Democrats & Liberals Archives

Flawes (1963/ 2003 The Intelligence Wars)

Even though Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld did not feel the need to serve their country and fight in the Vietnam War. They definately learned from it. In 1963 Warhawks used similar tactics that had Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld scrambling for deferments that Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld have used to get the United States into another unnecessary and costly war. The irony.

Apparently the intelligence used to attack the sovereign nation of Vietnam was just as flawed, ignored and twisted as the intelligence used to attack the sovereign nation of Iraq. War Hawks who are embolden to the Military Industrial Complex never seem to change.
The proponents of this unnecessary bloodshed that has cost trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, not to mention limbs was based in large part to intelligence that was "cherry picked" to con the American people into allowing the cowards who ran from their duty during the sixties to insert the sons, daughters, husbands and parents of the poor and middle class today into the hellish nightmare that is Iraq.
Recently released intelligence reports show they United States has done all this before.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/01/09/us_60s_vietnam_intelligence_flawed/1426/

According to the UPI report:


"Newly declassified U.S. documents show there were inaccuracies and errors in intelligence intercepted before and during the Vietnam War.

The National Security Agency had some 10,000 cryptographers and other intelligence gathering and translation personnel in Southeast Asia in 1964, yet NSA historian Robert Hanyok wrote in the agency's history that two key points in the war had intelligence problems.

The first was the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a purported second North Vietnamese attack on U.S. forces triggered a major escalation in the war, The Christian Science Monitor reported. However, it later became clear the second attack never occurred as a radio intercept had been mistranslated, the report said.

The second incident was the start of the Tet offensive Jan. 31, 1968. U.S. intelligence picked up communications talking of an attack on Saigon and other cities on "N-day," which never materialized, the report said.

Hanyok said "critical information was mishandled, misinterpreted, lost, or ignored" in both major incidents."

Members of the Bush administration have mentioned several times that future historians will decide their legacy. We don't have to wait for the future to find out. We just have to look to the past.
I have a feeling it's going to sound alot like the intelligence report that was recently declassified. History tragically repeating itself.

Posted by Andre M. Hernandez at January 9, 2008 1:49 PM
Comments
Comment #242667

Andre,

I hate to bring this up, but as much as I dislike Rumsfeld, he did serve in the Navy as a pilot and flight instructor from ‘54 to ‘57 and was in the reserve until ‘75.

My issue with these three guys isn’t necessarily that we invaded Iraq, but we did so without any apparent plan past the fall of Baghdad.
Rumsfeld had served under 2 Presidents as Sect. of Defense, and Cheney was Sect. of Defence under Bush Sr. (and oversaw Desert Storm), and both should have at least had a clue before we invaded.

Sadly this appears not to be the case.

Posted by: Rocky at January 9, 2008 3:41 PM
Comment #242672

Andre,
Vietnam and Iraq are not the only examples of the US going to war under false pretenses. The War with Mexico (1846-48) is a spectacular example. It resulted in the conquest and annexation of much of the southwest, as well as California.

The Bush administration has been attempting to use the same methods to start a war with Iran, primarily for its huge oil reserves.


Clarencec,
You use the example of UN Resolutions to suuport your point, yet ignore the refusal of the UN Security Council to sanction the invasion because it refutes your point.

Are you saying missiles fired at US fighters flying over Iraq justified invasion? Yes or no? Or should we ignore it as a mindlessly repeated talking point?

If Saddam Hussein had been “honest” with the inspectors, would they have found any WMD’s?

Ugh, I don’t have the stomach for the talking points, misinformation, and outright lies used to support the invasion of Iraq. No mas. Please. I just ate lunch.


Posted by: phx8 at January 9, 2008 4:15 PM
Comment #242673
If Saddam Hussein had been “honest” with the inspectors, would they have found any WMD’s?

It appears not. Too bad he wasn’t, this could all have been avoided. But for 12 years he did everything he could to prevent those inspections from being fruitful, all the while millions of people were dying from the sanctions the UN put in place.

Hell, even Hans Blix admitted that he wouldn’t have been surprised if we found WMDs, if he didn’t know, how was anyone else supposed to?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 9, 2008 4:25 PM
Comment #242674

Rhinehold,
The Iraqi Foreign Minister was an informant, a reliable, inside source of information. He told the CIA there were no WMD’s. The Bush administration disregarded this information, and never provided it to Congress.

And as you know, it is impossible to prove a negative.

So many lies, so many… two dozen SCUD rockets in the western desert- mobile biological warfare labs- nerve gas- and so on, and so on…

All provided to the US by an organization founded and funded by us, courtesy of Chalabi and crew. Oh, and Israel. Mustn’t forget them.

We also know there was no proven connection with Al Qaida.

But this isn’t just some abstract exercise. As a result of the US invasion over weapons which were not there, and connections with Al Qaida which never existed, hundreds of thousands are human beings are dead.

Posted by: phx8 at January 9, 2008 5:03 PM
Comment #242675

Rhinehold,

It appears not. Too bad he [Saddam] wasn’t [honest WMDs], this could all have been avoided.

How do you know he wasn’t honest about his WMDs being destroyed!? That is what he said after all. It’s not because nobody could trust him that it means he was not honest then.
And since nobody could prove he was lying about WMDs being actually destroyed.

You seem to put all Iraq War responsibility on him. I strongly disagree. One guy decide to attack Iraq, one. Period. His responsibility. While the crisis reason were highly shared, the decision to actually start war is NOT.

Every second US could have choose to avoid it, every second. But war was *decided* at White House. War was not forced, your country wasn’t attacked. It’s a *choice*.

With choice comes responsibility.

But for 12 years he did everything he could to prevent those inspections from being fruitful

IIRC, he was cooperated at first until he had discovered UN inspectors were infiltrated by US spies more interesting in observing Saddam security behaviors than WMDs destruction, something that since was confirmed.
Only after this the no-fly-zones incidents started.

I guess he was not the only one trying to prevent the WMDs to be found actually destroyed. Ironically, the same pattern seems to be at work during the pre-war run up. Coincidences?

Hell, even Hans Blix admitted that he wouldn’t have been surprised if we found WMDs, if he didn’t know, how was anyone else supposed to?

When you don’t know, you don’t know, saying otherwise is lying. You don’t make choice as if you do know, as if you have no doubt. Bush government did it. They knew. They repeatably said they knew, that they had no doubt about WMDs, that they even knew where they were, that they were threatening US or US allieds.

Except they didn’t. As proven since, sadly and too late for the killed.

They knew nothing but took *anyway* the only decision which deserve the most to have the less doubt as possible that you’ve exhausted all others possibilities, being wrong included. They took it *anyway*.

Their war. Totally.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 9, 2008 5:12 PM
Comment #242676

Oh lord, here we go again, you complain of lies and misdirections, you would know…

And as you know, it is impossible to prove a negative.

Except that is not what was being asked of Iraq. We had a list of known WMDs that were to be disposed of in full view of UN inspectors. This was suppose to take 90 days. This was still not completed 12 years later and Saddam was playing games with the inspections for 8. Even Clinton and Gore suspected that those WMDs were still there and that more were being developed.

We thought that because that is what Saddam wanted everyone to think. So he could retain power.

We also know there was no proven connection with Al Qaida.Did anyone tell Richard Clarke and Bill Clinton yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Shifa

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 9, 2008 5:14 PM
Comment #242679

Rhinehold-
The mistake in both cases was using suspicions to justify actions, rather than relying on confirmed fact. If folks hadn’t been so ready to jump the gun, these wars wouldn’t have happened. When you look for an excuse to justify action on the basis of an unproven but closely held belief this is what will happen.

Remember, Al-Shifa is not considered one of Clinton’s triumphs. It’s considered a mistake, and only those closest to the decision, naturally, consider it otherwise now.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Bush had every opportunity to avoid making a mistake like Clinton did.

Also recall that Clinton did not choose to invade, based on his suspicions. Though he suspected that Saddam might be trying to reconstitute his program, he did not choose to invade and overthrow the government of Iraq.

You’re just making excuses here for why Bush and the others started a useless war. At the end of the day, though, they do not share responsibility for the start of this war with all the others, because they took special pains to justify this war on supposedly novel information, made special effort to push this as a course of action in the War on Terrorism, despite there being little real immediate cause for it.

This was not a war that would have happened of its own accord, whether we wanted it or not.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 9, 2008 6:24 PM
Comment #242680
Did anyone tell Richard Clarke and ill Clinton yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Shifa

Many did. It’s even written several times on the link you provided.

Here one:

Officials later acknowledged, however, “that the evidence that prompted President Clinton to order the missile strike on the Shifa plant was not as solid as first portrayed. Indeed, officials later said that there was no proof that the plant had been manufacturing or storing nerve gas, as initially suspected by the Americans, or had been linked to Osama bin Laden, who was a resident of Khartoum in the 1980s.”

You know the saying: Fool me once…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 9, 2008 6:31 PM
Comment #242690

Two things to remember.Iraq did not have WNDs at the time of the invasion and cherry picked intell was realeased to convince Americans Iraq did have WMDs.There is no real debate on this.This is important because we are now being asked again by the same people to believe that Iran is poseing a threat to American warships. This is grave. Given the past record of this administration and past administrations,it would be foolish to take reports of these instances with anything less than a large grain of salt even if one is inclined to believe them.

Posted by: BillS at January 9, 2008 9:38 PM
Comment #242691

oops! should read ,did NOT have WMDs

Posted by: Bills at January 9, 2008 9:40 PM
Comment #242720
Many did. It’s even written several times on the link you provided.

Yet, they still to this day say that they were right. I don’t think it has been proven one way or the other, has it? That was the inferrence, that it was ‘PROVEN’ that there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, when that is clearly not the case.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 10, 2008 10:49 AM
Comment #242724

Rhinehold,

That “inference” as you call it cuts both ways.

“There was a good reason for this confidence, including multiple, reinforcing elements of information ranging from links that the organization that built the facility had both with Bin Laden and with the leadership of the Iraqi chemical weapons.”

Are we expected to make the giant leap of logic, and assume that because the owner had ties with both, both had ties with each other?

George Tenet, in his book “At the Center of the Storm” states that our attack on the pharmaceutical factory was based around “a spoonful” of soil, and the tenuous ties to Bin Laden.
Am I to believe that while Bin Laden apparently was “involved” with the factory, he might not actually have had a philanthropic interest in saving other Muslims from malaria?

And, just how many degrees of separation are there here?

At the time these events occurred Clinton was under the pressure of the Monica Lewinsky affair, and the right called these actions “wag the dog”, but after the events of Sept. 11th, the right wants to use these actions as gospel evidence that makes their case for invading Iraq.

So which is it?

You can’t have it both ways.

Posted by: Rocky at January 10, 2008 11:51 AM
Comment #242727

phx8
Another important war we got into under false pretentions was the Spanish-American War.That was the point at which we became a global imperialist power.It was followed closely by the Philippine war in which we backstabbed the Philippine liberation movement that had helped us defeat the Spanish in their quest for independance.Instead of honoring our commitment to only maintain a coaling station in Manila ,MacKinly decided to asert control over the whole country(treaty of paris). The Philippine resistance was attacked under pretext. It was a brutal war. We sent the troops that had just finished the Indian genocide. We employed tactics that never would have been tolerated against Europeans like taking and hanging civilian hostages in response to attacks, killing all males over 12 in given areas.In some ways the motivations are not much different than now. The real global stratigic reason involved leverage in China,being dismembered at the time by European powers. Why?A quest for energy resorces,namely coal reserves.We killed an estimated 1 million Philipinos.Much of the retoric would be familier to you. We were bringing “freedom” and” democracy”to the Philippines.

Posted by: BillS at January 10, 2008 12:55 PM
Comment #242733

BillS,
The American occupation of the Philippines was an especially ugly episode, no doubt.

Americans have been whipped with stories about imminent war with Iran, but despite the flogging, most people just can’t get onboard & show the proper enthusiasm. Maybe a catchy slogan would help, something like:
“Iran Fever: Catch It!”
Or maybe not. Even with the misinformation and “intelligence” proving to be wrong, a goal is still being accomplished by the Bush administration. They are accustomizing Americans to the idea that war with Iran is inevitable.

It worries me that Bush & Cheney think they might help McCain and Republican prospects in the 2008 elections if they start a war with Iran. It’s stupid, but that has not stopped the Republicans before.

Posted by: phx8 at January 10, 2008 2:28 PM
Comment #242740
You can’t have it both ways.

How am I trying to ‘have it both ways’? I never suggested that Clinton attacked the plant because of the his legal problems… It was good to me to see him actually trying to address the issue, he had let Saddam and OBL run roughshot over him for most of his presidency. I agreed with him in 1998, and I don’t see how much changed in the four years between then and the pressure being put back onto Saddam by Bush to comply with his agreements.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 10, 2008 3:24 PM
Comment #242754

Clarancec-
How can you expect to take any country seriously that not only wages unnecessary wars (we didn’t find what we were looking for), but can’t even keep the country in good order when they occupy it? You have no real idea how much this mismanaged, misbegotten war has cost us.

Rhinehold-
Uncertainty is what cuts both ways. You use it to justify, to lend certainty to your point by claiming the other side’s point is undermined by it. Yet it also undermines yours.

In the real world, it’s nearly impossible to prove things with absolute confidence. For all we know, their could be a hidden conspiracy, with hidden proof to boot. However, that’s just frolicking in the playground of the mind if there isn’t the right evidence around, and many on the right have spent all too much times swinging on the monkey-bars.

What we can say, though, is that the preponderance of the evidence points to at least an indifferent, if not outright hostile relationship. Saddam tolerated few rivals for power. What folks in Anbar do now to al-Qaeda members is little different from what Saddam did.

Clinton did not let Osama run roughshod over him. He sent cruise missiles after him, configured America’s security with counterterrorism as a prime priority. As for Saddam, Clinton was successful in keeping him from restarting his programs, dark suspicions from the right-wing aside. At the end of the day, Clinton acted more prudently than the Republicans or Bush did. He may have had some of the same suspicions, but for him, those suspicions did not necessitate the kind of reactions Bush has had to them, reactions that have proved disastrous, rather than providential. It is better to be even-keeled and correct, than tough and wrong.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2008 6:08 PM
Comment #242773

Rhinehold,

Perhaps I was too obtuse in my comments to you.

You seem to put a bit too much trust in the wiki article that cites there were ties. There is no proof of this either way, and until there is I will withhold any judgement, and I think you should as well.

Tenet, in his book (which I am reading) states that at no time was Clinton distracted from the big picture during the impeachment procedures. The reason that the intelligence failed was, according to Tenet, there wasn’t enough money to do the job.

I also recently watched a special on the History Channel about “Charlie Wilson’s War”. This special included a very “in depth” interview with Charlie Wilson himself.
We hosed ourselves, and the world, after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan by leaving a vacuum that was exploited by the Taliban, and Bin Laden. Had we helped sooner with arms (as Wilson was attempting to do), and then helped to rebuild that country then (this was under Reagan’s watch), the world would be a very different place today.

Posted by: Rocky at January 10, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #242781

clarancec,

The Iraq invasion was a continuation of the first Gulf war.

Which was under UN mandate.

The U.S. did not need U.N.sanction.

Indeed.
Unless if it want to be considered acting under UN mandate.

How can you expect any Country to take America serious if we do not enforce the 17 U.N. resolutions?

US don’t enforce the UNSC resolutions. UNSC does. When the UNSC members agrees to do it. It was never the case for Iraq War.

Plus one could say today it’s harder for any country to take America serious about its rationale behind another war, in particular in Middle East. Don’t you feel some more world skepticism today on Bush rationale against Iran than 5 years later?

Do you really think US image improved due to Iraq War? Me, I think US lost the world trust.
Do you really think US army reputation increased due to Iraq War?
Do you really think US Intelligence agencies reputation increased due to Iraq War?

Iraq War is US’s. Totally. US wanted it. US choose it. US have it. Have it all.

Enjoy it.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 11, 2008 4:50 AM
Comment #242782

Rhinehold,

I don’t think it has been proven one way or the other, has it? That was the inferrence, that it was ‘PROVEN’ that there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, when that is clearly not the case.

So you’re a Rummy fan!?
You know, absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.

With such ideology, everything could be true. How clever.

Except that for war justification, while you may start one without evidence, you better have to find some in order to justify your unbacked choice at that time. Otherwise, your choice was made on wrong rationale.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 11, 2008 5:31 AM
Comment #242845

Philippe,

1) I was responding to the statement that it was PROVEN that Al Qaeda and Saddam had no ties. I think I have shown that that has not been ‘PROVEN’ yet. I never asserted that we had proof that there was.

2) I have never stated that I had proof that there was a connection so we should use it, but I did point out in my 2004 article that Saddam was doing enough on his own to support international terrorism, which is what we were fighting, not just Al Qaeda, that it was a part of the puzzle tipping the scales in the favor of invasion.

3) It is always possible that the unbacked choice could be wrong. But it is a call that sometimes has to get made and it was. Hindsight is always better than having to make hard decisions with not only incomplete but contradictory information.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 12, 2008 12:29 AM
Comment #242847
At the end of the day, Clinton acted more prudently than the Republicans or Bush did.

I disagree completely, I think they both err’d in very major ways. For example on Clinton, he failed to deal with the Saddam issue for his whole presidency, letting it fester and more importantly, because we were ‘containing’ him, we left US military personnel in Saudia Arabia. This action is the main justification for Osama for attacking the USS Stark, US Embassies and 9/11. All of these happened because of Clinton and his policies, not a very good track record for someone who was supposed to be putting terrorism as his top defense priority, IMO.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 12, 2008 12:36 AM
Comment #242851
It is always possible that the unbacked choice could be wrong. But it is a call that sometimes has to get made and it was.

Agreed. Just don’t hope to escape your responsibility. If Iraq War had finished as White House hoped it would, their supporters will give it all credit rightly. But it goes wrong, and then their supporters tried since to offset White House responsibility on others. They tried to have it both ways.

It doesn’t work like this. Choice is responsibility. When you make a bad one, whatever the reason, it’s your choice, it’s your responsibility. Exactly like when you make a good one.

The only difference is responsibility means blame for former, credit for latter.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 12, 2008 5:21 AM
Comment #242897

I don’t think anyone is trying to duck the results of the choice, only the argument that we shouldn’t have made the choice in the first place.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 13, 2008 10:39 PM
Comment #242904

Rhinehold,

First, clarancec *did* duck the results of the choice:

“No sir it was not G.W.,Dick Cheny or Donald Rumsfeild who caused the U.S. to invade Iraq it was Saddam”

Aka it’s all Saddam fault.
Yeah, right. Like if he was the one in White House seat who received all these CIA memos saying “beware, this source is not trusted”, “this former threat was vapor, don’t use it in your SOTU”, etc.

Regarding Iraq War, they said they knew enough but they didn’t, they got warnings it will open Pandora box but they didn’t listen, they said 1% doctrine justify it but they get 0%.

They didn’t chose war. They wanted war. Remember, war was in preparation even before neocons get control of the White House.

They got what they wants.
I guess they’re happy, as usually when you got what you want, you’re…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 14, 2008 4:51 AM
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