|While it's not a surprise to learn that the president of the United States was warned three months before he launched the invasion of Iraq that the consequences would include precisely the chaos, civil war and disintegration we are seeing now, and that he ignored those warnings absolutely, it sure does make you mad. According to a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday (via the HuffPo):
WASHINGTON — Intelligence analysts predicted, in secret papers circulated within the government before the Iraq invasion, that al-Qaida would see U.S. military action as an opportunity to increase its operations and that Iran would try to shape a post-Saddam Iraq.(Wapo version here) I guess the intelligence community was more prescient than the Bushies would have us believe, because it seems that all of these predictions have come true. But don't tell that to the Bush boot-licking Republicans:
The top analysts in government also said that establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a "long, difficult and probably turbulent process."
... The investigation reviewed assessments from a number of agencies but focused on two January 2003 papers from the National Intelligence Council: "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq" and "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq."
Those papers drew from expertise within a number spy agencies and were distributed to scores of White House, national security, diplomatic and congressional officials _ most of whom were listed in 81 pages of the Senate report.
Among other conclusions, the analysts found:
_ Establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a long, steep and probably turbulent challenge. They said that contributions could be made by 4 million Iraqi exiles and Iraq's impoverished, underemployed middle class. But they noted that opposition parties would need sustained economic, political and military support.
_ Al-Qaida would see the invasion as a chance to accelerate its attacks, and the lines between al-Qaida and other terrorist groups "could become blurred." In a weak spot in the analysis, one paper said that the risk of terror attacks would spike after the invasion and slow over the next three to five years. However, the State Department recently found that attacks last year alone rose sharply.
_ Groups in Iraq's deeply divided society would become violent, unless stopped by the occupying force. "Score settling would occur throughout Iraq between those associated with Saddam's regime and those who have suffered most under it," one report stated.
_ Iraq's neighbors would jockey for influence and Iranian leaders would try to shape the post-Saddam era to demonstrate Tehran's importance in the region. The less Tehran felt threatened by U.S. actions, the analysts said, "the better the chance that they could cooperate in the postwar period."
_ Postwar Iraq would face significant economic challenges, having few resources beyond oil. Analysts predicted that Iraq's large petroleum resources would make economic reconstruction easier, but they didn't anticipate that continued fighting and sabotage would drag down oil production.
_ Military action to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction would not cause other governments in the region to give up such programs.
Some Republicans rejected the committee's work as flawed. The panel's top Republican, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, said the report's conclusions selectively highlight the intelligence agencies' findings that seem to be important now, distorting the picture of what was presented to policy-makers.Really, Kit? Inaccurate? What part of civil war, increasing threats to the region and continual, useless bloodletting do you not understand?
He said the committee's work on the Iraq intelligence "has become too embroiled in politics and partisanship to produce an accurate and meaningful report."
"The most chilling and prescient warning from the intelligence community prior to the war was that the American invasion would bring about instability in Iraq that would be exploited by Iran and al-Qaida," wrote four Democratic senators _ Rockefeller, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.Do you have to shed all of your integrity to be a Republican? Are you allowed to keep even anounce of dignity?
Meanwhile, four Republican senators _ Bond, John Warner of Virginia, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Richard Burr of North Carolina _ wrote that the report exaggerates the importance of the pre-invasion assessments. They said the reports weren't based on intelligence information, but instead were speculation from experts in and out of government.
"They were no more authoritative than the many other educated opinions that were available in the same time frame," the Republicans wrote.
Those who still have a pulse and who have turned off the monotone of the Bushbot drone instructions in their government issued earpieces can read the intel report for yourselves here.
Meanwhile, flush with a fresh $100 million to continue wasting Americana and Iraqi lives for his neocon project in Mesopotamia, President Bush appears simultaneously to be looking for a way to the exits. The idea is that the pragmatists now encircling him, Bob Gates, Condi "the chameleon" Rice, and probably his political guru Karl Rove, are double talking the basies, who fiend for war, while Bush is thinking about the 2008 elections. According to a new report by McClatchy Newspapers:
The Democrat-led Congress has pushed Bush, unsuccessfully thus far, to begin winding down the war, which has claimed more than 3,430 U.S. lives since it began in 2003. Bush has refused. He has said an early exit would be disastrous for U.S. interests and that no timetable should be set for reducing U.S. ground forces.Hm ... so, righties, would that make Bushie a "Defeatopublican?" More from the New York Times:
On Thursday, however, the president and some of his chief military advisers spoke more directly of a possible change in course.
Pace and Gates responded to a reporter who noted that earlier Thursday, Bush said at the White House he liked a proposal from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.
The group in December recommended many changes in Iraq policy, including a shift from fighting the insurgency to a training and counterterrorism role. At the time, Bush rejected that advice. Instead, he chose to boost American troop levels in Baghdad, believing the war would be lost unless the Iraqi capital could be secured.
Gates, who was a member of the study group before he was nominated to replace Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, did not say whether he thought it likely that a shift from a combat role would be adopted in September.
"That kind of a role clearly would involve fewer forces than we have now and forces with a different mission," Gates said.
Pace said he agreed. "That's part of the dialogue right now and exactly what we'll be looking at between now and September," when Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, is expected to tell the administration and Congress whether the Iraq strategy is working and whether course corrections are due.
Barry McCaffrey, a retired Army general who spent a week in Iraq in March assessing the situation, said in a telephone interview Thursday that it appears to him that the administration is looking for a way out of Iraq.
"I think they're headed toward the door," McCaffrey said. For now they hold out hope that by the end of this year the troop buildup in Baghdad will change the momentum of the war, he added. "But failing that, they're going to start withdrawing."
WASHINGTON, May 25 — The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate.Ah yes. Timetables. So bad for keeping our plans secret from the enemy ... so good for presidential politics.
It is the first indication that growing political pressure is forcing the White House to turn its attention to what happens after the current troop increase runs its course.
The concepts call for a reduction in forces that could lower troop levels by the midst of the 2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000, the latest available figure, which the military reported on May 1. They would also greatly scale back the mission that President Bush set for the American military when he ordered it in January to win back control of Baghdad and Anbar Province.
The mission would instead focus on the training of Iraqi troops and fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, while removing Americans from many of the counterinsurgency efforts inside Baghdad.
Still, there is no indication that Mr. Bush is preparing to call an early end to the current troop increase, and one reason officials are talking about their long-range strategy may be to blunt pressure from members of Congress, including some Republicans, who are pushing for a more rapid troop reduction.
The officials declined to be quoted for attribution because they were discussing internal deliberations that they expected to evolve over several months.
Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political accommodations.
So far, the concepts are entirely a creation of Washington and have been developed without the involvement of the top commanders in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, both of whom have been enthusiastic supporters of the troop increase.
Those generals and other commanders have made it clear that they are operating on a significantly slower clock than officials in Washington, who are eager for significant withdrawals before the president leaves office in January 2009.
Labels: Iraq, Iraq war, President Bush