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    17 June 2005

    OBL deputy speaks

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    I love it when al-Qaeda releases a new vid and then the media rushes to analyze every part of. Taking note the number of times the speaker glanced around the room, the make of the gun included in the vid, and the color of his turban (White). Although this analysis is pointless and does little to protect anyone, it is sadly more than our own Government is doing to find and fight the al-Qaeda entity at its head.

    The most recent communication between al-Qaeda and the rest of the world stared Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda's #2. It was basically a stump speech where al-Zawahri made al-Qaeda's case against secular and democratic reform in Arab countries. He asserts that the use of non-violent disobedience is not enough to resist the those he referred top as "Crusader and Jewish invaders".

    Ayman al-Zawahri hasn't been heard from since early February.

    In a brief spurt of decent reporting, NBC stumbles on this
    Is it a signal to militants?

    On at least seven occasions in the past six years, a statement by al-Zawahri has been followed by a significant al-Qaida attack within three weeks, an NBC News analysis of the statements show. In four cases, the attacks came within a week.

    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say that while they cannot conclusively link all the attacks to the statements, they say the statements have to be taken seriously because of an apparent pattern.

    One described U.S. fears that al-Qaida operatives use the statements as possible "go signals" to initiate attacks. This official also noted that al-Zawahri's call to arms that aired on Dec. 19, 2004, was a key factor in the U.S. decision to raise the terrorism threat level two days later.

    The four occasions where a Zawahri statement was most closely followed by an attack were:
    * On Aug. 6, 1998, Zawahri sent a statement to a London-based Arabic newspaper saying: "We are interested in briefly telling the Americans that their messages have been received and that the response, which we hope they will read carefully, is being readied." The next day, suicide bombers blew up U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, killing more than 220 people. Al-Qaida took responsibility for the attacks.

    * On Oct. 9, 2002, a Zawahri tape threatened attacks on the United States, its economy and allies. "I promise you that the Islamic youth are preparing for you what will fill your hearts with horror..." Three days later, bombs destroyed a Bali nightclub leaving more than 200 people, mostly westerners, dead. Officials in the U.S., Australia and Indonesia later said al-Qaida financed the attack.

    * In an Oct. 1, 2004, radio address, Zawahri called on Muslims worldwide to help in the Palestinian struggle. Six days later, al-Qaida attacked three Egyptian tourist resorts frequented by Israelis on the Sinai Peninsula, killing 34 people, about half of them Israelis.

    * On Nov. 29, 2004, Zawahri issued a video statement promising Americans that Muslims will continue to attack them unless the United States changes its policies against Islam. He said that the U.S. invasion of Baghdad is only the beginning of the American occupation, and warned that it would spread to other countries. On the morning of Dec. 6, armed Jihadists attacked the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing eight and wounding 15 others.

    Not pointed out was the events that seemed somewhat related after his recent February communication; to me although I may be reaching. On 10 February, Zawahri spoke about bushCo.'s claim of democracy taking hold in the Mid-East. On 14 February an explosion in Lebanon that now has been confirmed as a truck bomb; squashing any thought that the explosion was the result of an inside job, planted in the ground somewhere around the building. This is the act the resulted in the protest and counter protests that caused Syria to exit Lebanon, and brought a first un-weighted election that has increased Hezbollah representation in the Lebanon government from 12 total to 33 as of now; with one more round to go. It also made Lebanon a Shi’a state. An al-Qaeda connection or speculation?

    16 June 2005

    Scalia on the Bush Administration

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    (from a diary by RichardG at dKos)

    What I want to know is whether these right wing talking heads agree with Justice Scalia or do they think he is an activist Judge that Senator Cornyn would like to shoot.

    Anthony Scalia - Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld

    The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive. Blackstone stated this principle clearly:

    "Of great importance to the public is the preservation of this personal liberty: for if once it were left in the power of any, the highest, magistrate to imprison arbitrarily whomever he or his officers thought proper ... there would soon be an end of all other rights and immunities. ... To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom. But confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to gaol, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten; is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government. ...

    "To make imprisonment lawful, it must either be, by process from the courts of judicature, or by warrant from some legal officer, having authority to commit to prison; which warrant must be in writing, under the hand and seal of the magistrate, and express the causes of the commitment, in order to be examined into (if necessary) upon a habeas corpus. If there be no cause expressed, the gaoler is not bound to detain the prisoner. For the law judges in this respect, ... that it is unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not to signify withal the crimes alleged against him." 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 132-133 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone).

    an act of despotism

    BushCo.: The fake news administration

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    (covered 1st by dmsilve at dKos)

    Front page of the Chicago Tribune.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has churned out three dozen radio and television news segments since the first of the year that promote a controversial trade agreement with Central America opposed by labor unions, the sugar industry and many members of Congress, including some Republicans.

    Amid an intense debate over government-funded efforts to influence news coverage, the prepackaged reports have been widely distributed to broadcast outlets across the country for easy insertion into newscasts.


    In one radio segment, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said that passing CAFTA should be an easy decision for members of Congress.

    "I can't imagine how any senator or House member from ag country could stand up and vote against CAFTA," Johanns said. "It makes no sense to me. It's voting against our producers."

    In another radio segment promoting CAFTA, Allen Johnson, a top U.S. trade official, dismissed the sugar industry's "dire forecasts" about CAFTA's impact as "a Chicken Little sort of thing that isn't real."

    The issue of the government's vast public relations apparatus trying to influence the public is hardly new. The Bush administration has taken that practice to aggressive levels on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to education and trade policy.

    Where will it end?

    Republican supports inquiry into pre-war BS

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    U.S. Representative Walter Jones of NC knows what the war in Iraq is really like. Why? Because his constituency includes large military bases like Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune.

    Mr. Jones will introduce legislation calling on bushCo. to "President Bush to set a plan for beginning the phase-out of US troops in Iraq."

    He has also co-sponsored legislation looking "for the truth regarding the Downing Street Memo and reasons how the U.S. got involved in Iraq."

    Rep. Jones was once a Dem; I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. (??)

    The Downing Street Forum can be viewed on C-SPAN, channel #3 beginning at 2 pm or 2:30 pm today (Thurs.).

    LA Times has a good article on the DSM.

    MSM rant

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    I hate things like this
    Bombings overshadow Iraq rescue

    Why should some bad news overshadow some good news if they happen on the same day? They have absolutely nothing to do with each other so cover them as two separate stories, which they are. If the rescue had killed a # of people then mix the report but not when they are completely independent.

    14 June 2005

    Two more Republicans; "Bush, out of Iraq!"

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    On prime time C-SPAN! Seesdifferent has it.
    In the "after hours" version of the House, TELEVISED LIVE BY CSPAN, Rep. John Duncan, R-TN, along with Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, tonight called upon President Bush "to order a phased and orderly withdrawal from Iraq."

    Read more here.

    Republicans admit they're hiding something

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    We'll that's how I (and fink at dKos) view this:

    If the Financial Services Committee is the best in the House when it comes to bipartisan comity, then the Judiciary Committee may well be the worst.

    In December, ranking Democrat John Conyers (Mich.) began holding 'forums' — gatherings with all the trappings of official hearings — after Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) refused to hold hearings on topics Conyers requested. The forums have been held in smaller committee rooms, often with C-SPAN coverage and formal witness lists.

    In a sign of how far relationships on the committee have soured, majority staff recently announced a new policy to deny any request from a committee Democrat for the use of a committee hearing room.

    Continue reading here.

    Of course, I am pessimistic on anything happening here.

    Downing Street goes mainstream

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    Democrats Looking for a Road Map to Downing Street

    Well look no further, Raw Story has worked hard to put together a timeline to war and how the memos fit in; including links to articles and the memos themselves.

    The Path of War Timeline

    BTW, NBC has confirmed the memos as truth.

    the Downing Street Memo/Minutes

    After Downing Street

    13 June 2005

    Rep. Slaughter: IRAQ deserves a Truman Commission!

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    Iraq Deserves a Truman Commission

    Famed writer and political commentator George Orwell once wrote that, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." Even when we are not sleeping peaceably, and are instead working, or striving, or worrying about the events of our lives, we must remember that we are given the chance to do these things by those men and women who have decided that their personal safety and security is less important than the safety and security of their fellow Americans. Our soldiers are fighting and dying every day for us, and for this, we can never begin to thank them enough.

    We can, however, work to make sure that their labors are no more trying than they already are. We can work to make sure that they have the money they need, the equipment they need, and the tools they need to be successful. We can try our best to ensure that at the pivotal moment, when they are thousands of miles from home and are confronted by a challenge which may endanger their life, they will never fall short THERE simply because we have fallen short HERE.

    During World War II, Harry Truman established what became known as the Truman Commission. The Commission consisted of a group of dedicated public servants who were committed to examining all financial and military transactions related to the war effort. Their work served to expose and eliminate any waste, mismanagement, or corruption which could have detracted from the effectiveness of Allied troops. The accountability and efficiency which they helped to create and defend was pivotal to winning the war. The money, time, and resources which the Commission saved could be used to build another helmet, or another bullet, or another tank. And these individual pieces added up to a truly historic whole.

    Today, we are deeply involved in another war. It is a different kind of war, one which has been divisive and has strained our nation and our Congress. But regardless of how we personally felt at the beginning of the conflict, we all feel the same about how we want it to end: in victory. We want the people of Iraq to live in a prosperous and safe nation, a country free of its past tyranny and ready to embrace a new era of liberty and limitless possibility. And we want our troops - our children - to return home just as they left it, so that they, too, can pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.

    Both of these universally supported objectives are served by a post-war effort which is free from the oppressiveness of fraud and a lack of accountability. And yet, our reconstruction efforts in Iraq are saddled with exactly these blights - not by any fault of our troops, but by the refusal of our government to reign in and properly manage those in charge of this reconstruction. Numerous private contractors were given huge contracts following the war to carry out a variety of tasks in Iraq - to rebuild its water and electrical grids for example - and billions of dollars have been earmarked to be spent on restarting Iraq's economy and civil society. And yet, our Congress has never acted to ensure that the companies hired have been trustworthy, or that the billions and billions of dollars in reconstruction funds thus far spent have been used in responsible ways. No equivalent of the historic Truman commission has ever been created by our leaders, even though they portray our current conflict as being just as epic in scope and significance as the great conflict which helped to shape our society and our world some six decades ago.

    What has been the result? Sadly, it has been all too predictable. In 2004, the American public became aware that Halliburton - the company with perhaps more ties to the White House than any other and a recipient of billions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts - had been overcharging the Army for gasoline, inflating its profits at the expense of our troops. Then, earlier this year, the Special Inspector General for the Iraqi Reconstruction released a study stating that nothing less than $9 billion dollars in reconstruction money - nearly 5 percent of the total amount of money spent on the War - could not be accounted for. And just last week, new reports revealed that approximately $100 million theoretically spent on small yet vital building projects between 2003 and 2004 has simply disappeared, most likely into a black hole of unchecked fraud and incompetence.

    Every dollar which is lost in Iraq is a dollar which could have been used to stabilize the country and protect out troops. It is a dollar which could have been used to help our soldiers to complete their mission so that they can come home sooner. Indeed, every dollar wasted is a dollar spent fighting against, rather than for, our men and women in uniform.

    Long recognizing that massive gaps in accountability exist regarding the reconstruction effort, I and my Democratic colleagues have on numerous occasions called for the creation of a modern-day Truman Commission, a body tasked with monitoring post-war U.S. government activities in Iraq and making sure that money and resources go where they are supposed to go - not into the pockets of a corrupt contractor or into the black hole of confusion produced by the fog of war, but to the Iraqis and American soldiers who need them.

    But no such commission has been created, solely because the Republican majority in Congress has consistently opposed any amendment which would lead to its creation. What could explain this seemingly incomprehensible lack of interest in protecting our troops and helping them to win the war they are in? Republican legislators have never explained their intransigence, but I suspect it is the product of their inherent fear of being held accountable for their actions.

    Democrats in the House have seen this fear in action for years now, as the Republican majority has done everything it can to stand in the way of transparent and responsible governance. They have changed ethics rules to protect their party leadership, worked to undermine the enforcers of democratic conduct in the Congress, and sought to hide controversial legislation within larger bills in order to avoid having to debate its merits.

    The same lack of respect for ethical and responsible conduct which the Majority has brought to the floor of the House regarding domestic issues has now infected its conduct of American foreign policy.

    Republicans have sought to hide the shameful lapses in judgment and accountability which have dogged our troops in Iraq rather than addressing and correcting them. This time, the consequences of their actions could not be more severe. By refusing to monitor post-war events in Iraq with a truly concerned eye, our soldiers have been directly endangered, left to struggle against the whims of unregulated companies and the irregularities of chance.

    Our troops have been fighting two wars at once: one against a vicious insurgency which seeks to see them fail, and one against a self-interested party which seeks above all else to see itself escape being held accountable for its own mistakes and lapses in judgment. Such an approach to government must be ferociously opposed. Let us bring decency and accountability back to the House. Let us reconstitute a new Truman Commission dedicated to eliminating the corruption and waste plaguing American conduct in Iraq, and more broadly, reconstitute our commitment to honest and open government. We must do this not just for the good of the people of America, but for the good of the young men and women who are risking everything so that we may have a chance to live in society which is truly worthy of their ultimate sacrifice.


    U.S. V.P. Cheney Says Torture Facility Will Stay Open

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    Great headline for one of our alies...


    Lebanon: Round 3 of 4 complete

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    Let me quote what I was saying about Lebanon back in March
    Those who think Lebanon is full of pro-West groups and that Syria is unwelcome there are greatly mistaken. The demographics of Lebanon contain sharp divisions in religion, between Christians (and other groups) and Shias.

    It was very unclear to me why so many were trumpeting this revolution as a democratic reform. Sure the Syrians are out of Lebanon but Hezbollah remain and they are very popular. This revolution threw out old provisions to balance the government between ethnic, et cetera, groups. Now we have a pro-Syrian state that has Hezbollah owning a significant number (33 so far) of seats in the 128 seat parliament; a large increase from 12 it held before.

    How did I come to this conclusion before the votes took place? I went to CIA World Factbook for Lebanon and looked up the divisions in Lebanon
    Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri)

    Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant)

    Other 1.3% note: seventeen religious sects recognized

    To catch you up on this:
    Hariri wins Beirut
    Hezbollah wins South | Juan Cole
    Hezbollah wins 10 more | Pro-Syrian wins big

    12 June 2005

    The violence continues

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    1700 Americans and almost 1900 in the coalition. There is no end in sight.

    New leak: The Cabinet Office paper

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    A new leak was released this weekend by the London Times . What this leak contained was further proof of a premeditated (in 2002) war where Bush and Blair had no intention of finding a peaceful end, there was no thought as to the aftermath of the war, and that the legality of the war was questionable.

    The Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action

    More places covering this; Juan Cole, Pontificator at dKos, SusanHu at Booman Tribune, and KristyZ at dKos.

    Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action

    The paper, produced by the Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, is incomplete because the last page is missing. The following is a transcript rather than the original document in order to protect the source.




    Ministers are invited to:

    (1) Note the latest position on US military planning and timescales for possible action.

    (2) Agree that the objective of any military action should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD.

    (3) Agree to engage the US on the need to set military plans within a realistic political strategy, which includes identifying the succession to Saddam Hussein and creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action, which might include an ultimatum for the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. This should include a call from the Prime Minister to President Bush ahead of the briefing of US military plans to the President on 4 August.

    (4) Note the potentially long lead times involved in equipping UK Armed Forces to undertake operations in the Iraqi theatre and agree that the MOD should bring forward proposals for the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements under cover of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and the outcome of SR2002.

    (5) Agree to the establishment of an ad hoc group of officials under Cabinet Office Chairmanship to consider the development of an information campaign to be agreed with the US.


    1. The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

    2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.

    3. We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.

    4. In order to fulfil the conditions set out by the Prime Minister for UK support for military action against Iraq, certain preparations need to be made, and other considerations taken into account. This note sets them out in a form which can be adapted for use with the US Government. Depending on US intentions, a decision in principle may be needed soon on whether and in what form the UK takes part in military action.

    The Goal

    5. Our objective should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or to international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD. It seems unlikely that this could be achieved while the current Iraqi regime remains in power. US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination if Iraqi WMD. It is however, by no means certain, in the view of UK officials, that one would necessarily follow from the other. Even if regime change is a necessary condition for controlling Iraqi WMD, it is certainly not a sufficient one.

    US Military Planning

    6. Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq. In a 'Running Start', military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up. Air strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime. A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003. US military plans include no specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start'. CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.

    7. US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia. This means that legal base issues would arise virtually whatever option Ministers choose with regard to UK participation.

    The Viability of the Plans

    8. The Chiefs of Staff have discussed the viability of US military plans. Their initial view is that there are a number of questions which would have to be answered before they could assess whether the plans are sound. Notably these include the realism of the 'Running Start', the extent to which the plans are proof against Iraqi counter-attack using chemical or biological weapons and the robustness of US assumptions about the bases and about Iraqi (un)willingness to fight.

    9. The UK's ability to contribute forces depends on the details of the US military planning and the time available to prepare and deploy them. The MOD is examining how the UK might contribute to US-led action. The options range from deployment of a Division (ie Gulf War sized contribution plus naval and air forces) to making available bases. It is already clear that the UK could not generate a Division in time for an operation in January 2003, unless publicly visible decisions were taken very soon. Maritime and air forces could be deployed in time, provided adequate basing arrangements could be made. The lead times involved in preparing for UK military involvement include the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements, for which there is no financial provision.

    The Conditions Necessary for Military Action

    10. Aside from the existence of a viable military plan we consider the following conditions necessary for military action and UK participation: justification/legal base; an international coalition; a quiescent Israel/Palestine; a positive risk/benefit assessment; and the preparation of domestic opinion.


    11. US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council. A detailed consideration of the legal issues, prepared earlier this year, is at Annex A. The legal position would depend on the precise circumstances at the time. Legal bases for an invasion of Iraq are in principle conceivable in both the first two instances but would be difficult to establish because of, for example, the tests of immediacy and proportionality. Further legal advice would be needed on this point.

    12. This leaves the route under the UNSC resolutions on weapons inspectors. Kofi Annan has held three rounds of meetings with Iraq in an attempt to persuade them to admit the UN weapons inspectors. These have made no substantive progress; the Iraqis are deliberately obfuscating. Annan has downgraded the dialogue but more pointless talks are possible. We need to persuade the UN and the international community that this situation cannot be allowed to continue ad infinitum. We need to set a deadline, leading to an ultimatum. It would be preferable to obtain backing of a UNSCR for any ultimatum and early work would be necessary to explore with Kofi Annan and the Russians, in particular, the scope for achieving this.

    13. In practice, facing pressure of military action, Saddam is likely to admit weapons inspectors as a means of forestalling it. But once admitted, he would not allow them to operate freely. UNMOVIC (the successor to UNSCOM) will take at least six months after entering Iraq to establish the monitoring and verification system under Resolution 1284 necessary to assess whether Iraq is meeting its obligations. Hence, even if UN inspectors gained access today, by January 2003 they would at best only just be completing setting up. It is possible that they will encounter Iraqi obstruction during this period, but this more likely when they are fully operational.

    14. It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.

    An International Coalition

    15. An international coalition is necessary to provide a military platform and desirable for political purposes.

    16. US military planning assumes that the US would be allowed to use bases in Kuwait (air and ground forces), Jordan, in the Gulf (air and naval forces) and UK territory (Diego Garcia and our bases in Cyprus). The plans assume that Saudi Arabia would withhold co-operation except granting military over-flights. On the assumption that military action would involve operations in the Kurdish area in the North of Iraq, the use of bases in Turkey would also be necessary.

    17. In the absence of UN authorisation, there will be problems in securing the support of NATO and EU partners. Australia would be likely to participate on the same basis as the UK. France might be prepared to take part if she saw military action as inevitable. Russia and China, seeking to improve their US relations, might set aside their misgivings if sufficient attention were paid to their legal and economic concerns. Probably the best we could expect from the region would be neutrality. The US is likely to restrain Israel from taking part in military action. In practice, much of the international community would find it difficult to stand in the way of the determined course of the US hegemon. However, the greater the international support, the greater the prospects of success.

    A Quiescent Israel-Palestine

    18. The Israeli re-occupation of the West Bank has dampened Palestinian violence for the time being but is unsustainable in the long-term and stoking more trouble for the future. The Bush speech was at best a half step forward. We are using the Palestinian reform agenda to make progress, including a resumption of political negotiations. The Americans are talking of a ministerial conference in November or later. Real progress towards a viable Palestinian state is the best way to undercut Palestinian extremists and reduce Arab antipathy to military action against Saddam Hussein. However, another upsurge of Palestinian/Israeli violence is highly likely. The co-incidence of such an upsurge with the preparations for military action against Iraq cannot be ruled out. Indeed Saddam would use continuing violence in the Occupied Territories to bolster popular Arab support for his regime.


    19. Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks. In particular, we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective as set out in paragraph 5 above. A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor. We must also consider in greater detail the impact of military action on other UK interests in the region.

    Domestic Opinion

    20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action.


    21. Although the US military could act against Iraq as soon as November, we judge that a military campaign is unlikely to start until January 2003, if only because of the time it will take to reach consensus in Washington. That said, we judge that for climactic reasons, military action would need to start by January 2003, unless action were deferred until the following autumn.

    22. As this paper makes clear, even this timescale would present problems. This means that:

    (a) We need to influence US consideration of the military plans before President Bush is briefed on 4 August, through contacts betweens the Prime Minister and the President and at other levels;


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