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Say what you will about the first Gulf War, but in my opinion, it was far superior to the present one in almost every way. It was sanctioned by the UN. It was a response to the invasion of a sovereign nation. The US had more support, and perhaps most importantly more support in the region, thanks to the Saudis. Far less Americans died. The mission was completed far more quickly and cheaply, and specifically did not involve occupying Iraq due to the potential upheaval would have caused.

But Bush and his cronies in the administration still had to lie their way into it -- and it all sounds remarkably familiar.

In 2002, six months before the start of the present Iraq war and about a week before President George W. Bush warned the UN that it could become "irrelevant" if it didn't address Iraq, the Christian Science Monitor published an article entitled "In war, some facts less factual" (also linked above the fold), detailing the previous rush to war in 1990, and the lies told to facilitate it. Perhaps it didn't garner much press at the time, but their concerns were entirely justified, as--unfortunately--history has now shown.

"That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn't exist," Ms. Heller says. Three times Heller contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis - offering to hold the story if proven wrong.

The official response: "Trust us." To this day, the Pentagon's photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup remain classified.

To scare the Saudis into the coalition, the Pentagon apparently lied directly to them, possibly involving fabricated satellite images. Perhaps that's one reason why the Saudis didn't join us in the next Gulf War--what's that saying, "fool me once..."--well you know how it goes. This is actually a more serious charge than if they had misinterpreted satellite imagery, although both involve creating unsupported conclusions that fit a pre-existing goal.

It's also important to mention that Cheney was heading the Pentagon then; he personally talked to Saudi King Fahd, and he was hell-bent on doing whatever it took to have this war--regardless of what the UN or Congress thought at the time. Fortunately for him, they both supported it then--but he was willing to go through with it, regardless, as we later found out.

"My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by the intelligence," -- former US Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana

Perhaps officials in the UK would be shocked when intelligence is fixed around the policy, but according to this US Congressman, it certainly wasn't unheard of or unprecedented -- even in a rush to war, with Iraq.

at the start of the ground war in February, the US faced only 183,000 Iraqi troops, less than half the Pentagon estimate -- House Armed Services Committee report

So the Pentagon exaggerated the threat that Iraq posed, and all they could come up with was more troops? Well that's definitely bad intelligence, but at least it wasn't a nuclear threat, turning imagined centrifuges into harsh rhetoric about a mushroom cloud that could result from the fictitious nuclear weapons created from the unlikely Uranium.

"These are all the same people who were running it more than 10 years ago. They'll make up just about anything ... to get their way." -- John MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine

It seems that John MacArthur was right on target here as well--Cheney and his cohorts are still not to be trusted, no more than they should have been the first time around. This is something that the rest of the media could have investigated at any point in the past decade, or two, or three -- perhaps if we had more Bernsteins than Blitzers, or more Hirshes than Horowitzes.

Originally posted to pb on Tue May 31, 2005 at 08:34 PM PDT.


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Comment Preferences

  •  I believe the verb you're looking for... (none)
    is disassembled. The Bush Administration disassembled, per our Commander in Chief's "SAT Vocabulary Minute" during today's press conference...
    •  no disassemble number five... (4.00)
      Some of my personal favorite Bush moments are when he devotes parts of his speech to teaching the world Economics 101--he never seems to get much past supply and demand, but maybe one day we'll see a future lecture on currency devaluation, or hedge funds. You know, once he's decided that we've learned the first lesson.
  •  George Bush gave Saddam permision to invade Kuwait (none)
    When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Iraq was allies with the US.  Saddam Hussein asked George Bush's permision to attack.  George Bush said that America would not take a position on Arab-Arab conflicts.  Bush told Saddam it was OK to attack Kuwait because he wanted to have a war.
  •  In the same Christian Science Monitor article (none)
    that pb quotes, if you read further down there is this quote:

    "In November 1992, Iraq's former deputy prime minister, Tarik Aziz, gave Glaspie some vindication. He said she had not given Iraq a green light. "She just listened and made general comments," he told USA Today. "We knew the United States would have a strong reaction.""

    To say that there was no Iraqi buildup on the Kuwait/Saudi Arabia border is a flat out lie.  The Iraq army attacked Khafji,... well into Saudi Arabia, with a greater than division strength unit.  They had pre-postioned/builtup on the border prior to that attack.

    We also picked up prisoners who had been pre-positioned in fighting positions (dug into the hard desert floor) in Saudi Arabia, more than ten miles south-west of the border just to the north-east and east of Rafha.  Take a long hard look at the maps and see where those two cities are.

    I was there!  I saw them and their fighting positions!  I refute, from personal experience, any claim that there wasn't a buildup of Iraqi forces along the Saudi Arabian border prior to Desert Shield/Desert Storm.


    Words and phrases that are now illegal on DKos. Per order of the "Comment Cops": Jaded, Bitchy Games, Panties in a Wad, titty, and titted.

    by DrainBamaged on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 04:45:53 AM PDT

    •  reconciling the two (none)
      I refute, from personal experience, any claim that there wasn't a buildup of Iraqi forces along the Saudi Arabian border prior to Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
      You can refute that claim all you like, but that's not the claim that was made. The alleged satellite footage was from nearly six months prior, to get the Saudis to join the coalition.

      This was covered on lgf of all places, and the poster there links to the same thing I'd link to--an account of the battle at Khafji. The question would be, do you think that Saddam could move 40 tanks and 500 ground troops, given nearly six months to prepare.

      By the way, thank you for your service, and for your perspective. It's nice to hear from someone who was actually there.

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