Kerry on Iraq War: John Kerry’s consistent position on the Iraq war
“No one could have imagined back then that they would discard their own State Department’s 11 volumes of plans for what to do; that they would not guard the borders; that they would not guard the ammunition dumps; that they would disband the army; that they would not keep a civil service structure in place; that they would not provide the electricity and provide the jobs and the services. This has been incompetently handled, mismanaged every step of the way.” —John Kerry 9/21/04
Iraq Distracted Us from Terrorism, Increased Terrorism according to Think Tank in Israel
The war in Iraq did not damage international terror groups, but instead distracted the United States from confronting other hotbeds of Islamic militancy and actually “created momentum” for many terrorists. President Bush has called the war in Iraq an integral part of the war on terrorism, saying that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein hoped to develop unconventional weapons and could have given them to Islamic militants across the world.
But the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University said that instead of striking a blow against Islamic extremists, the Iraq war “has created momentum for many terrorist elements, but chiefly al-Qaida and its affiliates.” Jaffee Center director Shai Feldman said the vast amount of money and effort the United States has poured into Iraq has deflected attention and assets from other centers of terrorism, such as Afghanistan. The concentration of U.S. intelligence assets in Iraq “has to be at the expense of being able to follow strategic dangers in other parts of the world,” he said.
Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli army general, said the U.S.-led effort was strategically misdirected. If the goal in the war against terrorism is “not just to kill the mosquitos but to dry the swamp,” he said, “now it’s quite clear” that Iraq “is not the swamp.” Instead, he said, the Iraq campaign is having the opposite effect, drawing Islamic extremists from other parts of the world to join the battle. “On a strategic level as well as an operational level,” Brom concluded, “the war in Iraq is hurting the war on international terrorism.”
Follow the Money
How John Kerry busted the terrorists’ favorite bank.
Kerry Speech at NYU Sept 20
What Went Wrong in Iraq Larry Diamond, Foreign Affairs
A Failed Transition
Among its major findings are stark figures about the escalation of costs in these most recent three months of “transition” to Iraqi rule, a period that the Bush administration claimed would be characterized by falling human and economic costs.
1. U.S. Military Casualties Have Been Highest During the “Transition”: U.S. military casualties (wounded and killed) stand at a monthly average of 747 since the so-called “transition” to Iraqi rule on June 28, 2004. This contrasts with a monthly average of 482 U.S. military casualties during the invasion (March 20-May 1, 2003) and a monthly average of 415 during the occupation (May 2, 2003-June 28, 2004).
2. Non-Iraqi Contractor Deaths Have Also Been Highest During the “Transition”: There has also been a huge increase in the average monthly deaths of U.S. and other non-Iraqi contractors since the “transition.” On average, 17.5 contractors have died each month since the June 28 “transition,” versus 7.6 contractor deaths per month during the previous 14 months of occupation.
3. Estimated Strength of Iraqi Resistance Skyrockets: Because the U.S. military occupation remains in place, the “transition” has failed to win Iraqi support or diminish Iraqi resistance to the occupation. According to Pentagon estimates, the number of Iraqi resistance fighters has quadrupled between November of 2003 and early September 2004, from 5,000 to 20,000. The Deputy Commander of Coalition forces in Iraq, British Major General Andrew Graham, indicated to Time magazine in early September that he thinks the 20,000 estimate is too low; he estimates Iraqi resistance strength at 40,000-50,000. This rise is even starker when juxtaposed to Brookings Institution estimates that an additional 24,000 Iraqi resistance fighters have been detained or killed between May 2003 and August 2004.
4. U.S.- led Coalition Shrinks Further After “Transition”: The number of countries identified as members of the Coalition backing the U.S.-led war started with 30 on March 18, 2003, then grew in the early months of the war. Since then, eight countries have withdrawn their troops and Costa Rica has demanded to be taken off the coalition list. At the war’s start, coalition countries represented 19.1 percent of the world’s population; today, the remaining countries with foces in Iraq represent only 13.6 percent of the world’s population.
Bush Flip Flops
Record shows Bush shifting on Iraq war
President’s rationale for the invasion continues to evolve
A war that was waged principally to overthrow a dictator who possessed “some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” has evolved into a mission to rid Iraq of its “weapons-making capabilities” and to offer democracy and freedom to its 25 million residents.