( – promoted by buhdydharma )
As we wait to hear President Obama we already know that he will be increasing military troops in Afghanistan. We now need to hear just what the plan is now going to be, i.e. Exit Strategy, once a mainstay meme of the so called Strong on National Defense GOP. Even a certain State Governor called on the meme: “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is,” – George W. Bush, Texas Gov., 1999
But that was before they increased the hatreds and thus possible enemies towards us a thousand fold and for the coming decades!
I have had on my own mind, especially as I’ve been catching these reports out of the Inquiry, that we and the U.N. had military troops in Afghanistan already fighting and supposedly searching for the ghost enemy al Qaeda and Especially, “wanted dead or alive”, bin Laden, while the drums started beating towards Iraq, We’ve learned those drum beats started right on 9/11 only hours after the destruction and death, mentioned by Condi Rice and then some three days later by President Bush himself.
This has started raising some more questions we need to hear answers for. We had promised, and not only us but the other western countries, once ridding Afghanistan, and still going after bin Laden, that monies and help would start coming into that country helping them to rebuild, something we promised once before but never kept, after their years of war with the Soviets and the damage we inflicted after 9/11.
One question, with all the beating drums, Who was talking about Afghanistan, securing the country and helping them rebuild? We all know what wasn’t done, but was there even any mention of, or were they all so focused on an innocent country Iraq and an old friend Saddam, friend no more, and he knew too much! We may get a chance to find out if there was mention of the Afghan’s.
Today, for the first time since the Inquiry began last week, we got a clear sense of a developing narrative… and it is this:
In the run-up to war – those key months between 9/11 (when the Bush Administration’s grumblings about Iraq turned to more distinct drum-beats) and the invasion in March 2003 – the UK was determined to lead America down the ‘UN route’.
All the witnesses have cited numerous occasions when Tony Blair, with the help of his diplomats and ambassadors, pushed an increasingly disinterested American Administration back to the UN table.
And it worked – to a certain extent.
They tried, they said, to tell the Americans that there needed to be a plan for what would happen after the invasion. But their message was not getting through.
Sir Peter Ricketts described it like this: “I don’t think in the summer of 2002/3… they [the Americans] were putting a great deal of thought into the aftermath period. I think that only really picked up steam in the autumn, when our own discussions with them began to intensify…. it wasn’t until the autumn, I think I’m right in saying, that we started to really engage the Americans in a serious discussions of this.”
But, by the Autumn, it was the Pentagon, not the State Department taking the lead on all the Iraq planning – invasion and after. And, according to Edward Chaplin – the Pentagon may have been listening, but it was not accepting anyone’s advice:
“They [the Pentagon] didn’t take many steps to involve their own colleagues in the administration in planning! On the other hand, they were perfectly happy to listen to us….. So it wasn’t that they didn’t listen, and they were grateful for the papers that we provided and the ideas that we provided, but I don’t think the main ideas we were putting forward… got much traction where they counted, which was with the Pentagon.”
The Inquiry is not sitting tomorrow but on Thursday it’s the turn of the military chiefs and MoD civil servants. Key questions for them: when were they asked to prepare for military action? What were they asked to prepare for? Was it the right plan? And crucially – to what extent was the UK military participation governed by an inflexible Rumsfeld-driven American military machine?…>>>>>
Maybe on thursday the Military Chiefs and MoD civil servants might be asked, and will answer, what they were talking to their counter parts in the U.S. Military and the Pentagon as they were jumping further into the Iraq invasion plans and searching for the right set of excuses to use, we all know they kept changing so did the U.N.. Was anyone even thinking about bin Laden, al Qaeda, and Especially helping the Afghan People??
• Post-war plans lost due to ‘blind spot’ in Washington
• Legality of war questioned by top cabinet members
British attempts to persuade the US to plan for the consequences of an invasion of Iraq foundered on a “blind spot” in Washington where senior officials thought “everyone would be grateful and there would be dancing in the streets”, the Chilcot inquiry into the war was told today.
There was “a touching belief [in Washington] that we shouldn’t worry so much about the aftermath because it was all going to be sweetness and light”, added Edward Chaplin, head of the Middle East department of the Foreign Office at the time.
It was assumed that all would be well, especially if power was handed to an exiled opposition spokesman such as Ahmed Chalabi. “We said [to the Americans] they had very little credibility in Iraq,” Chaplin told the inquiry.
Senior figures in Whitehall said the failure to draw up a proper plan to protect the civilian population after Iraq was occupied was a prima facie breach of the Geneva conventions.
Today, Chaplin and Sir Peter Ricketts, then political director at the FCO, said they were dismayed by the way the Bush administration failed to take the issue seriously, despite personal appeals from Tony Blair to George Bush…>>>>>
I’ll bet that some once friends, probably not real bosom buddies, won’t be talking to each other across the pond, as the testimony is really not making the U.S. leadership look very good, not at all, and Rightfully So!
A ‘real blind spot’ and ‘dancing in the streets’!
A US marine watches a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Baghdad on 9 April 2003. Photograph: Jerome Delay/AP
Iraq inquiry told by diplomat Edward Chaplin that senior Washington figures had ‘real blind spot’ and assumed there would be ‘dancing in streets’ after invasion
British attempts to improve “dire” planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion were repeatedly ignored by the US, the inquiry into the war heard today.
Tony Blair raised concerns directly with George Bush amid alarm in Whitehall at the state of the Pentagon’s preparations.
But senior figures in Washington had a “real blind spot” and assumed there would be “dancing in streets” when the invasion took place, senior diplomat Edward Chaplin told the inquiry.
“We tried to point out that was extremely optimistic,” he said.
Chaplin, who was head of the Middle East section of the Foreign Office at the time of the March 2003 invasion, said there was “a pretty dire state of lack of planning”.
There was “a touching belief [in Washington] that we shouldn’t worry so much about the aftermath because it was all going to be sweetness and light”….>>>>>
Lord Steyn says it would be a mistake for issue of legality to be kicked into the long grass until after the election
The Iraq inquiry should publish an interim report before the general election declaring the war illegal, a former law lord said today.
Writing in the Financial Times, Lord Steyn said that it would be a mistake for the issue of the legality of the war to be “kicked into the long grass for party political reasons until after the election”.
Steyn also criticized the prime minister for not putting a lawyer or a military figure on the inquiry.
Steyn also said that the inquiry ought to conclude that the war was illegal.
“I would expect the inquiry to conclude – in agreement with Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations – that in the absence of a second UN resolution authorizing invasion, it was illegal,” he said….>>>>>
And there are some press outlets picking up the inquiry here in the states.
A mask depicting former Prime Minister Tony Blair is burnt by a demonstrator outside the Iraq-war inquiry in London. KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / Associated Press
American troops did not expect to play a role in stabilizing Iraq after overthrowing Saddam Hussein, a key adviser to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday.
David Manning, who served as a Blair’s top foreign-policy aide before being appointed ambassador to Washington in 2003, told a British inquiry into the Iraq war that the American military did not believe peacekeeping was their responsibility.
“The American military thought that they were fighting a war and when the war was over they were expecting to go home,” he said.
(Reviving terrorism allegations against the Hussein regime, the Czech Republic’s counterintelligence service said yesterday that in 2000 it disrupted plans by the dictator to attack the offices of U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague to halt its broadcasts into Iraq.)…>>>>>
This short piece, below, by a Mostafa Zein, closes out what has been presented so far very well, with more to come from the inquiry but also the voices of more Mostafa Zein’s, I’m sure.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has returned to the media forefront. He is now the best example of the old philosophical debate about lying and the truth. The committee tasked with investigating him will focus on his violation of laws, falsification of the facts, failure to listen to intelligence advisers, and reliance on a silly university thesis to prove the Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
At the time (2002), Blair was unwilling to hear any opinion that contradicted his policies. The shouting from President George Bush, appearing like an Old Testament prophet, was louder than anything else, and more important than any legal pretext. This shouting, and Bush’s decision to return Iraq to the Stone Age and his threat to anyone who disobeyed his orders, were the law. Bush found no better partner than the British Prime Minister, who outdid Bush and took it upon himself to gather pretexts and excuses to justify the war. He was smarter than Bush, but was also under his spell. No one else was taken by the charisma of the US president; the British press labeled Blair “Bush’s spoiled puppy.” His decision to take part in the war provoked the public. More than a million demonstrators walked the streets of London to protest his decision. Blair’s foreign minister, Robin Cook, resigned. However, none of this dissuaded him from helping “our grandchildren across the ocean,” as Margaret Thatcher used to say….>>>>>