Nicolas J S Davies

A collection of published articles and letters to policymakers regarding the crisis in United States foreign policy by Nicolas J S Davies.

Location: North Miami, Florida, United States

Friday, August 01, 2003

Letter to Congress on Iraq and VIPS

The Hon. Kendrick Meek
1039 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington DC 20515

Friday, August 1st 2003

Dear Kendrick,

If you’ve been in Washington or in front of a T.V. set during the past two weeks, you’ve witnessed the Bush administration’s extraordinary efforts to influence public perceptions of the crisis in Iraq, and divert attention from their distortion of intelligence and their responsibility for the crisis. Their goals have been to:

a) Blame all acts of Iraqi resistance on “Baathists”, “dead-enders” or “terrorists”.
b) Refocus attention on the terrors of Saddam Hussein as justification for the war.
c) Exaggerate the “progress” being made by the “coalition”.
d) Assure us that killing or capturing Saddam will end the crisis.

Paul Wolfowitz’s testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was a particularly strange performance. He rambled at length about Iraq under Hussein, and then gave a distorted account of Iraq under U.S. occupation that included the incredible statement that Iraq is now producing 1,400,000 barrels of oil per day, about double the actual figure. I suspect a little research would turn up a few more whoppers in his testimony, but I’ll leave that to you! Under questioning, he eventually admitted that things aren’t going well in Iraq.

Our troops in Iraq are being attacked on a daily basis by a resistance movement that is learning from its mistakes, with suicidal attacks giving way to more effective methods. After the invasion of France, Belgium and Holland in 1940, not a single German soldier was killed in those countries for almost two years. By contrast, Iraq is already well into a spiral of violence that our troops can only exacerbate by their continued presence.

My friends’ son joined the 4th Infantry as a Russian translator in an intelligence unit, but is now driving a Humvee around Baghdad. In Vietnam, infantry patrols were used to draw enemy fighters into the open, where artillery and air forces could destroy them. Thus the ratio of ordinance tonnage to infantry combat hours in Vietnam was twenty-six times that of the Second World War. Our infantry in Iraq are similarly a magnet for enemy attacks, but the urban environment of Iraq precludes the use of artillery and air forces, making this a fairer fight in which Iraqi casualties are not always disproportionate to our own.

The wider consequences of the war for our foreign policy are becoming clearer. We have suffered an abrupt cut-off of cooperation from the Syrian intelligence service, cited by the C.I.A. as our most valuable source of information on Al-Quaida in 2002. The Taliban are regaining power in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Chief of the Pakistani General Staff resigned after giving a speech in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir that called for a military united front of Muslim nations to prevent further defeats like that in Iraq.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has made public a letter they sent to the President on July 14th. They make three recommendations designed to restore the integrity of U.S. intelligence operations, and I would ask you to publicly endorse all three of them:

#1 – The immediate resignation of Vice President Cheney

While almost every member of the Bush administration’s national security team has made false statements during this crisis, it is clear that Mr. Cheney was ultimately responsible for the strategic undermining of the intelligence process in a matter of war and peace. Further attempts to hide his role would do inestimable damage to future intelligence operations.

#2 – The urgent establishment of an independent investigation

VIPS has recommended that General Brent Scowcroft be appointed to head a bipartisan commission on the abuse of intelligence on Iraq.

#3 – The return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq

At the end of the day, we need a trusted, international, impartial assessment of the whole question of Iraq’s weapons programs, and our country has no credibility left to even assist in such an effort.

I would add a fourth recommendation, essentially the same one I have been making for the past year, that we ask the United Nations to assume control of a legitimate political transition in Iraq. In conjunction with this process, our troops should be withdrawn as early as is deemed appropriate by a competent U.N.-appointed authority.

Thank you once again for your service to our community and our country.


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