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Re: "Allies deliberately poisoned Iraq public water supply in Gulf Wa r"

Dear all:

I passed on the Glasgow Herald article and the document on 
to a senior USAF contact of mine who was able to contact
someone involved in the drafting of the document. Here are 
his comments, stripped of identifying detail. Whether or 
not you agree with his comments, any rebuttal needs to be 

I am willing to pass on responses (measured ones, as is 
usually the case with CASI's high standards).

Best wishes


'Oh. . .quick glance mentions NOTHING about targeting the 
water purification
plants nor of a specific intent to harm civilians.  We did 
NOT bomb water
treatment plants.
What is notable and noble, is the DIA was conducting an 
assessment of the
impact the sanctions were having on Iraq--beyond the 
military affect.
Many of the chemicals mentioned are used in the manufacture
and maintenance
of weapons and weapon support.  The UN, and I emphasize 
"UN," sanctions were
comprehensive--meaning any "dual use" products would be 
However, I will read in more detail and get back to you.
Again, as I mentioned, I see nothing in the message stating
the US/Coalition
deliberately attacked a specific public health facility 
(water treatment),
only that the DIA was making an assessment of the affect of
sanctions--in the usual matter-of-fact unbiased impersonal 
style in formal
message format.'

2. 'Please note the following:

The "(U)" means the message's initial classification was 
UNCLASSIFIED.  Thisis significant!!

UNCLASSIFIED means this report was not EVER classified and 
as such was never"hidden" and never had a requirement to be
"declassified." In deed, the message is on a DoD web-site!

It is obvious to me that the message was NOT prepared to 
support of any military operation, targeting policy or plan 
to conduct an attack.  (Any such communication would have 
been at least "SECRET."  It was merely what
the title said:  an assessment of how vulnerable the Iraqi 
water system was.

My opinion is that some people may be reading into this 
much, much more than what it really is---if you read the 
message with an unbiased and unemotional eye and you will 
see it is a cold-hearted assessment of the effect of
sanctions and NOT a "BDA" of the effect of a specific 
targeting action or policy.

In addition, as I said in earlier email--many of the 
chemicals (Chlorine for example) are used in the 
manufacture of weapons and are considered "dual
use" and subject to sanctions.  If you read the message 
again, you might detect a tone that suggests the 
UN/Coalition re-evaluate that portion of the
sanction because of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

You write: "The coalition, led by the US, deliberately 
destroyed Iraq's drinking water (and sanitation) system,"

Indeed we did lead, but we never deliberately destroyed 
such targets.  It would be folly to risk aircrew and 
aircraft to destroy such targets that offer no tactical or 
strategic advantage.

"in the full expectation that this would cause many 
civilian casualties."

No sir, nothing of the kind, and I see nothing in this 
assessment that demonstrates an intent to do such a thing. 
Where, oh where in the report does it imply or state we 
deliberately attacked and  targeted their water
purification system--what it does say is the effect of 
sanctions related to
specific dual-use chemicals are having an affect on the 
water system.  I am
not splitting hairs here, I am reading the message for what
it is, and only
Simply put, we did NOT go after the water plants to, in 
your words, to
"cause many civilian casualties."  No, never went to war 
with Iraq to cause
civilian casualties and this report is speaking to the 
effects of sanctions
on dual use items.

Keep in mind that of the few water facilities hit were hit 
because of two
reasons; 1) they were misidentified and bombed by an 
aircrew under combat
conditions and while being shot at (which brings to fore an
argument AGAINST
the ICC--imagine bringing a case against an aircrew who 
misidentified a
target under combat conditions--how silly!  A mistake is 
NOT a crime.  The
2nd reason is simply because the target was part of a small
grid system
supporting a significant military target and the rule of 
proportionality was
assessed and accounted for.'

3. 'I spoke with a principle associated with the 
drafting of the
original message. . .just as I suspected. . .it was an 
of the impact of sanctions beyond what was originally 
(double-effect/unintended consequences).'

Dr. Eric Herring
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
England, UK
Tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

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