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March 02, 2004

What Failure?

If you pressed me into a corner and asked me if I truly believe that the majority of Americans are sufficiently disciplined in their geopolitical worldview to sustain the proper policies for America, I'd say no. It takes me back to Chomsky who, in his inimitable way, pulled back the blinders.

Nevertheless, while I think Perle's rhetoric gets outsized, I fundamentally agree with him and the PNAC imperials. We have fairly good prospects to become a fairly good empire. The problem is our cushy citizenry, but in a two party system, they can be marginalized through bipartisanship. Sound cynical? Yeah, it sounds cynical to me as well.

At any rate, here's Scott Ritter shooting from the hip. I wonder if he overestimates the power of democracy. Certainly nobody is programmatically manipulating the blogosphere (although if it can be assumed that the CIA has moles everywhere of import it would be great sport to figure which of the bloggers in the top 100 is the mole), and we are not decieved. But what we can do about what we know is limited - we're too granular to exert power like other forms of mass communications.

From Scott Ritter, Feb 26 2004:

Well, if you're looking at it from the standpoint of the American intelligence services and the British intelligence services, nothing went wrong. I mean, one of the greatest frauds being perpetrated today is the concept of an intelligence failure. They didn't fail. Their mission has been all along regime change, so that succeeded. What we're confronting here is one of the greatest intelligence successes in modern history. They were tremendously successful. They were able to use deception, deceit, fabrication, manipulation, the classic tools of the trade to gain their objective, which was the elimination of Saddam Hussein.

One of the main deceptions they put out there was the notion of disarmament, that there was a requirement for Iraq to be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction and that the United States and Great Britain together with the Security Council supported this requirement, and we're responsible for holding Iraq accountable to this requirement. As a weapons inspector, I can tell you that I and hundreds of my fellow colleagues aggressively pursued a disarmament objective. That was our task. We worked for the Security Council, responding to a Security Council mandate. But the notion that the United States government and the British government, and, remember, these were two nations that helped frame the Security Council resolutions that we were implementing in Iraq, the notion that they actually believed in disarmament has turned out to be a lie. They never intended on allowing Iraq to be disarmed.

They never intended on allowing economic sanctions to be lifted against Iraq because, see, their policy wasn't to peacefully disarm Iraq and allow Iraq under Saddam Hussein to reintegrate itself into the family of nations. Their policy from day one, especially the United States, has been the elimination of Saddam Hussein. In order to do that, they had to continue economic sanctions against Iraq, and economic sanctions were linked to Iraq's obligation to disarm. So disarmament was only useful to the United States and Great Britain in so far as it facilitated regime change. Therefore, it's only useful in so far as you can continue the perception that Iraq has not complied with its obligation to disarm, therefore there's a legitimacy to maintain economic sanctions that have contained Saddam Hussein for a purpose, until which time we can bring together the means to achieve regime change. That was the goal. That was the objective. The CIA worked for the executive branch of the United States government, the executive branch being the President, has since '91 under three consecutive administrations pursued a policy of regime change. President George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, made it clear that economic sanctions will not be lifted until which time Saddam Hussein is removed from power.

This policy of sanctions-based containment linked to regime change was inherited by Bill Clinton, and, for eight years, the Clinton administration sustained that policy. Albright said on numerous occasions that economic sanctions will not be lifted until Saddam Hussein's gone. Again, this policy was inherited by Bush 43, the 43rd President, George W. Bush, the current President of the United States, and he made good on this policy. So it's a tremendous success. The notion that we had an intelligence failure is wrong. It was an intelligence success. We had a failure of democracy. We had a failure of the rule of law. We had a collective failure as the American people. We had a failure in congress to uphold the Constitution of the United States. We had a failure in the media to search for the truth. We had lots of failures, but we did not have an intelligence failure. The CIA knew that Iraq had been fundamentally disarmed. The CIA knew that there were no meaningful weapons of mass destruction programs. But, see, their job as intelligence professionals wasn't to tell the American people the truth. It was to support the policy of the executive, which was regime change, which required them to create a perception in the American public that somehow Iraq was not complying with its obligation to disarm, that Iraq had maintained weapons in violation of the Security Council resolution that constituted a threat to the people of the United States, a threat that, since September 11, 2001, simply could not be ignored.

Ritter goes on to drop this bombshell on my world.

Ritter: I think anybody who opposed the regime of Saddam Hussein was a grave threat. He has a history of torturing and killing tens of thousands, maybe even more, of his own citizens. Millions of Iraqis fled the country out of fear of repression from Saddam Hussein's government. So I think that there is legitimacy. I'm an eye witness to it, to the horrific nature of his regime. I think we need to put it in the context of history. The brutal suppression of the Kurds, if you take a look at how the Kurdish people are treated by all the nations that have Kurdish minorities, Iraq, until the late 1980's, had the best record of treatment for the Kurds of any. The Iranians have a worse record of suppressing the Kurds. The Turks definitely have a pretty bad record of suppressing the Kurds. The Syrians aren't much better. Iraqi Kurdistan had a level of autonomy in terms of government that was unequaled in any other country. During the Iran-Iraq war, however, the Kurdish minority was used by the Iranians as a tool to fight Saddam, and so you had Iraqi Kurds actually switching sides and fighting for the Iranians. Now how would we treat that in the United States. I'm just curious; what would happen if South Carolina decided that they were going to withdraw from the union? Wait, they did that. It was called a civil war, and we fought the war for four some odd years, a brutal war in which we killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Read up your history about what the Union did in the Shedendoah Valley to break the back of the confederacy's ability to feed and sustain the army of northern Virginia. Talk about Sherman's march to the sea and suddenly understand how horrible civil wars are. Research the Russian civil war, and see what the reds and the whites did to one another and the brutality that took place. I'm not condoning Saddam Hussein's treatment of the Kurds. I condemn it in the strongest terms, but let's put it into perspective. People call it genocide. it is not genocide. It is brutal suppression of a population base that had committed treason. Committed treason. They had joined the Iranians. The same thing with the Shi'a. What happens during a time of war if a significant population base rises up against central authority? They've committed treason. And that's what the Shi'a did, and Saddam suppressed them brutally. Killed tens of thousands of them. I'm not condoning it. I'm condemning it, but let's put it in perspective. This is not Saddam running around gunning down the Shi'a. Fact is if you take a look at 1991, 70% of the Shi'a were on the side of Saddam. Of the 30%, not all of them rose up. Many were just sitting on the sidelines. It was a minority that rose up in 1991, and they were brutally suppressed. Saddam has a history of brutally suppressing, and let's not sugarcoat, murder, rape, and torture of those who oppose his regime. And he did so. But, you know, we knew about this. This is not a great secret. We stood by in the 1980's and let him do it. He gassed the Kurds in Halabja, or some people say he gassed. There's a question of whether or not it was Iranian gas or Iraqi gas. But we know he used gas against Kurds. We did nothing. We said nothing. We know he used gas against the Iranians. We did nothing. We said nothing. Worse, we sent U.S. teams to Baghdad with intelligence information, satellite photography, signals intercept, and helped plot out Iranian military positions on these photographs and then sat back and watched as the Iraqis planned chemical weapons attacks. We knew they were attacking Iran using chemical weapons, and not only did we not step up and say stop, but when they asked for more intelligence information, we provided it. And how do I know this? Because I've debriefed Wafik ai-Samarai, the director of military intelligence of the Iraqi army. He's the one who met with Rumsfeld. He's the one who met with Rumsfeld's people. He's the one who met with the CIA. He's the one who sat in a room while all of this took place. That's the reality of it. I'm not condoning anything Saddam did. I'm condemning him in the harshest terms. But to sit back here and suddenly say we have to invade Iraq because of the horrific nature of the regime, that's absurd in the extreme.

So this takes me back to my Holocaust Denial post, which now must be taken in this context.

Posted by mbowen at March 2, 2004 09:45 AM

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