Discussion about Iraq war 1991 and Iraq war 2003

In Germany there are a lot of rumours about the Iraq wars of the USA under Bush senior and Bush junior. I used the opportunity to confront Giles Raymond de Mourot, in his self-told biography an former  US American diplomat with French origin and  with intensive contacts with the US/French goverment and  military apparatus with the most popular arguments of the German peacemovement, the German Left and the German Right against the two wars. As Giles is a pen name it could be possible that he is a CIA troll or CIA avatar, however he seems to have good counterarguments which I want to publish.Here my statements and his answers which give an good insight about the US positions in the past:

Ralf Ostner

Hi, Jason/Giles: As I see you defend the Iraq war 2003vwith its 1 million dead Iraqis, the refugee crisis and the IS in the aftermath. Seems like you supported Bush jr. and would lead such a criminal and stupid war again. Everybody knew that Iraq had no WMD and even if it had, it was sure that Saddam Hussein wouldn´t use them against the USA. That´s why Germany, France, Russia and China didn´t participate and opposed the war and because they realized what desastrous consequences it would have. Real frustrating that intelligent people like you support this neocon propaganda.

 

Giles Raymond DeMourot Ralf: As to the matter of how many dead were killed by the US from the day of the 2003 invasion to the withdrawal of US troops with the end of the SOFA, the figure you quote is pure fabrication. I won’t even quote a figure and will advise you to check with the UN which has the best figures possible. It’s around 9 times less. Of course many other died in the ensuing civil strife. Note that the UN „office for the investigation of the crimes of the former regime“, which was based in Amman and has since been disbanded (but its data is available from the UN) put the number of victims of extrajudicial and judicial killings by that regime at 650,000, including over 400,000 fully documented (ID cards, etc.) Your allegation that „everybody knew that Iraq had not WMD“ is false: there was unanimous agreement of ALL concerned intelligence agencies (Western, Arab) that there were WMD stocks that had not been destroyed. This was in error. It was later explained by „groupthink“and Saddam Hussein’s self-confessed attempt at maintaining ambiguity (joint RCC-govt meeting and talks with Piro). France which announced it would veto a 2nd resolution took the view that Hans Blix and his UNMOVIC team should be allowed to complete their work before any decision was made on the basis of resolution 1441, which you seem to need to be reminded of: UNSC UNANIMOUSLY found Iraq to be in violation of all resolutions demanding full disclosure on WMDS. I was apprise of the French intelligence report, which did not differ from US ones. I’m afraid that many intelligence agencies took the view that if US intelligence says so, it must be true („groupthink“ at the international scale).The above are facts, not „neocon“ theories. The UN figures I gave regarding Saddam Hussein’s victims do not include the victims of his wars of aggression, such as the war against Iran and Kuwait, and the smaller ones against Syria and Jordan.

Today all eyes are directed towards the crimes of the Assad regime in Syria. Everyone has forgotten that those of the Iraqi regime were worse in all aspects. In the 20th century, only Hitler, Stalin and Mao killed more people.

I have no problem with criticism of the US intervention in Iraq, but criticism should not ignore the facts. US intelligence grievously erred (so did all other intelligence agencies): there are explanations to that -the error has been as is customary in the US analyzed to death- but no excuses. George Tenet should have been sacked immediately after the Duelfer report, whatever his merits elsewhere, but GW Bush was not very good at sacking people when needed.

This said WMD was the legal rationale, but the war was in reality the continuation for the unfinished 1991 one. Personally, as someone who knows Iraq well and many Iraqis (including some later murdered by the regime), I had been waiting for the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime for 35 years, though I did not expect to come from an invasion. Note that the current Iraqi government, like its predecessor, continues to celebrate the liberation of Iraq by the invasion .

Ralf Ostner Nobody doubts that Saddam was a bloody dictator. But compared to Hitler he was a softie. It was not by accident that Bush senior stopped Norman Schwartzkopf entering Baghdad and toppling Saddam as he knew that this would create chaos and secondly that the Shiites were seizing power and by this Iran would become a powerful regional player. Therefore this war was not „unfinished“, but Bush senior had his calculations that a Iraq with Saddam would be better than a Iraq without Saddam. And the USA supported Saddam´s war against Iran as they hoped this could desatbilze and overthrow the Iranian regime.Not to forget: TIME magazine made Saddam „Man of the year“and France had good contacts with Saddam and introduced him to the West.Saddam´s war against Iran was a Western proxy war and afterwards he wanted Saudiarabia and Kuweit to forget about the money they lent him for that war. But Kuweit tapped Iraqi oilfields at the border, lowered the oilprice in the OPEC conference and provoked him. Not to forget that former US ambassador to Iraq Glasbie told Saddam that a war against Kuweit would be an innerarab affair and the USA wouldn´t intervene. This is more like heores look like: In September 2002, as the Bush Administration was preparing to go to war in Iraq without the support of the international community, Senator Kennedy, in a historic speech at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was the first to argue that Iraq did not pose the type of threat that justified immediate, pre-emptive war. When no one else would, Senator Kennedy argued that America should not rush to war and that we should get UN inspectors back into Iraq without conditions. Ted Kennedy´s speech at:

http://tedkennedy.org/ownwords/event/sais_iraq

Giles Raymond DeMourot Ralf: That’s not exactly it. I was there. H Norman Schwartzkopf was reminded that he was the co-military commander (the other one was Gen Khalid bin Sultan) of a UN-sponsored international coalition with the limited mandate of liberating Kuwait. Other members of the coalition, starting with the Arab ones, would not have agreed to go to Baghdad and overthrow Saddam Hussein.

The US did not support Iraq’s war against Iran but tried to prevent it. But when Iran threatened to take Basra, the US provided satellite photos of Iranian positions to Iraq. It provided also agricultural credits for rice, but with the complicity of Chris Drogul and Paul von Wedel of BNL Atlanta, the funds were diverted. Your statement that „Bush senior had his calculations that a Iraq with Saddam would be better than a Iraq without Saddam“ is absolutely contrafactual. Some people at DOD and at the Army War College had been earlier campaigning for supporting Saddam’s Hussein staying in power (Stephen C Pelletiere, Douglas V Johnson & Leif R Rosenberger produced a report to that effect), but this was rejected by GHW Bush essentially in human rights considerations. Seeing continued repression GHW Bush had the UNSC approve a northern and southern no-fly zones. Later in Kuwait Saddam Hussein tried to have GHW Bush assassinated).

Yes, once the war with Iran over Arab Gulf countries refused to bankroll Iraq any further and in particular another $11 billion. The accusations against Kuwait about oil were Iraqi fabrications. The invasion of Kuwait had not been premeditated: Saddam simply tried blackmail and painted himself into a corner.

France is a separate case, and her vote at the UN had nothing to do with humanitarian considerations. It was Iraq’s only ally. France had replaced the Soviet Union as Iraq’s main supplier of weapons. She even became a co-belligerent in the Iran-Iraq war since French pilots flew Super Etendards in combat missions against Iranian naval assets. The relation with Iran was but by Jacques Chirac who when Giscard d’Estaing Prime minister sold two nuclear reactors to Iraq. His successor, Raymond Barre, tried to have the contract modified so that instead of graphite-gas reactors France would deliver so-called „caramel“ reactors. Graphite gas reactors could all too easily be used to produce weapon-grade fuel. Barre failed but eventually Iran did not use the reactors for that purpose, preferring to use centrifugation with the help of Swiss for Alesa Alusuisse (for extracting uranium hexafluoride from phosphates) and plants built by German firms Degussa and H+H Metalform. The plants were under the supervision of the inventor of the MAN centrifugation project, Dr Bruno Stemmler and his aide Walter Büsse. They were never indicted.

Iraq became an important source of finance for Chirac’s party, then called RPR, when he became Mayor of Paris after his sacking. From then he was called „Mr Iraq“. The only western country visited by Saddam Hussein was France. He visited nuclear plants and was invited to a superb meal at Baux-de-Provence. For security a large area was closed off. I could go into details enough to write several books, since i had some involvement in trying to monitor what was happening. Iraq also bough from Institut Mérieux of France a „veterinary vaccine“ plant, the specifications of which made it obvious it would be a biological weapon plant.

It would have been able to produce enough vaccines for the while Middle East and beyond, but the smoking gun was that it obeyed P-4 standards, the highest possible biological security standard (very few in the world). We tried to have Mitterrand, who had become president, cancel the deal, but to no avail. I personally discussed with Mitterrand but he was dismissive. We had more luck thwarting the cooperation between Sagem (now Safran) and Consen, a Swiss missile company owned by German, Brazilian, Argentinean, Egyptian and Iraqi interests. The Germans were the Krupp von Bohlen: they will never understand.
Later however it appeared that Matra, Sagem and Thomson Thales were selling COCOM-controlled weapon systems through a South African apartheid-time company linked to Armscor (weapons), with a man from BOSS (intelligence service) at its head and at its board a German banker employed in France, an Iraqi Brigadier and …an Israeli major. (Iraq and Israel were particularly in 45 caliber G-5 Howitzers with a range of 42 km, using Gerald Bull’s base-bleed technology ammunition).etc, etc

As to April Glaspie, the US Ambassador, what she said has been truncated by the Iraqis. She said the US would not take sides in inter-Arab disputes BUT that these should be resolved by peaceful means: hardly a green light for an invasion!

Ralf Ostner Giles: Thanks for your corrections. This gives me valuable insights and contradicts many arguments I heard from the German peacemovement and the German left and right.However I don´t understand the French position: Is it just to have some economic deals and gains or did they have a geopolitical agenda and a Middle East strategy or did they want to have influence over their old colonies, also as counterweight against the communist Sovjetunion? Were they supporting Iraq just for the money or did they think that this was their raison de etat? I don´t exactly understand the motives. And you didn´t answer my question: The first Iraq war was not because of WMDs, but was it about humanitarian goals or not because the controll over an oil-rich region? You say the WMD were a rationale in the second Gulf war, but even if Iraq had WMDs, it wouldn´t be nuclear weapons and Iraq never would attack the USA as Saddam was not that stupid to commit suicide. The neocons fabricated the WMD allegations  (yellow cake in Niger–a pure intellgence fabrication) and also tried activly to construct Iraqi- Al Kaida connections. Those guys knew that their own fabrications were just a pretext to get controll over an oil-rich nation and region. And there were a lot of „fabrications“:Saddam was portrayed in the first Gulf War 1991 as a babykiller when before the US Congress Comitee a woman from the Kuwaitian Sabbah clan elite testified crying and with heartbreaking tears in her eyes that she had seen Iraqi soldiers in Kuwaiti hospital who were killing babys–a pure US- Kuwaiti fabrictaion. bAnd in the second US Iraq war 2003 the fabrications by Bush junior, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons´s new intelligence agency–starting with alleged Iraqi yellow cake in Niger to a dissident´s fabrication brought up by the German BND which Colin Powell used for his UNO Security Council presentation were not just errors, but active fabrictaions and desinformation and pure propaganda by the US goverment to have a pretext to invade Iraq as a starting point for the democratization of the Greater Middle East. The plan was: Topple the last Panarabist, socialist regimes, topple the Iranian Ayathollahs and bring a new generation of Arabs and Iranians to power who will be grateful, thankful, democratic, pro-Western, pro-Israel and will give the USA and the world economy the oil under Western conditions.That was the real calculation and not WMD (Israel already had destroyed Chirac-Mr. Iraq-Osirak) or humanitarian reasons.The USA had a masterplan and thought this was a great idea and in the vital interest to have controll over the world´s most oilrich region and to eliminate anti-Western forces and terrorist groups.Economic, military, political and humanitarian goals played hand in hand and the Bush jr. and neocon goverment thought it had the masterplan for a New Greater Middle East and the ultimative solution for all problems.

Giles Raymond de Mourot You seen to adhere to the conspiracy theory about the „Greater Middle East“, a neocon plan, while it was introduced a mere expression to encompass not only the MENA region but Afghanistan. The person who coined the expression was not at all a „noeocon“ but was just trying to find an expression to avoid having to say MENA+Afghanistan+ etc). The conspiracy theorists from the far left just invented a theory because they did not know the origin of the expression. This conspiracy theory is one of the most stupid I’ve come across.

As to oil, a majority of contracts did not go to US oil companies.

Your post which starts with „These fabrications by Bush junior, Cheney,…“ is nothing else than ignorant mumbo jumbo as can be found in far-left publications by people who have no idea of the real world works. I have tried in series of earlier post to set the record straight. Anyone is free to disapprove of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to consider that UNSC 1441 which found Iraq in material breach did not constitute an authorization to go to war. No WMD stocks were found (or so little or in such condition that they are not worth mentioning), proving the assessment of the US intelligence community and indeed all Western and Arab agencies wrong (some programs were still active in violation of UNSC 1441 etc, but were producing nothing hampered that they were by UN sanctions. It is also true that a small group of neo-conservatives who did not dominate US foreign policy making considered that democracy would be established in Iraq simply because the tyrant had been overthrown and his regime dismantled, and that they believed it would serve as a beacon for the whole Middle East. It is true also that some tried to link Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 attacks and that at least one document, unknown to GW Bush was forged to that effect. There was also the error of Czech intelligence which believed they had spotted 9/11 terrorist Mohammed Atta and a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Prague on the sale day, but it became clear later that the first one wasn’t Mohammed Atta. GW Bush did ask immediately after 9/11 if Saddam was involved but was quickly reassured he wasn’t. Dick Cheney however continued to try to prove a link.

For the rest, no, GW Bush didn’t lie: he was unintentionally misled on WMDs, as can be summarized by George Tenet famous statement that it was a slam dunk. The way the war was sold to the public did include a degree of spin as unfortunately is always the case in the US and elsewhere.Without wanting to absolve the US intelligence community i will observe that in addition to groupthink and Saddam’s decision to maintain ambiguity, other factors play their part like the close character of Iraqi society at the time and internal shenanigans US intelligence was not accustomed to.I’ll take the example of aluminum tubes with particularly narrow tolerances which CIA (though not State’s INR) took as centrifuge parts. They were actually rockets which should not have been engineered with such precision. The reason they were is that a crony of Saddam’s son Qusai had sold low-grade quality explosive power to the defense ministry. Telling Saddam was out of the question so they used tubes which were engineered with such precision that CIA saw as their sole use components of centrifuges. This wasn’t the case.

 

Ralf Ostner:  The point is that many people can´t imagine that the US secret services and its goverment can make such desastrous mistakes and miscalculations when ordinary people already knew that Al Kaida had no link to Saddam, that there were no WMDs and that such a war would have very negative effects and would cost so much that the US state debts will explode. The CIA is a billion $ strong agency which is perceived by many people as allmighty as the Mossad.That the US is engaging in such a desastrous war against Iraq like 2003 for many people needs an expalnation. Therefore many people think that there is a bigger story behind all that, there has to be a grand narrative or some kind of masterplan as this can´t be the whole story. That´s when conspiracy theories come in. The right wing groups and parties also claim that the US lead this war to produce a refugee crisis in order to exchange the European people and destroy their nations as part of a giant globalization masterplan. These theories think that capitalism and globalization were planned by a tiny elite, a secret world goverment which has everything under its central command and control and that nothing is happening by accident. The dynamic of the anarchistic Hobbesian world of competition between national states and multinational companies as well as the effects of disruptive new technolgies don´t fit into their worldview of a socalled New World Order (NWO).Of course, these“ theories“ are paranoid hogwash, but they are in broad circulation and as the goverment and the media don´t speak against it as they don´t take it serious and most of them are absurd fancy stories, these conspiracy theories find a broad audience, especially in the internet and social media. It´s a question of interpretation of historical and political events and the so called alternative, selfproclaimed investigative media try to take opportunity from the lack of explanation, communictaion and interpretation by the established media and politicans

 

 

Über Ralf Ostner

Ralf Ostner geboren 1964 in Frankfurt am Main, 1984 Abitur in Bayern--Leitungskurse: Physik und Kunst/ Schülerzeitung. Studium der Physik (Nebenfächer: Mathematik, Chemie), Wirtschaftsgeographie (Nebenfächer: BWL, VWL) und Studium der Sinologie. 1991 Abschluss als staatlich geprüfter Übersetzer in der englischen und chinesischen Sprache am Sprachen- und Dolmetscher-Institut/München (Leiter der Chinesisch-Abteilung: Herr Zhang, ehemaliger Dolmetscher von Deng Xiaoping und Franz-Josef Strauß).Danach 5 Jahre Asienaufenthalt: China, Indien, Südostasien (u.a. in Kambodscha während des ersten Auslandseinsatzes der Bundeswehr, Interviews mit Auslandschinesen, Recherche im Karen-Guerillagebiet in Burma, Unterstützung einer UNO-Mitarbeiterin während den Aufständen in Nepal und bei UNO-Arbeit in Indien), Australien. Danach 5 Jahre als Dolmetscher, Delegationsbegleiter und Übersetzer in München. Abendstudium an der Hochschule für Politik /München (Schwerpunkt: Internationale Beziehungen). Abschluss als Diplom-Politologe (Diplomarbeit: Die deutsch-chinesischen Beziehungen 1989-2000 unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der SPD-Grünen-Regierung). Delegationsbegleitung von Hu Ping, Chefredakteur der chinesischen Dissidentenzeitung "Pekinger Frühling" (New York)und prominentester Vertreter eines chinesischen Liberalismus bei seiner Deutschlandtour (Uni München, Uni Mainz, Berlin/FU-Humboldt) bei gleichzeitigem Kontakt mit Liu Liqun (Autor des Buches "Westliches Denken transzendieren"/ heute: Deutschlandberater der chinesischen Regierung).Chefredakteur der Studentenzeitschrift UNIPOL . Projekte am Goethe-Institut und bei FOCUS TV. Seit 2000 Übersetzer (chinesisch-deutsch), Graphiker, freier Schriftsteller und Blogger.
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