The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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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 careful. I am willing to pass on responses (measured ones, as is usually the case with CASI's high standards). Best wishes Eric 1. '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 banned. 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 the sanctions--in the usual matter-of-fact unbiased impersonal style in formal message format.' 2. 'Please note the following: Title of message: "IRAQ WATER TREATMENT VULNERABILITIES (U) " and "SUBJECT: IRAQ WATER TREATMENT VULNERABILITIES (U)" 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 for what it say's. THERE WAS NO DISCUSSION IN THE "BLACK HOLE" TARGETING CELL TO TARGET CIVILIANS---PERIOD!!!!! 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 estimate/assessment of the impact of sanctions beyond what was originally intended (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 http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics email@example.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk