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.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] News, 17-24/8/02 (1)

News, 17-24/8/02 (1)


*  But What's The Legal Case For Preemption?
*  U.S. aided Iraq in '80s despite gas use, officials say
*  General tells Bush: Don't go it alone
*  For an Iraq Amnesty
*  New York Times misrepresents Kissinger on Iraq
*  U.S. Agents Tried to Bribe Iraqi Officials During UN Talks: Sabri
*  Times Takes Flak on Iraq
*  Editorial: Irrational on Iraq ­ U.S. justifications for war do not
measure up
*  US Congress already at war over Iraq
*  President says he can wait on Iraq
*  Poll: Support for action against Iraq dropping


by Bruce Ackerman
Washington Post, 18th August

Among other things, the first Gulf War was a triumph for the rule of law.
Before the United States fired a single shot, the president had gained the
formal approval of both the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. Congress. In
waging war against Saddam Hussein, he was not invoking some novel
presidential doctrine. He was enforcing the U.N. Charter's explicit
prohibition against any state using force to cross another's border. In
intervening to reverse Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he was upholding a central
tenet of modern international law.

The first President Bush has often been derided for lack of vision, but
these actions created a precedent that gave legal substance to his "new
world order." In the aftermath of the Cold War, Bush was establishing the
principle that America could deal with threats to world peace without
recourse to an imperial presidency. He was inaugurating a new era in which
major wars were not to be launched by presidential fiat, but only after the
considered approval of representatives of the nation and the world.

The second President Bush has surrounded himself with advisers who condemn
this vision as a harmful delusion. It is not enough for them to correct his
father's mistake in failing to march on Baghdad; it is no less important to
destroy the checks and balances his father constructed on the road to war.
In the face of the father's multilateralism, the son is constructing a
double unilateralism -- freed from the restraints of the Security Council
abroad and Congress at home, the imperial presidency claims the authority to
strike preemptively at any danger.

It is one thing to make war with Iraq, quite another to endorse this double
unilateralism. Nothing that Congress has done remotely justifies this leap.
In responding to the attacks on New York and Washington, Congress authorized
the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" only against
"those nations, organizations or persons" who "planned, authorized or aided
the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11."

The Bush administration has not implicated Hussein in these attacks. If a
second invasion of Iraq is justified, it is because of Hussein's future
threat, not his past involvement in Sept. 11.

If the nation is to launch a second Gulf War, the Constitution explicitly
leaves this decision to Congress, not the president. The case for
congressional approval is especially compelling when the president seems
intent on acting without the authorization of the Security Council.

The president's "realist" advisers may choose to ignore international law,
but this is not the view expressed in the Constitution of the United States.
It declares that treaties approved by the Senate are the "supreme Law of the
Land" and it explicitly requires the president to "take care that the laws
be faithfully executed." The U.N. Charter is a solemn treaty overwhelmingly
ratified by the Senate in the aftermath of World War II.

Since the charter is a binding treaty, a key question is the meaning of its
sole provision authorizing the unilateral use of force. Article 51 expressly
recognizes the inherent right of all states to engage in self-defense in the
case of "armed attack." In his commencement speech at West Point, the
president argued for an expansive reading of this provision. States need not
wait for an imminent attack before invoking self-defense, he declared. In an
age of terrorism, they should be authorized to launch preemptive strikes
long before terrorists are in a position to cross borders and unleash
weapons of mass destruction.

The breadth of this doctrine is breathtaking, going far beyond any claim
made by previous American governments. None of our military interventions
since World War II has required such a wrenching revision of international
law. Even when America was directly threatened during the 1962 Cuban missile
crisis, President Kennedy did not invoke any notion of "anticipatory
self-defense." Although the risks of mass destruction were high, the
president's legal arguments were unadventurous: When it came to intercepting
Soviet missiles on the high seas, he relied on the regional peacekeeping
provisions of the U.N. Charter. When America has claimed self-defense, it
has been in less controversial settings -- citing a clearly defined threat
to U.S. citizens or, after Sept. 11, the need to prevent a second attack by
an organized group of terrorists.

Rather than expanding the scope of preemptive attack, American statesmen
have played leading roles in carefully limiting the doctrine.

Secretary of State Daniel Webster is the originating source. In 1837, the
British sought to suppress a revolt in eastern Canada that had gained the
enthusiastic support of private militias operating from the United States.
To cut off this foreign support, the British launched a night raid into New
York, burning the Americans' ship and sending it over Niagara Falls.

Five years later, Webster reached an agreement with the British that
prohibited future preemptive strikes. Cross-border raids were justified only
if there was a "necessity of self defence, instant, overwhelming, leaving no
choice of means, and no moment for deliberation" -- and if nothing
"unreasonable or excessive" was done. Webster's formulation remains at the
core of international law today.

The United States was also the central player at the decisive moment for
self-defense in the 20th century: the judgment at Nuremberg. We remember
Nuremberg for its condemnation of genocide. But this was not its major
focus. The principal charge against the Nazis was that they waged aggressive
war -- and the only way to establish the meaning of aggression was to
endorse the limited doctrine of self-defense enshrined in traditional law.

American support for restraint was tested most famously by the Israeli
attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. The Israelis claimed the right
of preemptive self-defense, but the United States joined in a Security
Council resolution condemning the raid as illegal. British Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher was characteristically blunt: "Armed attack in such
circumstances cannot be justified. It represents a grave breach of
international law."

But do such Thatcherite certainties make sense against the current terrorist
threat? Law evolves, and it is certainly arguable that international law
should now recognize a right of self-defense in certain unprecedented cases.
Let's assume a repeat of the 1981 scenario, with the Israelis offering
compelling evidence of an Iraqi threat to their very survival as a nation.
Shouldn't they be authorized to preempt such an attack without the prior
authorization of the Security Council?

Perhaps, but it is a big stretch to expand this doctrine further to include
America's present complaints against Iraq. It is not just a question of
establishing that in fact Hussein has developed weapons of mass destruction
(and we haven't proved that yet); it is also a question of what he could do
with such weapons. While Iraq's missiles can reach Israel, they can't touch
American soil. Before the U.S. government can claim to be acting in
self-defense, it must present compelling evidence that terrorist groups
linked to Hussein, or Hussein himself, are both willing and able to launch
an imminent attack on the American homeland.

Unless the administration can make this showing, it will create a
devastating precedent for India or Pakistan or China when they, too, seek to
evade the Security Council by invoking an open-ended and fact-free notion of
"preemptive self-defense." If the president's new doctrine is acceptable at
all, it is only after making a compelling factual demonstration to Congress
that there is a clear and present danger and that there is no practical
alternative to a preemptive strike.

Which leads us back to the crucial constitutional issue. Will the president
leave the final decision on war to Congress, or will he attempt to marry
unilateralism abroad with unilateralism at home?

To be sure, the president has promised "to consult" with Congress, but this
can mean many things -- hurried briefings just before the bombs start to
fall, some committee hearings after the fact. Such half-measures aren't
remotely sufficient. As in the first Gulf War, the Constitution requires
each senator and representative to stand up and be counted, after soberly
considering how unilateral intervention will shape the future of
international law. The American people, and the people of the world, deserve
nothing less.

Congress's involvement is not something to be avoided, as the administration
seems bent on doing, but to be revered. To make our way in this new and
unsettling world, we must hold fast to our old and most valued principles.

Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale
and author of "We the People" (Harvard University Press), a history of
constitutional law in the United States.

by Patrick E. Tyler
International Herald Tribune, from The New York Times, 19th August

WASHINGTON: A covert U.S. program during the Reagan administration provided
Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when U.S.
intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical
weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to
senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.

These officers, most of whom agreed to speak on the condition that they not
be named, spoke in response to a reporter's questions about the nature of
gas warfare on both sides of the conflict between Iran and Iraq from 1981 to
1988. Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President
George W. Bush and, last week, was cited by his national security adviser,
Condoleezza Rice, as justification for "regime change" in Iraq.

The covert program was carried out at a time when President Ronald Reagan's
senior aides, including Secretary of State George Shultz, Defense Secretary
Frank Carlucci and General Colin Powell, then the national security adviser
and now the secretary of state, all were publicly condemning Iraq for its
use of poison gas, especially after Iraqi forces attacked Kurdish civilians
in Halabja in March 1988.

During the Iran-Iraq war, the United States decided it was imperative that
Iran be thwarted, so it could not overrun the important oil-producing states
in the Gulf. It has long been known that the United States provided
intelligence assistance to Iraq in the form of satellite photography to help
the Iraqis understand how Iranian forces were deployed against them. But the
full nature of the program, as described by former Defense Intelligence
Agency officers, was not previously disclosed.

Powell, through a spokesman, said the officers' description of the program
was "dead wrong," but declined to discuss it.

Carlucci said, "My understanding is that what was provided" to Iraq "was
general order of battle information, not operational intelligence."

"I certainly have no knowledge of U.S. participation in preparing battle and
strike packages," he said, "and doubt strongly that that occurred."

Later, Carlucci added, "I did agree that Iraq should not lose the war, but I
certainly had no foreknowledge of their use of chemical weapons."

Though senior officials of the Reagan administration publicly condemned
Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents, the
U.S. military officers said that Reagan, Vice President George Bush and
senior national security aides never withdrew their support for the highly
classified program, in which more than 60 officers of the defense agency
were secretly providing the Iraqi general staff with detailed information on
Iranian deployments, tactical planning and bomb-damage assessments.

The Iraqis shared their battle plans with the Americans, without admitting
the use of chemical weapons, the military officers said. But the Iraqi use
of chemical weapons, already established at that point, became more evident
in the final phase of the war.

Saudi Arabia played a crucial role in pressing the Reagan administration to
offer assistance to Iraq, out of concern that Iranian commanders were
sending human waves of young volunteers to overrun Iraqi forces. Prince
Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, then and now,
met with President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and then told senior officials of
the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency that the Iraqi military command
was ready to accept U.S. assistance.

In early 1988, after the Iraqi Army, with the aid of U.S. planning
assistance, retook the Fao Peninsula, reopening Iraq's access to the Gulf, a
defense intelligence officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, now retired,
toured the battlefield with Iraqi officers, the former U.S. officers said.

He reported that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons to cinch their
victory, one former defense agency official said. Francona saw zones marked
off for chemical contamination, and containers for the drug atropine
scattered around, indicating that Iraqi soldiers had taken injections to
protect themselves from the effects of nerve gas that might blow back over
their positions.

(Francona could not be reached for comment.)

CIA officials supported the program to assist Iraq, but were not involved.
Separately, the CIA provided Iraq with satellite photography of the war

Colonel Walter Lang, retired, the senior defense intelligence officer at the
time, said in an interview that he would not discuss classified information,
but added that both DIA and CIA officials "were desperate to make sure that
Iraq did not lose" to Iran.

"The use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep
strategic concern," he said. What Reagan's top aides were concerned about,
he said, was that the Iranians not break through to the Fao Peninsula and
spread the Islamic revolution to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south.

Iraq did turn its chemical weapons against the Kurdish population of
northern Iraq, but the intelligence officers say they were not involved in
planning any of the military operations in which these assaults occurred.

They said the reason was that there were no major Iranian troop
concentrations in the north and the major battles where Iraq's military
command wanted assistance were on the southern front.,,3-387997,00.html

by Tim Reid in Washington and Clem Cecil in Moscow
The Times, 19th August

NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF, the US general who commanded allied forces during the
Gulf War, joined a growing number of senior US military and political
figures yesterday who are opposed to a unilateral invasion of Iraq and said
President Bush "should not go it alone".

General Schwarzkopf, now retired from the US Army but still a commanding
voice on matters relating to Iraq, said that the success of Operation Desert
Storm in 1991 and the expulsion of President Saddam Hussein's troops from
Kuwait was almost entirely based on the existence of a broad international
coalition. He said: "In the Gulf War we had an international force and
troops from many nations. We would be lacking if we went it alone at this

He emphasised the dangers of an invasion without international consensus and
military support because of the size and strength of the Iraqi Army. "It is
not going to be an easy battle but it would be much more effective if we
didn't have to do it alone," he said.

To be effective, a US-led invasion would need launching points not only from
Kuwait and Turkey, but also from Saudi Arabia, which Riyadh has so far
pointedly refused, he added.

Wesley Clark, the retired general who led the Nato alliance during the
Kosovo campaign, also joined the voices counselling against an invasion
without international co-operation.

In an article for the September issue of The Washington Monthly, he said:
"The early successes (in Afghanistan) seem to have reinforced the conviction
of some within the US Government that the continuing war on terrorism is
best waged outside the structures of international institutions. This is a
fundamental misjudgment. The longer the war goes on . . . the more our
success will depend on the willing co-operation and active participation of
our allies."


by Thomas D. Grant
Washington Post, 20th August

With a consensus forming that the civilized world must bring the regime of
Saddam Hussein in Iraq to an end, debate turns to the perils of this
imperative action -- and ways to avoid them.

The conventional forces of Iraq stand in parlous state. Demoralized, their
numbers halved and their hardware rusting, Iraqi soldiers will pose even
less resistance than in their 1991 debacle. Back then, at the height of
their power and prestige, the Iraqi army and the elite Republican Guard
presented warm butter to an allied knife. Under the generally accepted
definition of the term, Hussein has no "weapon" in his regiments and

If the Iraqi dictator wields any weapon at all, it takes the form of an
unconventional pairing of unconventional assets. Hussein possesses an
arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Military analysts and former
U.N. arms inspectors ponder the quality and quantity, but this much, they
say, is clear: The Iraqi WMD stockpile includes forms of mustard gas and
nerve gas, a variety of species of dangerous microorganisms, and at least
some of the parts and fissile material necessary to make an atomic bomb.

Yet, when it is said that Hussein "possesses" WMD, this really means
something else. Hussein stands at the top of a chain of command containing
many people who, if they all perform their duties in that chain of command
-- that is, if they accept Hussein's orders and execute them -- will allow
Hussein to carry out deployment of these weapons.

The primary peril of war against Iraq is that, seeing his end approaching,
Hussein will try to cause others around him to share in his demise. But to
cap off his career not just with suicide but with a final paroxysm of
murder, Hussein needs his every subordinate, from the Revolutionary Command
Council down to -- and especially to -- the men in the field with immediate
custody over WMD to accept and execute the conductor's cue for
Götterdämmerung. How could he make this happen?

Hussein has spent his entire career fashioning the baton -- and its raw
material is complicity. He has, in his ruthlessly systematic way, rendered
thousands of Iraqis accessories -- or worse -- to his crimes. To be sure,
any dictator spreads the blood around. But in Iraq, according to exiles,
including defectors from the regime itself, Hussein has made the common
stain not incidental but a primary object. Virtually every member of the
Baath Party elite who has survived to the present is said to have blood on
his hands.

Mass complicity in mass crime produces a dynamic that Hussein knows can
serve him well. Hitler exploited the dynamic relentlessly. To Berlin in the
final days of his 12-year Reich, the Nazi dictator called in divisions of
SS, the worst offenders in the Nazi system. And not only "regular" German SS
but a legion of traitors, too, from the Netherlands, Denmark, Croatia and
elsewhere -- men who knew they had two choices: to die beside their comrades
in a final battle against the hated Soviets, or to go home and be hanged
amid the derision of their countrymen. Few survived the Battle of Berlin.

Hussein counts on his men to do no less. Thousands of them will recognize
that in the aftermath of the Baath regime, even if the attack leaves Hussein
dead and the country shattered, their own fate lies just around the corner.
Whether at the hands of rampaging army mutineers or vengeful members of
victims' families, or in the grinding but certain wheels of a victor's law
courts, Hussein's subalterns know they are doomed.

To those complicit in his crimes and thus likely to follow even suicidal
commands, the United States must address itself creatively and aggressively.
The weapon against them is a simple -- if, to a just society, not entirely
palatable -- message: After regime change, there shall be no retribution.

A limited roster of the very worst offenders might well be slated for
justice. Hussein, his incorrigible sons Qusay and Uday, perhaps some dozen
others -- but no more. This list must be communicated very clearly, through
pamphlets dropped by air, the broadcast media, and, not least of all, in
both public and private communications to the Iraqi National Congress and
its associates. If necessary, the United States must ride herd over the
prospective successor regime, making it clear to people in Iraq that, once
Hussein is gone, there will be no room for reprisals or further

Amnesty has played a powerful role in facilitating transition in troubled
countries. The dictators of Chile and Argentina and the apartheid
apparatchiks of South Africa all stepped aside with surprising grace -- once
they trusted pledges of security and immunity. Critics decry such "get out
of jail free" cards but ignore the greater value of stability.

In Iraq, the case for an amnesty pledge, communicated loud and clear, is
infinitely stronger than anywhere else in the past. Hussein's weapon -- a
tandem between weapons of mass destruction and complicity -- poses a
terrible threat to American forces and the region. This peril will not go
away completely until Saddam and his regime themselves take their final bow.
Whether they are ushered out a stage exit by American forces with minimum
possible casualties on all sides or incinerate the theater depends on
whether we succeed in convincing those on whom Hussein relies that Iraq
without their old master is an Iraq in which they can still live.

Thomas D. Grant is Warburg Research Fellow at St. Anne's College, Oxford

Washington Times, 19th August

Last Friday, the New York Times ran a willfully misleading front-page story
which mischaracterized Henry Kissinger's critical endorsement of President
Bush's Iraq strategy. Combined with the intellectual slovenliness and pack
instincts of much of the Washington press corps, the Times article could
undermine support for the President's Iraq war aims ‹ which, of course, was
the purpose of the article.

On Monday, Aug. 12, Henry Kissinger had delivered his considered opinion
that Bush's plan for pre-emptive war against Iraq was justified. He
carefully described the necessary diplomatic and follow-through details
necessary for success. He even judged that the Israeli Palestinian crisis
would probably best be resolved by first defeating Iraq. As he put it, "the
road to Jerusalem will [more likely] lead through Baghdad."

Faced with this formidable buttress of the President's plans, the New York
Times on Friday, in its lead story by Todd S. Purdum and Patrick E. Tyler,
offered up the headline "Top Republicans Break with Bush on Iraq Strategy."
The first name they listed of the "leading Republicans" who were "breaking
ranks with President Bush" was Mr. Kissinger. They sneakily reported that
"These senior Republicans . . . . All say they favor the eventual removal of
Saddam Hussein, but some say they are concerned . . . that Iraq is [not]an
urgent threat." They didn't then mention that Mr. Kissinger was not one of
the "some" who are concerned, etc. Not until over 700 words into the story
(and deep in to the jump on Page A9), did they mention that Mr. Kissinger
was actually in favor of a prompt war and supported pre-emption.

The other, lesser names mentioned in the article ‹ Brent Scowcroft, Sen.
Chuck Hagel and Rep. Dick Armey ‹ actually had broken ranks. But most of the
public haven't heard of them, and none have the worldwide prestige and
respect of Mr. Kissinger. So, The New York Times kidnapped Mr. Kissinger's
name and reputation on behalf of their opposition to the President's

While it is true that a careful reading of the 1000-plus-word article
presented a fuller picture of Mr. Kissinger's opinion, the editors of the
New York Times knew quite well that they need not worry about that. Most
members of the reading public, and ‹ even more importantly, most members of
the Washington and New York press corps ‹ weren't likely to read the full
article. By mid-morning on Friday, leading Washington journalists and news
producers were casually repeating to each other what they had gleaned from a
quick glance at the headline and the first few paragraphs of the story.

When challenged on this misreading of the story, one prominent Washington
journalist admitted that the false conclusion was not based on either
reading Mr. Kissinger's article ("Kissinger's writing is so confusing") or
reading the full Times piece. Actually, Mr. Kissinger writes with great
clarity on complex issues. But it does take some intellectual rigor to
follow his complex but lucid arguments. Later, MSNBC online was repeating as
true this word-of mouth reversal of Mr. Kissinger's true position. Another
of the cable news networks was ready to headline this misreading until Mr.
Kissinger's actual article was pointed out to one of their producers.

As the pre-eminent newspaper in America (and probably the world) the New
York Times has a singular responsibility to get its stories right. News
outlets around the world rely on the accuracy of its reporting and assume
they are not being intentionally misled. It is one thing to add opinion to a
news story. But to intentionally mislead and confuse its readers on the
newspaper's top, right, above-the-fold front-page story (presumably a report
on the most important event of the day) is a dangerous and disgraceful

Curiously, the Times' lead editorial that day, on Page A18, which was on the
same topic, got it factually right. It mentioned all the other dissenting
Republicans, but never mentioned Mr. Kissinger.

The New York Times takes pride in being considered America's newspaper of
record. This willful misrepresentation on a story of historic importance
will leave a deep and perhaps indelible stain on that reputation.

Tehran Times, 21st August

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said in an interview published
Tuesday that U.S. secret service agents tried to bribe Iraqi officials who
took part in talks with the United Nations in New York in May.

"The U.S. secret service violated the personal freedom of certain members of
my delegation by trying to recruit them to betray their homeland," Sabri
told the "Al-Raifdain" weekly newspaper.

Sabri and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan met at UN headquarters in May, the
second round of talks between the United Nations and Iraq since dialogue
resumed at the beginning of the year. Sabri accused the United States of
having violated the status of the UN by delaying visas for the technical
delegation accompanying him and by trying to corrupt team members in a
"crude and tactless way."

"The security services at the airport (on arrival) also searched us
deliberately to provoke us," AFP quoted Sabri as saying.

"All that led us to ask Kofi Annan not to hold the last session of talks in
New York," he said.

A third meeting between Annan and Sabri took place in July in Vienna, but
the two-day talks also did not yield an agreement on a return of weapons
inspectors, evacuated from Baghdad in December 1998 on the eve of
U.S.-British strikes.

The U.S. administration has repeatedly threatened to launch a military
strike on Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, whom it accuses of
developing weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies the allegations.

by Howard Kurtz
Washington Post, 21st August

Conservatives have declared war on the war coverage of the New York Times.

The charge is being led by the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and columnist Charles Krauthammer, who argue that the Times
is using its front page to mobilize opposition to a U.S. attack on Iraq. And
some on the right have put Executive Editor Howell Raines in the bull's-eye,
saying that the former head of the paper's liberal editorial page is behind
the slanted coverage.

"If you're going to have subtle opinionizing, I thought the place for that
was the editorial page," says Paul Gigot, the Journal's editorial page

Through a spokesman, Raines declined to comment yesterday, and staffers in
the paper's Washington bureau say any comment would have to come from

Some of the criticism is clearly ideological, and some reflects a
conspiratorial view of how newspapers work. But after weeks of grumbling by
online commentators, the complaints seem to have peaked over a front-page
story Fridaythat declared: "Leading Republicans from Congress, the State
Department and past administrations have begun to break ranks with President
Bush over his administration's high-profile planning for war with Iraq."

The chief beef is that the Times story prominently included Henry Kissinger
among the GOP critics. The problem is that the former secretary of state had
argued in a recent Washington Post op-ed piece that there is "an imperative
for preemptive action" against Iraq.

The Times highlighted some of the caveats in the Kissinger argument, such as
that "military intervention should be attempted only if we are willing to
sustain such an effort for however long it is needed." The paper did note
that Kissinger was "far from ruling out military intervention."

Still, the conservative floodgates burst open. "The question of the New York
Times is now in play," says Standard Editor Bill Kristol. "The degree to
which they seem in their news columns to be leading the charge against the
war has struck everyone, including people like me, who are not big
complainers about the news media."

Although some conservatives have long portrayed the Times as anti-Bush,
critics from National Review to U.S. News & World Report columnist Michael
Barone have joined the chorus of criticism on Iraq coverage.

Columnist George Will, on ABC's "This Week": "The New York Times has decided
to be what newspapers were 220 years ago, which is a journal of a faction,
and has been, I think, exaggerating the Republican differences."

Krauthammer, in his Washington Post column: "Not since William Randolph
Hearst famously cabled his correspondent in Cuba, 'You furnish the pictures
and I'll furnish the war,' has a newspaper so blatantly devoted its front
pages to editorializing about a coming American war as has Howell Raines's
New York Times. . . . That's partisan journalism, and that's what Raines's
Times does for a living. It's another thing to include Henry Kissinger in
your crusade. That's just stupid."

The Weekly Standard: "There's nothing subtle about the opposition of the New
York Times to President Bush's plan to depose Saddam Hussein in Iraq. This
bias colors not just editorials but practically every news story on the

The Journal editorial page objected not just to the way the Times story
treated Kissinger but also to the way it pounced on a Journal op-ed piece by
Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to Bush's father when he
was president. Although Scowcroft clearly opposes an administration attack
on Hussein, the Journal says the Times was "trumpeting our story to advance
a tendentious theme."

"We're not running a campaign against the Times coverage of Iraq," Gigot
says. "But when they take something we do and spin it into some big deal
that seems untrue, you're obliged to say something in response." (The Times
also cited statements of concern about Iraq policy by House Majority Leader
Dick Armey [R-Tex.], Sen. Chuck Hagel [R-Neb.] and former secretary of state
Lawrence Eagleburger.)

Liberal columnist Joshua Micah Marshall, who writes the Web site, says that "conservatives have always seen the New
York Times as a bete noire." But he says the "echo chamber" on the right is
"just wrong" about Kissinger's stance, because "if you look at what he said,
it was not in favor of the administration's position."

Critics cite a spate of other stories in arguing that the Times is beating
the antiwar drums:

On July 30, a front-page Times story said a war against Iraq "could
profoundly affect the American economy."

On Aug. 1, the Times headline on a Senate hearing declared: "Experts Warn of
High Risk for American Invasion of Iraq."

On Aug. 3, a series of man-on-the-street interviews was headlined: "Backing
Bush All the Way, Up to but Not Into Iraq."

On Friday, the same day as the "Top Republicans Break With Bush on Iraq
Strategy" piece, the Times editorial page also cited GOP dissenters in
arguing that a war on Iraq "carries great potential to produce unintended
and injurious consequences if handled rashly by Mr. Bush." The news pages
that day did not mention Condoleezza Rice's attack on Hussein as "evil,"
although the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post carried front-page
stories on the national security adviser's remarks.

On Saturday, the Times reported: "President Notes Dissent on Iraq, Vowing to

Dissent, of course, is part of the story. Marshall, who describes himself as
"pretty hawkish on Iraq," says the Times is "running articles that point out
the downside" of a U.S. invasion. But, he says, "it seems appropriate
because this is a mass investment of money and lives on the country's part.
They're pretty much doing what a newspaper should be doing."

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 21st August

In arguing in support of a U.S. attack on Iraq, National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice has raised Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against
the Iranians in the 1980-88 war as evidence of his perfidy. Although true,
there is a problem with this as a justification  - and it is indicative of
many arguments raised in support of a war.

The problem is that the United States -- led by President Ronald Reagan and
Vice President George H.W. Bush -- was fully aware that Iraq, which the
United States supported against what it considered to be an even-worse Iran,
was using chemical weapons while it also received and used U.S. military
intelligence and other support.

That fact brings us back to the question we raised in an editorial
yesterday: Why does the Bush administration persist in trying to roll this
rock up the hill?

One possible explanation is that this president sees himself as somehow
obliged to finish the work of his father, work left undone when Saddam was
permitted to remain in place at the end of the 1990-91 war. If that were the
case, the defection of Gen. Scowcroft, his father's national security
adviser and family friend, could now serve to take any such obligation off
the younger Bush's back.

There is also the argument that the Israelis, made nervous by the
evenhandedness implicit in the current American approach to arranging peace
between them and the Palestinians, want to tie the United States more
closely to them, through an American-launched war against Iraq. Such a war
would annihilate current American relations with countries like Egypt,
Jordan, the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

The irony is that Israel is, in fact, safer with America having a reasonable
relationship with the Arab states of the region, than it is with the United
States in the process of waging a solo, hot war against an Arab state, even
one as unloved as Iraq.

The third theory as to why the Bush administration is continuing to beat the
drums for a war with Iraq is the popular -- but to us slightly loony --
claim that oil barons in the administration want to grab control of Iraq's
oil production, to anchor the world energy market against potential
instability in Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing states.

The trouble with that argument is that the level and nature of instability
introduced to the Middle East and its oil market by a unilateral U.S. attack
on Iraq would be immeasurable. The governments of all its oil producers
would shake and shudder. The only guarantee against such instability would
be the introduction of even more U.S. troops to the area as occupiers.

Sound U.S. policy at this point would be to let the current reverberating
threats against Saddam Hussein serve as incentives for him to permit resumed
U.N. inspections of Iraq's weapons capacity; to maintain vigilance over what
Iraq is actually doing through overflight and satellite surveillance, in
case a pre-emptive strike against its facilities becomes necessary; and to
continue to rattle the nerves of Saddam's regime through contacts and some
help to his opposition, feckless though most of them appear to be.

But no unilateral, solo U.S. attack on Iraq should occur, no matter how evil
it or its leader may be. The case for such a momentous undertaking has not
been made.

by Robert A. Levine
International Herald Tribune, 21st August

Los AngelesGeorge W. Bush probably won't order a military attack on Iraq in
the near future because Karl Rove is unlikely to let him. If the president's
top political adviser is doing his job, he should point out the distinct
possibility that an unsuccessful - or a slow and costly - attack can end a
presidency. Lacking an imminent danger to the United States, the political
danger to the administration is likely to prevail.

The current debate among intellectuals in and out of office is relevant but
not central, although the lineup is impressive.

Urging the president on are ideological "movement conservatives" like Ronald
Reagan's assistant secretary of defense, Richard Perle, the current deputy
secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, and the writer Robert Kagan.

Counseling caution are former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former
national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, a
retired NATO commander, General Wesley Clark, and a range of
left-to-moderate-right commentators.

It is said that Vice President DickCheney, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice are pushing, and
that most Pentagon generals and Secretary of State Colin Powell are holding
back, but on the public record all that is less clear.

The real political game, in any case, is being played by non-movement
conservatives like retiring House Republican Majority Leader Richard Armey
and Republican Senators Richard Lugar and Chuck Hegel, who oppose
precipitate action.

Most Democrats are positioning themselves to join in the patriotic fervor if
the attack is mounted, while preserving their capability to take advantage
if it bogs down. Congressional hawks in both parties have been quiet lately.

Few politicians are pure cynics. In matters of deep national interest at
least, they pay attention to policy arguments. In this case the movement
conservatives have not convinced them to override their natural caution. The
movement's foreign policy ideology centers on the need for the United States
to free itself of the timid old constraints and strike alone in times of
high danger exemplified by Iraq's drive to build weapons of mass

As put by Kagan, the United States "must sometimes act unilaterally, not out
of a passion for unilateralism but, given a weak Europe that has been moved
beyond power, because the United States has no choice but to act

Applying that to Iraq, Perle says: "Our European allies are just not
relevant to this. [Aside from Britain], the rest of the Europeans prefer to
look the other way or cut deals with Saddam or buy him off in various ways."

They are right - the United States can act without Europe, although that is
less for ideological reasons than because there is no Europe. Fifteen
sovereignties cannot a foreign or military policy make, even though, were
they to federate into one sovereignty, they could exert power equal to that
of the United States. In trade and economics they do; in political and
military affairs, the European Union is a discussion group and the
Eurowimps' opposition to an attack on Iraq can be discounted.

But Europe is a straw man. Reality is to the east. A successful U.S. attack
on Iraq - with or without European allies - would require some support from
within the region. And without a solution in Israel and Palestine, or at
least a softening of America's unqualified support for Ariel Sharon, that is
unlikely to happen. In any case, the cascade of leaks from the Pentagon
makes clear the military establishment's doubts about any easy victory in
Iraq, with or without local support. The possible death throes of an Iraq
regime probably already armed with dangerous weapons add further qualms.

Here is where political reality cuts in. The record shows that Americans
will support a successful near-zero-casualty war for a clear-cut cause, for
a while. Bush père pulled off such a war against explicit Iraqi aggression
that threatened the world's oil supply. The Sept. 11 attacks engendered
near-unanimous support for what turned out to be a workable war in

But neither the fuzzy threat of a future potential of Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction nor the proposed "preemptive" counterattack fit those
specifications. Rather, the appropriate political models are Harry Truman's
bogged-down war in Korea and Lyndon Johnson's in Vietnam; both presidents
declined to run for re-election.

An attack on Iraq before November's congressional election would be
militarily near impossible and politically blatant. After November,
President Bush will be running for re election.

A war begun in 2003 and continuing without clear victory for a year or more
- as is possible if not probable - would invoke the Korean and Vietnamese
precedents. Perhaps that is why in recent days the president has backed off
his earlier rhetoric, remarking that he might not make a decision this year,
and that he is still listening to the debate.

The writer is an economist, defense analyst and former official in the U.S.
executive and legislative branches. He contributed this comment to the
International Herald Tribune.

by Jim Lobe
Dawn, 21st August, 11 Jamadi-us-Saani 1423

WASHINGTON: War has been declared in Washington, but not against any foreign
country, at least for the moment. Rather, the war, which should switch into
high gear when Congress returns from its August recess early next month , is
for the heart and mind of President George W. Bush, who will come under
excruciating pressure by November to decide whether or not the United States
will go to war against Iraq some time during the first half of next year.

For now, the war is strictly among Republicans - between the conservative
realists who dominated the administration of former president George H.W.
Bush and the predominantly neo-conservative coalition of hawks clustered in
the civilian leadership of the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's

A series of leaks this month from senior military brass, who have grown
increasingly distrustful of the adventurism of their civilian bosses, marked
the preliminary skirmishes in the conflict.

The war burst into the open last week when the elder Bush's national
security adviser, ret. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, lambasted the idea of war with
Iraq in the editorial pages of the staunchly hawkish Wall Street Journal.

Arguing that war against Baghdad would likely destroy international
co-operation for the 'war against terrorism', Scowcroft also warned that it
"could well destabilize Arab regimes in the region, ironically facilitating
one of Saddam's strategic objectives".

Scowcroft, who doubles as the chairman of the current Presidential Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) and hence has access to top-secret
intelligence, also cast doubt on rumours of any link between Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, let alone Iraqi involvement in the Sept 11
terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

Left alone, the Scowcroft op-ed would have created a stir. But it became a
sensation when the 'New York Times' the next day cited Scowcroft's dissent
in its lead article headlined, 'Top Republicans Break with Bush on Iraq

Citing Scowcroft's article and a column by former secretary of state Henry
Kissinger - who argued that war against Iraq could be justified but that
Washington had to do much more to cultivate public support at home and
abroad - the Times also quoted unnamed senior State Department officials who
said they were trying desperately to halt the course toward war in intra-
administration debates.

The Times also quoted another former Republican secretary of state, Lawrence
Eagleburger, as sharing Scowcroft's views, and cited a Republican on the
Senate foreign relations committee as leading the forces opposed to the war.

The response was not long in coming. On Monday, readers got a double blast,
aimed at both the Times and Scowcroft, by two leading neo-conservative
organs, the Wall Street Journal' and the Rupert Murdoch-owned Weekly
Standard, which often speak for the Pentagon and Cheney hawks in the

In its lead editorial titled 'This is Opposition?', the Journal ridiculed
the notion of a split in Republican ranks and went after Scowcroft, and
Secretary of State Colin Powell as practitioners of 'realpolitik'.

"So it typically favours 'stability', even when it's imposed by dictators,
over democratic aspiration," according to the Journal, which went on to
catalogue a series of "mistaken judgments" allegedly made by Scowcroft,
Eagleburger and Powell during the first Bush administration.

On the list were: the failure to intervene against Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic; favouring the maintenance of the Soviet Union under
Mikhail Gorbachev; and, worst, urging Bush I to "stop the Gulf War early,
based in part on a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) fear that a divided
Iraq without a dictator was worse than a 'stable' Iraq ruled by Saddam or
his Baath Party successor".

In a second article, the Standard weighed in with its own attack on
Scowcroft and the Times. The article, 'The Axis of Appeasement', was penned
by the publication's chief editor, William Kristol, who doubles as
co-founder of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a five-year-old
front group that consists of close associates of the Pentagon Cheney forces.

"European international-law wishfulness and full-blown Pat Buchanan
isolationism are the two intellectually honest alternatives to the Bush
Doctrine," he added. "Scowcroft and the Times wish to embrace neither, so
they pretend instead to be terribly 'concerned' with the administration's
alleged failure to 'make the case' (for going to war)."

On one side, the ranks will be led by Rumsfeld and Cheney and their
cheerleaders at the Journal, the Standard, and a handful of other
publications; on the other will stand the Bush I veterans, led by Scowcroft
outside the administration and Powell and the not inconsiderable help of the
military brass within.

How the Democrats weigh in - and they, too, face strong divisions on the
issue of war with Iraq - remains to be seen.

by Robert Schlesinger
Boston Globe, 22nd August

WASHINGTON - President Bush yesterday dismissed the mounting speculation
about a US invasion of Iraq as a "frenzy," describing himself as a "patient
man" who would consult with international allies and congressional leaders
before taking any action against Saddam Hussein.

"What I need to do is continue to, as we call it, consult with people who
share our interests to make the world a safer place, and I will do so," Bush
told reporters at his Texas ranch.

Addressing troops later in the day at Fort Hood, near Crawford, Texas,
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had a similar message.

While noting that Bush is "thinking about" attacking Iraq, he added: "We are
doing things diplomatically, we are doing things economically, and we've got
some military activity in [the northern and southern no-fly zones] - all of
which are designed in cooperation with some coalition countries to try to
see if we can't find a way to see that that region is not developing weapons
of mass destruction."

Though the president has previously promised to consult with world leaders
and members of Congress, his remarks yesterday seemed to shift emphasis away
from hints of a unilateral US assault on Iraq. The administration is facing
public skepticism from US allies abroad and from many US politicians and
policymakers, including some prominent Republicans.

Representative Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican and the majority whip in the
House, became the latest high-profile figure yesterday to join the public
debate on the issue, but on the side of taking strong action. He described
Hussein as "the most dangerous man in the world today" and called for the
United States to remove him from power.

"Only regime change in Iraq can remove the danger from Saddam's weapons of
mass destruction," DeLay said in a speech in Houston. "Only by taking them
out of his hands can we be certain that nuclear, biological, or chemical
weapons won't wind up in the hands of terrorists."

DeLay characterized the opponents of military action against Iraq as

Bush made his comments after meeting with his national security team at his
ranch in Crawford. Members of the team - including Rumsfeld, Vice President
Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and General Richard
Myers, chairman of the joints chiefs of staff - discussed a range of issues
relating to the military budget.

Their agenda included an update on the missile-defense program, contingency
planning for future conflicts around the globe, and the ongoing
transformation of the military that Bush officials say is necessary to fight
battles in the 21st century. Iraq was not discussed, Bush said.

The president said that Iraq is a threat to world security and that Hussein
should be removed from power.

"Regime change is in the interests of the world," Bush said. "How we achieve
that is a matter of consultation and deliberation. ... I'm a deliberative
person. I'm a patient man."

Bush's administration has been criticized throughout his term for being too
quick to act unilaterally on a range of international issues, from global
warming to withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But the
stakes have never been as high as in a decision on going to war against

"We will, obviously, continue to consult with our friends and allies," Bush
said. "And those are needed consultations. Not only will we consult with
friends and allies, we'll consult with members of Congress."

Bush and Rumsfeld, who often addresses the need for regime change in Iraq,
have lectured the press in recent days about what they call an obsession
with the topic.

Appearing with Rumsfeld after their meeting, Bush said: "There's this kind
of intense speculation that seems to be going on, a kind of a - I don't know
how you would describe it. It's kind of a churning ... a frenzy."

At Fort Hood later in the day, when a soldier asked Rumsfeld about the
subject, he quipped, "You must be with the press."

In recent weeks, prominent leaders - including House majority leader Richard
Armey, Republican of Texas, and Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser
under President Georger H.W. Bush - have questioned the wisdom of a US-led
strike against Iraq.

"I don't believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on
another nation," Armey told reporters in Des Moines earlier this month. "It
would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should
be as a nation."

Comments such as Armey's have given rise to speculation about a breach
within the GOP over the issue, and DeLay seemed to underscore the division
with his comments yesterday.

DeLay, who is expected to replace Armey as majority leader if the
Republicans retain control of the House this fall, went further than the
administration has in linking Iraq with the US war on terrorism.

"The question is not whether to go to war, for war has already been thrust
upon us," Delay said. "Defeating Iraq is far from a diversion in the war on
terror. Defeating Saddam Hussein is a defining measure of whether we will
wage the war on terrorism fully and effectively. Regime change is a central
goal of the war on terror."

In an interview on CNN, DeLay accused unnamed diplomatic employees of being
disloyal for voicing their reservations about invading Iraq.

"Those that work in the State Department should know who they work for and
be loyal to the president of the United States," he said. "They should
certainly discuss with the president behind closed doors their feelings and
how they think that he should proceed. But to leak it to the national media
is undermining our ability to fight this war."

Houston Chronicle (from Associated Press), 23rd August

WASHINGTON -- Half of Americans believe Iraq has weapons of mass
destruction, but support for sending U.S. troops to remove Saddam Hussein
has slipped, according to a poll released Thursday.

The CNN/USA Today poll showed support for deploying troops to Iraq has
dropped from 61 percent in June to 53 percent this week.

Four in 10 favor sending troops if it meant they would be in combat there
for at least a year, and two in 10 favor sending troops even if the United
States received no support from Western allies.

The poll, conducted Monday through Wednesday and having a margin of error of
plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, comes at a time of intensifying debate
over what to do about Iraq. A growing number of politicians and foreign
affairs experts have spoken out in recent days about whether to invade, and
the issue has moved onto the front pages of the nation's newspapers.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer scolded reporters for focusing on Iraq
when President Bush met Wednesday with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
at Bush's ranch. Iraq did not come up at the meeting, Bush said.

"It reached an absurd point of self-inflicted silliness that goes beyond the
usual August hype," Fleischer said Thursday. "There have been meetings about
Iraq in the past, there will be meetings about Iraq in the future.
Yesterday's wasn't, and the press didn't care. ... The president's opinion
is the press looks silly."

Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under President Clinton, said the
debate is vital.

Iraq is "not a direct threat to the United States, which is why, I think, we
need to have a discussion about whether we are, will be or would be better
off with an attack or a pre emptive attack on Iraq from where we are now,"
she said Thursday on the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

"I believe that Iraq and Saddam Hussein are contained pretty well within
this sanctions box," she said.

Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, said
Iraq "threatens the United States by its capacity to threaten its

Allies have shown little interest in backing military action against Iraq.

Earlier Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov
called the idea of an attack on Iraq "unacceptable," and British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw said his government's policy was to pressure Saddam
into allowing the resumption of U.N. weapons inspections. German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder has said he would not send troops to what he called an
"adventure" in Iraq.

Kissinger blamed the reluctance on political pressures inside those nations.

"Several of these countries are having elections in Europe. Several of these
countries have center-left governments in which the debate about how to deal
with the United States has been endemic," Kissinger said on PBS.

"At the end of the day, once there is a clear American decision, I believe
most Europeans will ask themselves whether they can really afford to
separate on a matter of vital security interests of the United States from
the country that has been assuring their vital security interests for 50

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]