Thursday, August 6, 2009

2002 CIA White Paper On Iraq Vs The 2002-2003 U.N. Inspectors

In early September 2002 the Bush White House announced that it wanted Congress to authorize the use of force against Iraq by the next month. Members of Congress demanded that a public paper be released by the administration so that lawmakers could use it in their arguments, especially after meetings with high officials provided little new in details about Iraq’s weapons programs. This led the CIA to release an Iraq White Paper in October 2002.

The document claimed that many of Iraq’s facilities had been rebuilt, and efforts to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons were all underway. On chemical weapons the White Paper said that Iraq could produce these agents using its chemical industry, and said that it could convert some of its commercial facilities to produce biological weapons as well. In fact it said many of these plants had expanded and that Iraq’s program was larger than what it was before the Gulf War. Similar comments were made about Iraq’s nuclear program. In the text it named the Fallujah II Chlorine Plant, the al-Dawrah Vaccine Facility, the Amiriyah Serum and Vaccine Institute, and the Fallujah III Castor Oil Plant as examples of Baghdad’s attempt to rebuild and expand its WMD program under the guise of dual-use facilities.

In October 2002 the United Nations passed Resolution 1441, which renewed weapons inspections for Iraq. Hans Blix’s U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and Mohammed El Baradei’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would do the work. They both arrived in Iraq in November. By the end of December the inspectors had gone on 202 visits, and admitted that they had gone through their entire list of suspected sites, and found no evidence of renewed weapons programs. They were going on repeat visits, and requested the United States provide actionable intelligence to track down other potential leads. By January they had doubled the number of inspections, but still turned up nothing.

The problem was that most of the American reports on Iraq were based upon speculation and a strong bias against Iraq due to Saddam’s repeated hindering of the 1990s inspection regime. It had become an article of faith within the U.S. intelligence community that when the original inspectors left in 1998, Iraq had restarted its weapons programs. All the U.S. had to go on however was satellite intelligence, and Iraqi defectors, most of whom were making up stories either for money or to push the White House into war. The inspectors were actually going into these facilities that the U.S. had photos of, and found no incriminating evidence inside them. UNMOVIC went to the Amiriyah Institute found nothing. Fallujah II and III weren’t even in commercial use anymore. When they went to the al-Dawrah Facility it was abandoned and full of trash.

The Bush White House never believed in the inspections in the first place, and were only hoping to use them to build international support, and as a pretext to go to war. In March 2002 Tony Blair’s office suggested just that when political advisor David Manning met with National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice in Washington. The administration did nothing but attack Iraq and the inspections during the whole process, and never ended up sharing intelligence as they had promised. In doing so, they ignored the fact that UNMOVIC had disproved much of the argument made in the October 2002 CIA White Paper that Baghdad had restarted its WMD and nuclear programs, and that they were larger than before, since all of the major plants listed were either abandoned or not working on any military related activities. A nuclear weapons program for example, required huge amounts of equipment and electricity to all be assembled together that would be easily detectable. These would be too large and unwieldy to be moved around covertly by Iraqi agents as the White House claimed at the time. Yet after inspectors went to the al-Tuwaitha complex twelve times, which the U.S. said was one of Iraq’s main nuclear sites and turned up zero evidence, the administration claimed this was proof that the inspections would never work. The American government’s perception was that Iraq had these programs, so UNMOVIC not finding them was just further proof that Saddam was hiding them. The result was that the U.S. ended up going to war in March 2003 only to find out afterwards that UNMOVIC and the IAEA were right.

Excerpt From David Manning Memo to Prime Minister Tony Blair After Trip To Washington, 3/14/02 – Known As One Of The Downing Street Memos

“- the Un dimension. The issue of the weapons inspectors must be handled in a way that would persuade European and wider opinion that the US was conscious of the international framework, and the insistence of many countries on the need for a legal base. Renwed refused by Saddam to accept unfetted inspections would be a powerful argument;”

UNMOVIC Inspections of Sites Named In White Paper

Fallujah II: Visited on 12/9/02, 12/17/02, 1/8/03, 1/19/03, 3/2/03 and had an aerial inspection on 1/31/03. Was found not to be in use

Al-Dawrah: 11/29/02. Was found not in use and abandoned

Amiriyah: 12/15/02 and 1/19/03. Nothing found

Fallujah III: 12/8/02, 12/19/02, 1/6/03, 2/16/03 and had an aerial inspection on 1/31/03. Had tagged dual use equipment, but plant had stopped being used by Iraqis in July 2001

SOURCES

Allen, Mike, “War Cabinet Argues for Iraq Attack: Bush Advisers Cite U.S. Danger,” Washington Post, 9/9/02

Collier, Robert, “Repeated inspections but no hard evidence; To Iraqis, site visits are a pointless charade,” San Francisco Chronicle, 12/30/02

MacLeod, Scott, “Live From Baghdad: What the Iraqis Told Blix,” Time, 11/21/02

Manning, David, “Your Trip To The US,” 3/14/02

McGeary, Johanna “6 Reasons why So Many Allies Want Bush To Slow Down,” Time, 2/3/03
- “Dissecting The Case,” Time, 2/10/03

Prados, John, Hoodwinked, The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War, 2004

Rangwala, Glen, “Claims and evaluations of Iraq’s proscribed weapons,” University of Cambridge, 2004

Risen, James and Johnston, David, “Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. on Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda,” New York Times, 2/2/03

Tumulty, Karen, “Making His Case,” Time, 9/16/02

21 comments:

bb said...

Motown.

You are missing the most important part of this story - ie clauses 3 and 4 of UN Resolution 1441 which was passed on 8 November 22:

3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ SHALL PROVIDE to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, NOT LATER THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS RESOLUTION, A CURRENTLY ACCURATE, FULL, AND COMPLETE DECLARATION OF ALL ASPECTS OF ITS PROGRAMMES to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;

4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below;"

At the deadline, Iraq presented a 12,000 page document, but Hans Blix had to report to the UN that the document did not comply with the two Clauses.

Mo, it was not as if Hans Blix had not tried to get Iraq to make a full disclosure. His efforts had been tireless. He had even brought to Iraq a delegation from South Africa to explain to the Iraq government the mechanics of making a full disclosure of weapons programs which the SA government had done a decade before.

Blix got nowhere. The 12,000 pages were full of the same old obfuscations.

This was a Chapter V11 resolution and the government of Iraq did not comply. If it had, there would have been no invasion.

You might recall, Motown, also that the Government of Libya made a full disclosure of its weapons programs a year or so later.

Full disclosure is not rocket science! The war followed because Blix was not able to report to the UN that Iraq had complied with those clauses on December 7.

Those who are revising history always conveniently ignore the this trigger point!

Joel Wing said...

Yes, I'm aware that the declaration was useless.

Bush and Blair had already decided on war BEFORE the inspections began though. The inspectors were there to try to provide an excuse for war. That was explicitly talked about in the Downing Street memos and a meeting between Bush and Blair in March 03.

Also as I wrote, when the U.N. found nothing, the U.S. didn't believe them because their views were shaped by the 1990s inspections when Iraq was doing everything to undermine them. No WMD in 2002-03 just meant that Baghdad was hiding them according to Washington. Bush, et. al. were no weapons experts so finding no WMD facilities didn't register with them anyway. Saddam had screwed himself by his past actions.

Also, by the 2000s there was nothing Iraq could do to prove it was complying with inspections anyway. After the Gulf War they'd destroyed all their stockpiles but done it secretly because they didn't want the U.N. to find out what they had. The goal was to get the inspectors out so that the programs could be restarted. By 2002 then Iraq was trying to prove that they had destroyed weapons they had no paper work for, an impossibility.

Hussein Kamal, the head of Iraq's WMD programs had told the U.N. about this in 1985 when he defected to Jordan. The U.S. and U.N. believed everything he said, except for the fact that he claimed all the weapons and nuclear program were shut down and destroyed after 1991.

bb said...

Apologies, didn't notice it was another poster until now.

Joel, if you read the text of UN Resolution 1441 you will see it never ONCE refers to the existence or non-existence of wmds in Iraq.
It is entirely about Iraq's failure to comply with 13 previous UN SC Chapter VII resolutions ordering Iraq to DISCLOSE the disarmament of its weapons programs to the UN.

The difference with the preceding 13 SC resolutions is that it sets a deadline for Iraq to comply and makes clear this is Iraq's last chance.

I refer you to Clauses 1 and 2

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Decides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991);

2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, A FINAL OPPORTUNITY to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council;"

Clauses 3 and 4 {quoted in my previous comment)follows these two. There are are other clauses that are also worth reading, that is, if you want to be fully informed.

You say :"Also, by the 2000s there was nothing Iraq could do to prove it was complying with inspections anyway."

Doesn't compute. If this had been the case Hans Blix would have said so. The Libyan disclosure did not depend on documents, neither did the South African disclosure.

The fact is, the Iraq govt would not budge. It chose not to comply. Saddam stated afterwards that he made a deliberate decision not to comply with the deadline. The "final opportunity". Desn't get much clearer than that.

From that time on until the invasion Blix was never able to report that Iraq had complied, even after taking the South Africans there.

Regarding the Bush/Blair decision to go to war:

the memo you cite was Jan 31 2003, and the meeting in March 2003. But, Joel, the UN inspectors led by Blix and El Baradi were finally let into Iraq on November 27, 2002. That is, 2 months BEFORE the memo and 4 months BEFORE the meeting you cite.

So how can it be said that Bush and Blair had made the decision to go to war BEFORE the inspections began?.

Can you provide evidence that Bush/Blair had made this decision PRIOR TO Iraq's admission of the UN inspectors on Nov 27, 2002, and was made specifically and in collusion regardless of whether Iraq complied with the UN Chapter V11 deadline or not?

Otherwise the facts stand that Bush/Blair made the decision AFTER the inspectors had reported to the UN on Dec 17 2002 that Iraq had failed to meet the UN deadline as set out in 1441

Joel Wing said...

1) The U.S. claimed that Iraq had a large stockpile of unaccounted for WMD leftover from before the Gulf War. The numbers changed depending upon the speech which showed problems with the administration's arguments but it basically was VX, sarin, cyclosarin, mustard gas, 100-500 tons of agents and a dozen or so SCUD missiles.

The stocks of WMD were destroyed after the Gulf War but secretly. Hussein Kamal told the U.S. and U.N. about this in 1985. Iraq told the UNMOVIC over and over about this in 2002-2003, took them to sites where they said they'd destroyed the stocks, gave soil samples that proved that indeed some WMD had been dumped there, but again, no paper work to say how much was destroyed. There was therefore no possible way for Iraq to prove that they had destroyed their stocks, and the U.S. would never believe them anyway.

Almost every speech Bush, et al. gave about Iraq's WMD mentioned this unaccounted for stock of WMD, so it was a major issue for the White House.

Here's the UN interview with Kamal:
UNSCOM/IAEA, “Note For The File,” 8/22/95 where he said everything was destroyed after 1991

Kamal: "All chemical weapons were destroyed. I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed."

Here's a report that quotes the CIA and British intelligence saying that Kamal never told them that Iraq had destroyed its WMD after the Gulf War:
Reuters, “U.S. Britain Deny Newsweek Defector Report,” 2/24/03

Here's a story that said the U.N. didn't want to disclose Kamal's testimony because they wanted to get more out of Iraq and also because Kamal didn't have any documentation to prove that Iraq had destroyed its programs:
Barry, John, “Defector’s Secrets,” Newsweek, 3/3/03

Here's an early report by inspectors saying Iraq hadn't given enough paperwork to prove that it hadn't produced more WMD than stated and destroyed stocks they claimed, which was the unaccounted for amounts the U.S. always talked about:
International Atomic Energy Agency, “News Update on Iraq Inspections,” 12/19/02

Another report by inspectors to U.N. saying that it may not be possible to prove that Iraq destroyed its unaccounted for stocks:
Blix, Hans, “Briefing Of The Security Council,” UNMOVIC, 2/14/03

2) The U.S. had so much wrong about Iraq's WMD and nuclear program that there was also nothing Iraq could do to prove that it had come clean. Ex: mobile labs, aluminum tubes, UAVs, mangets, etc. Even when the U.N. said that they had checked on these stories and found them to be false, the U.S. said they didn't believe them.

3) Again, didn't matter what the U.N. found because if they did find WMD, U.S. was going to war because Iraq had them, if U.N. didn't find anything it proved that Iraq was hiding WMD and U.S.w as going to war.

In fact Ari Flesicher said almost that exact thing when the inspectors started in Dec. 02:
Milbank, Dana, “U.S. Voices Doubts on Iraq Search,” Washington Post, 12/3/02

Here's an article that argues by 2000s it was impossible for U.N. to prove that Iraq didn't have WMD to the U.S.'s satisfaction:
Olson, William, “Mistakes Were Made: How Not to Conduct Post-Conflict Management And Counterinsurgency,” Small Wars Journal, 7/16/09

3) As for the decision to go to war, I believe there was a meeting either before the inspectors in Nov. 02 or right when they started that Blair and Bush agreed that they were going to war. Unfortunately I've lost all my early Iraq notes so can't point you to any specific article or book on this right now. I'm only just now going back through all my hard copies of articles and re-doing my notes while I'm on summer vacation.

The Downing Street memo I quoted however, was from March 02.

Joel Wing said...

I believe this is the last UNMOVIC report by Blix before the invasion from 3/7/03

http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/SC7asdelivered.htm

"In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM in the period 1991 to 1998. ..Initial difficulties raised by the Iraqi side about helicopters and aerial surveillance planes operating in the no-fly zones were overcome. This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance."

Blix made this point early on in the inspectors that Iraq was allowing largely unfettered access to its sites but needed better substantive cooperation, meaning providing hard information and documents as well.

"Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons programmes. Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began inspections...When proscribed items are deemed unaccounted for it is above all credible accounts that is needed – or the proscribed items, if they exist. "

Since the inspectors had gone to all the sites listed by the U.S. and England and found no active weapons program the only real issue left was what happened to Iraq's unaccounted for stocks. The U.N. consistently asked for documents proving how much Iraq had produced before the Gulf War and proof of how much had been destroyed afterward. Iraq had done this in secret so had no documents to turn over.

"In the last month, Iraq has provided us with the names of many persons, who may be relevant sources of information, in particular, persons who took part in various phases of the unilateral destruction of biological and chemical weapons, and proscribed missiles in 1991."

Iraq was also cooperating with interviews with its staff and these included ones without minders in the room.

"As I noted on 14 February, intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks and, in particular, that there are mobile production units for biological weapons...Several inspections have taken place at declared and undeclared sites in relation to mobile production facilities... No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found."

Inspectors trying to find mobile labs, but no results. Again, since the U.S. insisted that these existed, there was no way to convince them that they didn't.

"There have been reports, denied from the Iraqi side, that proscribed activities are conducted underground. Iraq should provide information on any underground structure suitable for the production or storage of WMD. During inspections of declared or undeclared facilities, inspection teams have examined building structures for any possible underground facilities. In addition, ground penetrating radar equipment was used in several specific locations. No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far."

Checking claims of secret underground facilities turned up nothing. Again, these stories were spread by INC defectors who were making them up, but widely believed in the U.S. with no way to convince them otherwise.

Joel Wing said...

"As of today, there is more. While during our meetings in Baghdad, the Iraqi side tried to persuade us that the Al Samoud 2 missiles they have declared fall within the permissible range set by the Security Council, the calculations of an international panel of experts led us to the opposite conclusion. Iraq has since accepted that these missiles and associated items be destroyed and has started the process of destruction under our supervision. The destruction undertaken constitutes a substantial measure of disarmament – indeed, the first since the middle of the 1990s."

Iraq tried to keep these proscribed missiles but ended up destroying them under U.N. auspices, which Blix thought was progress.

"There is a significant Iraqi effort underway to clarify a major source of uncertainty as to the quantities of biological and chemical weapons, which were unilaterally destroyed in 1991. A part of this effort concerns a disposal site, which was deemed too dangerous for full investigation in the past. It is now being re-excavated...In this, as in other matters, inspection work is moving on and may yield results."

Here's Iraq trying to prove that it secretly destroyed its WMD stocks
after 91 by taking inspectors to the sites. With no paperwork however it was impossible to prove how much was destroyed.

"What are we to make of these activities? One can hardly avoid the impression that, after a period of somewhat reluctant cooperation, there has been an acceleration of initiatives from the Iraqi side since the end of January."

Cooperation by Iraq started off slow but things were changing by 2003.

"Against this background, the question is now asked whether Iraq has cooperated “immediately, unconditionally and actively” with UNMOVIC, as required under paragraph 9 of resolution 1441 (2002). ...The Iraqi side has tried on occasion to attach conditions, as it did regarding helicopters and U-2 planes. Iraq has not, however, so far persisted in these or other conditions for the exercise of any of our inspection rights... It is obvious that, while the numerous initiatives, which are now taken by the Iraqi side with a view to resolving some long-standing open disarmament issues, can be seen as “active”, or even “proactive”, these initiatives 3-4 months into the new resolution cannot be said to constitute “immediate” cooperation. Nor do they necessarily cover all areas of relevance. They are nevertheless welcome and UNMOVIC is responding to them in the hope of solving presently unresolved disarmament issues."

This wasn't considered immediate cooperation as the U.N. resolution called for but the process was continuing.

Also when the inspections were about to start Blix and others said that it would take about a year to complete their work. That's something the U.S. never accepted.

Joel Wing said...

No the Blair-Bush meeting I was looking for but just read this, an Oct. 03 interview with Richard Haas who was in the State Dept. in the lead-up to the war.

"So to me, as early as July 2002, the debate within the government shifted away from whether it is smart to bring this to a head now, which would mean potentially going to war. The question became, "OK, if we are heading in this direction, how do we do it intelligently, how do we do it wisely? How do we prepare for the run-up to war so that diplomatically we will have maximum support if indeed we go to war? How do we prepare for the aftermath, so if indeed we have fought a war, we can carry out the postwar activities as smoothly, as efficiently as possible?"

One part of preparing the public and international scene for the war was to get the inspections re-started because the U.S. and U.K. expected Iraq to prevaricate as usual and that would give an excuse to invade.

Also on the U.S.'s inability to believe that Iraq did not have WMD, this letter sent by the two leaders of the House Intelligence Committee to CIA Chief Tenet in Sep. 03 after an investigation into the Oct. 03 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq:
“The absence of proof that chemical and biological weapons and
their related development programs had been destroyed was considered proof that they had continued to exist.” From chair Repbulican. Rep. Peter Goss and senior Democratic member rep. Jane Harman

bb said...

Have been away, so sorry to have taken so long to read your replies, but thank you for them.

As you point out yourself, even in his last report to the UN Blix was unable report that Iraq had complied with Resolution 1441. And this report was 3 MONTHS AFTER the deadline that the resolution that the UN made clear was the "final opportunity". And after after 13 previous UNSC resolutions!

In between the deadline and this report Blix had taken a South African delegation to help Iraq to comply - but got nowhere.

To say that when the inspections were about to start Blix and others said that it would take about a year to complete their work, is completely beside the point? If Saddam had complied, it wouldn't have taken a year.

That's why Blix got the South Africans to go there. Compliance is not rocket science and does not depend on documentation. Ask Ghaddafi.

Blix did his best, but Saddam would not comply and in fact admitted he didn't and gave his reasons why not, after his capture.
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB279/index.htm


Re- the Bush/Blair meeting as reported by Richard Haas.

You quote Haas as describing the discussion as "IF we are heading in this direction, how do we do it intelligently, how do we do it wisely? How do we prepare for the run-up to war so that diplomatically we will have maximum support IF INDEED we go to war? How do we prepare for the aftermath, so IF INDEED we have fought a war, we can carry out the postwar activities as smoothly, as efficiently as possible?"

Riddle me this, Joel: if Bush and Blair have already decided to go to war regardless of any UN resolutions or Iraq's compliance, why are they using the word "IF"? And "IF INDEED"?

You go onto say - I presume you are not quoting Haas but are inserting your own opinion? - "One part of preparing the public and international scene for the war was to get the inspections re-started because the U.S. and U.K. expected Iraq to prevaricate as usual and that would give an excuse to invade".

Everything Haas reports from that meeting, at least from what you have quoted, is Bush and Blair discussing how best to prepare IF and IF INDEED.

Where does Haas quote Bush and Blair saying "Iraq will prevaricate as usual and that will give us the chance to invade"?
This appears to be your opinion backed up, so far, by no evidence at all?

Without contrary evidence the facts we have are indisputable that Bush and Blair did not make the final decision to go to war until after Iraq had not complied with the final UN deadline set in 1441. And that Saddam made the conscious and deliberate decision not to comply.

Joel Wing said...

I think you're getting a little mixed up. The Haas quote was not about the Bush-Blair meeting. It comes from a conversation in July 02 he had with Rice.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/195667

Haas, Richard, "The Dilemma of Dissent," Newsweek, 5/2/09

"In early July 2002 I went to see Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor, in her West Wing office. I was meeting Condi in my capacity as director of policy planning, the State Department's internal think tank....And I asked her directly, "Are you really sure you want to make Iraq the centerpiece of the administration's foreign policy?"

I was about to follow up with other questions when Condi cut me off. "You can save your breath, Richard. The president has already made up his mind on Iraq." The way she said it made clear he had decided to go to war."

From my original post:

Excerpt From David Manning Memo to Prime Minister Tony Blair After Trip To Washington, 3/14/02 – Known As One Of The Downing Street Memos

“- the Un dimension. The issue of the weapons inspectors must be handled in a way that would persuade European and wider opinion that the US was conscious of the international framework, and the insistence of many countries on the need for a legal base. Renwed refused by Saddam to accept unfetted inspections would be a powerful argument;”

From another Downing Street memo, this one from July 02 as well:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june05/memo_6-16.html

"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

So there's an account from Haas talking to Rice and from British officials talking with the White House both from July 02 that U.S. has decided to go to war. Another British memo saying that the U.N. inspections, which they expected Saddam to refuse again, would be a way to garner public/international support for the war as well from March 2002.

bb said...

Joel. Yes I did get mixed up! You didn't say it was a conversation with Condi Rice.

Okay, Haas says to Rice:

"Are you really sure you want to make Iraq the centerpiece of the administration's foreign policy?"

Where does he say he was asking "are you really sure US should invade Iraq" or "has the decision been made to invade Iraq?"

Then he says she said - in answer to his question - "The president has already made up his mind on Iraq"

That is: on the question of making Iraq the centerpiece of the Administrations foreign policy "the president has already made up his mind" - not on any decision already made to go to war. That's going by the account Haas himself is giving.

But Haas then writes "the way she said it" left him in no doubt the decision had been made to go to war! So, what did she do?? Mime a cruise missile going kaboom? Haas doesn't say, unfortunately, which means he hasn't given you any evidence whatever that they, or even he, were talking about the decision to go to war, only about Iraq being a centerpiece of the Admin's foreign policy.

Re the Manning of 3/14/02. Don't you read your own links?

Manning specifically WRITES IN THE MEMO

"No doubt we need to keep a sense of perspective. But my talks with Condi convinced me that Bush wants to hear you [sic] views on Iraq BEORE TAKING DECISIONS"

Far from even suggesting that the decision had already been made, the memo states clearly that it hasn't been.

Re the Memo quoted by pbs. All that says is that military action was "seen as inevitable", not that the decision has been made. Two separate issues. But most importantly it doesn't say who said it, so its validity can't even be judged. It is no evidence at all unless the writer has heard it direct from Bush, Rice, Cheney, Powell or Rumsfeld. Otherwise it could be just someone's opinion.

From what you've been posting here, the fact reamins that the only evidence we have about the decision to go to war is that it was not made until after Iraq failed to comply with 1441 in December 02 and thereafter, thereby missing its "final opportunity".

Joel Wing said...

Woodward, Bob, State of Denial, 2006

"In the fall of 2002, Tenet and Bush had a 30-second conversation in which Bush made it clear that war with Iraq was necessary and inevitable. Tenet was extremely surprised, but the president's short remarks were made with such conviction that Tenet suddenly realized they were on a march to war."

Eisenberg, Daniel, ""We're Taking Him Out,"" Time, 5/5/02

"Two months ago, a group of Republican and Democratic Senators went to the White House to meet with Condoleezza Rice, the President's National Security Adviser. Bush was not scheduled to attend but poked his head in anyway — and soon turned the discussion to Iraq. The President has strong feelings about Saddam Hussein (you might too if the man had tried to assassinate your father, which Saddam attempted to do when former President George Bush visited Kuwait in 1993) and did not try to hide them. He showed little interest in debating what to do about Saddam. Instead, he became notably animated, according to one person in the room, used a vulgar epithet to refer to Saddam and concluded with four words that left no one in doubt about Bush's intentions: "We're taking him out." "

Joel Wing said...

Eisenberg, Daniel, ""We're Taking Him Out,"" Time, 5/5/02

"Dick Cheney carried the same message to Capitol Hill in late March. The Vice President dropped by a Senate Republican policy lunch soon after his 10-day tour of the Middle East — the one meant to drum up support for a U.S. military strike against Iraq. As everyone in the room well knew, his mission had been thrown off course by the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. But Cheney hadn't lost focus. Before he spoke, he said no one should repeat what he said, and Senators and staff members promptly put down their pens and pencils. Then he gave them some surprising news. The question was no longer if the U.S. would attack Iraq, he said. The only question was when."

Ricks, Thomas, Fiasco

"Two days later, on the first anniversary of 9/11, more than three dozen senators were invited to the Pentagon for a briefing by Rumsfeld on weapons of mass destruction. One of those attending Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, was surprised to find Vice President Cheney and CIA Director Tenet also waiting there. "It was pretty clear Rumsfeld and Cheney are ready to go to war," Cleland wrote later that day in a note to himself. "They have already made the decision to go to war and to them that is the only option."

3/18/02 Downing Street Memo on meeting between British Amb. to U.S. and Wolfowitz on using U.N. inspections as way to justify war.

"But if it wanted to act with partners, there had to be a strategy for building support for military action against Saddam. I then went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UN SCRs [Security Council Resolutions] and the critical importance of the MEPP [Middle East Peace Process] as an integral part of the anti-Saddam strategy."

Wintour, Patrick, "Short: I was briefed on Blair's secret war pact," Guardian, 6/18/03

"Senior figures in the intelligence community and across Whitehall briefed the former international development secretary Clare Short that Tony Blair had made a secret agreement last summer with George Bush to invade Iraq in February or March, she claimed yesterday."

Joel Wing said...

bb wrote:

Re the Memo quoted by pbs. All that says is that military action was "seen as inevitable", not that the decision has been made. Two separate issues. But most importantly it doesn't say who said it, so its validity can't even be judged. It is no evidence at all unless the writer has heard it direct from Bush, Rice, Cheney, Powell or Rumsfeld. Otherwise it could be just someone's opinion.

- That memo was from a meeting between MI6 and CIA in Washington D.C.

From Risen, James, State of War

"The memo reflected an assessment of the prevailing attitude inside the Bush administration offered to Prime Minister Tony Blair by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, the British intelligence service. Just days before, Dearlove and other top MI6 officials had attended a CIA-MI6 summit meeting held at CIA headquarters, in which the two sides had candid talks about both counterterrorism and Iraq."

Another Downing Street memo on setting up the U.N. inspections so that they will create a justification for war from 7/21/02.

"13. In practice, facing pressure of military action, Saddam is likely to admit weapons inspectors as a means of forestalling it. But once admitted, he would not allow them to operate freely. UNMOVIC (the successor to UNSCOM) will take at least six months after entering Iraq to establish the monitoring and verification system under Resolution 1284 necessary to assess whether Iraq is meeting its obligations. Hence, even if UN inspectors gained access today, by January 2003 they would at best only just be completing setting up. It is possible that they will encounter Iraqi obstruction during this period, but this more likely when they are fully operational.

14. It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003. "

Joel Wing said...

"Path To War" Vanity Fair, May 2004

Phone conversation occurred in July 2002

"Several days after Manning's return to London, Bush and Blair spoke by telephone. It was a short call, about 15 minutes. According to a White House official who has studied the transcript of the phone call, "The way it read was that, come what may, Saddam was going to go; they said they were going forward, they were going to take out the regime, and they were doing the right thing. Blair did not need any convincing. There was no 'Come on, Tony, we've got to get you on board.' I remember reading it and then thinking, O.K., now I know what we're going to be doing for the next year." Before the call, this official says, he had the impression that the probability of invasion was high, but still below 100 percent. Afterward, he says, "it was a done deal."

Joel Wing said...

Another example of what the U.N. inspectors found was not relevant. The U.S. believed Iraq had WMD no matter what.

Murphy, Cullen and Purdum, Todd, "An Oral History of the Bush White House," Vanity Fair, Feb. 09

Oct. 2002

"Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector for Iraq: The most remarkable thing was the talk that we had with the vice president before we were taken to Mr. Bush. To our surprise, we had no idea we would be taken to Mr. Cheney first, but we were, and we sat down, and I thought it was more a sort of a courtesy call before we went on to President Bush.

Much of it was a fairly neutral discussion, but at one point he suddenly said that you must realize that we will not hesitate to discredit you in favor of disarmament. It was a little cryptic. That was how I remembered it, and I think that’s also how Mohamed [El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who was present], remembered it. I was a little perplexed, because it was a total threat, after all, to talk about the discrediting of us. Later, when I reflected on it, I think what he wanted to say was that if you guys don’t come to the right conclusion, then we will take care of the disarmament."

Joel Wing said...

3 additional points.

1) In Blix's last statement to the Security Council what did he say was the source of non-cooperation by the Iraqis?

2) Why did the White House attack the inspectors before during and after?

3) Comparing Iraq with South Africa and Libya are like apples and oranges because the situations were completely different. South Africa had a new government that had no interest in maintaining a nuclear program so god rid of them voluntarily. Qaddaffi in Libya had been trying to open up to the West since the Clinton administration so again wanted to get rid of its WMD and nuclear programs as a way to improve this relationship.

Iraq on the other hand did not see the U.N. as neutral, inspections were coming at a time when the White House was threatening war, and Saddam's main concern was the Iran. The U.N. inspectors had been used by the U.S. for a coup attempt in the 1990s. The CIA had also infiltrated the inspectors and set up listening devices to monitor Iraqi communications in the 1990s. The U.S. was continually threatening the U.S. of force against Iraq. Saddam also wanted to assert his country's sovereignty. Finally he felt that Iran was his greatest rival and that WMD had been decisive in defeating them during the Iran-Iraq war and even though he'd gotten rid of them in the 1990s he needed to maintain the image of having them to deter Iran while opening up them at the same time.

Joel Wing said...

Hersh, Seymour, "Stovepipe," New Yorker, 10/27/03

"By early March 2002, a former White House official told me, it was understood by many in the White House that the President had decided, in his own mind, to go to war."

bb said...

Yep - after 9/11 Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld et al plus Blair wanted regime change in Iraq. They had also wanted regime change in Iraq before 9/11. The Clinton Admin had wanted regime change in Iraq. So had Congress.

The difference being that, in the period you are linking to, the US Admin and Blair were of a mind to go to war if that was the only way to achieve the goal.

This was not a big state secret at the time, Joel. Nor was it a big state secret that they did not expect Saddam to drop his defiance of 13 Chapter V11 UNSC resolutions. Why would they? If Saddam had complied with any or all of those resolutions, then Iraq wouldn't have been such an issue or potential threat.

The point is, the final decision to go to war could only be taken by Bush and Blair and there is no evidence advanced yet to say either one of them made that decision prior to December 07/02? - ie BEFORE the UN deadline expired. Quite the reverse. The evidence is that they made the decision around Jan 31, 2003.

You should read those FBI interviews with Saddam. He gets it, even if you don't. He says he was aware that his non-compliance with the UN resolutions would give the US its opportunity to attack him, but he pursued non compliance anyway because of his fear of Iran.
He doesn't moan and groan that he couldn't prove the disarmament because of lack of documentation.

You keep quoting Hans Blix, but I am still waiting for the link when he reports to the UNSC that Iraq has complied with 1441? Nothing else is relevant to the final decision to go to war with Iraq, I'm afraid. That was Iraq's final opportunity.

Joel Wing said...

bb wrote"
THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ SHALL PROVIDE to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, NOT LATER THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS RESOLUTION, A CURRENTLY ACCURATE, FULL, AND COMPLETE DECLARATION OF ALL ASPECTS OF ITS PROGRAMMES
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Iraq provided a declaration that Blix and others said wasn't full because it mostly repeated previous declarations from the 1990s. It basically said that Iraq had ended all of its programs in the 1990s after the Gulf War.

What do we know after the invasion? There was nothing new in the declaration but it was actually right, Iraq had ended its programs in the 1990s.

What did the U.S. say was missing from the declaration? From a 12/19/02 State Dept. memo in response to the declaration.
1) Unaccounted for stocks of WMD
2) Balistic missiles
3) Trying to buy uranium from Niger
4) UAVs
5) Mobile labs
The unaccounted for stocks were destroyed but without documentation. The missiles were found by the U.N. and destroyed. The Niger, UAVs and mobile labs were false stories. Hell, after the U.S. invaded and was searching Iraq and finding nothing the administration still was claiming there was WMD hidden in Iraq and that the mobile labs, aluminum tubes, etc. were all still valid.

If Blix said that the declaration actually had all the information, would the U.S. believe it since it had so much false information about Iraq's programs? I think not.

bb said:
You say :"Also, by the 2000s there was nothing Iraq could do to prove it was complying with inspections anyway."

Doesn't compute. If this had been the case Hans Blix would have said so.
----------------
In all the declarations Blix made to the U.N. he said they'd gone to all the sites and found no active programs. The only real thing were missiles, which were destroyed beginning in Feb. 03 and the unaccounted for stocks, which Iraq was trying to prove they'd destroyed but Blix kept on saying they need documents to support, which didn't exist. He always said the Iraqis were cooperating but needed to cooperate more. As stated before, the U.S. was not going to believe Iraq no matter what. The absent of WMD was taken as proof of hidden WMD. And in fact, attacked the inspectors so much they didn't appear to believe the U.N. either.

bb said:

To say that when the inspections were about to start Blix and others said that it would take about a year to complete their work, is completely beside the point? If Saddam had complied, it wouldn't have taken a year.
---------------
Then why did Blix continually say during the inspections that they needed more time? Why in a Feb. 09 interview with Vanity Fair did he say the inspections needed more time? Blix always said the inspections were a process, not simply turning over the declaration. In fact, in that VF interview he said with a few more months he felt that the U.N. could've proven that Iraq didn't have WMD.

bb said:
Riddle me this, Joel: if Bush and Blair have already decided to go to war regardless of any UN resolutions or Iraq's compliance, why are they using the word "IF"? And "IF INDEED"?
------------
Because that quote was Haas going to Rice to ask her HIS questions about Iraq. He wasn't talking about Blair and Bush.

Where does Haas quote Bush and Blair saying "Iraq will prevaricate as usual and that will give us the chance to invade"?
This appears to be your opinion backed up, so far, by no evidence at all?
------------
One of the Downing Street memos from July 02 that I quoted said that by Jan. 03 they expected Saddam to be stalling as usual and that would allow the U.S. and England to build up public support and a legal base for war.

The British and Powell were the only two pushing for going to the U.N. and having inspections. Each time the inspections are mentioned in the Downing Street memos it's so that the U.S/U.K. can build domestic/international support for going to war.

Joel Wing said...

bb said:
But Haas then writes "the way she said it" left him in no doubt the decision had been made to go to war! So, what did she do?? Mime a cruise missile going kaboom? Haas doesn't say, unfortunately, which means he hasn't given you any evidence whatever that they, or even he, were talking about the decision to go to war, only about Iraq being a centerpiece of the Admin's foreign policy.
----------
Haas goes on to say and has said it many times that he felt this short conversation with Rice meant Bush had decided to go to war. I guess you have better insight into the conversation and thinking then he does.

bb said:
"No doubt we need to keep a sense of perspective. But my talks with Condi convinced me that Bush wants to hear you [sic] views on Iraq BEORE TAKING DECISIONS"

Far from even suggesting that the decision had already been made, the memo states clearly that it hasn't been.
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I think the variety of different sources that I've quoted say that around the summer of 02 Bush and Blair have decided to take Saddam out by force. They haven't decided how to get there yet, allies, public support, U.N., etc.

bb said:
Re the Memo quoted by pbs. All that says is that military action was "seen as inevitable", not that the decision has been made. Two separate issues. But most importantly it doesn't say who said it, so its validity can't even be judged. It is no evidence at all unless the writer has heard it direct from Bush, Rice, Cheney, Powell or Rumsfeld. Otherwise it could be just someone's opinion.
--------------
The memo comes from another meeting between top U.S. and U.K. officials in Washington. Again, "inevitable" goes back to my previous statement. Bush and Blair have decided to remove Saddam by force, haven't decided when that's going to be, but are still trying to figure out what steps they need to go through to justify it. That ties in with the other Downing Street memos, because England says the U.N. inspections are the way to gain support for war because they're going to trip Saddam up and he's going to not comply as usual.

bb said:
You should read those FBI interviews with Saddam. He gets it, even if you don't. He says he was aware that his non-compliance with the UN resolutions would give the US its opportunity to attack him, but he pursued non compliance anyway because of his fear of Iran
---------
I just wrote in a previous post from yesterday that Saddam wasn't going to fully comply because of his fear of Iran.

bb said...

Yep, as you say, Saddam didn't comply with Res 1441. The final opportunity. Bush and Blair then made the final decision to go to war.

Mosul Campaign day 224 May 28 2017

Federal Police officer firing an RPG in west Mosul (Reuters) The second day of the new push on west Mosul brought mixed successes. ...