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Home > War On Terror

Who Knew? #15: The cakewalk would get stodgy

Alan Connor is as surprised as the next buffoon.

3 November 2003

It turns out that lots of the intelligence the "coalition" based their invasion on was a bit shonky. Not just the pseudo-intelligence invented by politicians to keep the public happy, but the information they had gathered about Iraq for strategies. (When you get your State Dept to pay an opposition group - the Iraqi National Congress - to keep giving you good reasons to invade, sometimes, they might make things up. Things you need to corroborate.)

From Jane's Intelligence Digest:

[...] the Ba'ath Party was considered to be the principal driving force behind nationalist sentiment and the assumption was made that ousting Saddam Hussein and his regime would resolve this issue.

Another concern is why so little attention was paid to the risk that a post-Saddam Iraq would be infiltrated by foreign militants committed to further destabilisation of the country. Despite Washington's repeated warnings to Iran and Syria, there is mounting evidence that foreign militants are linking up with anti-coalition Iraqis to launch ever more spectacular attacks against occupation forces and international agencies working in the country. As one US intelligence source observed: "If Al-Qaeda wasn't operating in Iraq under Saddam, it surely is now."

British newscasters, please take note. When you tell us that an atrocity was carried out by "loyalists", what does this mean? Loyal to Saddam? Loyal to the Ba'ath Party? Loyal to Iraq? Loyal to Islam? Loyal to their neighbourhood? Loyal to getting rid of Westeners? Loyal to Al-Qaida?

*

The War Cabinet, just before the bombing of Afghanistan:

George Bush: "Who will run the country?"
Condoleezza Rice: "We should have thought of that."
--as recounted in Bob Woodward's Bush at war (Pocket Press).



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