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patfromlogan
4th March 04, 11:25 AM
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IRAQ:
Chalabi, Garner Provide New Clues to War

Analysis - By Jim Lobe

For those still puzzling over the whys and wherefores of Washington's invasion of Iraq 11 months ago, major new, but curiously unnoticed, clues were offered this week by two central players in the events leading up to the war.

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (IPS) -

Both clues tend to confirm growing suspicions that the Bush administration's drive to war in Iraq had very little, if anything, to do with the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or his alleged ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda -- the two main reasons the U.S. Congress and public were given for the invasion.

Separate statements by Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), and U.S. retired Gen Jay Garner, who was in charge of planning and administering post-war reconstruction from January through May 2002, suggest that other, less public motives were behind the war, none of which concerned self-defence, pre-emptive or otherwise.

The statement by Chalabi, on whom the neo-conservative and right-wing hawks in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office are still resting their hopes for a transition that will protect Washington's many interests in Iraq, will certainly interest congressional committees investigating why the intelligence on WMD before the war was so far off the mark.

In a remarkably frank interview with the London 'Daily Telegraph', Chalabi said he was willing to take full responsibility for the INC's role in providing misleading intelligence and defectors to President George W. Bush, Congress and the U.S. public to persuade them that Hussein posed a serious threat to the United States that had to be dealt with urgently.

The Telegraph reported that Chalabi merely shrugged off accusations his group had deliberately misled the administration. ''We are heroes in error'', he said.

''As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful'', he told the newspaper. ''That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if he wants''.

It was an amazing admission, and certain to fuel growing suspicions on Capitol Hill that Chalabi, whose INC received millions of dollars in taxpayer money over the past decade, effectively conspired with his supporters in and around the administration to take the United States to war on pretences they knew, or had reason to know, were false.

Indeed, it now appears increasingly that defectors handled by the INC were sources for the most spectacular and detailed -- if completely unfounded -- information about Hussein's alleged WMD programmes, not only to U.S. intelligence agencies, but also to U.S. mainstream media, especially the 'New York Times', according to a recent report in the New York 'Review of Books'.

Within the administration, Chalabi worked most closely with those who had championed his cause for a decade, particularly neo-conservatives around Cheney and Rumsfeld -- Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defence Douglas Feith and Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.

Feith's office was home to the office of special plans (OSP) whose two staff members and dozens of consultants were tasked with reviewing raw intelligence to develop the strongest possible case that Hussein represented a compelling threat to the United States.

OSP also worked with the defence policy board (DPB), a hand-picked group of mostly neo-conservative hawks chaired until just before the war by Richard Perle, a long-time Chalabi friend.

DPB members, particularly Perle, former CIA director James Woolsey and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, played prominent roles in publicising through the media reports by INC defectors and other alleged evidence developed by OSP that made Hussein appear as scary as possible.

Chalabi even participated in a secret DPB meeting just a few days after the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon in which the main topic of discussion, according to the 'Wall Street Journal', was how 9/11 could be used as a pretext for attacking Iraq.

The OSP and a parallel group under Feith, the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, have become central targets of congressional investigators, according to aides on Capitol Hill, while unconfirmed rumours circulated here this week that members of the DPB are also under investigation.

The question, of course, is whether the individuals involved were themselves taken in by what Chalabi and the INC told them or whether they were willing collaborators in distorting the intelligence in order to move the country to war for their own reasons..

It appears that Chalabi, whose family, it was reported this week, has extensive interests in a company that has already been awarded more than 400 million dollars in reconstruction contracts, is signalling his willingness to take all of the blame, or credit, for the faulty intelligence.

But one of the reasons for going to war was suggested quite directly by Garner -- who also worked closely with Chalabi and the same cohort of U.S. hawks in the run-up to the war and during the first few weeks of occupation -- in an interview with 'The National Journal'.

Asked how long U.S. troops might remain in Iraq, Garner replied, ''I hope they're there a long time'', and then compared U.S. goals in Iraq to U.S. military bases in the Philippines between 1898 and 1992.

''One of the most important things we can do right now is start getting basing rights with (the Iraqi authorities)'', he said. ''And I think we'll have basing rights in the north and basing rights in the south ... we'd want to keep at least a brigade''.



''Look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That's what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East'', Garner added.

While U.S. military strategists have hinted for some time that a major goal of war was to establish several bases in Iraq, particularly given the ongoing military withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, Garner is the first to state it so baldly.

Until now, U.S. military chiefs have suggested they need to retain a military presence just to ensure stability for several years, during which they expect to draw down their forces.

If indeed Garner's understanding represents the thinking of his former bosses, then the ongoing struggle between Cheney and the Pentagon on the one hand and the State Department on the other over how much control Washington is willing to give the United Nations over the transition to Iraqi rule becomes more comprehensible.

Ceding too much control, particularly before a base agreement can be reached with whatever Iraqi authority will take over Jun. 30, will make permanent U.S. bases much less likely.

(END/2004)




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Jolly_Roger
4th March 04, 06:50 PM
Great article, PAt!
Thanks!

FingerorMoon?
4th March 04, 07:19 PM
I don't understand why any of the world leaders involved are back peddling now.
The standard answer should be:

"We didn't find any WMD, just thousands of mass graves. Now fuck off"

patfromlogan
6th March 04, 01:10 AM
No FingerorMoon, that is just wrong. Sorry to say so. The mass graves in countries like Chile and Guatemala make money for US corporations so they are ignored, or rather paid for with OUR TAXES. In this case, OUR TAXES will pay for the zillions of profit to Bushco.

I mean I'm sorry because you are a funny guy, somebody that makes threads fun. But you don't know what you are talking about. The US is once again, as usual, going for domination and $$$$$$ But

what the hell, I'll work out with karate and kempo. Make love to my wife and try to get along with my all too smart kids. This thread will soon die. Unread and it's just makes me a little sad that the truth is so easy to see. These guys are spelling it out. I think we are marching toward the cliff. Like lemmings.

Maybe I'll ttt this until I get some resonse. I can't really believe that everyone is so burned out and sick that they can't even deal with reality. But it's probably true, who gives a shit about making all the wrong choices. Who gives a shit if the devil wins. As Carl Sagan said when he looked up at the stars, they'll make it somewhere.

snuffles
6th March 04, 01:52 AM
too bad absolutely nothing is going to be done about it though...

The Wastrel
6th March 04, 09:32 AM
I've been talking about the motives and unreliability of the INC and Chalabi, and the Office of Special Plans for what...A YEAR NOW?!

Vargas
6th March 04, 11:17 AM
Pat, the reason people like FoM can't take things you post like this seriously is that they suspect you of being as partisan as the Rightys. Sure, the INC is probably a gang of thugs and killers. So is the KLA, the rebels in Haiti, FARC, Sendero Luiminoso, the Northern Alliance, etc., etcetera. So I'm not arguing with you there. The U.S. should be held to the standard it preaches.
The problem comes in when people like yourself fail to criticize Fidel Castro, Kim Jung-Il, Hugo Chavez, Mugabe and any of the past thugs and killers on the 'lefty' side of the spectrum. You forfeit the moral high ground when you condemn one group of assholes but give a free pass to another. People like consistency (what's good for the goose and all that). So go ahead, point out the corrupt deals being dealt by Cheney and Co. I don't like the man either. Just don't get up on your high horse about it, pretending you don't have a couple of moral 'blind spots' yourself.

patfromlogan
6th March 04, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by The Wastrel
I've been talking about the motives and unreliability of the INC and Chalabi, and the Office of Special Plans for what...A YEAR NOW?!

We've been ignoring your posts?

Vargas, I agree with you. And I don't like thinking I'm up there on the top of the mountain looking down on you poor mortals living in sin and igorance. Mugabe's a dick and Castro's record on human rights and treatment of homosexuals is very bad. I am an American, though, I'm only able to deal with my gov't and I don't spend much time thinking about the policies of countries that are not under the influence of the US. I mean, I can do a little in this country, nothing I can say will change anything about what Castro does. The only thing I can really do concerning Cuba is to write to my own congressmen and ask that the embargo be lifted.

Like looking at China's relationship with Tibet. I can join a group (and have), I can write or call politicians. But I have no way to tell the Chinese gov't anything. And if I spoke out when I am in China they would lock me up or kick me out. In the US I can still speak my mind. Atleast until Bush's second term!

Rigante
6th March 04, 02:24 PM
So who made profit off of all of the mass graves we are still uncovering in Irag? Hussein was a mass murderer. I would rather have my tax dollars being spent taking him down then wasting it on social welfare programs for people who dont have the desire and drive to obtain their high school degrees, refrain from wasting their lives on drugs or keep from having pregnancies and children that they cant support without government dollars.

Jenfucius
6th March 04, 04:05 PM
if i was in charge i would raze baghdad to the ground and kill every man woman and child in it as a lesson to the other middle eastern assholes not to fuck with us. yes iran, libya, and the palestinian authority, i mean you.

Freddy
7th March 04, 03:24 PM
"The problem comes in when people like yourself fail to criticize Fidel Castro, Kim Jung-Il, Hugo Chavez, Mugabe and any of the past thugs and killers on the 'lefty' side of the spectrum."

They are all a bunch of a-holes too. The vast majority of governments falls under the same umbrella.

coner400
8th March 04, 12:22 PM
Fidel would have been good if che was still alive. Che was a genious.

coner400
8th March 04, 12:25 PM
Jenfucius, You've been thoroughly mislead. The middle-eastern countries are only fighting back for our fucking with them. If i were them, id evacuate everyone in D.C. except the white house staff and raze IT to the ground.

coner400
8th March 04, 07:14 PM
Someone please argue with me......

WingChun Lawyer
8th March 04, 10:03 PM
Originally posted by coner400
Someone please argue with me......

Hm...no.


Fidel would have been good if che was still alive. Che was a genious.

Correct me if I am wrong, but as I know it, Che had to leave Cuba because of the pressure he got from Fidel.

Stick
8th March 04, 10:21 PM
Originally posted by coner400
Jenfucius, You've been thoroughly mislead. The middle-eastern countries are only fighting back for our fucking with them. If i were them, id evacuate everyone in D.C. except the white house staff and raze IT to the ground.

Now now Coner, aren't you guys always telling us that violence is never the answer? Obviously it isn't the answer to the Iraq problem, as you all so vigorously pointed out before the invasion. Do you honestly think that killing off the American government will result in anything other than pissing America off so much as to.... oh say, leadus on a nuclear rampage?

I may despise Bush, but I love DC, someone raises that city and I'm dusting off the old "scorched earth" lecture notes and firing up my B52's.

Happy now?

coner400
9th March 04, 08:39 PM
lol. you may be right. i haven't done enough reading on the subject but i heard somewhere that fidel ordered che asassinated. and, what i meant was, che should have been cubas leader (not fidel)

coner400
9th March 04, 08:42 PM
lol. i meant no offense to you. i was just annoyed by jenfucius's post. and also, if the american government is dead, who's gonna be there to order that nuclear rampage into action?

Samuel Browning
9th March 04, 11:23 PM
Originally posted by coner400
Fidel would have been good if che was still alive. Che was a genious.

At what? Guerrilla warfare? He got himself killed in Bolivia through his incompetence.

coner400
10th March 04, 04:35 PM
yes at guerrilla warfare, politics, and so on. Killed through incompetence? Killed by a skilled fighter more like it.

CaptShady
10th March 04, 04:41 PM
Originally posted by coner400
Jenfucius, You've been thoroughly mislead. The middle-eastern countries are only fighting back for our fucking with them. If i were them, id evacuate everyone in D.C. except the white house staff and raze IT to the ground.


That's only partially true. It's our support of Israel, really.

That's why I say we just back the heck out of EVERY SINGLE country out there. Tell them ALL that they're on their own, we're holding up and closing our borders completely to ALL trade and migration. We'd suffer at first, but the others would all be worse off. Then they'd be crying "why won't they HELP us".

coner400
10th March 04, 04:45 PM
exactly. our support for israel is a big factor. (thats the fucking i was referring to). And yes, america should isolate itself from the rest of the world for the most part. especially when it comes to military action.