August 11, 2003

CIA warned administration of postwar guerrilla peril

(8/10/03) It occured to me in the middle of the night that the _resident actually said something that was true the other day...He said, "The intelligence I get is darn good," or something to that effect. Well, he was being truthful in that particular statement, and accurate. The intel has been excellent, the problem is that when the VICE _resident and the neo-con wet dreamers who think for the _resident do not like the intel they are given because it does not lead to the conclusions required to fit their appetites and fantasies, they cook or it bury it.
"In February, the CIA gave a formal briefing to the National Security Council, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Bush himself: ''A quick military victory in Iraq will likely be followed by armed resistance from remnants of the Ba'ath Party and Fedayeen Saddam irregulars.'' The administration seemed unmoved. In the weeks leading up to the Iraq war, top Bush administration officials made glowing predictions that Iraqis would welcome US troops with open arms, while behind the scenes they did little to prepare for a guerrilla war."

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/222/nation/CIA_warned_administration_of_postwar_guerrilla_peril+.shtml
THE INTELLIGENCE

CIA warned administration of postwar guerrilla peril

Officials defend rebuilding plan

By Bryan Bender, Globe Correspondent, 8/10/2003

ASHINGTON - In February, the CIA gave a formal
briefing to the National Security Council, including
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Vice President
Dick Cheney, and President Bush himself: ''A quick
military victory in Iraq will likely be followed by
armed resistance from remnants of the Ba'ath Party and
Fedayeen Saddam irregulars.'' The administration
seemed unmoved. In the weeks leading up to the Iraq
war, top Bush administration officials made glowing
predictions that Iraqis would welcome US troops with
open arms, while behind the scenes they did little to
prepare for a guerrilla war.

''My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as
liberators,'' Cheney said on NBC's ''Meet the Press''
on March 16. ''I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the
last several months myself, had them to the White
House.''

''I imagine they will be welcomed,'' Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a key architect of the
White House's Iraq strategy, said in an interview
April 3, two weeks into the war, with CBS's ''60
Minutes II.''

''I think there's every reason to think that huge
numbers of the Iraqi population are going to welcome
these people ... provided we don't overstay our
welcome, provided we mean what we say about handing
things back over to the Iraqis,'' Wolfowitz said.

The February report was not the only warning Bush
received that a guerrilla war was in the offing.
According to US intelligence officials who compiled or
contributed to the reports, and provided excerpts to
the Globe, on multiple occasions in the months before
the war the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency
warned that fighting would probably continue after the
formal war. The assessments went so far as to suggest
that guerrilla tactics could frustrate reconstruction
efforts.

But intelligence officials, former military officers,
and national security specialists say the
administration instead clung to the optimistic
predictions of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile
group headed by Ahmed Chalabi, who left Iraq in 1958.
Chalabi, who is now a member of Iraq's US-backed
Governing Council, is a close Rumsfeld and Cheney ally
who had the ears of top administration officials in
the months before the war.

''I think there was a general sense of how the
postconflict phase would go, and it didn't work out
that way,'' said a former deputy defense secretary,
John J. Hamre, who recently returned from a Pentagon
fact-finding mission to Iraq. ''That general sense
probably caused them to pass over intelligence
assessments that differed from expectations.''

''The obvious critique is that they ignored this
beforehand because it didn't fit their expectations,''
Hamre said. But he cautioned against definitive
conclusions about the warnings. ''The great problem I
see these days is a tendency to take a single report
or document and use it as proof to make a point,'' he
said. ''When it comes to the world of intelligence,
you have to take a much wider sampling of many inputs
and make a reasoned judgment.''

The National Security Council did not respond to a
request for a comment.

Last month, Wolfowitz defended the administration's
planning for the aftermath of the war. ''There's been
a lot of talk that there was no plan,'' he said.
''There was a plan, but as any military officer can
tell you, no plan survives first contact with reality.
Inevitably, some of our assumptions turned out to be
wrong.''

Wolfowitz acknowledged that the administration had
expected Iraqi military units to defect. ''No army
units, at least none of any significant size, came
over to our side so that we could use them as Iraqi
forces with us today,'' he said. ''Second, the police
turned out to require a massive overhaul. Third, and
worst of all, it was difficult to imagine before the
war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters
who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue
fighting.''

Yet the CIA in particular forewarned policymakers of
some of the problems likely to arise, according to one
intelligence official who asked not to be identified.
The reports, for example, predicted that armed
insurgents would attack coalition forces. One prewar
report, he said, forecast that after the war ''things
would get worse before they get better'' and that
there would be a high likelihood of ''backsliding'' -
progress followed by setbacks.

In the early days of the war, the Defense Intelligence
Agency, the Pentagon's internal spy agency, warned
that Ba'ath Party loyalists - many of whom escaped the
major invasion - were showing signs of regrouping,
said an intelligence official who asked not to be
identified. ''We wrote in early April that we were
picking up hints of guerrilla forces gearing up,'' the
official said.

Since President Bush declared an end to major
hostilities on May 1, at least 118 US soldiers have
been killed, nearly half of them in ambushes, sniper
and rocket attacks, and by improvised explosives.
Nearly half of the 256 US soldiers who have died since
the war began on March 20 have been killed since major
hostilities ended.

Still, many Iraqis have expressed relief to see the
brutal dictatorship of Hussein recede into history.
News dispatches from Iraq focus on US troop
casualties, and therefore do not always reflect the
progress and milestones reached, according to a
government consultant who returned recently from Iraq.
The consultant pointed to the local city councils that
are up and running in many parts of the country and
the relative stability in the Shi'ite Muslim regions
of southern Iraq.

But the precarious security situation in the so-called
Sunni Triangle - which has been a drag on efforts to
restore water, electricity, and other basic services -
raises questions about whether the Bush administration
could have been better prepared to address what its
own spies said American forces might have to contend
with, according to specialists.

''I think that what you might have done differently
would have been to put more civil affairs units, more
military police, and the training of the Iraqi police
forces in place much faster,'' said John Pike of
GlobalSecurity.org, a think tank based in Alexandria,
Va. He said US officials had a model: the NATO war
against Serbia in 1999, which placed early emphasis on
deploying civil affairs and police units into the
province of Kosovo to fill the void.

''I would have thought that they would have had every
military police unit in the Guard and Reserve just
sitting and waiting to go in'' to Iraq, Pike said.

Hamre, who as president of the Center for Strategic
and International Studies last month completed a
report for the Pentagon on postwar challenges, said
that his assessment was that the troops in Iraq feel
they were not sufficiently prepared to tackle the
postwar problems. ''The reaction over there from folks
closer to the ground was that they were not given very
good preparation for what they encountered,'' he said.

A senior Pentagon official, who asked not to be
identified, bristled at the suggestion that Bush
administration leaders had ignored the intelligence
about postwar challenges, noting that they had bigger
things on their minds. ''We worried about the
catastrophic stuff,'' he said, including the fear of
massive oil fires, the use of weapons of mass
destruction by Iraqi forces, and a widespread
humanitarian disaster. ''None of those things
happened.''

Four months after the US invaded Iraq, the guerrilla
attacks, amid growing concerns that terrorists are
going on the offensive, have tempered the views of
administration officials, who are now describing the
US commitment to Iraq as requiring many years of work.

The national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, on
Thursday likened the rebuilding of Iraq and the Middle
East region to the postwar efforts in Europe after
World War II.

''The historical analogy is important,'' she said in a
speech to the National Association of Black
Journalists in Dallas. ''We must have the patience and
perseverance to see it through.''

This story ran on page A25 of the Boston Globe on
8/10/2003.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Posted by richard at August 11, 2003 07:55 AM