How Bad Was U.S. Intelligence About Iraq???

August 20, 2004

Comment# 520  Discussion Threads - Comments: #518 & 519

It is a fact that the real reasons why America invaded Iraq are still unknown to the American people.

Blasters #518 and #519 focused on the hypothesis that control of Iraq's oil and, by extension, the ability to control oil flows throughout the Persian Gulf from bases being set up in Iraq, was a material motivating factor for the invasion.

This possibility is denied vigorously by all proponents of the invasion. Their counter argument to this hypothesis (and others relating to unstated agendas, like those relating to domestic politics and Israel) is that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda were the true proximate causes, and we truly believed they had them. That is, although we may now know this belief to be false, the decision and action to invade was an innocent and unavoidable outcome, because the Orientation in the OODA loop had been corrupted by faulty intelligence observations relating to these matters. [New readers can learn about the centrality of OODAi.e. Observation - Orientation - Decision - Action loops to strategy by examining the information in Thread 2.]

Lets treat this "denial" argument as an hypothesis. Does the allegation of "faulty intelligence corrupting an otherwise faultless decision cycle" hold water in light the open source information now available to a researcher?

Carlton Meyer, a former Marine officer and editor of the respected G2mil webzine, thinks not. Here is a statement of his reasons why:

Bush Had Perfect WMD Intel
Carlton Meyer
August 20, 2004

The author is a former Marine Corps officer and editor of the G2mil web-based magazine at

Am I the only American who can remember a major news event from less than three years ago? If you recall, as US forces built up to invade Iraq, President Bush demanded that Saddam Hussein permit UN inspectors "free and unfettered access" to search Iraq for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Saddam surprised everyone by agreeing, and UN inspectors were allowed to roam Iraq at will and check all the locations which Colin Powell had told the UN assembly were actively producing illegal weapons. After several weeks, the dozens of UN inspector teams had found nothing, and the dirty, rusty conditions of the suspect sites showed nothing had been made there for years.

The Bush administration insisted they had other proof that WMDs were in Iraq, so Hans Blix publicly stated that if they would send him a clue, he'd have UN teams inspect the next day. Saddam even proposed that US military officers join the UN inspectors. So the USA had PERFECT intelligence that Iraq had no WMDs. The US military had complete freedom to fly anywhere in Iraq to observe activity, and UN inspectors on the ground who checked all possible sites and were permitted to stay in Iraq as long as they liked to pursue new leads. All this confirmed what General Hussein Kamel, Iraq's weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995, told U.N. inspectors, that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles. So for whatever reason the Bush administration invaded Iraq, it was not because of WMDs.

The "we were fooled by bad intelligence" ploy is one of the most successful disinformation campaigns this decade, and the American media has played along to a point where most Americans accept this as fact. In addition, many Americans think former CIA Director George Tenet told the President it was a "slam dunk" that Iraq had WMDs. Tenet never confirmed that, and resigned shortly after those allegations appeared in Bob Woodward's book. The "slam dunk" story came from senior members of the Bush administration who allowed Woodward hours of their time for interviews. President Bush gave him more than two hours, more time than he spent with the 9-11 Commission. By all accounts, President Bush came off as a leader in Woodward's book, Tenet was given the Iraq blame for "bad intelligence", and Woodward made a million dollars from book sales.

Chuck Spinney

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison, from a letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822

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Thread 1: Fourth Generation Warfare

Thread 2: Boyd and Military Strategy