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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] What is especially worrisome about the Washington Post story (original message, bottom of e-mail) is the fact it comes on the heels of the Pentagon (mis)information story: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/17/international/17MILI.html?ex=1040792400&en=3909e5f219455640&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE Most people believe the Pentagon when they say they won't be engaging in misinformation. An even higher percentage believe the Pentagon when they say America wasn't ever considered a target of this misinformation. Then, suddenly, the press is convincing people that Saddam is going to destroy his own infrastructure in a "scorched-earth" policy. Of course, that's an ancient defensive strategy, but it's been used much more recently: >> 3. President Bush ordered the destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity throughout Iraq. Systematic aerial and missile bombardment of Iraq was ordered to begin at 6:30 p.m. EST January 16, 1991, eighteen and one-half hours after the deadline set on the insistence of President Bush, in order to be reported on television evening news in the U.S. The bombing continued for forty-two days. It met no resistance from Iraqi aircraft and no effective anti-aircraft or anti-missile ground fire. Iraq was defenseless. The United States reports it flew 110,000 air sorties against Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs, nearly seven times the equivalent of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. 93% of the bombs were free falling bombs, most dropped from higher than 30,000 feet. Of the remaining 7% of the bombs with electronically guided systems, more than 25% missed their targets, nearly all caused damage primarily beyond any identifiable target. Most of the targets were civilian facilities. The intention and effort of the bombing of civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq's infrastructure leaving it in a preindustrial condition. Iraq's civilian population was dependent on industrial capacities. The U.S. assault left Iraq in a near apocalyptic condition as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war. Among the facilities targeted and destroyed were: electric power generation, relay and transmission; water treatment, pumping and distribution systems and reservoirs; telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations, towers and transmission facilities; food processing, storage and distribution facilities and markets, infant milk formula and beverage plants, animal vaccination facilities and irrigation sites; railroad transportation facilities, bus depots, bridges, highway overpasses, highways, highway repair stations, trains, buses and other public transportation vehicles, commercial and private vehicles; oil wells and pumps, pipelines, refineries, oil storage tanks, gasoline filling stations and fuel delivery tank cars and trucks, and kerosene storage tanks; sewage treatment and disposal systems; factories engaged in civilian production, e.g., textile and automobile assembly; and historical markers and ancient sites. As a direct, intentional and foreseeable result of this destruction, tens of thousands of people have died from dehydration, dysentery and diseases caused by impure water, inability to obtain effective medical assistance and debilitation from hunger, shock, cold and stress. More will die until potable water, sanitary living conditions, adequate food supplies and other necessities are provided. There is a high risk of epidemics of cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and other diseases as well as starvation and malnutrition through the summer of 1991 and until food supplies are adequate and essential services are restored. Only the United States could have carried out this destruction of Iraq, and the war was conducted almost exclusively by the United States. This conduct violated the UN Charter, the Hague and Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Charter, and the laws of armed conflict. << http://www.deoxy.org/wc/warcrim2.htm Now, when the war is over, and Iraq's infrastructure is destroyed, with all its oil wells on fire, who will be blamed? Try telling someone it was actually the USA that set many of those wells on fire in the first Bush War, and see what kind of reaction you get. After Bush War II, it will be even more difficult to convince people of who is really to blame. It's amazing what an unlimited PR budget can get you. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles, and misguided men. -MLK "Suzy T. Kane" <email@example.com> wrote: [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Dear All, Have we fallen down the rabbit hole? How do you respond to an article like this? Suzy washingtonpost.com 'Scorched Earth' Plans in Iraq Cited Officials Also Warn Germ War Possible By Bradley Graham Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, December 19, 2002; Page A01 U.S. intelligence officials warned yesterday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein plans to pursue a "scorched earth" strategy in the event of war with the United States and would destroy his country's oil fields, electrical power plants, food storage sites and other facilities while blaming U.S. military forces for the damage. The officials, briefing reporters at the Pentagon, said they have evidence that Hussein, if he believes his government is about to fall, will try to create a humanitarian crisis that could slow any U.S. invasion and foster international opposition to the war. They also warned that Hussein likely will attempt to release biological or chemical weapons as a last desperate act. The officials said they cannot predict with certainly which germ or chemical agents Hussein might unleash, or when or where. But they said the likely targets would include not only U.S. forces but also Israel and Kuwait and Iraqi civilians such as Shiite Muslims who have protested Hussein's rule in the past. Iraq has declared it has no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. In preparation for such attacks, the officials said, Iraq has likely shifted some of its stores of anthrax, botulism, ricin and mustard gas nearer to the forces that would employ them -- special Republican Guard units and selected air and missile units located in the central part of the country. To undercut any order that might come from Hussein, the Bush administration has begun warning Iraqi officers that they will be held personally responsible for releasing any weapons of mass destruction. "Saddam's point of view is, you fight with everything you've got," one official said. "He might use it right away, but he'll certainly use it when he thinks he's about to fall." Similar U.S. intelligence assessments preceded the Persian Gulf War in 1991 that evicted Iraqi invasion forces from Kuwait, but few proved accurate as U.S. and allied ground troops encountered relatively little Iraqi resistance. It was impossible to independently assess the reliability of yesterday's comments by intelligence officials or the motivation for giving the briefing. Although the Bush administration has an obvious interest in demonizing Hussein as it lays out a public case for war, a military spokesman attributed the timing of the briefing to a buildup of reporters' requests for an assessment of Iraq's military strength and intentions in the event of war. The intelligence officials declined to specify the evidence to further their case, saying it would compromise sources. Other officials have argued that, unlike 1991, Hussein will be more willing to fight with nonconventional means because his own government's existence would be at stake. The Iraqis have been preparing for war since immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, believing they would be a U.S. target, the intelligence officials said. They have accelerated imports of spare parts, moved ammunition closer to troop positions and dug trenches for soldiers and military vehicles. They also have begun placing trucks, concrete barriers and other obstacles on runways at key air bases where U.S. invasion forces might attempt to land. But instead of planning to engage U.S. troops along Iraq's borders and in the open desert, as they did in the 1991 war, Hussein's commanders intend to use rivers and other natural features as obstacles to any U.S. advance and to set up a layered defense with Baghdad at the center, the officials said. Iraq's ground and air forces are considerably weaker and smaller than they were in 1991, short on modern equipment, spare parts and training time, the officials said. Morale is low, and so is the Iraqi military's confidence in its ability to battle U.S. troops, they said. There are about 375,000 Iraqi ground troops, down from more than 1 million a decade ago. Some divisions are manned at only half their authorized levels, and many lack such basic components as reconnaissance units and military police. "The regular army is not motivated to fight for Saddam, and we don't think they're going to last very long," one official said. Iraq's six Republican Guard divisions, which are better equipped and trained and number about 90,000 troops, are expected to fight longer. But the U.S. analysts said they have solid evidence that Hussein is concerned about morale even in these elite forces. The Iraqi air force, with roughly 300 fighter jets, is less than half the size it was in 1991 and is not regarded as a major threat. Iraqi pilots receive on average only 20 to 50 hours of training annually, and when they do fly, "it's basically stick and rudder stuff" rather than serious tactical training, one U.S. official said. A relatively brighter spot for Iraq's military is its air defense system, which remains largely intact despite years of intermittent strikes by U.S. warplanes patrolling "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country. The U.S. officials noted that Iraq has kept most of its surveillance radars and antiaircraft missile batteries in the central part of the country, out of reach of U.S. planes. Additionally, Iraqis have shown considerable resourcefulness in repairing facilities that are damaged by U.S. airstrikes, drawing on spare parts from some former Soviet republics, the officials said. Chinese and Turkish companies have helped Iraq lay a nationwide fiber-optic network, providing communication links among military facilities that are more effective and more difficult for U.S. forces to cut. "It's really an issue of disruption, not permanent destruction," one official said of the real impact of the U.S. airstrikes. Iraq's military would be in even worse shape, the official said, if not for large amounts of imported equipment, including trucks, air defense parts and night vision devices. Many of the imports have been smuggled into the country in violation of international economic sanctions, with Syria serving as a major conduit, the official said. But some have arrived with United Nations approval, such as hundreds of pieces of earth-moving equipment that ended up being converted into missile launchers. C 2002 The Washington Post Company _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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