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The administration hopes that Iraqi forces will eventually be able to replace U.S. troops in Iraq. But having created the new Iraqi army from scratch, both the U.S. and Iraq's new American-backed government will be held responsible for its conduct in the future.
The secretary of Defense blames Al Jazeera at a security conference in Singapore
WHEN PRESS FREEDOM HURTS
"If anyone lived in the Middle East and watched a network like the Aljazeera day after day after day, even if he was an American, he would start waking up and asking what's wrong," Donald Rumsfeld told a security conference in Singapore. "But America is not wrong. It's the people who are going on television chopping off people's heads, that is wrong," the Secretary of Defense added. "And television networks that carry it and promote it and jump on the spark every time there is a terrorist act are promoting the acts," (Donald Rumsfeld, reported by Al Jazeera, June 7, 2005).
EXAGGERATING THE IMPACT OF THE MEDIA ON WAR
William Darley, argues that critics often blame the media for damaging public support during wartime. In fact, the polls show that the media merely reinforces opinions that were already there. Add to that a tendancy to "rally around the flag," that can be quite shocking. (William Darley, Paramaeters, The U.S. Army War College, Summer 2005)
PROGRESS IN IRAQ DEPENDS ON DEPRIVING THE INSURGENCY OF PASSIVE POPULAR SUPPORT
Writing in Paramaters, the quarterly review of the U.S. Army War College, Christopher M. Ford notes that “ Despite significant troop numbers, large sums of money, and a great deal of personal commitment by all forces over the past two years, one thing has remained predictably constant: the population’s neutrality....The importance of the population in an insurgency highlights a fundamental vulnerability of counterinsurgency versus insurgency: counterinsurgency needs the positive support of the population, whereas an early-stage insurgency needs only neutrality. Neutrality provides the insurgents freedom of maneuver and the ability to refit, refresh, and recruit. Conversely, neutrality affords the opposing force or coalition no benefits. Coalition forces must win the support of the people; it is simply not enough to maintain their neutrality.…”(Charles M. Ford, Parameters, Summer 2005)
RULING BY CONSENT OR FEAR
In an L.A. Times OpEd, Naomi Klein writes: “Most Iraqis do not consent to the open-ended military occupation they have been living under for more than two years... Lacking consent, the current U.S.-Iraqi regime relies heavily on fear, including the most terrifying tactics of them all: disappearances, indefinite detention without charge and torture. And despite official reassurances, it's only getting worse. A year ago, President Bush pledged to erase the stain of Abu Ghraib by razing the prison to the ground. There has been a change of plans. Abu Ghraib and two other U.S.-run prisons in Iraq are being expanded, and a new 2,000-person detention facility is being built, with a price tag of $50 million. In the last seven months alone, the prison population has doubled to a staggering 11,350…” (Naomi Klein, L.A. Times, June 7, 2005)
AIRBUS VS BOEING:PUTTING FREE MARKETEERING TO THE TEST
The U.S. opposes Europe’s plan to provide $1.7 billion in risk-free loans to launch Airbus’ latest model. Europeans charge that the U.S. does the same thing, only through defense contracts… (Michael Weinstein . Power and Interest News Report, June 7, 2005)
EMAILS RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHITE HOUSE AND PENTAGON INVOLVEMENT IN BOEING TANKER SCANDAL
"We all know that this is a bailout for Boeing," Ronald G. Garant, an official of the Pentagon comptroller's office, said in a message to two others in his office and then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Wayne A. Schroeder,concerning Boeing’s $30 billion proposal to convert passenger planes into military refueling tankers and lease them as an "efficient" way to obtain aircraft the military urgently needs. "Why don't we just bite the bullet," he asked, "and handle the acquisition like the procurement of a 1970s-era aircraft -- by squeezing the manufacturer to provide a better tanker at a decent cost?” (Jeffrey R. Smith, Washington Post, June 6, 2005)
FORMER ENRON EXECUTIVES TO CASH IN ON NEW ENERGY DEAL?
Public Citizen reports that buried in the 700-plus page energy bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate is a provision that provides hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal loan guarantees for a power project apparently to be built by four former Enron executives...
Title XIV, Section 1403(c)(1)(B) of the Senate energy bill provides federal loan guarantees for “a project to produce energy from coal … mined in the western United States using appropriate advanced integrated gasification combined cycle technology that minimizes and offers the potential to sequester carbon dioxide emissions and … shall be located in a western State at an altitude greater than 4,000 feet.”Public Citizen’s investigation to find out who this loan would benefit narrowed the answer to just one company: Houston-based DKRW Energy. This company, named after the four Enron executives that founded it – Jon C. Doyle, Robert C. Kelly, H. David Ramm and White – formed a subsidiary, Medicine Bow Fuel & Power, to develop a $2.8 billion coal gasification project in Medicine Bow, Wyo. The DKRW facility meets all the criteria required in the legislation: The coal will be supplied from Arch Coal mines neighboring the power facility; it will stuff carbon dioxide emissions into oil wells; and the facility will be located in a western state (Wyoming) at an altitude above 4,000 feet.(Public Citizen, June 6, 2005)
THE SPECTATOR PONDERS EUROPE’S UNLOVED CONSTITUTION
Anthony Browne notes in the current issuen of London's Spectator: “…Genocide is stalking the land, and Islamist terrorists are about to blow up innocents by the trainload...I know this is going to happen, because Dutch MEPs warned of it in a TV commercial. Archive footage of Jews being herded on to trains, of mass graves from the Srebrenica massacre, and bodies lying on tracks after the 11 March train bombing in Madrid were used to warn the Dutch what would happen again if Europe didn’t get its constitution.But before you head for the bomb shelter, remember that Euro-enthusiasts are not infallible. They said the countries that joined the euro would boom, but the only thing that has exploded is unemployment. They warned us that the British economy would collapse if we didn’t join the euro. We didn’t, and the British economy is in the best shape ever. So now that the constitution is being killed off, we can probably be sure of peace in our time…” (Anthony Browne, The Spectator, june 6, 2005)
EASTERN EUROPEANS CONCERNED ABOUT E-U SLOWDOWN
The resounding “No” votes in the French and Dutch referendums have thrown the new member states (NMS) from eastern Europe into confusion over where they stand within the E-U. For many of the states still clamouring to join, the referendum results risk closing off any membership prospects for the foreseeable future.(Economist Intelligence Unit Viewswire, June 6, 2005)
CONTROLLING THE BRAINS BEHIND THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
RAND’s latest book on the risks of proliferation examines the danger of the freefloating expertise that is capable of putting a weapon system together. Since the early 1990s, the United States has been concerned about the diversion of expertise and sensitive information from the nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons complexes of the former Soviet Union . RAND puts together critical documentation and insights into the evolution of the problem. (RAND, June 2005-The entire book is downloadable on line.)
CHINA: A NUCLEAR THREAT?
Jeffrey Lewis writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:"If you read the Washington Times, in addition to believing that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction are hidden somewhere in Syria, you might believe that 'China's aggressive strategic nuclear-modernization program' was proceeding apace. If munching on freedom fries at a Heritage Foundation luncheon is your thing, you might worry that "even marginal improvements to [China's intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)] derived from U.S. technical know-how" threaten the United States. So, it may come as a shock to learn that China's nuclear arsenal is about the same size it was a decade ago, and that the missile that prompted the Washington Times article has been under development since the mid-1980s. Perhaps your anxiety about "marginal improvements" to China's missile force would recede as you learned that China's 18 ICBMs, sitting unfueled in their silos, their nuclear warheads in storage, are essentially the same as they were the day China began deploying them in 1981. In fact, contrary to reports you might have recently read that Chinese nukes number in the hundreds--if not the thousands--the true size of the country's operationally deployed arsenal is probably about 80 nuclear weapons." (Jeffrey Lewis, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May-June, 2005)
ROBERT S. MACNAMARA writing in the current issue of Foreign Policy notes that the ability of the U.S. president to launch Armageddon on a moment’s notice is unsettling at best. “The whole situation seems so bizarre as to be beyond belief. On any given day, as we go about our business, the president is prepared to make a decision within 20 minutes that could launch one of the most devastating weapons in the world. To declare war requires an act of congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes’ deliberation by the president and his advisors. But that is what we have lived with for 40 years. With very few changes, this system remains largely intact, including the “football,” the president’s constant companion…” (Robert MacNamara, Foreign Policy, June 2005)
SUDDEN INFLUX OF PIPELINE CASH FUELS POLITICAL OPPOSITION
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline may prove either a blessing or a bane for President Ilham Aliyev’s administration in Azerbaijan. The export route is expected to generate revenue that could fuel the rapid expansion of Azerbaijan’s economy. At the same time, the opening of the pipeline has helped spur opposition protests that aim to break the Aliyev administration’s virtual monopoly on power. An estimated 10,000 anti-government protesters gathered in central Baku on June 4 to press demands for free-and-fair parliamentary elections, which are scheduled to be held in November. "We want to form a parliament that represents the will of the Azerbaijani people," Ali Karimli, leader of the Popular Front, part of an opposition coalition that helped organize the protest, told the demonstrators. (Shahin Abbasov and Khadija Ismailova, EURASIANET.ORG, June 6, 2005)
AFGHANISTAN AT THE CROSSROADS
As parliamentary elections approach in September 2005, independent political parties are being sidelined while increasing popular dissatisfaction with the slow progress in economic reconstruction, rising corruption and continued insecurity is turning up the heat. Marginalisation and intolerance of political opposition stunted the development of a pluralistic system, and was largely responsible for past violence in Afghanistan. If current laws constraining political parties are not changed, Afghanistan risks further chaos.(ICG, June 2, 2005)
Some analysts and candidates are especially upset by the rules stipulating that the candidate’s party affiliation will not appear on the ballot and that 68 seats in the national assembly have already seen set aside for women.The September 18 election will fill 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house. The number of seats from each of Afghanistan's 34 provinces will be allocated on the basis of population.Kabul, the most populous province, will have 33 deputies. Panjshir, Nimrooz and Nooristan, the nation's more sparsely populated provinces, will have only two each. Nationwide, nearly 3,000 candidates have registered to seek seats in the Wolesi Jirga. The Joint Electoral Management Body, JEMB, reports that 338 of those candidates, or more than 10 per cent, are women. So what happens if the top female candidate in Panjshir, with just two delegates, finishes tenth? She would win a legislative seat, while nine male candidates ahead of her are eliminated, according to the JEMB rules. If the top vote getter in such a case is a man, the two-women-per-province rule would be waived.(By Wahidullah Amani in Kabul, IWPR.net, Jun 3, 2005)
THE DOWNING STREET MEMO
(First published in Times of London, May 1, 2005)
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02
cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell
IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY
Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.
This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.
John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August. The two broad US options were:
(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).
(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.
The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:
(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.
(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.
(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.
The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.
The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work. On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.
For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.
The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.
John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.
The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.
(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.
(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.
(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.
(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.
He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.
(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.
(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.
(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)
(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide.)
(Reprinted in Salon, June 6, 2005)
FANTASIZING A WAR WITH NORTH KOREA
--The Atlantic Monthly stages a war game
Late last March, with Condoleeza Rice in Asia, a group of Washington experts got together and played a a war game, speculating on how a confrontation with North Korea would actually play out in real life.Scott Stossel describes the conclusions in the July-August edition of the Atlantic Monthly. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Jessica Matthews played the role of the Director of National Intelligence. As the Carnegie Endowment notes on its website, "An actual war on the Korean peninsula would almost certainly be the bloodiest America has fought since Vietnam—possibly since World War II. In recent years Pentagon experts have estimated that the first ninety days of such a conflict might produce 300,000 to 500,000 South Korean and American military casualties, along with hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. The damage to South Korea alone would rock the global economy.All-out war, however, is not the only—or even the gravest—threat North Korea currently poses to U.S. security. For some years now the fear that has kept homeland-defense experts awake at night is that terrorists will detonate a nuclear bomb in an American city….(CEIP, June, 2005)
THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE ATLANTIC (requires subscription)
NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR ARSENAL
Possibly 8 to 11 nuclear weapons--a small number by current standards, but more than it took for the U.S. to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II
(CDI.org, May 31, 2005)
U.S. BACKTRACKS ON NORTH KOREA THREAT
The United States met Monday with North Korea on halting its nuclear weapons program and withdrew a threat to try to punish the North Koreans soon with U.N. sanctions.
The meeting was requested by North Korea and held in New York, where the two sides had last met May 13, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.The U.S. aim is to resume six-nation negotiations after a nearly yearlong impasse. McCormack and other Bush administration officials did not say if the talks in New York made progress in that direction. (Barry Schweid, AP, June 7, 2005)
BUSH AND BLAIR FACE DIFFERENCES ON AFRICA AND GLOBAL WARMING
Britain’s Tony Blair wants to write off African debt and get the U.S. on board concerning climate change. The White House is trying to get by with around $647million in emergency food aid to Eritria and Ethiopia, but little in the way of development assistance, and doing anything to prevent Global Warming is definitely a non-starter in an administration overloaded with former fossile-fuel burning oil industry executives. Aid groups say that Africa needs closer to $15 billion to reach millennium goals, and in the Bush White House that is defnitely a non-starter. The result is likely to be embarrassment for Balir at the upcoming G-8 summit. (Hanna K. Strange, UPI, June 6, 2005)
BLAIR INTERVIEWED ON PBS' NEWS HOUR
Blair tells Gwen Ifill:"Well, the U.S. is not prepared to sign Kyoto, we know that, which is the treaty that was about climate change. However, on the other hand, the U.S. is probably investing more money into research and development, into clean technology than any other country in the world, and recently, I think it's been very clear, the administration, as much for reasons of energy, security and supply as climate change, are prepared to take bold action in this area...." In response to the Downing Street Memo, Blair says: (FULL TEXT OF THE DOWNING STREET MEMO (click here))"Basically, the case that people are making, that somehow we'd taken the decision to invade, you know, irrespective of what Iraq did, it's simply not correct. The whole reason we went to the United Nations back in, originally in September 2002, then with the resolution in November 2002, was precisely in order to see if there was a way of giving Iraq a last chance to come into compliance with the United Nations resolutions and avoid conflict. But they didn't.
"And so when people -- you know, they take bits out here of this memo or that memo, or something someone's supposed to have said at the time, and what people ignore is we went through a very open, obvious process through the United Nations and the issue was how did you -- because the view I took, as the president did, was we had to enforce United Nations resolutions against countries that were developing and proliferating WMD, that after September the 11 the world had changed, we had to take a definitive stance. The place to start was Iraq 'cause it was a breach of U.N. resolutions and instead of going straight to conflict, which we would have done, had this been the "done deal" everyone accuses us of, we went through the United Nations to give it a last chance. But it didn't work, unfortunately..."
(Tony Blair, PBS News Hour, June 7, 2005)
FULL TEXT OF THE DOWNING STREET MEMO (click here)