Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sunday Iraq Blogging

Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’, says the Murdoch Times. Another memo, it seems. The leaks are coming thick and fast now, no?
"The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action."
Yep, it was the Crawford ranch meeting. May - the decision. June - contacts with industry about the UORs, as exclusively blogged here. July - military planning began in detail, and first mentions of the White House Iraq Group/UK Iraq Communications Group. August - ? September - the dossier. Now, surely with all that time, they could have got all the details squared away?
The Washington Post: "In its introduction, the memo "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action" notes that U.S. "military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace," but adds that "little thought" has been given to, among other things, "the aftermath and how to shape it."....[snip]..."Saying that "we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective," the memo's authors point out, "A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise." The authors add, "As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."...[snip]...A March 14 memo to Blair from David Manning, then the prime minister's foreign policy adviser and now British ambassador in Washington, reported on talks with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Among the "big questions" coming out of his sessions, Manning reported, was that the president "has yet to find the answers . . . [and] what happens on the morning after."

About 10 days later, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw wrote a memo to prepare Blair for a meeting in Crawford, Tex., on April 8. Straw said "the big question" about military action against Hussein was, "how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be any better," as "Iraq has no history of democracy."

Straw said the U.S. assessments "assumed regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq's WMD [weapons of mass destruction] threat. But none has satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured. . . ." Later in the summer, the postwar doubts would be raised again, at the July 23 meeting memorialized in the Downing Street Memo. Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, the British intelligence service, reported on his meetings with senior Bush officials. At one point, Dearlove said, "There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
Also from the WaPo:
" An hour before dawn, the sky still clouded by a dust storm, the soldiers of the Iraqi army's Charlie Company began their mission with a ballad to ousted president
Saddam Hussein. "We have lived in humiliation since you left," one sang in Arabic, out of earshot of his U.S. counterparts. "We had hoped to spend our life with you."
But the Iraqi soldiers had no clue where they were going. They shrugged their shoulders when asked what they would do. The U.S. military had billed the mission as pivotal in the Iraqis' progress as a fighting force but had kept the destination and objectives secret out of fear the Iraqis would leak the information to insurgents.

"We can't tell these guys about a lot of this stuff, because we're not really sure who's good and who isn't," said Rick McGovern, a tough-talking 37-year-old platoon sergeant from Hershey, Pa., who heads the military training for Charlie Company."
Read the whole thing, it's positively painful. As if summoned by a stage direction, then this happened:
Link "Earlier in the day, a former commando wearing a uniform blew himself up during roll call at the heavily guarded headquarters of an elite Iraqi police unit, officials said.

The attack at the two-story Baghdad headquarters of the Wolf Brigade followed weeks of accusations against the Shiite Muslim-dominated force by Sunni Arab leaders, who accuse it of kidnapping and killing Sunnis, including clerics. Jabr said the attacker was a former Wolf Brigade member who was targeting the commando force's commander, Brig. Mohammed al-Quraishi.

"Today's attack does not constitute an infiltration of the police forces," Jabr said. "The only thing left of the bomber was his head and feet." Three people were killed in the blast, Jabr said, adding that police were searching for two of the suspect's former colleagues."
So he was a Wolf, in uniform, on their base, and that does not constitute an infiltration of the police force? We're into what the former FBI head of counter-intelligence James Angleton called the Wilderness of Mirrors here; defectors are false, policemen are rebels, rebels dress as policemen, policemen dress as rebels. The one certainty is paranoia, that and paralysing confusion. Angleton was a drunk and an obsessive Anglophobe, but if that worries you, the decision loop describes it just as well. They are within our decision loop, always ahead in observation and orientation - and when the enemy get within your decision loop, the classic effects are disorientation, immobility and uncoordinated action.

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