« Terrorism in Boston, the Tsarnaev Brothers, and Jihadist Radicalization in the West | Main | The Boston Bomber’s Rolling Stone Cover: Why So Much Indignation? »

June 11, 2013


Eric Chen

Apologies, reposting the 2nd link:

A problem of definition in the Iraq controversy: Was the issue Saddam's regime or Iraq's demonstrable WMD?:

Eric Chen

Professor Nacos: "the cooked intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq"

The mistaken notion that intelligence on Iraqi WMD "led to the invasion of Iraq" is based on a fundamental misconception of the US-led UN mission in Iraq from 1991-2003.

The proximate cause for Operation Iraqi Freedom was the same proximate cause for Operation Desert Fox: Saddam's failure to comply with the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions, which included humanitarian and terrorism standards as well as weapon standards. (The 2004 CIA DCI Special Advisor Report on Iraq's WMD, commonly called the Duelfer Report, confirmed that Iraq was in violation of the UNSC resolutions related to weapons, though not entirely as suggested by the pre-war intelligence. There is, of course, no disagreement that Saddam was in violation of the UNSC resolutions related to humanitarian and terrorism standards.)

The accusation that OIF was based on manufactured intelligence or the 'confirmation bias' of Bush officials relies on revisionist premises.

First, Iraq's guilt on WMD was established and presumed as the basis of the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions. The US and UN carried no burden of proof to demonstrate Iraqi WMD. The intelligence did not and could not trigger OIF because the burden of proof was entirely on Saddam. OIF was triggered by Saddam's failure to meet Iraq's burden of proof on a mandated standard of compliance.

Second, based on Saddam's history, track record of deception, defiance, and belligerence, established and presumed guilt, and the stakes involved, Clinton and later Bush officials with the added threat considerations in the wake of 9/11 were *obligated* to view any intelligence on Iraqi WMD in an unfavorable light for Iraq.

As such, Clinton explained his endorsement of Bush and OIF in 2004:

""That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for," Clinton said in reference to Iraq and the fact that U.N. weapons inspectors left the country in 1998.

"So I thought the president had an absolute responsibility to go to the U.N. and say, 'Look, guys, after 9/11, you have got to demand that Saddam Hussein lets us finish the inspection process.' You couldn't responsibly ignore [the possibility that] a tyrant had these stocks," Clinton said."

In fact, due to the established and presumed guilt and burden of proof on Iraq, our ignorance of the state of Iraq's WMD - as Clinton framed his cause for war with Iraq - was legally sufficient to trigger military enforcement. If all of our pre-war intelligence on Iraqi WMD was mistaken, then that only returned our enforcement on Iraq to the lower bar of Clinton's ignorance of unaccounted for Iraqi weapons that triggered Operation Desert Fox. Solving our ignorance about Iraq's weapons was Saddam's burden. In other words, the intelligence was irrelevant as a cause of war. The failure of Saddam to comply was the cause of war both in 1998 and 2003. And, of course, there is no disagreement that Saddam was non-compliant on the humanitarian and terrorism standards in the UNSC resolutions.

For more in-depth explanation of the Iraq intervention, I suggest the following posts from my blog:

Regime Change in Iraq from Clinton to Bush:
A problem of definition in the Iraq controversy: Was the issue Saddam's regime or Iraq's demonstrable WMD?:
10 year anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom: thoughts:

Eric Chen

Professor Nacos,

My understanding of the Benghazi controversy is that its primary issue is not the fact of the attack from the terrorist perspective but rather two issues related to the Obama administration cover-up.

The first issue is the poor reaction to the attack and poor security leading up to the attack, despite warnings and other events that should have heightened the security. The implication is that both the poor security and poor reaction to the attack were deliberate choices made to uphold President Obama's policy of a low profile on the ground and selling an optimistic image of Libya. Prior to the Benghazi attack, Libya was represented as Obama's showpiece intervention in the Middle East, set in contrast to the US's higher profile role within post-war Iraq. It would seem upholding the showpiece value of Obama's Libya policy took precedent over the actual needs of the US mission in Libya.

The second issue is the Obama administration apparently knowingly misrepresented the Benghazi attack as a spontaneous reaction to an obscure video on Youtube, implicating 'Islamophobia' in America, rather than a coordinated and targeted terrorist attack. Their reflexive reaction seemed intent on covering up the actual conditions in Libya and, perhaps more importantly for the voting public, the policy-induced flaws of the US position in Libya that undermined the security for Ambassador Stevens.

The further implication is that mindful of the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration obfuscated on the Benghazi attack in order to deter the public perception that President Obama's whole Middle East policy - with its consequential decisions - is fundamentally flawed.

Circumstantial evidence of the domestic political motivation to cover up the administration shortcomings in the Benghazi attack is the link with Susan Rice, who is famous for calculating the effect on the upcoming Congressional election when she deterred a sufficient US-led UN intervention in the Rwandan genocide. (I'll decline to implicate Secretary Clinton in her husband's decision to look the other way on Rwanda.)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2006