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Thread: Back to Iraq?

  1. #211
    Senior Member TJMAC77SP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Alfredo View Post
    I'm pretty sure I read pretty widely about old chem sites, but maybe I'm thinking of "other" reporting...and I don't think I would stretch to the point where I'd say Bush lied. I think he had a case of wishful thinking. His intentions were not really misguided, though his implementation certainly was. He attributed 100% confidence to reporting that was not written that way. Having been an intel dude for 20+ years, it is extremely rare that we definitively, uncategorically state ANYTHING as fact without proof. You can assess, estimate, and throw out a good old-fashioned guess, but never wrote x IS going to happen. It might, it could, it most likely will, but not without validity wording. This ain't Miss Cleo.
    I am pretty sure I never read anything about old stockpiles. It is something that has always bothered me because it is a known fact (both openly and otherwise) that Iraq did indeed at one time have every program we talk about.

    You are correct in the final intel estimates rarely if ever give definitive conclusions. It is frustrating to say the least if you are using those products. Especially frustrating if you are a collector and you see intel watered down and slanted in the final products.

    I am always truly amazed at the number of people who now say the war was ill conceived and say it in a manner which leads you to believe they have always held this opinion. I readily admit my belief at the time that is was the right thing to do if not at the perfect moment. What I have always believed is that we royally screwed the pooch with regard to post war planning (or lack thereof).

    I truly wished some of those old threads were still around. It would have made my grenade over the transom fun..
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  2. #212
    Senior Member Capt Alfredo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJMAC77SP View Post
    I am pretty sure I never read anything about old stockpiles. It is something that has always bothered me because it is a known fact (both openly and otherwise) that Iraq did indeed at one time have every program we talk about.

    You are correct in the final intel estimates rarely if ever give definitive conclusions. It is frustrating to say the least if you are using those products. Especially frustrating if you are a collector and you see intel watered down and slanted in the final products.

    I am always truly amazed at the number of people who now say the war was ill conceived and say it in a manner which leads you to believe they have always held this opinion. I readily admit my belief at the time that is was the right thing to do if not at the perfect moment. What I have always believed is that we royally screwed the pooch with regard to post war planning (or lack thereof).

    I truly wished some of those old threads were still around. It would have made my grenade over the transom fun..
    It's certainly easier to look back in hindsight. My main issue is more the willingness to double down on the error and change the mission from CWMD to nation-building, led by political hacks. Read "Fiasco" sometime. Or "Imperial Life in the Emerald City."

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    Senior Member TJMAC77SP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Alfredo View Post
    It's certainly easier to look back in hindsight. My main issue is more the willingness to double down on the error and change the mission from CWMD to nation-building, led by political hacks. Read "Fiasco" sometime. Or "Imperial Life in the Emerald City."
    Its the statements with no admission of hindsight that frosts my coin purse.

    You rarely see where someone posts....."I initially supported (or kept silent) the war in 2003 but it turns out...................."

    It is always some definitive condemnation. I find that disingenuous at the least.
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    Senior Member Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJMAC77SP View Post
    Since finding really old threads is nearly impossible or actually impossible since the transition I figured I would post this here.

    Interesting development. Not really a new development but seems it is now ok for outlets like the NY Times to talk about it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...ide-nyt-region

    So...........did Bush lie?
    This isn't getting the coverage it deserves. reading the way those guys were treated (lack of care, official acknowledgement of their injuries, denial of purple hearts etc.) made me sick. Can you imagine a Platoon Sgt having to call DC just to get one of his guys appropriate medical care after he was exposed to Blister agent? Seems like every day there's a new story about how we're being lied to or some other example of government incompetence or malfeasance. Every Goddamn, Morally Bankrupt, Dishonorable, Son of a Bitch that had knowledge of this bullshit these guys have been made to endure should be courts martial-ed. What a disgrace.

    P.S.Moderator: please excuse my language.
    Last edited by Rainmaker; 10-17-2014 at 03:35 AM.

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Alfredo View Post
    Do you think finding some old chems we already knew about (from Iran-Iraq war and from the "gassing the Kurds" incident post Gulf War 1) were worth the national treasure, lives, limbs, and blood of our servicemen? My standard for going to war is a bit higher than that.
    No...finding old chems was not our goal initially. My issue with the whole thing is this. A very high percentage of people in Congress voted to go. If anyone is responsible for us going in it was the Intel community. I find it hard to believe that either the President or Congress made the decision to invade Iraq without believing that the Intel they were given was true. I might feel different if Bush had made the choice to invade without the high level of approval he had to do so. But with everyone agreeing at the time it just makes no sense to me that they would make the decisions to do what we did without believing the information they had was valid.

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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    From what I remember, the intel community was only convinced that Saddam was hidding something from the UN arms inspectors. We didn't exactly know what it was.

    If you'll remember, there was a very long period of his regime denying access to certain sites to the UN inspectors. When he did allow them into Iraq to inspect these sites, they were typically held at the gates of these compounds while convoys of Iraqi Army trucks would stream out of another gate.

    The intel community never had "slam dunk" evidence if Saddam had a nuke program or not, and they never wrote a report that characterized what evidence they did have as being solid proof of Saddam restarting his nuke program.

    We just knew he wasn't fully cooperating with the UN inspection teams.

    The is also the matter of "Curveball" the code name for an Iraqi informant that German Intel had working for them. He is the one who claimed Iraqi agents were trying to purchase yellowcake uranium on the black market, and components for centrifuges.

    The CIA never fully trusted the claims Curveball was making, and the reporting from those interviews reflected that doubt.

    I do not think it is fair to lay the blame for the Iraq war on the steps of the intel community.

    I put it more on Rumsfeld and Cheney; of course, the buck stops at Bush for listening to them.

    However, from what I've studied about it, those two are primarily the ones who took validity worded intelligence reports out of context.
    Last edited by Absinthe Anecdote; 10-17-2014 at 01:13 PM.
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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Personally, I think that the "I told you so" attitude that came about as soon as ISIS discovered the WMDs comes from the failure to realize that one can still talk out of their ass and be right. How many people in the military get promoted all the time, because they correctly answered questions about things that they know nothing about?

    Kind of reminds of an episode of the Simpsons, during its first season, where Homer Simpson was celebrated as a hero for saving the nuclear power plant from a meltdown. Indeed he did, but it was due a careless goof-up on his part that led to him unwittingly saving the power plant.
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  8. #218
    Senior Member Stalwart's Avatar
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    A large complicating factor in the intelligence that came out of Iraq prior to 2003 that has been reported openly is that Saddam Hussein thought he had stores of chemical weapons ready for use.

    Several of his commanders / program managers for these programs owed their lifestyle and their (and possibly their family's) lives on the success of those programs. So ... they fudge the reports and tell him that all is going well with that specific WMD program. This confused various aspects of the intelligence community who had reports from people inside Iraq that the programs were operational (didn't know the commanders were fudging the reports), as well as Saddam issuing orders to field commanders to use the weapons if advancing forces crossed [X] 'line' in the sand; the field commanders acknowledged the orders, knowing they did not have that capability -- again ... no one wanted to tell the emperor he had no clothes.

    A large part of intelligence is analysis of the information and making a recommendation based on the best information available. Many of the sources didn't know the programs were paper tigers either, they were reporting what they thought was true but turned out to be be overstated. All of this was very confusing at the time for those people trying to figure out what the situation actually was.
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  9. #219
    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalwart View Post
    A large complicating factor in the intelligence that came out of Iraq prior to 2003 that has been reported openly is that Saddam Hussein thought he had stores of chemical weapons ready for use.

    Several of his commanders / program managers for these programs owed their lifestyle and their (and possibly their family's) lives on the success of those programs. So ... they fudge the reports and tell him that all is going well with that specific WMD program. This confused various aspects of the intelligence community who had reports from people inside Iraq that the programs were operational (didn't know the commanders were fudging the reports), as well as Saddam issuing orders to field commanders to use the weapons if advancing forces crossed [X] 'line' in the sand; the field commanders acknowledged the orders, knowing they did not have that capability -- again ... no one wanted to tell the emperor he had no clothes.

    A large part of intelligence is analysis of the information and making a recommendation based on the best information available. Many of the sources didn't know the programs were paper tigers either, they were reporting what they thought was true but turned out to be be overstated. All of this was very confusing at the time for those people trying to figure out what the situation actually was.
    There is the factor of Saddam's generals lying to him about their weapons programs. Plus, there is Saddam actually sanctioning a deception program. Making his enemies at home and abroad think that his military had capabilities it did not.

    But I agree, Saddam's generals and engineers were under intense pressure to deliver even a small victory throughout the 1990s.

    Some of his engineers were doing goofy experiments in their efforts to shoot down US planes during the days of the No-Fly Zones.

    They modified BM-21 multiple rocket launcher, a ground-to-ground system, to be used in a ground-to-air role. Sent a piece of flak through an F-18, as I recall.

    They had a number of crazy projects trying to improvise ground-to-air weapons. They came close a couple of times.

    I'm sure a big factor driving those "science experiments" was various generals trying to win favor with Saddam.
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  10. #220
    Senior Member TJMAC77SP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalwart View Post
    A large complicating factor in the intelligence that came out of Iraq prior to 2003 that has been reported openly is that Saddam Hussein thought he had stores of chemical weapons ready for use.

    Several of his commanders / program managers for these programs owed their lifestyle and their (and possibly their family's) lives on the success of those programs. So ... they fudge the reports and tell him that all is going well with that specific WMD program. This confused various aspects of the intelligence community who had reports from people inside Iraq that the programs were operational (didn't know the commanders were fudging the reports), as well as Saddam issuing orders to field commanders to use the weapons if advancing forces crossed [X] 'line' in the sand; the field commanders acknowledged the orders, knowing they did not have that capability -- again ... no one wanted to tell the emperor he had no clothes.

    A large part of intelligence is analysis of the information and making a recommendation based on the best information available. Many of the sources didn't know the programs were paper tigers either, they were reporting what they thought was true but turned out to be be overstated. All of this was very confusing at the time for those people trying to figure out what the situation actually was.
    Interesting possibility (Saddam's general lying). He certainly didn't accept failures very well so as weird as it might sound to us it is completely plausible in that world.
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