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Impeach Bush

Iraq Cakewalk turns to Months
The Independent
By Andrew Grice Political Editor at Camp David
March 28, 2003

Editor's Comment:
Eight days after the war began the US and British leaders tell us the war will last months, not days.

Tony Blair and George Bush braced the British and American public for a longer-than-expected war in Iraq amid growing concern that the campaign has stalled.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Today programme this morning, the Prime Minister said, "When you've had a whole series of security services repressing the local people, it was never going to be a situation these people were simply going to give up power and go away."

Mr Blair flew back to London on Friday morning after two days of talks with President George Bush and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan about the war and post-war plans for Iraq.

Mr Blair predicted a UN Security Council resolution mobilizing humanitarian relief for Iraq would be passed within 24 hours.

"We're not saying that the future of Iraq should be governed by the Americans and the British, we're saying the future of Iraq should be governed by the Iraqi people," he said.

At a press conference give after eight hours of talks at Camp David on Thursday, the two leaders did not deny suggestions from US military sources that the war could take months. But they sought to allay fears that the campaign had been blown off course, with coalition troops encountering stiffer resistance than expected and the hoped-for uprising by Iraqis failing to materialise.

Despite minor successes yesterday, including the destruction of 14 Iraqi tanks by British forces, no sign of substantial progress was perceived in the battles for Basra and Baghdad. The US strategy of invading Iraq with relatively small, light mobile forces is coming under increasing criticism from within and outside the US military. Armoured reinforcements may take up to a month to assemble near Baghdad.

Pentagon sources said last night that the frontline US fighting force in the Gulf would be doubled to 200,000 by the end of April. The officials insisted that this was part of the original war plan – not a reaction to the set-backs of recent days.

Asked at a press conference how long war may last, Mr Bush said: "However long it takes to win. However long it takes to achieve our objectives ... The Iraqi people have got to know they will be liberated and Saddam Hussein will be removed no matter how long it takes."

Mr Blair insisted the campaign had achieved a "massive amount but refused to speculate on how long it would last. "We will carry on until the job is done but there is absolutely no point in trying to set a time limit. It is not set by time. It is set by the nature of the job."

Allied forces had some success yesterday, helped by the lifting of the sandstorms that had hampered their advance for two days. Tanks of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards fought the biggest tank battle involving British forces since the Second World War, destroying 14 Iraqi tanks that attempted to escape from the southern city of Basra. Air raids resumed on Republican Guard positions south of Baghdad as advance American units said they were prepared to start within two to three days the battle for the city of Karbala, 70 miles south-west of the capital.

More than 30 US Marines were injured in a 90-minute battle near the southern city of Nasiriyah – apparently when two units mistook each other for the enemy. Kurdish guerrillas moved a few miles into Iraqi territory after 1,000 American paratroops were dropped into Kurdish-held territory on Wednesday night.

The Iraqi Defence Minister said he expected the Allies to encircle Baghdad within 10 days but he forecast that they would go on to lose a street-to-street battle for the city, which could last for months. Sultan Hashim Ahmed said: "The enemy can go in the desert as far as it wants. In the end, where can he go? He has to enter the city." Asked if he expected street fighting in Baghdad, he said: "Definitely."

At the joint press conference, with President Bush, Mr Blair condemned television pictures showing two dead British soldiers, who, he said, had been executed. "If anyone needed any further evidence of the depravity of Saddam's regime, this atrocity provides it ... To the families of the soldiers, it is an act of cruelty beyond comprehension. Indeed, it is beyond the comprehension of anyone with an ounce of humanity in their soul."

The two leaders agreed to ask the United Nations to resume immediately its oil-for-food programme in Iraq, setting aside for now their differences over the UN's role in the running of post-war Iraq.

General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Allied commander in the 1991 Gulf War, said coalition forces should "sit and wait outside Baghdad for reinforcements. He said "the worst thing of all" would be to go in without overwhelming force.

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

Commentary:


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Iraqis hate their ‘liberator' more than the ‘tyrant' ruling them
Daily Times (PK)
March 29, 2003

In the long hours of darkness, Baghdad shakes to the constant low rumble of B-52s, says Robert Fisk

A tyrant, Thomas More wrote, is a man who allows his people no freedom, who is ‘puffed up by pride, driven by the lust of power, impelled by greed, provoked by thirst for fame'. Yet this morning, 20 miles from Baghdad, ordinary Iraqis, without the presence of the ‘minders' who dog our heels, spoke of George Bush in just such language

All night, you could hear the carpet-bombing by the B-52s. It was a long, low rumble, sometimes for minutes. The targets, presumably the Republican Guards, must have been 30 miles away but, each time that ominous, dark sound began, the air pressure changed in the room where I'm staying near the Tigris river. I've put some flowers in a vase near the window and the water in it was gently shaking all night as the vibrations came out of the ground and air. God spare anyone under that, I thought.

"When we have our soldiers at the front,' Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, had told us hours earlier, "you don't expect us to line them up for you to shoot at, do you?' We had laughed merrily but I didn't laugh now. Surely Saddam Hussein's praetorian guard could not be sitting this out in the desert, tanks abreast, soldiers out in the open? So what were the B-52s aiming at?

From time to time, I poked my head out of the window. Far away to the south-west, there would come a pale, dangerous red glow, sometimes for a second, sometimes for five seconds, a glow that would grow to perhaps a square mile then suddenly evaporate, its penumbra moving back into darkness. The forward US Marines were, so the BBC told the world in the early hours Tuesday, only 60 miles from Baghdad. I could believe it.

The long hours of darkness are difficult for Iraqis. They play cards. They sleep when the silence between air raids allows. I'm reading by night a biography of Sir Thomas More that becomes more perilously appropriate to this fearful drama. Only a few hundred yards from my bedroom is a massive statue of President Saddam, right arm upraised in greeting to his ghostly people, left hand smartly at his side, as if on parade. The young Thomas More would have understood its meaning. A tyrant, he wrote, is a man who allows his people no freedom, who is "puffed up by pride, driven by the lust of power, impelled by greed, provoked by thirst for fame'.

Yet this morning, 20 miles from Baghdad, ordinary Iraqis, without the presence of the "minders' who dog our heels, spoke of George Bush in just such language. I was standing on what may soon become the Baghdad front line, perhaps 10 miles from the B-52 bombings, 30 miles from the nearest US Marines, and behind me coils of black smoke were towelling into the sky from the burning oil berms. A ferocious storm was blasting sand into our faces, turning the sky a dark, bloody orange, the ground shaking gently as the B-52s came back.

A senior Iraqi business executive wanted to explain how slender was the victory the Americans were claiming. "Throughout history, Iraq has been called Mesopotamia,' he said. "This means ‘the land between the two rivers'. So unless you are between the two rivers, this means you are not in Iraq. General Franks should know this.' Alas for the businessman, the US Marines were, as we spoke, crossing the Euphrates under fire at Nasiriyah Tuesday as hundreds of women and children fled their homes between the bridges. But still, by Tuesday evening, only 50 or so American tanks had made it to the eastern shore, into "Mesopotamia'. It didn't spoil the man's enthusiasm.

"Can you imagine the effect on the Arabs if Iraq gets out of this war intact?' he asked. "It took just five days for all the Arabs to be defeated by Israel in the 1967 war. And already we Iraqis have been fighting the all-powerful Americans for five days and still we have held on to all of our cities and will not surrender. And imagine what would happen if Iraq surrendered. What chance would the Syrian leadership have against the demands of Israel? What chance would the Palestinians have of negotiating a fair deal with the Israelis? The Americans don't care about giving the Palestinians a fair deal. So why should they want to give the Iraqis a fair deal?'

This was no member of the Baath Party speaking. This was a man with degrees from universities in Manchester and Birmingham. A colleague had an even more cogent point to make. "Our soldiers know they will not get a fair deal from the Americans,' he said. "It's important that they know this. We may not like our regime. But we fight for our country. The Russians did not like Stalin but they fought under him against the German invaders. We have a long history of fighting the colonial powers, especially you British. You claim you are coming to ‘liberate' us. But you don't understand. What is happening now is we are starting a war of liberation against the Americans and the British.'

Now the businessman wanted to talk of President Saddam. "We Arabs care about dignity,' he said. "Half of Lawrence's ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom' is about Arab dignity. In our lands, populism won over democracy for historical reasons. Saddam has provided societal safety. I am safe providing I do not confront the regime. Saddam may be very severe against political dissidents but he is also very severe on criminals or anyone who is aggressive with us. That includes the Americans.'

Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan was more rhetorical on Tuesday. He talked of the "perfidious aggression and invasion', and demanded that the Arab states use an oil boycott against the US and Britain, that at least they withdraw their ambassadors from their embassies in Washington and London. Some hope.

Mahomed Saleh, the Trade Minister, accused Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN, of bowing to US pressure to prevent ships carrying supplies under the oil-for-food programme from landing in Iraq – "We don't need humanitarian assistance,' he said – and insisted the Iraqi government was sending 20 trucks loaded with flour to Basra every day. British shellfire, he claimed, had set fire to a warehouse containing flour.

But other stories from the south were worrying the Iraqis. How, for example, did the 100 Iraqis lying along 10 miles of roadway north of Nasiriyah come to be killed? A French correspondent has described the smell of burnt flesh as he passed them, adding that he could not tell if they were soldiers or civilians. What happened to these dead people, the Iraqis are asking themselves? Almost every war in the Middle East ends in a massacre, a ghastly routine that weighs heavily on everyone's mind.

By dusk last night, the air pressure was changing again as the B-52s returned. In Baghdad, ever mindful of advice, I laid hands on apples and bananas to wolf by my bedroom window. I shall be back to the biography of Thomas More again. But I am possessed of a strange thought. That if the war is still going on when I reach the end of this book, if the bombing and the shelling is continuing when Thomas More has his head chopped off, then it is likely that General Tommy Franks' head will roll too. —TI

Daily Times - All Rights Reserved

Commentary:
The analogy to the Israeli War of 1967 is very interesting. Iraq is a very, very small country and the US has overwhelming force, yet it appears we're having a very tough time. It took Israel only six days (the articles says five) to defeat the Arabs, but with Bush as CIC it may takes months.

1967: "The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel...to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation." US-Israel.org


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At look at the war from al-Jazeera's perspective
The Guardian (UK)
Faisal Bodi
Friday March 28, 2003

Last month, when it became clear that the US-led drive to war was irreversible, I - like many other British journalists - relocated to Qatar for a ringside seat. But I am an Islamist journalist, so while the others bedded down at the £1m media centre at US central command in As-Sayliyah, I found a more humble berth in the capital Doha, working for the internet arm of al-Jazeera.
And yet, only a week into the war, I find myself working for the most sought-after news resource in the world. On March 23, the night the channel screened the first footage of captured US PoW's, al-Jazeera was the most searched item on the internet portal, Lycos, registering three times as many hits as the next item.

I do not mean to brag - people are turning to us simply because the western media coverage has been so poor. For although Doha is just a 15-minute drive from central command, the view of events from here could not be more different. Of all the major global networks, al-Jazeera has been alone in proceeding from the premise that this war should be viewed as an illegal enterprise. It has broadcast the horror of the bombing campaign, the blown-out brains, the blood-spattered pavements, the screaming infants and the corpses. Its team of on-the-ground, unembedded correspondents has provided a corrective to the official line that the campaign is, barring occasional resistance, going to plan.

Last Tuesday, while western channels were celebrating a Basra "uprising" which none of them could have witnessed since they don't have reporters in the city, our correspondent in the Sheraton there returned a rather flat verdict of "uneventful" - a view confirmed shortly afterwards by a spokesman for the opposition Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. By reporting propaganda as fact, the mainstream media had simply mirrored the Blair/Bush fantasy that the people who have been starved by UN sanctions and deformed by depleted uranium since 1991 will greet them as saviours.

Only hours before the Basra non-event, one of Iraq's most esteemed Shia authorities, Ayatollah Sistani, had dented coalition hopes of a southern uprising by reiterating a fatwa calling on all Muslims to resist the US-led forces. This real, and highly significant, event went unreported in the west.

Earlier in the week Arab viewers had seen the gruesome aftermath of the coalition bombing of "Ansar al-Islam" positions in the north-east of the country. All but two of the 35 killed were civilians in an area controlled by a neutral Islamist group, a fact passed over with undue haste in western reports. And before that, on the second day of the war, most of the western media reported verbatim central command statements that Umm Qasr was under "coalition" control - it was not until Wednesday that al-Jazeera could confirm all resistance there had been pacified.

Throughout the past week, armed peoples in the west and south have been attacking the exposed rearguard of coalition positions, while all the time - despite debilitating sandstorms - western TV audiences have seen little except their steady advance towards Baghdad. This is not truthful reporting.

There is also a marked difference when reporting the anger the invasion has unleashed on the Muslim street. The view from here is that any vestige of goodwill towards the US has evaporated with this latest aggression, and that Britain has now joined the US and Israel as a target of this rage.

The British media has condemned al-Jazeera's decision to screen a 30-second video clip of two dead British soldiers. This is simple hypocrisy. From the outset of the war, the British media has not balked at showing images of Iraqi soldiers either dead or captured and humiliated.

Amid the battle for hearts and minds in the most information-controlled war in history, one measure of the importance of those American PoW pictures and the images of the dead British soldiers is surely the sustained "shock and awe" hacking campaign directed at aljazeera.net since the start of the war. As I write, the al-Jazeera website has been down for three days and few here doubt that the provenance of the attack is the Pentagon. Meanwhile, our hosting company, the US-based DataPipe, has terminated our contract after lobbying by other clients whose websites have been brought down by the hacking.

It's too early for me to say when, or indeed if, I will return to my homeland. So far this war has progressed according to a near worst-case scenario. Iraqis have not turned against their tormentor. The southern Shia regard the invasion force as the greater Satan. Opposition in surrounding countries is shaking their regimes. I fear there remains much work to be done.

· Faisal Bodi is a senior editor for aljazeera.net

MediaGuardian.co.uk © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
Who do you believe? Al-Jazeera who tells you the truth but hates the US, or the US press who loves Bush and lies to you daily. Not very tough is it?


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BBC chiefs says military can't be trusted
The Guardian (UK)
Ciar Byrne
Friday March 28, 2003

BBC news chiefs have met to discuss the increasing problem of misinformation coming out of Iraq as staff concern grows at the series of premature claims and counter claims by military sources.
As a result the corporation has reinforced the message to correspondents that they must clearly attribute information to the military when it has not been backed up by another source.

"There's been a discussion about attribution and it's been reinforced with people that we do have to attribute military information," said a BBC spokeswoman.

"We have to be very careful in the midst of a conflict like this one to be very sure when we're reporting something we've not seen with our own eyes that we attribute it," she added.

On nearly every day of the war so far there have been reports that could be seen as favourable to coalition forces, which have later turned out to be inaccurate.

Earlier this week there was confusion over whether there had been an uprising in the key southern city of Basra. A British forces spokesman, Group Captain Al Lockwood, said on Thursday there had been a "popular uprising", but this was denied by Iraqi authorities.

By last Sunday the southern Iraqi seaport of Umm Qasr had been reported "taken" nine times, while reports of the discovery of a chemical weapons factory in An Najaf have not been confirmed - just two more examples of the confusion over what is coming out of military sources.

"We're absolutely sick and tired of putting things out and finding they're not true. The misinformation in this war is far and away worse than any conflict I've covered, including the first Gulf war and Kosovo," said a senior BBC news source.

"On Saturday we were told they'd taken Basra and Nassiriya and then subsequently found out neither were true. We're getting more truth out of Baghdad than the Pentagon at the moment. Not because Baghdad is putting out pure and morally correct information but because they're less savvy about it, I think.

"I don't know whether they [the Pentagon] are putting out flyers in the hope that we'll run them first and ask questions later or whether they genuinely don't know what's going on - I rather suspect the latter."

Earlier this week the BBC's director of news, Richard Sambrook, admitted it was proving difficult for journalists in Iraq to distinguish truth from false reports, and that the pressures facing reporters on 24-hour news channels had led to premature or inaccurate stories.

Veteran war correspondent Martin Bell has called for 24-hour news channels to "curb their excitability" and warned against unsubstantiated reports which may help the allied cause, but later turn out to be false.

The Times journalist Janine di Giovanni has also said that the demands of real-time television, combined with the restrictions placed on reporters in Baghdad by the Iraqis and the difficulties of getting to the front line are making it virtually impossible for journalists to cover the war properly.

MediaGuardian.co.uk © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
When our leaders lie to us on a daily basis one has to wonder if anyone will ever trust them again. The media, well...they're hopeless. After eight years of lying about Bill Clinton they couldn't wait to damn him when he lied about having an affair. Bush, like Blair can lie about just about anything and everything and they look the other way. It's a truly amazing phenomena. In their little world, lies only matter when it's about sex. All the other lies? Awe shucks.


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Blair's 'execution' claim disputed by soldier's family
The Guardian (UK)
Jason Deans
Friday March 28, 2003

The political spin battle to win over public opinion during the war was today thrown into the spotlight after Tony Blair's claim that two British soldiers killed in Iraq were executed was challenged by the family of one of the victims.

The sister of 24-year-old sapper Luke Allsopp said the army had told her that her brother died in action - and was not executed.

Her remarks at a time of deep personal grief are a PR setback for Tony Blair and illustrate yet again how much of the war is being "sold" in emotive or triumphant language.

The defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, today claimed a PR victory over the war, declaring the decision to "embed" 500 journalists had helped turn around public opinion.

The prime minister's decision to use the word "execution" after his meeting yesterday with George Bush in the US has played into the hands of both supporters and critics of the war.

The Mirror, which vehemently opposes the conflict, today carried an exclusive interview with Allsop's sister across its first three pages under the provocative headlines, "Our Luke was not executed" and "Why lie?".

This is the most direct challenge yet to British government and military spin about the war from the media, which is becoming increasingly frustrated with reporting unsubstantiated claims that later turn out to be untrue.

"The colonel from [Luke's] barracks came around to our house to tell us he was not executed. Luke's Land Rover was ambushed and he died instantly," Nina Allsopp said.

"He told us he was doing what he could to set the record straight. We are very angry. It makes a big difference to us knowing that he died quickly," Ms Allsopp told the Mirror.

"We can't understand why people are lying about what happened. It must be a mistake. It's important to us that people know the truth."

Ms Allsopp said she was stunned when she heard Mr Blair had been on TV claiming her brother had been executed in his televised press conference in Washington yesterday.

Pressed by reporters about his claim, the prime minister said: "The reason I used the language I did was because of the circumstances that we know."

But Mr Blair's official spokesman was later forced to backtrack on his claim, admitting there was no "absolute evidence" that the two soldiers, Mr Allsopp and staff sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36, had been executed.

"Since we don't have the two bodies we can't be absolutely sure. But every piece of information we have points in the direction of these men having been executed," the spokesman said.

"It includes the fact that the bodies were found some distance from their vehicles and had lost their protective equipment, flak jackets and helmets," he added.

In contrast to the Mirror, the Sun stuck very much to its pro-war guns today, uncritically accepting Mr Blair's execution claim.

Under a front page headline, "God bless, lads", it ran the sub-headline, "Executed Brits: staff sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36, and sapper Luke Allsopp, 24".

MediaGuardian.co.uk © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
When a leader lies about how a soldier was killed he's not fit to lead. There will be some who believe him, some who didn't hear the brief correction, but most will remember these soldiers being executed. This is why propaganda is so dangerous.

The Brits are only now getting a taste of what Americans have had to endure since Fox News came on the air in the US. Lies and silly nonsense pass as news and once these lies are reported on one (War) Network, they all pick up on it as if it's gospel truth. This non-news is then followed by days, weeks or months of commentary. When the truth finally comes out (ie: Whitewater) it's old news and disregarded.

We can only hope the British people don't become suckers like Americans.


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Richard Perle Resigns Chairmanship
Washington Post
By Walter Pincus and Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 27, 2003; 6:45 PM

Richard N. Perle, a key figure inside the Bush national security team who has been dogged by conflict of interest allegations, resigned today as the unpaid chairman of an influential Pentagon advisory board but intends to stay on as a member.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who announced the move in a written statement late this afternoon, praised the 61-year-old Perle as a "man of integrity and honor" who has a "deep understanding of our national security process."

"I am grateful for his willingness to continue to serve on the board," Rumsfeld wrote.

Perle, a former assistant defense secretary under Ronald Reagan, has been the subject of several published reports describing his ties to companies that have business before the Defense Department.

He drew fire, in particular, for agreeing to represent Global Crossing, a telecommunications business that sought his help in overcoming the Pentagon's national security objections to the firm's proposed sale to a foreign firm controlled by investors from China and Singapore. Under the arrangement, Perle was to be paid a $125,000 retainer and would earn another $600,000 if the deal was approved by a government review panel that includes Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the New York Times reported last Friday.

Perle's decision to step down didn't quiet his critics, however.

Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called the move "a small step in the right direction" but said he would press on with his request that the Pentagon's Inspector General investigate Perle's business dealings.

"If he is continuing as Member of the Board, that continues to be a problem," Conyers said.

Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog group, agreed. And he said the advisory board's ethical failings reach beyond Perle.

At least 10 of the panel's 31 members are executives or lobbyists with private companies that have tens of billions of dollars' worth of contracts with the Defense Department and other government agencies, according to a report to be released by the center Friday.

"The problems of the Defense Policy Board run much deeper than Richard Perle," Lewis said. "To the public it looks like you have folks feathering their nest. . . . I'm shocked and awed by audacity of who has been selected and who is serving on this board. There really is a tin ear when it comes to ethical appearance considerations."

The panel, which meets at least quarterly, brings together academics and former government and military officials to advise Pentagon officials on a wide range of strategic issues and defense policy matters. Agendas from recent meetings list discussions on Iran, North Korea and the Pentagon's controversial Total Information Awareness initiative.

Members of the board are appointed to one-year terms, are unpaid and serve as special government employees. They are covered both by federal ethics laws and regulations known as the Standards of Ethical Conduct, which, among other things, prohibit financial conflicts of interest and using one's public position for private gain.

Board members must file confidential financial disclosure forms annually when they are nominated or reappointed to the panel. The forms are reviewed by the Pentagon's ethics officer but are not subject to public viewing, said Maj. Ted Wadsworth, a Pentagon spokesman.

"If there was an objection from the ethics office . . . then the nomination would not go through," said Wadsworth.

He added, "If the discussions of the board should involve matters that have a direct and predictable effect on a board member's financial interests, the board member is recused from taking part in such discussions."

Perle was appointed chairman of the board in July 2001, and was most recently reappointed on Aug. 12.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
The ethics of Perle are highly questionable. Not only Global Crossing, but he also threatened to sue a reporter from the New Yorker because he disclosed how much money Perle was trying to get from the Saudi's in exchange for the US laying off them.

Perle is also the guy who said the US can do Iraq alone if it has to at Impeach 19, Europeans Not Needed for Iraq Attack - US Adviser and called our allies in France and Germany all kinds of names which you can find under Impeach 62US Iraq Mission Riskier Without Turkey


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No cakewalk
CNN News
Bob Novak
Wednesday, March 26, 2003 Posted: 12:05 PM EST (1705 GMT)

WASHINGTON -- "There were some who were supportive of going to war with Iraq who described it as a cakewalk," Tim Russert told Donald Rumsfeld on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday.

The secretary of Defense seemed surprised. "I never did," he replied. "No one I know in the Pentagon ever did." While Rumsfeld spoke the literal truth, his response was still disingenuous.

Rumsfeld had been asked about the cakewalk description several times, rejecting it but still defending the premises for such a judgment. While its source was not technically a Pentagon official, it was a longtime Rumsfeld friend and lieutenant: Kenneth Adelman, appointed by the secretary to the Defense Policy Board (an outside advisory panel). In demanding military action against Saddam Hussein, Adelman has promised repeatedly there would be no military difficulty.

U.S. general officers I have questioned over the last year were angry that anybody -- particularly an official adviser -- should spread the impression this would not be a real war, with killing and dying.

Nevertheless, the cakewalk image took hold among some of the strongest hawks in Congress and in the public mind. That has led to widespread surprise and dismay in beholding what Rumsfeld accurately told Russert: "A war is a war. It's a brutal thing."

Nevertheless, Adelman and Rumsfeld both overestimated the gap between U.S. and Iraqi military prowess. According to Defense Department sources, Rumsfeld at first insisted that vast air superiority and a degraded Iraqi military would enable 75,000 U.S. troops to win the war.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the theater commander-in-chief, convinced Rumsfeld to send 250,000 (augmented by 45,000 British). However, the Army would have preferred a much deeper force, leading to anxiety inside the Pentagon in the first week of war.

Unlike Vietnam, strongest advocates of action against the Iraqi regime had estimated the lowest troop needs. Former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, named by Rumsfeld to head the Defense Policy Board, predicted in February 2001 that Hussein would be gone within a year. I asked Perle whether a major U.S. expeditionary force would be needed. "No, certainly not," he replied. "I don't think that's necessary."

Adelman, Perle's Defense Policy Board colleague who held important government posts as Rumsfeld's subordinate, was interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Dec. 6, 2001. "I don't agree that you need an enormous number of American troops," said Adelman. Hussein's army "is down to one-third than it was before, and I think it would be a cakewalk." Since then, Adelman has stuck to that estimate.

Last Nov. 23, I asked Rumsfeld whether he agreed with Adelman. "Well, I really don't," he said, but then indicated he understood how his friend came to that conclusion. "Saddam Hussein's forces are considerably weaker today than" in 1991, while "our forces are considerably stronger." He suggested that only Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" -- presumably chemical weapons -- could "change the equation." No such weapons have yet been used, but the Iraqis have put up stout resistance.

While Army officers would have preferred a larger commitment, even what was finally approved for Operation Iraqi Freedom was reduced when the 4th Infantry Division was denied Turkey as a base to invade northern Iraq.

The Defense and State departments point fingers. Secretary of State Colin Powell is criticized for not flying to Ankara to convince the Turkish government. The Pentagon is criticized for not immediately dispatching the division via the Red Sea.

"We have never done something like this with this modest a force at such a distance from its bases," retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a division commander in the first Gulf War, told the BBC Monday, contending Rumsfeld had erred.

A bigger stir was made in the Defense establishment by the column in Tuesday's Washington Post by retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a noted writer on military affairs. E-mails and phone calls flowed through the Pentagon agreeing with Peters's view that Rumsfeld committed a "serious strategic miscalculation" in not sending enough troops and relying on the "shock and awe" bombing campaign.

Yet, civilian and military sources high in the government now believe coalition forces, short on manpower, must rely on air power to win the battle of Baghdad. Clearly, it is no cakewalk.

Commentary:


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Shock, Awe and Overconfidence
Washington Post
By Ralph Peters Tuesday, March 25, 2003; Page A09

The allied forces on the march in Iraq have performed impressively. Within weeks, major operations will give way to a few months of mopping up. Iraq will be liberated. This will happen despite serious strategic miscalculations by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Most wars begin under the spell of prevailing theories that are swept away by the realities of combat. World War I began with a belief that elan and the bayonet still ruled the battlefield. Waves of soldiers fell before machine guns. In World War II, blitzkrieg worked against weak states but failed against those with strategic depth.

Now we are trying to prosecute a war according to another military theory, "shock and awe." Again, bold claims have led to disappointments redeemed only by the skill and determination of our military.

Explained as simply as possible, the shock-and-awe theory proposes that America's arsenal of precision weapons has developed so remarkably that aerial bombardment can shatter an opponent's will to resist. The airstrikes are to be so dramatic in sensory effect and so precise in targeting a regime's leadership infrastructure that the enemy's decision-makers see no choice but surrender.

The first waves of airstrikes on Baghdad were indeed dramatic and precise. The problem is that one's enemies don't necessarily respond to theories. Shock and awe, like blitzkrieg before it, would work superbly against Belgium. But its advocates failed to consider the nature of Saddam Hussein's regime.

No matter how shocked and awed the Iraqi leadership may be, surrender is not, never was and never will be an option for Hussein and his inner circle. Because of the nature of their regime and its crimes, the contest is all or nothing for them.

Had the most senior officials surrounding Donald Rumsfeld paused to consider the enemy, instead of rushing to embrace a theory they found especially congenial for political reasons, they would have realized that you cannot convince Hussein, his sons or his inner circle that they have been defeated. You must actually defeat them. And you must do it the old-fashioned way, albeit with improved weapons, by killing them and destroying their instruments of power.

Our attempt to baby-talk Iraq's elite military forces into surrender was humane in purpose and politically attractive, and it might have minimized Iraqi casualties. But it delayed essential attacks on Iraq's military capabilities. This encouraged at least some Iraqis in uniform to believe they had a chance to fight and win. Now our forces advancing on Baghdad face the possibility of more serious combat than would otherwise have been the case.

Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an enemy is still to kill him. Those who want to wage antiseptic wars for political purposes should not start wars in the first place.

A student of military history would recognize the ghost of Italian Gen. Giulio Douhet at work in the shock-and-awe theory. In 1921 Douhet published "The Command of the Air," a book predicting that air power would prove so powerful in the next war that land forces would be of marginal relevance. In World War II, air forces did play a critical role -- but the Army still had to fight its way across the Rhine to secure victory, just as our soldiers and Marines have had to fight their way across the Euphrates.

Without question, air power is performing magnificently in Iraq. Weapons technologies truly have improved by an order of magnitude over the past decade. The Air Force and the air arms of our other services are indispensable. But they remain most effective as part of an overall land, sea and air military team. Once again, it has taken ground forces to provide the main thrust of military operations, to take and hold ground, to seize oil fields, airfields and bridges, and to force the war toward a battlefield decision.

Unfortunately, those ground forces are spread very thin. Military planners have argued for months that more and heavier ground forces were needed to ensure rapid and sustained success, as well as to minimize risk. Rumsfeld personally and repeatedly rejected calls for the deployment of additional Army divisions. Now, as our last major units move into the fight in Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks does not have on hand a significant armored reserve he can commit to battle, should things go awry.

I do not doubt our ultimate success. But the impressive television images of tanks charging across the desert mask a numerical weakness for which technology may not fully compensate. One senior officer serving in the Persian Gulf complained to me that had we had sufficient forces on hand to deploy security elements along our routes of march -- the usual practice -- those American POWs who appeared on Iraqi television might not have been captured.

The troops at the front of our attack are performing superbly, but they are operating on adrenaline at this point. Four to five days into any conflict, another division should have conducted a "forward passage of lines" with the 3rd Infantry Division before the final push to Baghdad, giving the 3ID a chance to rest, rearm and reequip before returning to battle. But no other heavy division is on hand in the theater of war to relieve or reinforce our tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. The closest unit is on ships in the Red Sea, at least 10 days away from any ability to influence the battle.

Why did Rumsfeld and his most trusted subordinates overrule the advice of their military planners? For political, bureaucratic and theoretical reasons. Rumsfeld, who is otherwise an inspiring wartime official, was out to prove a point. In his vision of the future -- one shaped by technocrats and the defense industry -- ground forces can be cut drastically in order to free funding for advanced technologies. To that end, Rumsfeld has moved to frustrate the Army's efforts to field medium-weight brigades that can be deployed swiftly to a crisis, which would have been invaluable in this conflict.

This war was supposed to prove the diminishing relevance of ground forces, while shock-and-awe attacks from the air secured a swift victory. Instead, the plan had to be rearranged so that ground forces could rush into Iraq to prevent economic and ecological catastrophes -- you still cannot seize ground, prevent sabotage, halt genocide and ethnic cleansing, or liberate anybody from the sky.

We are headed for victory, but, as the Duke of Wellington observed of Waterloo, it may be a "near-run thing" on the ground.

Some lessons of this war are already clear: Ferocity, skill and determination, not theories, win wars. And our nation will continue to require balanced, adequately funded forces -- in all of our armed services -- for a very long time to come.

Ralph Peters is a retired military officer and the author, most recently, of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
I like this line: "Weapons technologies truly have improved by an order of magnitude over the past decade." This is Bill Clinton's military everyone is talking about. The military conservatives said needed more money after he drove it into the ground. Our military is fine, it's the conservative mind-set that is flawed. They still believe throwing more money at a problem is better than using what money is available. When, oh when will they learn?


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GOP hypocrisy in attacks upon Daschle
CNN
Mark Shields
Monday, March 24, 2003 Posted: 4:11 PM EST (2111 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Creators Syndicate) -- From March 24,1999, until June 10,1999, the United States and NATO waged a military campaign to save ethnic Albanians in Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

On May 4, 1999 -- while American troops were engaged in combat -- two Republican congressional leaders publicly criticized the Democratic president and his policy:

Then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi: "As a matter of fact, you know, I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning. I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."

Then House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas: "(In the Balkans) we have a (U.S.) president I don't trust who has proven my reason for not trusting him, had no plan."

Compare these please to the following.

On March 17, 2003 -- after it became apparent that the United States had been able to win only four of the 15 votes on the U.N. Security Council and before the president would tell the nation that the United States would almost certainly, in two days, initiate military action against Iraq -- Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, publicly criticized the Republican president and his policy: "I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're forced to war, saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort so critical for our country."

It is true that generally "war represents a failure of diplomacy." And even though Daschle -- unlike DeLay and Lott -- delivered his criticisms before the first shot was fired and before American troops were in combat, a clear plurality of all Washington GOP politicians in shoe-leather launched a blistering press attack on the South Dakota Democrat.

Tom DeLay (who should know one when he sees one) asked, "Is Tom Daschle the official Democrat hatchet-man or just a taxpayer-funded pundit?" House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, a man of personal and verbal restraint, went nuclear, charging that Daschle's comments "may not undermine the president as he leads us into war and they may not comfort our adversaries, but they come mighty close."

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, reflecting the GOP's continuing Francophobia, added, "Sen. Daschle clearly articulated the French position."

Of course, dissent is not disloyalty, and of course, Tom Daschle -- who spent from 1969 through 1972 in uniform as an Air Force intelligence officer -- personally has more active-duty military experience than DeLay, Hastert and Lott, to say nothing of Vice President Dick Cheney, combined. At a time when three out of four college graduates served in the military, this quartet of red-white-and-blue patriots figured out how to game the system and qualify for deferments to skip the burden of defending the nation they so obviously love.

Interestingly, Tom Daschle could have qualified for a draft deferment because he was married when he graduated from South Dakota State University in 1969. He chose instead to honor his commitment to serve. He has explained the intense rivalry between his alma mater and the University of South Dakota this way: "We're a lot like Harvard and Yale, except we have a better school of animal husbandry."

He explained his decision: "I just viewed my time in the service as giving back to your country, something I needed to do just as my father had done before me." In Ed Pokorny of Texas and Fred Marr of Idaho, Tom Daschle has a gift his critics will never know -- lifetime friendships forged from shared military service.

Daschle, who was not sent to Southeast Asia, remembers, "A lot of the people I served with went to Vietnam, and some did not come home." He continues to visit the Vietnam memorial, seeks out the names on the wall and admits "that hole in your heart and your memory is always there" -- and so, too, are "the tears."

Let us not forget: Debate and dissent are the very oxygen of democracy. This nation was founded not by conformists or the complacent, but by dissenters who had the courage to defend their beliefs and their homeland -- which sounds a lot more like Tom Daschle than his critics.

© 2003 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

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Who Lost the U.S. Budget?
New York Times
By PAUL KRUGMAN
March 21, 2003

The Onion describes itself as "America's finest news source," and it's not an idle boast. On Jan. 18, 2001, the satirical weekly bore the headline "Bush: Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over," followed by this mock quotation: "We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

Whatever our qualms about how we got here, all Americans now hope that the foreign front proceeds according to plan. Meanwhile, let's talk about the fiscal front.

The latest official projections acknowledge (if you read them carefully) that the long-term finances of the U.S. government are in much worse shape than the administration admitted a year ago. But many commentators are reluctant to blame George W. Bush for that grim outlook, preferring instead to say something like this: "Sure, you can criticize those tax cuts, but the real problem is the long-run deficits of Social Security and Medicare, and the unwillingness of either party to reform those programs."

Why is this line appealing? It seems more reasonable to blame longstanding problems for our fiscal troubles than to attribute them to just two years of bad policy decisions. Also, many pundits like to sound "balanced," pronouncing a plague on both parties' houses. To accuse the current administration of wrecking the federal budget sounds, well, shrill — and we don't want to sound shrill, do we?

There's only one problem with this reasonable, balanced, non-shrill position: it's completely wrong. The Bush tax cuts, not the retirement programs, are the main reason why our fiscal future suddenly looks so bleak.

I base that statement on a new study that compares the size of the Bush tax cuts with that of the prospective deficits of Social Security and Medicare. The results are startling.

Accountants estimate the "actuarial balance" of Social Security and Medicare the same way a private insurance company would: they calculate the present value of projected revenues and outlays, and find the difference. (The present value of a future expense is the amount you would have to invest today to have the money when the bill comes due. For example, if $1 invested in U.S. government bonds would be worth $2 by the year 2020, then the present value of $2 in 2020 is $1 today.) And both programs face shortfalls: the estimated actuarial deficit of Social Security over the next 75 years is $3.5 trillion, and that of Medicare is $6.2 trillion.

But how do these shortfalls compare with the fiscal effects of recent and probable future tax cuts?

The new study, carried out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, estimates the present value of the revenue that will be lost because of the Bush tax cuts — those that have already taken place, together with those that have been proposed — using the same economic assumptions that underlie those Medicare and Social Security projections. The total comes to $12 trillion to $14 trillion — more than the Social Security and Medicare shortfalls combined. What this means is that the revenue that will be sacrificed because of those tax cuts is not a minor concern. On the contrary, that revenue would have been more than enough to "top up" Social Security and Medicare, allowing them to operate without benefit cuts for the next 75 years.

The administration has tried to deny this conclusion, inventing strange new principles of accounting in the process. But the simple truth is that the Bush tax cuts have utterly transformed our fiscal outlook, for the worse. Without those tax cuts, the problems of an aging population might well have been manageable; with them, nothing short of an economic miracle can save us from a fiscal crisis.

And there's a lesson here that goes beyond fiscal policies. On almost every front the outlook for the United States now seems far bleaker than it did two years ago. Has everything gone wrong because of evildoers and external forces? In the case of the budget — and the economy and, yes, foreign policy — the answer is no. The world has turned out to be a tougher place than we thought a few years ago, but things didn't have to be nearly this bad.

The fault lies not in our stars, but in our leadership.

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