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Situation Called Dire in West Iraq
(Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, September 11, 2006)
The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there . . . The officials described Col. Pete Devlin's classified assessment of the dire state of Anbar as the first time that a senior U.S. military officer has filed so negative a report from Iraq. . . . One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, "We haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically -- and that's where wars are won and lost." . . . The "very pessimistic" statement, as one Marine officer called it, was dated Aug. 16 and sent to Washington shortly after that, and has been discussed across the Pentagon and elsewhere in national security circles. "I don't know if it is a shock wave, but it's made people uncomfortable," said a Defense Department official who has read the report. . . . Devlin reports that there are no functioning Iraqi government institutions in Anbar, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has become the province's most significant political force, said the Army officer, who has read the report. Another person familiar with the report said it describes Anbar as beyond repair; a third said it concludes that the United States has lost in Anbar. . . . Devlin offers a series of reasons for the situation, including a lack of U.S. and Iraqi troops, a problem that has dogged commanders since the fall of Baghdad more than three years ago, said people who have read it. These people said he reported that not only are military operations facing a stalemate, unable to extend and sustain security beyond the perimeters of their bases, but also local governments in the province have collapsed and the weak central government has almost no presence. . . . Devlin, as part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) headquarters in Iraq, has been stationed there since February, so his report isn't being dismissed as the stunned assessment of a newly arrived officer. In addition, he has the reputation of being one of the Marine Corps' best intelligence officers, with a tendency to be careful and straightforward, said another Marine intelligence officer. Hence, the report is being taken seriously as it is examined inside the military establishment and also by some CIA officials. . . . It also follows by just a few weeks the testimony of Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee early last month that "it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war." . . . "It's hard to be optimistic right now," said one Army general who has served in Iraq. "There's a sort of critical mass of tough news," he said, with intensifying violence from the insurgency and between Sunnis and Shiites, a lack of effective Iraqi government and a growing concern that Iraq may be falling apart.
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posted by Lorenzo 3:06 AM
General says Rumsfeld refused to plan for post-war Iraq
(Stephanie Heinatz, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.), September 8, 2006)
Long before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists to develop plans for securing a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday. . . . In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan. . . . Rumsfeld did replace Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff in 2003, after Shinseki told Congress that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to secure post-war Iraq. . . . Scheid, who is also the commander of Fort Eustis in Newport News, made his comments in an interview with the Daily Press. He retires in about three weeks. . . . Scheid's comments are further confirmation of the version of events reported in "Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq," the book by New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor. . . . In 2001, Scheid was a colonel with the Central Command, the unit that oversees U.S. military operations in the Mideast. . . . On Sept. 10, 2001, he was selected to be the chief of logistics war plans. . . . On Sept. 11, he said, "life just went to hell." . . .That day, Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of Central Command, told his planners, including Scheid, to "get ready to go to war." . . . A day or two later, Rumsfeld was "telling us we were going to war in Afghanistan and to start building the war plan. We were going to go fast. . . . "Then, just as we were barely into Afghanistan Rumsfeld came and told us to get ready for Iraq." . . . Scheid said he remembers everyone thinking, "My gosh, we're in the middle of Afghanistan, how can we possibly be doing two at one time? How can we pull this off? It's just going to be too much." . . . Planning was kept very hush-hush in those early days. . . . "There was only a handful of people, maybe five or six, that were involved with that plan because it had to be kept very, very quiet." . . . There was already an offensive plan in place for Iraq, Scheid said. And in the beginning, the planners were just expanding on it. . . . "Whether we were going to execute it, we had no idea," Scheid said. . . . "The secretary of defense continued to push on us that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay." . . . Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like security, stability and reconstruction. . . . Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said. . . . "I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today. . . . "He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."
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posted by Lorenzo 6:31 AM
4 Iraq War Vets ARRESTED at Pentagon
(David Swanson, OpEdNews.com, 9 September 2006)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Swanson 202-329-7847
September 9, 2006 Karen Bradley 202 669 3927
Michael McPherson 314-303-8874
Four veterans of the current war in Iraq and one supporter (a total of five young men) were detained at the Pentagon today after they attended an open house and left behind flyers providing information about the lethal effects of depleted uranium. . . . The five (if released) and leaders of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, September 10, at Camp Democracy, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., near Fourth Street. . . . The veterans observed literature available in the Pentagon's chapel, which is at the site of the 9-11 plane crash. This literature, produced at tax-payer expense, included copies of the New Testament in camouflage covers. . . . They left behind flyers explaining the effects of depleted uranium. Some of the vets detained currently suffer from depleted uranium poisoning. . . . The four vets are Steve Mortillo of Pennington, N.J.; Joe Hatcher of San Diego, Calif.; Geoff Millard of Buffalo, N.Y.; and Toby Hartbarger of Indiana. Also detained was Gregory "Tristan" Watson of Chicago, Ill. . . . Retired Col. Ann Wright said, "Iraq vets who have suffered the effects of depleted uranium have every right to educate others about the terrible effects of this illegal substance used in weapons produced by the United States government." . . . For more information see: http://www.campdemocracy.org
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posted by Lorenzo 6:21 AM
Senate reports say Saddam rejected cooperating with terrorists
(Warren P. Strobel and Margaret Talev, McClatchy Newspapers, September 8, 2006)
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein rejected pleas for assistance from Osama bin Laden and tried to capture terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi when he was in Iraq, a Senate Intelligence Committee report released Friday found, casting further doubt on the Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq. . . . President Bush and other administration officials repeatedly cited Saddam's alleged ties to radical Islamic terrorists before the March 2003 invasion as one reason to take military action against Iraq. . . . The 150-page report said the administration's claims were untrue. "Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qaida to provide material or operational support," the report said. . . . The report was released along with a second one that said false information from the exile group Iraqi National Congress, led by Ahmad Chalabi, was widely distributed in prewar intelligence reports and used to support intelligence assessments about Iraq's weapons and links to terrorism. Intelligence officials repeatedly warned that the INC was unreliable, but White House and Pentagon officials ignored the warnings. . . . The reports are part of a five-report study that the Senate Intelligence Committee has undertaken into the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the invasion of Iraq. . . . The study has left the committee badly divided. Three reports remain classified, including one comparing prewar statements by Bush administration officials to intelligence available at the time. Democrats have accused Republicans of delaying the reports until after the November congressional elections. . . . On Friday, Democrats charged that the reports showed that the White House had manipulated intelligence to make the case for war to the American people. . . . "The administration ignored warnings prior to the war about the veracity of the intelligence it trumpeted publicly to support its case that Iraq was an imminent threat to the security of the United States," said panel Vice Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. . . . In the run-up to the war, Bush and his advisers repeatedly sought to link Saddam and al-Qaida, stopping just short of accusing the Iraqi leader of a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. . . . "You can't distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," Bush said on Sept. 25, 2002. . . . On the same day, Condoleezza Rice, then the White House national security adviser, said, "High-ranking detainees have said that Iraq provided some training to al-Qaida in chemical weapons development." . . . The detainee Rice referred to was al-Qaida operative Ibn al Shaykh al Libi, who was captured in Pakistan in November 2001 and, U.S. intelligence officials said, tortured by Egyptian authorities after his transfer to that country.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:31 PM