bernie may not have agreed personally with the UN decision, but there was nonetheless enormous consensus that Iraq needed to be brought to heel, and that increasing measures were needed. If the UN did not approve the final actions, it did repeatedly support a great deal of the reasoning that went into it. It is no good to pretend in retrospect that it was only the US that had these ideas. From the US POV, the post invasion revelations of exactly how much forbidden trade was going on with France and Russia is sufficient explanation for their vetoes of military actions. As your original claim, Bernie was on the absolute insanity and insupportability of of OIF, you would have to consider the previous UN resolutions to be almost equally insane. You seem to be cynical in only one direction - that American claims of moral action are hypocritical, and not nearly cynical enough about the possible hypocrisy of the counterclaims.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for your response. I appreciate it. > To interdict the oil, as you > suggest, would have been correctly perceived as an invasion. No, you could have done so on Turkish and Jordanian territory. Both are among your closest allies in the region. The oil smuggling was a violation of UN resolutions. Ideally the UN would have passed a resolution to condemn Turkey and Jordan, but nobody in the Security council cared, not even the US, who only complained about no-fly zone violations and bombed Iraq from time to time in response. Or my memory is bad, which could very well be. > Iraqis would have, um, fought back, necessitating a troop > level at least comparable to what we have now. Iraq did not do much against the bombings. > If the actions of others seem to have only an > emotional and not a logical basis to you, perhaps it is your > failure of understanding, eh? You misunderstand me. And without being more specific (quotes) about what I have done wrong, I fail to understand you. Sorry. > I don't see that the blame for the starvation of Iraqis > during sanctions falls to the US, even in part. So the sanctions are not to blame for the "starvation"? Anyway, I thought the "starvation" should have been used to garner support for the war. That would have made sense from a PR perspective. "Starvation" is your word. I would use "malnutrition" and "inadequate public health facilities".

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Well, on that you're right, perhaps. Preventing starvation could have perhaps been a selling point of the war. As to causation, it's a chain, without a firm grasp at every link. Sanctions were a contributor to malnutrition (your correction is more accurate, I think), but diversion of funds was a greater contributor. If the crop fails, and the neighbors send your dad money for food, but he spends it on liquor and gambling, the crop failure is not the sole cause of poverty. Also, while the US was a part of the sanctions, they were not "US Sanctions." This is far down the thread and well off your front page at this point. I suspect remain issues will be found again in other threads here.

salih on :

The situation in which Iraq is getting bad to worst.The situation have reached a delicate point for all over the world. Whenever I listen the ccn or times generally I hear the rape case,suicide,blast,and so forth.I don't believe all of the things for the oil.As far as I could see they've been regret for this situation.The government need to think all of the soldiers in which Iraq, likewise their families.

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