Carol Platt Liebau: Kelly on Zarqawi's Bad Week

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kelly on Zarqawi's Bad Week

Jack Kelly's piece reminds everyone that we are fighting Al Qaida -- yes, Al Qaeda, the same people who flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11 -- in Iraq.

And still the Democrats want to talk about withdrawing.

Guess that tells you everything you need to know.

7 Comments:

Blogger Draino said...

Actually Zarqawi appears to be having another good week (for him anyway).

1.) He's still alive (apparently).

2.) He continues to evade 160,000 soldiers hunting him.

3.)He continues to wreak yet more death and destruction with no standing army, and relatively few resources.

4.) He does this all in a country currently hosting the mightiest and most advanced military in history.

Pardon my cynicism but he doesn't appear to be hurting me. Am I missing something?

12:51 PM  
Blogger GNN Staff Writer said...

The Democrats awaken each morning in hope of another Vietnam... America's biggest tragedy and the Left's finest moment.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Greg said...

I was dejected last week after the Senate Republicans went all French on us. But I sense the backlash is coming to the Democrats.

Yep. I'm feeling much better now.

Adding certainty to my hunch is the high pitch of the moonbat screams over being forced to face their own rhetoric.

Yep. We're back on track!

1:20 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Carol,

I received a copy from a sincere, intelligent opponent of the Administration. He also referenced an article by Seymour Hersch (sp?) substantiating "The Big Lie".

Would you or other Administration supporters have a comment on the OpEd below or on Seymour Hersch's piece? (I suppose this is like throwing chum in shark-infested waters.)

What I Knew Before the Invasion
By Bob Graham

Sunday, November 20, 2005; B07

In the past week President Bush has twice attacked Democrats for being hypocrites on the Iraq war. "[M]ore than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said.

The president's attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.

The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.

As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and the run-up to the Iraq war, I probably had as much access to the intelligence on which the war was predicated as any other member of Congress.

I, too, presumed the president was being truthful -- until a series of events undercut that confidence.

In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda.

In the early fall of 2002, a joint House-Senate intelligence inquiry committee, which I co-chaired, was in the final stages of its investigation of what happened before Sept. 11. As the unclassified final report of the inquiry documented, several failures of intelligence contributed to the tragedy. But as of October 2002, 13 months later, the administration was resisting initiating any substantial action to understand, much less fix, those problems.

At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.

Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.

There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked.

Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary.

The American people needed to know these reservations, and I requested that an unclassified, public version of the NIE be prepared. On Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page document titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs." It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as "If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year," underscored the White House's claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq.

From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth -- or even had an interest in knowing the truth.

On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not.

The writer is a former Democratic senator from Florida. He is currently a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Jack Kelly's piece reminds everyone that we are fighting Al Qaida -- yes, Al Qaeda, the same people who flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11 -- in Iraq.

Yeah, it is too bad that the Bush administration didn't take advantage of their multiple opportunities to capture/kill Zarqawi prior to the war.

It's also a shame that the Bush administration decided to ignore the advice of the General Shinseki and field an inadequate force* to secure the peace--leaving al Qaeda to turn Iraq into a terrorist breeeding ground when they had a negligible presence there prior to the war.

The Bush administration has given us inadequate planning, poor follow-through, failure to keep their eyes on the ball, and a complete disregard for taking responsibility for their own actions.

Guess that tells you everything you need to know.

Yep.

*To anyone who wants to make a big deal about my choice of the phrase "inadequate force" feel free. You know I'm taking about quantity and not quality here.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, must concur with Mr. Twister in his on-the-mark contention that inadequate planning and allocation of sufficient force at the outset of the campaign in Iraq has contributed mightily to the current substantial challenges the US faces there today.

Ironically, the so-called “Powell Doctrine” that Rumsfeld eschewed would have had it about right. That is, before we decide to apply military force, it’s crucial think it all the way through to the desired end state. Determine how much force and how many assets will be necessary to accomplish this (not under best case assumptions, but rather more toward worst-case assumptions), then apply more than sufficient force to accomplish the identified objectives through all phases of the campaign. Bring more to the fight than you think you’ll need, not just enough to win under best-case assumptions.

The administration in general, and Rumsfeld in particular, blew off the Powell Doctrine and went with minimum force to achieve their objectives, under best case or near best case assumptions, and failed to come close to planning adequately for “Phase IV”, the post “Decisive Operations” phase. No question, the administration has made some major mistakes in their conduct of this war.

Believe, however, that now that we’re committed in Iraq, it’s critically important to see this thing through to a successful conclusion. There are a lot of negative things occurring in Iraq, to be sure. On the other hand, there are, arguably, even a lot more positive things occurring, quietly, under the radar. There’s more going on there than just car bombs and prisoner abuse. Our outstanding officers, NCOs, and soldiers in the field may yet pull this thing out for us. I sincerely hope, and believe, they will succeed, and continue to proudly support their efforts.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the simple question you should be asking yourself is were these guys in Iraq before we invaded? The answer of course is no. We created them. Iraq is radical Islam's biggest recruiting tool.

Why should we start drawing down? Because if there is a stable democracy there as you suggest by far the best thing we could do prove we aren't occupiers of a puppet regime is to leave.

I find it amusing that someone so opposed to having foreigners from Mexico on our soil doesn't understand Iraqi (and Arab) hatred of having a foreign military on their soil.

1:41 PM  

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