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2005-02-24

Plan of Attack 

So what does this politically correct weblog do to celebrate the physical presence of the Friend of Liberty in these Central European backwaters? Well almost presence, my distance today, at 60km, was slightly larger than Petr Bokuvka's of the Daily Czech, who came to within 15m (but the batteries of his camera were empty). Well, I'm trying to better understand His ways, by ploughing my way through Bob Woodward's inside story of the run-up to the Iraq war, "Plan of Attack". I'm still stuck in early 2002, but it is rather interesting reading.

One of my pet beliefs used to be that the US could have tried harder to assassinate Saddam instead of killing tens of thousands of his foot-soldiers in an invasion, not to speak of civilian costs. However according to Woodward, the CIA told the president that it did not believe the US could succeed in removing Saddam without a military invasion. Due to its extremely bad historical record in supporting the Iraqi resistance, by the end of 2001 the CIA managed hardly any significant presence inside Iraq and it believed that Saddam could not be bombed out either due to his 'unsurmountable' wall of security and bunkers. Woodward does not provide many specifics as to what led the CIA to these conclusions, but he presents them as the genuine conviction of the responsible person at the agency, codenamed 'Saul'.

Also, to caricature the portrayals in the first hundred pages, Rumsfeld and his neocons wanted to attack Iraq even before 9/11, whereas Bush after 9/11 just was easily convinced of everything that would demonstrate his presidential resolve in dealing with terrorism. Powell had some contempt for the hawks in the administration whom he saw as war-crazy desktop soldiers. I'll have to keep reading in the hope to find anything about when and whether Bush and the neocons considered the likely human costs of this war.


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