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[casi] News, 01-08/05/03 (1)

News, 01-08/05/03 (1)


*  In Speech, Bush Focuses on Conflicts Beyond Iraq
*  In between war and peace in Iraq
*  Relax, celebrate victory
*  Transcript: Powell Says U.S. Interested in Comprehensive Mideast
*  Selective Intelligence
*  USAID's Natsios Defends Iraq Contracts Process


by David E. Sanger
New York Times, 1st May

SAN DIEGO, May 1 - President Bush declared tonight that the military phase
of the war in Iraq had ended and that the battle was "one victory in a war
on terror that began on September 11th, 2001, and still goes on.''

Speaking from the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln before a
large group of uniformed sailors and aviators as the ship sailed home, he
argued that by vanquishing the government of Saddam Hussein, he had removed
"an ally of Al Qaeda,'' and he vowed to continue to search for banned
weapons in Iraq and to keep such weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

Mr. Bush's speech tonight, 43 days after he announced to the nation from the
Oval Office that the war had begun with a surprise bombing of a compound
where Mr. Hussein had been sighted, ended the combat phase of one of the
swiftest wars in American military history, and one of the most dramatic
chapters of Mr. Bush's presidency.

In the 20-minute speech to the men and women of the Abraham Lincoln, whose
aircraft dropped nearly a third of the ordnance that rained down on Iraq,
Mr. Bush made it clear that he considered the Iraq conflict just one major
moment of a broader confrontation that he would pursue against Al Qaeda and
other terrorist groups.

He spoke in emotional terms not only about the troops who toppled Mr.
Hussein but also about the Sept. 11 attacks, melding the battle against
terrorism with the battle against Iraq. "We have not forgotten the victims
of September 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the
searches in the rubble,'' he said. "With those attacks, the terrorists and
their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they

The Bush administration has never linked the attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon to Mr. Hussein, although senior officials did charge
that Iraq had ties to the Qaeda network.

The president's stern words about governments that support terrorism and
pursue illegal weapons programs appeared to be a direct warning to Iran and
North Korea and "any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups, and
seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction.'' Those states, he said,
pose "a grave danger to the civilized world, and will be confronted.''

Just in the last week, the State Department said Iran had the deepest ties
to terrorism of any nation in the world, and North Korea boasted that it had
already obtained nuclear weapons and was making more.

Mr. Bush did not declare final victory tonight as the sailors of the
Lincoln, some in blue work uniforms and others in dress whites, assembled on
the four-and-a-half-acre flight deck at dusk. Much remained to be done, he
said, in rebuilding Iraq, and he promised that allied forces would stay as
long as necessary.

White House officials said they did not want to declare a final end to the
war, in part because that would require them, under the Geneva Convention,
to release more than 6,000 prisoners of war, many of whom are still being

Still, he told the sailors and fliers that "major combat operations in Iraq
have ended,'' and that "in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our
allies have prevailed.''

Earlier in the day, in a visit to the carrier that the White House arranged
for maximum political effect, it was hard to tell the president from the
troops he was visiting. He landed on the 14-year-old carrier in a
twin-engine S-3B Viking jet that the president, a pilot in the Texas Air
National Guard three decades ago, helped pilot as it left San Diego. The
image of the president surrounded by beaming sailors was an image that White
House officials clearly intend to use in the 2004 presidential campaign.

In his speech, Mr. Bush argued that the invasion and liberation of Iraq was
part of the American response to the attacks of Sept. 11. He called the
tumultuous period since those attacks "19 months that changed the world,''
and said Mr. Hussein's defeat was a defeat for Al Qaeda and other terrorists
as well.

"The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against
terror,'' he said. "We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda, and cut off a
source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network
will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because that
regime is no more.''

Mr. Bush did more this evening than simply meld Mr. Hussein's fallen
government with Qaeda terrorists. Rather, he restated and amplified the
"Bush doctrine,'' the aggressive commitment his administration has made to
confront major threats to the United States before they reach American

He described the attack on Iraq as an example of the extreme lengths he
would go to stop such threats. "The use of force has been, and remains, our
last resort,'' he said.

He added: "Yet all can know, friend and foe alike, that our nation has a
mission: We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the

He said the mission was far from over. "Al Qaeda is wounded, not
destroyed,'' he said, even while arguing that half of the terrorist group's
senior members have been captured or killed. He vowed to pursue them "from
Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa,'' all places where the
United States has launched counterterrorism initiatives.

Notably, Mr. Bush never once in his speech mentioned the United Nations, or
the allies that opposed any use of military force, including France, Germany
and Russia. His vision of the continuing war on terrorism was described as
largely an American mission, though he mentioned Britain, Australia and
Poland as the nations that "shared in the hardships of war.'' These are, in
the view of many of his aides, now America's core allies, a huge shift from
the main alliances in the half century since the end of the cold war.

Mr. Bush's tone was carefully measured tonight; his aides did not want him
to sound too martial, or to appear to be gloating to a world that is deeply
suspicious of American power. Still, he struck an optimistic and purposeful

"The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless,'' he said. "We do not
know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide. No
act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or
alter their fate. Their cause is lost.''

The president spoke this evening six weeks and one day after the war began,
and nearly three weeks after the main military action - the drive from
Kuwait to the streets of Baghdad - was largely completed. In perhaps the
most vivid symbol of how quickly that victory was sealed, Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld, the first member of Mr. Bush's war council to visit
Baghdad, used one of Mr. Hussein's former palaces as a base.

But Mr. Bush acknowledged tonight that the longer and politically more
difficult task of remaking Iraq was only in its opening phase.

"The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is
worth every effort,'' he said. Then, the man who was elected president on a
platform that called for reducing the use of the American military to
conduct what he called "nation building'' made it clear that the military
would be the central participant in that effort.

"Our coalition will stay until our work is done,'' he said.

While Mr. Bush used his visit to the Lincoln to all but declare victory, two
of the major objectives of the war - capturing Mr. Hussein and finding
banned weapons - remain unfulfilled. Already, both are lingering irritants
to the administration.

In an interview this week, a senior administration official who was deeply
involved in all aspects of planning and executing the war said many members
of Mr. Bush's inner circle believed that Mr. Hussein was dead, although they
were frustrated that they could not prove it.

Referring to the two bombing raids on residences that Mr. Hussein was
believed to be visiting - one on the opening night of the war, another
toward the last days of heavy battle in Baghdad - the senior official said:
"I think there is a good chance that we got him one of those times.''

CNN, 2nd May

WASHINGTON: With Thursday night's pronouncement that the major combat phase
of the war in Iraq is over, the focus shifts now to rebuilding the country
and creating a stable government.

Debate continues about what a democratic Iraq will look like, but everyone
agrees the task will take far longer than the six-week military campaign
that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime.

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton
administration, told me on Thursday's "Inside Politics" that President
Bush's speech declaring the end of the military phase is a turning point in
the discussion about Iraq.

"I think it's very important for all Americans, whether they opposed the war
or supported to it, whether they are liberals or conservatives, Republicans,
Democrat or independents, to be able to say with pride we won -- to embrace
the victory -- even as we begin to discuss the very difficult decisions that
lie ahead," Holbrooke said.

Since military operations started winding down, a number of ethnic groups,
Iraqi expatriates and others scrambled to fill the power void. The three
main ethnic factions in Iraq -- Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds -- are jockeying
for positions in a new government.

Holbrooke said Iraq's borders, created 80 years ago, are artificial and make
the task of bringing factions together difficult.

"The country is really three different countries," he said. "And you're not
hearing a lot about democracy-building in Iraq these days from
administration officials who said a lot about this before the war for a very
good reason: A vote right now would result in a country tearing itself

Even with the official end to combat operations, there are signs that Iraq
is still a dangerous place. Pockets of resistance remain. Clashes between
Iraqis and U.S. military forces in Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad,
illustrate lingering anti-Americanism in a city that is home to former Baath
Party leaders. Three days of skirmishes this week left as many as 15 Iraqis
dead and over 50 wounded.

On Thursday U.S. Central Command confirmed that one group of Iraqis lobbed a
grenade into a U.S. military compound in Fallujah, wounding seven U.S.

Holbrooke pointed to the U.S. military's experience in Afghanistan as a
lesson for the transition in Iraq. He took issue with Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld's announcement in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday that the
majority of combat operations are over and most of that country is stable.

"He couldn't possibly say that Afghanistan is secure," Holbrooke said.
"Americans are being killed there rather regularly... (Afghan President
Hamid) Karzai needs 24/7 protection from Americans and those terrible,
terrible warlords who never should have been put been put back in control of
the other cities in the country."

Those warlords, he said, are also the drug lords that supply 90 percent of
the heroin in the United States.

Meanwhile, as the discussion about Iraq shifts from warfare to rebuilding,
there is still an important outstanding issue about the United States' new
responsibility in the Persian Gulf  - whether the U.S. military will find
evidence of weapons of mass destruction -- the principal rationale for the
war in the first place.

Judy Woodruff is CNN's prime anchor and senior correspondent. She also
anchors "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics," weekdays at 4 pm ET.

by Richard Perle
Yahoo (from USA Today), 2nd May

>From start to finish, President Bush has led the United States and its
coalition partners to the most important military victory since World War
II. And like the allied victory over the axis powers, the liberation of Iraq
is more than the end of a brutal dictatorship: It is the foundation for a
decent, humane government that will represent all the people of Iraq.

This was a war worth fighting. It ended quickly with few civilian casualties
and with little damage to Iraq's cities, towns or infrastructure. It ended
without the Arab world rising up against us, as the war's critics feared,
without the quagmire they predicted, without the heavy losses in
house-to-house fighting they warned us to expect. It was conducted with
immense skill and selfless courage by men and women who will remain until
Iraqis are safe, and who will return home as heroes.

In full retreat, the war's opponents have now taken up new defensive
positions: ''Yes, it was a military victory, but you haven't found Saddam
Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.'' Or, ''Yes, we destroyed Saddam's
regime, but now other dictators will try even harder to develop weapons of
mass destruction to make sure they will not fall to some future American
preemptive strike.''

We will find Saddam's well-hidden chemical and biological weapons programs,
but only when people who know come forward and tell us where to look. While
Saddam was in power, even a hint about his concealment and deception was a
death sentence, often by unimaginable torture against whole families. Saddam
had four years to hide things. We have had a few weeks to find them.
Patience -- and some help from free Iraqis -- will be rewarded.

The idea that our victory over Saddam will drive other dictators to develop
chemical and biological weapons misses the key point: They are already doing
so. That's why we may someday need to preempt rather than wait until we are

Iran, Syria, North Korea, Libya, these and other nations are relentless in
their pursuit of terror weapons. Does anyone seriously argue that they would
abandon their programs if we had left Saddam in power? It is a little like
arguing that we should not subdue knife wielding criminals because, if we
do, other criminals will go out and get guns. Moreover, this argument,
deployed by those who will not take victory for an answer, confuses cause
and effect: Does any peaceful state that neither harbors terrorists nor
seeks weapons of mass destruction fear that we will launch a preemptive
strike against it? Who are they? Why would they?

Iraqis are freer today and we are safer. Relax and enjoy it.

Richard Perle, assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration,
is a member of the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon on
military affairs.

Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

Interview on NBC's Meet the Press With Tim Russert, 4th May

QUESTION: Syria. There are reports on the wires that you sat down with the
leader of Syria and said to him he had to close down the offices of
terrorist organizations in Damascus, Syria. This morning, Mr. Secretary, on
the wires, the head of Hamas says, "We have not been informed of any such
thing. Our office is to remain open."

SECRETARY POWELL: It's very clear that there's a new strategic situation in
the region, and this is what I said to President Bashar Assad. With the end
of the regime in Baghdad of Saddam Hussein, and with a new government that's
going to be rising in Iraq that will be looking for better relations with
its neighbors, Syria has to realize that things have changed there. Things
are also going to change with respect to the Palestinian Authority, with the
new Prime Minister and a roadmap put down.

And my clear message to President Bashar Assad is that some of the policies
you've been following in the past will not take you anywhere in the future.
Support of terrorist activities, the presence in Damascus of organizations
that continue to cause terrorist activity to take place which makes it hard
to move forward on the Middle East peace process, these things have to come
to the end. The offices have to be closed. He said he was closing offices.
He also indicated that he would constrain their activities, and we had some
other suggestions for him.

But it is not what he says or what he said to me or what he professes; it's
what he actually does. So it's performance that we'll be looking at in the
days and weeks and months ahead, and he knows that. Performance not only
with respect to these kinds of organizations, but in any way allowing Syria
to be a place where weapons can be transshipped to other organizations, such
as Hezbollah, that cause destabilizing actions -- let me put it as mildly as
that -- to take place in the occupied territories or elsewhere or threaten
Israel. Any continued development of weapons of mass destruction or in any
way harboring individuals who are still trying to get out of Iraq of the
Saddam Hussein regime, or any of that kind of activity, will tell us that he
is not yet ready to move into a more promising future relationship with the
United States.

At the same time, I went there to listen to him. And he, of course, is
interested in making sure that any progress in the Middle East peace process
includes the interests of Syria and their interests in the Golan, and also
the interest of the Lebanese Government as well. And so we had a good,
candid exchange of views, and there are no illusions in his mind as to what
we are looking for from Syria.

I also made it well known to him, or made it known to him, which was already
well known to him, that Congress is following this closely; Members of
Congress are interested in a Syrian Accountability Act, which will hurt them
if such an act passed in the absence of performance on their part, and also,
the Patriot Act has some consequences for them if they don't shut down
certain financial transactional activities that might be taking place in
their country.

And so there was, as we put it in diplomatic terms, a candid exchange of
views. But it is not promises that we are interested in, or assurances; it
is action. And we will see what happens in the days and weeks and months

MR. RUSSERT: But you have no doubt as we speak this morning that Syria is
harboring terrorists and weapons of mass destruction?

SECRETARY POWELL: I can't say that they are harboring weapons of mass
destruction. We have made it clear to them that this would be not in their
interest. They say they are not. We will continue to look at our
intelligence holdings and any other information that comes into our
possession that we think would be useful to resolve this question.

With respect to individuals from the former Hussein regime who might be
there, some have come back across, shall we say, into the hands of the
coalition to receive justice from the Iraqi people. And we have made it
clear to the Syrians that as we learn of individuals who might be in Syria
of this type, we would pass that information to them and expect them to be
turned over. And, if the Syrians find individuals who might have an
association with the regime or might have a scientific background which
would help us in the search for weapons of mass destruction, we would expect
Syria to turn it over as part of the new positive relationship with the
United States.

MR. RUSSERT: The President says any country that is harboring terrorists
will be "confronted." That's his word. If, months from now, Hamas,
Hezbollah, still have offices in Damascus, how will we "confront" Syria?

SECRETARY POWELL: There are many ways to confront a nation. You can do it
diplomatically, you can do it economically, you can do it militarily, you
can do it politically, you can isolate them. There are sanctions. There are
many ways to confront a nation and the President has all of his options on
the table. And the reason he sent me to Syria was to convey to President
Bashar Assad that the United States hopes that in this new environment where
we are looking for peace in the Middle East, not further incitements to
violence, and when we're trying to empower and help the new Prime Minister
of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, this is the time for Syria to
review its policies and to end those policies that do not contribute to the
peace process in that part of the world.

And also, Syria had considerable commercial activity with Iraq. It's been
shut off now. The oil has been shut off, the oil they were receiving on a
concessional free basis. The other trade that was going back and forth
across the border. That's been shut off for now. If they seal that border so
that nothing is going into Iraq that would be destabilizing or people
finding haven out of Iraq in Syria, if they keep that border sealed and if
they operate in a positive way with respect to what the coalition is doing
in Iraq and with respect to the creation of a new democratic government in
Iraq, then that tells us one thing about Syria's decision to move forward:
that they're looking for a better relationship with the United States. If
they do not, then there will be consequences.


MR. RUSSERT: Talking about Iraq, you said in due time you believe we will
find weapons of mass destruction. Let me go back to your presentation in
February at the United Nations and talk about it:

"The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world. Let me now turn to
those deadly weapons programs and describe why they are real and present
dangers to the region and to the world. Let me turn now to nuclear weapons.
We have no indication that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear
weapons program."

And Vice President Cheney said Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear
program. So we have the Vice President and the Secretary of State. Is there
any evidence of a reconstituted nuclear program in Iraq that we have found
thus far?

SECRETARY POWELL: We haven't found any evidence of nuclear weapons in Iraq
as a result of what we have been able to see so far. But a program is more
than just a weapon. We didn't think he had a weapon at the time I made that
statement or the time the Vice President made his statements or any of the
other of my colleagues who made statements.

But what he did keep intact were the scientific wherewithal. And by that, I
mean he not only had people with the know-how, but he kept them together so
that the know-how could be exploited at a time that he chose. He kept in
place the infrastructure. And so he never lost the infrastructure or the
brainpower assembled in a way to use that infrastructure if he was ever
given a chance to do so because the international community had turned its
attention in another direction.

And so it is still our judgment, and it is still my judgment, that if he was
given the opportunity and if the international community said fine, you're
okay, we're not going to bother you anymore, he would still have pursued
that objective. He never lost, in my judgment, and the judgment of the
intelligence community, the intent to develop a nuclear weapon, and he kept
in place the scientific brainpower and the infrastructure that would have
allowed that to happen in due course.

MR. RUSSERT: How important is it to the credibility of the United States and
your own personal credibility that we find weapons of mass destruction?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I think we will find weapons of mass destruction. I'm
the one who presented the case, and proud to have done so. And let me tell
you, Tim, we spent a lot of time on that presentation. It was about five
straight days and nights of work with the most senior experts of the
intelligence community. And with a smile on my face, I would like to point
out that over my right shoulder was the Director of Central Intelligence in
that picture, George Tenet. We all stood behind that presentation.

And keep in mind that the whole Security Council acknowledged that Saddam
Hussein had these weapons of mass destruction when they voted 15-0 for the
basic resolution, 1441. It begins with a statement that Saddam Hussein is in
material breach of his obligations to account for all of the anthrax and
botulinum toxin and all the other things that previous inspectors said he
either has and hasn't accounted for, or he won't tell us what happened to
this material if he no longer has it. And that was the basis upon which 1441

And it may well be that as we continue our work with the many teams that are
now about the countryside we will find that some of the gaps that were there
that he wouldn't account for, we can now account for; even if we don't find
weapons, we can find out what happened to that material, I am confident.

MR. RUSSERT: But it is important.

SECRETARY POWELL: Sure, it's important. I am confident that we will find
evidence that makes it clear he had weapons of mass destruction.


by Seymour M. Hersh
New Yorker, week including 5th May

They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal‹a small cluster of policy
advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans.
In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration
officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the
Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction
in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who
began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein
of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public 5th Mayopinion and
American policy toward Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other
intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National
Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi.

By last fall, the operation rivalled both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon's own
Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush's main source of
intelligence regarding Iraq's possible possession of weapons of mass
destruction and connection with Al Qaeda. As of last week, no such weapons
had been found. And although many people, within the Administration and
outside it, profess confidence that something will turn up, the integrity of
much of that intelligence is now in question. The director of the Special
Plans operation is Abram Shulsky, a scholarly expert in the works of the
political philosopher Leo Strauss. Shulsky has been quietly working on
intelligence and foreign-policy issues for three decades; he was on the
staff of the Senate Intelligence Com-mittee in the early nineteen-eighties
and served in the Pentagon under Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard
Perle during the Reagan Administration, after which he joined the Rand
Corporation. The Office of Special Plans is overseen by Under-Secretary of
Defense William Luti, a retired Navy captain. Luti was an early advocate of
military action against Iraq, and, as the Administration moved toward war
and policymaking power shifted toward the civilians in the Pentagon, he took
on increasingly important responsibilities.


 In August, 1995, General Hussein Kamel, who was in charge of Iraq's weapons
program, defected to Jordan, with his brother, Colonel Saddam Kamel. They
brought with them crates of documents containing detailed information about
Iraqi efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction‹much of which was
unknown to the U.N. inspection teams that had been on the job since 1991‹and
were interviewed at length by the U.N. inspectors. In 1996, Saddam Hussein
lured the brothers back with a promise of forgiveness, and then had them
killed. The Kamels' information became a major element in the Bush
Administration's campaign to convince the public of the failure of the U.N.

Last October, in a speech in Cincinnati, the President cited the Kamel
defections as the moment when Saddam's regime "was forced to admit that it
had produced more than thirty thousand liters of anthrax and other deadly
biological agents. . . . This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons
that has never been accounted for, and is capable of killing millions." A
couple of weeks earlier, Vice-President Cheney had declared that Hussein
Kamel's story "should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more
as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime

The full record of Hussein Kamel's interview with the inspectors reveals,
however, that he also said that Iraq's stockpile of chemical and biological
warheads, which were manufactured before the 1991 Gulf War, had been
destroyed, in many cases in response to ongoing inspections. The interview,
on August 22, 1995,was conducted by Rolf Ekeus, then the executive chairman
of the U.N. inspection teams, and two of his senior associates‹Nikita
Smidovich and Maurizio Zifferaro. "You have an important role in Iraq,"
Kamel said, according to the record, which was assembled from notes taken by
Smidovich. "You should not underestimate yourself. You are very effective in
Iraq." When Smidovich noted that the U.N. teams had not found "any traces of
destruction," Kamel responded, "Yes, it was done before you came in." He
also said that Iraq had destroyed its arsenal of warheads. "We gave
instructions not to produce chemical weapons," Kamel explained later in the
debriefing. "I don't remember resumption of chemical-weapons production
before the Gulf War. Maybe it was only minimal production and filling. . . .
All chemical weapons were destroyed. I ordered destruction of all chemical
weapons. All weapons‹biological, chemical, missile, nuclear‹were destroyed."

Kamel also cast doubt on the testimony of Dr. Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi
nuclear scientist who defected in 1994. Hamza settled in the United States
with the help of the I.N.C. and has been a highly vocal witness concerning
Iraq's alleged nuclear ambitions. Kamel told the U.N. interviewers, however,
that Hamza was "a professional liar." He went on, "He worked with us, but he
was useless and always looking for promotions. He consulted with me but
could not deliver anything. . . . He was even interrogated by a team before
he left and was allowed to go."

After his defection, Hamza became a senior fellow at the Institute for
Science and International Security, a Washington disarmament group, whose
president, David Albright, was a former U.N. weapons inspector. In 1998,
Albright told me, he and Hamza sent publishers a proposal for a book
tentatively entitled "Fizzle: Iraq and the Atomic Bomb," which described how
Iraq had failed in its quest for a nuclear device. There were no takers,
Albright said, and Hamza eventually "started exaggerating his experiences in
Iraq." The two men broke off contact. In 2000, Hamza published "Saddam's
Bombmaker," a vivid account claiming that by 1991, when the Gulf War began,
Iraq was far closer than had been known to the production of a nuclear
weapon. Jeff Stein, a Washington journalist who collaborated on the book,
told me that Hamza's account was "absolutely on the level, allowing for the
fact that any memoir puts the author at the center of events, and therefore
there is some exaggeration." James Woolsey, the former head of the C.I.A.,
said of Hamza, "I think highly of him and I have no reason to disbelieve the
claims that he's made." Hamza could not be reached for comment. On April
26th, according to the Times, he returned to Iraq as a member of a group of
exiles designated by the Pentagon to help rebuild the country's
infrastructure. He is to be responsible for atomic energy.


Almost immediately after September 11th, the I.N.C. began to publicize the
stories of defectors who claimed that they had information connecting Iraq
to the attacks. In an interview on October 14, 2001, conducted jointly by
the Times and "Frontline," the public television program, Sabah Khodada, an
Iraqi Army captain, said that the September 11th operation "was conducted by
people who were trained by Saddam," and that Iraq had a program to instruct
terrorists in the art of hijacking. Another defector, who was identified
only as a retired lieutenant general in the Iraqi intelligence service, said
that in 2000 he witnessed Arab students being given lessons in hijacking on
a Boeing 707 parked at an Iraqi training camp near the town of Salman Pak,
south of Baghdad.

In separate interviews with me, however, a former C.I.A. station chief and a
former military intelligence analyst said that the camp near Salman Pak had
been built not for terrorism training but for counter-terrorism training. In
the mid-eighties, Islamic terrorists were routinely hijacking aircraft. In
1986, an Iraqi airliner was seized by pro-Iranian extremists and crashed,
after a hand grenade was triggered, killing at least sixty-five people. (At
the time, Iran and Iraq were at war, and America favored Iraq.) Iraq then
sought assistance from the West, and got what it wanted from Britain's MI6.
The C.I.A. offered similar training in counter-terrorism throughout the
Middle East. "We were helping our allies everywhere we had a liaison," the
former station chief told me. Inspectors recalled seeing the body of an
airplane‹which appeared to be used for counter-terrorism training‹when they
visited a biological-weapons facility near Salman Pak in 1991, ten years
before September 11th. It is, of course, possible for such a camp to be
converted from one purpose to another. The former C.I.A. official noted,
however, that terrorists would not practice on airplanes in the open. "That'
s Hollywood rinky-dink stuff," the former agent said. "They train in
basements. You don't need a real airplane to practice hijacking. The 9/11
terrorists went to gyms. But to take one back you have to practice on the
real thing."

Salman Pak was overrun by American troops on April 6th. Apparently, neither
the camp nor the former biological facility has yielded evidence to
substantiate the claims made before the war.

A former Bush Administration intelligence official recalled a case in which
Chalabi's group, working with the Pentagon, produced a defector from Iraq
who was interviewed overseas by an agent from the D.I.A. The agent relied on
an interpreter supplied by Chalabi's people. Last summer, the D.I.A. report,
which was classified, was leaked. In a detailed account, the London Times
described how the defector had trained with Al Qaeda terrorists in the late
nineteen-nineties at secret camps in Iraq, how the Iraqis received
instructions in the use of chemical and biological weapons, and how the
defector was given a new identity and relocated. A month later, however, a
team of C.I.A. agents went to interview the man with their own interpreter.
"He says, 'No, that's not what I said,'" the former intelligence official
told me. "He said, 'I worked at a fedayeen camp; it wasn't Al Qaeda.' He
never saw any chemical or biological training." Afterward, the former
official said, "the C.I.A. sent out a piece of paper saying that this
information was incorrect. They put it in writing." But the C.I.A. rebuttal,
like the original report, was classified. "I remember wondering whether this
one would leak and correct the earlier, invalid leak. Of course, it didn't."

The former intelligence official went on, "One of the reasons I left was my
sense that they were using the intelligence from the C.I.A. and other
agencies only when it fit their agenda. They didn't like the intelligence
they were getting, and so they brought in people to write the stuff. They
were so crazed and so far out and so difficult to reason with‹to the point
of being bizarre. Dogmatic, as if they were on a mission from God." He
added, "If it doesn't fit their theory, they don't want to accept it."

Shulsky's work has deep theoretical underpinnings. In his academic and
think-tank writings, Shulsky, the son of a newspaperman‹his father, Sam,
wrote a nationally syndicated business column‹has long been a critic of the
American intelligence community. During the Cold War, his area of expertise
was Soviet disinformation techniques. Like Wolfowitz, he was a student of
Leo Strauss's, at the University of Chicago. Both men received their
doctorates under Strauss in 1972. Strauss, a refugee from Nazi Germany who
arrived in the United States in 1937, was trained in the history of
political philosophy, and became one of the foremost conservative émigré
scholars. He was widely known for his argument that the works of ancient
philosophers contain deliberately concealed esoteric meanings whose truths
can be comprehended only by a very few, and would be misunderstood by the
masses. The Straussian movement has many adherents in and around the Bush
Administration. In addition to Wolfowitz, they include William Kristol, the
editor of the Weekly Standard, and Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of
Defense for Intelligence, who is particularly close to Rumsfeld. Strauss's
influence on foreign-policy decision-making (he never wrote explicitly about
the subject himself) is usually discussed in terms of his tendency to view
the world as a place where isolated liberal democracies live in constant
danger from hostile elements abroad, and face threats that must be
confronted vigorously and with strong leadership.

How Strauss's views might be applied to the intelligence-gathering process
is less immediately obvious. As it happens, Shulsky himself explored that
question in a 1999 essay, written with Gary Schmitt, entitled "Leo Strauss
and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean Nous)"‹in Greek
philosophy the term nous denotes the highest form of rationality. In the
essay, Shulsky and Schmitt write that Strauss's "gentleness, his ability to
concentrate on detail, his consequent success in looking below the surface
and reading between the lines, and his seeming unworldliness . . . may even
be said to resemble, however faintly, the George Smiley of John le Carré's
novels." Echoing one of Strauss's major themes, Shulsky and Schmitt
criticize America's intelligence community for its failure to appreciate the
duplicitous nature of the regimes it deals with, its susceptibility to
social science notions of proof, and its inability to cope with deliberate
concealment. The agency's analysts, Shulsky and Schmitt argue, "were
generally reluctant throughout the Cold War to believe that they could be
deceived about any critical question by the Soviet Union or other Communist
states. History has shown this view to have been extremely naïve." They
suggested that political philosophy, with its emphasis on the variety of
regimes, could provide an "antidote" to the C.I.A.'s failings, and would
help in understanding Islamic leaders, "whose intellectual world was so
different from our own."

Strauss's idea of hidden meaning, Shulsky and Schmitt added, "alerts one to
the possibility that political life may be closely linked to deception.
Indeed, it suggests that deception is the norm in political life, and the
hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can
dispense with it is the exception." Robert Pippin, the chairman of the
Committee on Social Thought at Chicago and a critic of Strauss, told me,
"Strauss believed that good statesmen have powers of judgment and must rely
on an inner circle. The person who whispers in the ear of the King is more
important than the King. If you have that talent, what you do or say in
public cannot be held accountable in the same way." Another Strauss critic,
Stephen Holmes, a law professor at New York University, put the Straussians'
position this way: "They believe that your enemy is deceiving you, and you
have to pretend to agree, but secretly you follow your own views." Holmes
added, "The whole story is complicated by Strauss's idea‹actually
Plato's‹that philosophers need to tell noble lies not only to the people at
large but also to powerful politicians."

When I asked one of Strauss's staunchest defenders, Joseph Cropsey,
professor emeritus of political science at Chicago, about the use of Strauss
's views in the area of policymaking, he told me that common sense alone
suggested that a certain amount of deception is essential in government.
"That people in government have to be discreet in what they say publicly is
so obvious‹'If I tell you the truth I can't but help the enemy.'" But there
is nothing in Strauss's work, he added, that "favors preëmptive action. What
it favors is prudence and sound judgment. If you could have got rid of
Hitler in the nineteen-thirties, who's not going to be in favor of that? You
don't need Strauss to reach that conclusion."

Some former intelligence officials believe that Shulsky and his superiors
were captives of their own convictions, and were merely deceiving
themselves. Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of counter-terrorism
operations and analysis at the C.I.A., worked with Shulsky at a Washington
think tank after his retirement. He said, "Abe is very gentle and slow to
anger, with a sense of irony. But his politics were typical for his
group‹the Straussian view." The group's members, Cannistraro said,
"reinforce each other because they're the only friends they have, and they
all work together. This has been going on since the nineteen eighties, but
they've never been able to coalesce as they have now. September 11th gave
them the opportunity, and now they're in heaven. They believe the
intelligence is there. They want to believe it. It has to be there."


by Sue Pleming
Reuters, 5th May

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Andrew Natsios, the man in charge of the U.S. Agency
for International Development, is surprised at how much criticism has been
leveled at his agency over the process of awarding contracts to rebuild

Natsios defended bidding rules for lucrative contracts offered to select
U.S. companies and said similar regulations had applied in Afghanistan last
year without attracting the same fanfare.

"I was a little taken aback (at the criticism). I think it has to do with
the opposition to the war in that it sort of spills over into whatever we
do," Natsios, USAID's administrator, said in an interview with Reuters on

Democrats, a handful of Republicans and officials in some countries,
including France, which opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, have questioned
the transparency of the process and the exclusion of a wider array of local
bidders and foreign firms.

The Iraqi reconstruction project is the largest in scale since the Marshall
Plan in the late 1940s after World War II. So far, nine requests for work in
Iraq have been issued by USAID and seven of those have been awarded.

Natsios expected three more requests to be issued soon for agriculture,
economic governance, and monitoring and evaluation of the capital
reconstruction contract. It was unclear whether new bidding rules would
apply because the war was over.

"As far as our current planning, that would be it," he said, adding he did
not anticipate more funding in the 2004 budget.

USAID said the need to start Iraqi reconstruction quickly meant it had to
rely on emergency provisions to overtake routine bidding rules, which could
have taken six months or more to implement, leaving a vacuum in Iraq.

"If you are asking me if we did the right thing, there's absolutely no
question," Natsios said of the bidding rules.

Federal law, said Natsios, required USAID to choose American companies for
projects funded by U.S. taxpayers.

"No one has said anything about American companies before. Now all of a
sudden it's a big issue," he said.

Natsios said USAID had waived existing U.S. government procurement
restrictions to allow non-American firms to bid for subcontracts and
estimated about half of those companies would be foreign, and many of those
could be Iraqi.

"We are not going to bring in a company to do whitewashing in a school," he
said, citing an example of where an Iraqi firm would be used.

He said many other nations had the same bidding laws as the United States
but their leaders seemed oblivious to them.

"Many of the political leaders who are raising this are unaware of what the
statutes are in their own country," he said, adding France had among the
strictest laws when it came to bidding for projects funded by taxpayers.

The biggest contract so far has been to repair Iraq's infrastructure, which
went to American company Bechtel Group Inc. and could be worth up to $680
million over 18 months.

The true cost of rebuilding Iraq has not yet been calculated, but some
lawmakers predict funding may reach $100 billion, a number Natsios disputed.

"There has been this illusion that there is a $100 billion reconstruction
program. No one knows how much it will cost even remotely to rebuild the
country," said Natsios.

USAID's aim, he said, was for an elected government in Iraq to ultimately
use oil revenues to rebuild the country.

He also anticipated the World Bank and International Monetary Fund would
have a major role in Iraq's reconstruction efforts and said the World Bank
was doing an early assessment to establish what needed to be done.

Asked about concern, especially by aid agencies, that the United Nations was
not being asked to do more in Iraq, Natsios said reconstruction did not
usually fall to the United Nations, which more frequently had a coordinating

He predicted the United Nations would play a "vital" role in Iraq, adding
the United States had already given $300 million in cash to U.N. agencies
working in Iraq.

‹  War as Social Work?
by Daniel Pipes, 6th May
[Daniel Pipes argues that war should only be conducted for the benefit of
the warring country. If it confers benefits on the defeated country well and
good but it should not be judged a failure unless it fails to deliver
benefits to the victors. So it doesn't matter if Iraq or Afghanistan tumble
into chaos so long as the US is a safer place as a result of the US victory
(but is it?). Obnoxious as the argument may seem to be it has the merit of
cutting down on the number of the arguments that are necessary to persuade
people (especially the Americans who always need to be persauded that they
are doing good in the world) to go to war. He cites the Balkans as an
example of an unnecessary war fought for purely humanitarian purposes. But
the humanitarian explanations for US involvement in the Balkans war were
surely as much Pixie Dust as the liberation of Iraq and the search for
weapons of mass destruction. The aim was largely to create a military
presence in a part of Europe that was susceptible to German and Russian
influence (fought in collaboration with the Germans but to prevent the
Germans from having a monopoly of major power in the area). Perhaps D.Pipes
- who genuinely seems to believe there was a real problem with weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq - isn't in the loop]

When Bill Clinton deployed American troops in places like Bosnia and Haiti,
he was criticized for turning foreign policy into "social work" (as Michael
Mandelbaum pungently put it). By what authority, many asked in the 1990s,
did the president place troops in harm's way without discernable American
interests at stake?

George W. Bush has made sure not to repeat this error. He deployed force
twice - in Afghanistan and Iraq - and both times he made a convincing case
for U.S. security requiring the elimination of the enemy regimes.

But some in Congress, many in the media, and even more on campuses, not to
speak of the demonstrators on the streets, are judging the hostilities in
those two countries less in terms of what they do for Americans than how
they affect the other side.

Note the many voices from allied countries arguing that because Afghanistan
continues to suffer from a range of maladies (warlordism, female repression,
poverty, drug trafficking), U.S. efforts there failed.

‹ Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.): the Afghan experience is a "cautionary
tale of the problems that result from engaging the world too haphazardly,
too arrogantly, and too belatedly."

‹ World Bank president James Wolfensohn: Afghanistan has been "stranded" and
the continued presence of drug lords and poverty could undermine the moral
case for invading Iraq.

‹ The Philadelphia Inquirer : "Frustration [and] failure mark the rebuilding
of Afghanistan."

‹ The Herald of Glasgow, Scotland: "Afghanistan has been well and truly

Even Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, when asked about U.S.
"failures in Afghanistan," did not dispute the premise but defensively noted
that on being liberated, Afghans "were singing; they were flying kites; they
were happy."

But this view forgets the substantial security benefits Americans derived
from the elimination of Al-Qaeda's headquarters. The Taliban are no longer
in business, sponsoring terrorism's headquarters.

Something similar is now occurring on the subject of Iraq: gains to
Americans and Britons from getting rid of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of
mass destruction seem to matter less than the outcome of plans to
rehabilitate Iraq. The difficulties in fixing Iraq are being used to cast
doubt on the whole military venture. The Afghan and Iraqi wars, in other
words, are judged more by the welfare of the defeated than by the gains to
the victors.

Almost unnoticed, war as social work has become the expectation.

To point out this strange turn of events is not to argue against Afghans and
Iraqis benefiting from U.S. military action. They should; and in doing so
they are joining a long list of former adversaries liberated by the United

‹ Second World War : Germans, Austrians, Italians, and Japanese.

‹ Cold War : Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Azerbaijanis, Armenians,
Georgians, Mongols, Poles, East Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks,
Romanians, Bulgarians, Albanians, and many others.

Iraqi gains are very welcome, but they come as a happy byproduct of the
coalition pursuing its own interests, not as the primary goal. It is proper
to put coalition forces' lives at risk only to the extent that liberating
and rehabilitating Iraq benefits the United States, the United Kingdom, and
the other partners.

Each state's obligations, in other words, are ultimately to its own

This is in no way to argue against providing benefits to Afghanistan and
Iraq; but it is to say that these are not a moral obligation. Nor should
wars be launched for humanitarian reasons alone. Should democratic leaders
forget this iron law and decide to launch purely philanthropic efforts, the
results will be unpleasant.

Take the American case; when the population does not see the benefits to
themselves of warfare, their soldiers flee the battlefield, as in Lebanon in
1983 and Somalia in 1992. There simply is no readiness to take casualties
for the purposes of social work.

So, by all means, bring on "Iraqi Freedom." But always keep in mind, as
President Bush has done, that the ultimate war goal is to enhance American

(Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Militant
Islam Reaches America. He can be contacted at

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