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07 July 2016


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michael brenner

The fundamental truth is that Americans were bent on vengeance - the more destructive the better. We still are. Just follow the media and watch the Republican debates.


The Beaver -

I think I've mentioned it here, there's a great documentary called Heavy Metal in Baghdad - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092007/

The interviews with the Iraqi musicians are fascinating, at one point the bass player (I think) says "Dude, I'm Sunni and my wife is Shia. Nobody cares about that stuff". I don't know how common that belief is, but the documentary was very interesting and very different from what I expected. Highly recommended.

Willy B

It's not quite true there was no planning by DOD. Rumsfeld, through Doug Feith, hired retired Army LTG Jay Garner to be the occupation chief in Iraq about a month before the invasion, and then fired him at the beginning of May 2003 in favor of Bremer, supposedly for incompetent planning, even though he wasn't around long enough to do much of any planning.


vengeance for what?


Garner was going to hold early elections, keep the Iraqi economy the same and "reform" the Iraqi Military, Police and Security Forces.


I respect the opinions of both on other matters - both Haidar and al-Khoei are fully aware of what type of foot-soldiers make up the "revolution" over in Iraq's neighbour, Syria. However, reading through al-Khoei's first piece, a couple things come to mind:

One, however cruel and deluded in his own right Saddam may have been in his ventures without and within, the main-part of the ventures without, the 8-year long war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, he was encouraged to launch with varying degrees of support from the Gulf, West and the USSR.

Two, al-Khoei chooses to skim over the impact the economic sanctions imposed after '91 had on Iraq - do recall the figure of 500,000 dead children as a result of those, as acknowledged by Albright.

Three, as a dual-citizen living abroad, it comes as no surprise that al-Khoei may not be too good a representative of popular sentiment in Iraq. Further down, James Loughton mentioned that most Iraqis below age 30 view the US as an enemy, which runs counter to his claim in the first Guardian piece that "foreign invaders" would be cut some slack by Iraqis. Doesn't exclude them disapproving of or outright despising Iraqi political circles as well, but still.

michael brenner

9/11 - obviously


I think it was the pentagon that developed the post-war plans but I could be wrong. This was something I read about ten years ago and at this point I don't remember the source.


This is what I read-- that Garner felt there should be elections in Iraq and so was replaced with Bremer.


I have served for 25 years in the US Army, and remain on Active duty.

Politically, I am a committed Libertarian. I neither supported nor opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq when we started them, as I was more focused on the immediate effect on my family and my unit.

I am a hard man, not given to endless introspection on how I feel about things. I was raised and then trained to understand that some things just are what they are, no matter how I feel about it.

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq may or may not have been justified, and that can and will be debated for a generation or three.

Regardless of why we invaded, the actions and strategy we followed, first through the Bush Presidency, and then through Obama's turn, were not just wrong. It was evil. We have visited a horror upon these people, a horror that continues to grow and metastasize.

I don't care if Tony Blair or George W. Bush agree. President Obama can shift the blame and pretend that he did not play a pivotal role. I know the truth. This truth stains me to the marrow. I did this. I was a part of this. I own this.

Every time a bomb goes off, every new ISIS atrocity, all that blood, spilled in the sand and dirt. I know I own that. I had a part.

If you are a citizen of a country which took part in either war, so do you. Stop blaming Blair and Bush. Look in the mirror. Own what we did. Look upon what we have made.

Every people has the government they deserve, and the foreign policy they tolerate.




We all have a ruck full of that. I have several rucksacks full. DOL pl



The neocon cabal across the government made the collective decision to destroy the Iraqi state and start again from the "Year Zero." Rumsfeld's OSD was a perfect vehicle since the US armed forces were occupying Iraq. pl


Dr. Kelly's demise has not been forgotten.

I am a very (deservedly) humble member of The Dr's college in Oxford. Some more illustrious members would like to see Bliar at The Hague.

robt willmann

In a citation in the lead article posted above, Karl Rove says that the fault for the mess in Iraq now lies with president Obama, who withdrew the U.S. forces from Iraq in 2012. I have also heard talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say similarly that Obama withdrew U.S. forces from Iraq and that has been the problem. I think also that Donald Trump has said something like that.

However, Rove, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Trump are either ignorant or lying. Previously, I have linked to the agreement between the U.S. and Iraq done by the George W. Bush (Bush jr.) administration in 2008, signed by Ryan Crocker for the U.S. I have not yet been able to find it today, and the State Department's search function on its website has not been working today (at least not for me). I think that is where I found a signed copy. I thought I had the link somewhere, but I have not located it either.

But here is the press release from Bush jr. in which he and Maliki talk about the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Strategic Framework agreement, from December 2008--


And this is a paper from the Congressional Research Service about the SOFA and congressional oversight. The paper describes the removal of U.S. forces: "The withdrawal is a two-phase process. The first requires the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from Iraqi cities, villages, and localities no later than June 30, 2009; the second requires the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011"--


It was Bush jr. and his administration that required that U.S. forces get out by the end of 2011, not Obama.



In all of the coverage of this there's been very little mention of Rupert Murdoch's role in whipping up support on both sides of the Atlantic for the war.

This article by the Indpendent is (as far as I know) the only recent examination of the topic. Extract below but the whole thing is worth a read:

"Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, summed it up in his evidence to the Leveson inquiry – “I’m not sure that the Blair government – or Tony Blair - would have been able to take the British people to war if it hadn’t been for the implacable support provided by the Murdoch papers. There’s no doubt that came from Mr Murdoch himself.”
Read more

On one side of the Atlantic, the TV channel Fox News, owned by Murdoch, shot up the ratings as they beat the drum for the Iraq war. By the end of March 2003, they had 5.6 million prime-time viewers, compared with CNN’s 4.4 million. On this side of the ocean, his four newspapers performed a similar function; and that’s not counting all the other titles in the News Corp empire, which rallied round with startling unanimity. One analyst estimated that 175 editors around the world all, happily, shared Murdoch’s enthusiasm for the invasion.

Few of those who helped to spread this enthusiasm in the UK get a mention in the Chilcot report, yet their collective influence on events was huge. And many of the key players have continued, happily, to work for Murdoch. "

Read in full: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/chilcot-inquiry-report-iraq-war-rupert-murdoch-connection-a7125786.html


A side note to Hayder Al-Shakeri's "Trump is wrong" article

One could add the opinion of a Iraqi man whose initiative caused the statue of Saddam Hussein to be toppled in Baghdad, 2003. He had 14 relatives killed by the regime.

Great hopes for the future in 2003. Now, he longs after the stability under Saddam's rule.


Wonder what Hayder Al-Shakeri would say if he had to live in Iraq with the fallout from the war.

Peter in Toronto

So what kind of mechanisms does the US employ to get an entire Labour government in the UK to opt for war, against their own interests? What could they possibly hold above their heads?

Are they promised some lucrative advising position on in the Carlyle Group?

Same question goes for Merkel and her compliance in using the German nation as a sponge to soak up the rot from the Syrian and Libyan wars.

Lord Curzon

Not least the Generals in the British Army, who conducted the campaign knowing there had been virtually no planning for Phase 4 ops. My thoughts on our conduct in handing over Basra to the Shi'a militias are unprintable.


Not all.

David Habakkuk


Am I missing something, or does what Dearlove told Susskind directly contradict what he told Chilcot?

In both cases, a story about Le Carré-style ‘derring do’ is told. In the first, the suggestion is that it produced information which, if heeded, could have have stopped the invasion; in the second, it is that Blair was misinformed, because Dearlove gave him dubious ‘intelligence’ and did not check or correct it when he should have. These versions are not compatible.

But both Susskind and Chilcot operate on the presumption that Dearlove and others like him are likely to be telling the truth. This is preposterous.

The appropriate way to approach them might be that an experienced detective might use with a bunch of juvenile delinquents with a badly cobbled together cover story!


"Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country"

The fact that these criminals (Bush, cheney, blair,etal) are walking free is not a reflection of their criminality, rather it is the damnation of western elites and political systems failures.

The only question remaining is, Are the western people willing to sit around till they experience they same fate, if not worse, than that of the germans in 30s and 40s???????

The Beaver

@ Barish

One thing to note: al-Khoei is a fellow at Chatham House and I believe , after following his tweets and opinions that he is careful and timid in throwing out accusations because he is a frequent visitor to this side of the pond and he has complained that now he is on the SSSS list whenever he is flying to the US.

I agree with your points and I wanted every SST reader to make their own opinions about those two pieces.

Babak Makkinejad


Sir David Amess advocating regime change in Iran



I was referring back to immediately after GWB's Gulf War when there were articles that indicated that the author didn't know there different sects of Muslim and not what you, Rakesh, wrote above.

michael brenner

This is an example of the collective memory problem. The basic facts are simple. Maliki & Assoc wanted us out. The device they came up with was to demand that the SOFA included a clause that required all Americans (including military) to be subject to Iraqi law - that, in turn, a condition for the accord to be ratified by the Parliament. He knew full well that Washington could not accept this. Therefore: sorry, guys, "Vaya Con Dios!." David Petraeus, Crocker, and the White House never saw this coming - they thought the Iraqis were just bargaining for better terms. The same old story.

Obama had no option but to go.

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