Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Voices in the Wilderness

Here is a smattering of some of the voices the Bush administration ignored (or worse) in the lead-up to the Iraq war. I'm sure more web surfing could turn up more like these. It gives one a sense of what an "Iraq Study Group" might have concluded in 2002-03 before we rushed to war.

My guess is that the first American tanks will be across [the Tigris] within one week of war--but what lies beyond? assured, civil war will follow any American invasion of Iraq.
-Robert Fisk, November 10, 2002
The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? The risks of an invasion setting off reactions from a hideous civil war in Iraq to toppling regimes all over the Middle East is very real.
-Molly Ivins, November 19, 2002
I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, "Horrible three-way civil war?"
-Molly Ivins, January 16, 2003
While the Iraqi people may initially respond to the deposing of Saddam Hussein and his clique with euphoria, many [U.S.] officers do not expect a quick or easy transition to anything resembling stability or democracy; indeed, some who have made a close study of the region anticipate "spheres of simultaneous civil conflict all over Iraq," as one put it, that will tax resources as well as US public opinion... According to former OSCE Bosnia chief Barry, while the right sees post-Saddam Iraq under US military governorship as akin to post-World War II Japan or Germany, it's more likely to resemble the former Yugoslavia...
-Jason Vest, February 13, 2003
Another document indicates that the UN is anticipating what it calls a "medium impact" scenario: "The military campaign encounters significant resistance, but ends after a more protracted period of two to three months. As a result of a large-scale ground offensive supported by aerial bombardments, there would be considerable destruction of critical infrastructure and sizable internal and external population movements." The report says there is a "major risk" of civil unrest in areas around Iraq that is "likely to result in high levels of casualties."
-Jason Scahill, February 13, 2003
Throwing Saddam Hussein and his Baath party out of power leads to a danger many of Iraq's neighbors have long warned about; a civil war. Iraq has always been an unstable country... Iraq's cast of potentially warring factions is a long one, and they are all waiting to present their grievances and demands to the occupation government and, following that, the next Iraqi government. No one has a solution for this coming conflict, but it's useful to know who is going to be fighting who, and why.
-James F. Dunnigan, April 4, 2003

(OK, so the last one is after the initial invasion, but still very early.) The price of Bush's arrogance and incompetence so far: 3,000 Americans killed; 45,000 American wounded; 50,000 Iraqis killed; 100,000+ Iraqis wounded...


Anonymous said...

Yes, if a study had been honestly done and listened to before the war we would probably not have invaded in the first place. The lame issue of WMDs was the only compelling reason to go and I didn't even find THAT compelling. I argued that even if Sadam had WMDs, he was only likely to use them on countries that were without them themselves (i.e. NOT Israel) and/or beyond our protection (i.e. NOT Saudi Arabia et al). In short, we have nukes with better delivery systems and bigger warheads so we can deter any tin pot dictator with a few chemical rounds. The threat was to Iran and his own people. And Iran was working on their own WMD program in response to the percieved Iraqi (and Pakistani) threat. Of course, our invasion accelerated the Iranian program.

I can't believe people who voted for this guy in 2004 can actually sleep at night. They should be ashamed!

Not quibble but I've talked to some medical researchers that work on mass public health data and they say the Lancet numbers are more realistic. So the death toll for Iraqis is more like half a million.


// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

In State of Denial (yes I am slow to finish it), Woodward reports that a 1 star General whose name I forget, was put in charge of finding the WMD. The general was highly respected and skilled at intelligence. He was presented at list of over 900 sites where there supposed to be WMDs by the DIA. Woodward describes a meeting he held with the DIA "Smart guys" before the war. He asked them if the list was prioritized in any way. They told him it was. When he asked about the standard of prioritization, he was met with blank stares. The meeting went on for an hour with him trying to get more information, but no one had any. So this guy and his men were shipped to Kuwait ahead of the war and were trying to figure out how to check the sites. They had no idea why these sites were in the list. They had no idea what "WMD" meant, if it was chemical or otherwise. Thus, the wild web lore about US military troops putting chickens on top of their vehicles to "test" the air.

As the troops moved up toward Baghdad, the WMD guys moved up the rear, checking the sites. They found nothing. Then, new information would pop up when various Iraq officials were captured. These officials would claim knowledge of WMD sites. So our 1 star general would have to decide if he should go off plan and check the declared site, or stick with the plan of going site by site according the mystery list. He finally decided that HUMIT was probably better than the list. So they started going off the list but found nothing.

Finally, the Administration brought in David Kay. He looked at the famous list and realized that many of the sites were over 10 years old, sites that were suspected before the 1st Gulf War. In one now famous case, Dick Cheney sent specific coordinates of a WMD site that turned out to be in Lebanon once compared to the map. In another, Dick Cheney sent him a site that supposedly came from a Iraqi source. David Kay looked a the source and refused to even check it out because he know the source well from his past experiences. They guy was known to give false information. The impression you are left with is that Dick Cheney was trying to play "Get Smart" in a desperate attempt to find WMD.

Bottom line, it was pretty clear to anyone who was paying attention that there were no WMD. Again, go back to decision making models. In Iraq, all information came through the top. So individuals in organizations only had fractured information at best, never a whole picture. So while Iraqi scientists have reported that they new many of reports they were allowed to see were falsified, they couldn’t be sure. So they had to proceed as if they were true. Take the chemical rods that were found in Iraq. The report was that these rods were so narrow, they could only be used for high grade type work which wasn’t possible considering the state of Iraqi resources. The scientists said that they didn’t want the rods. But they had to order them because the maker of these was associated with Saddam’s son. Rather than declining them and risk their lives, the ordered them despite the fact that they were useless. It was as simple of as that.

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Yep. Lame. And even if there were WMDs, which as US West points out few people really expected to find, it wouldn't have mattered. Even a nuclear armed state is no threat to us. They may more immune to our threat to them but that's a different point than the one being made by the Bush-Cheny axis.


// posted by RBR