Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looking Back : Bill Clinton's defistating bombing of Iraq in 1999

Why Didn't Saddam Let The Inspectors Inspect?

Answer: Saddam believed that the US was using the inspectors to spy on him. And we were.

As reported in the Washington post:

"For years, two conflicting story lines have battled for world opinion as the Security Council debated the future of Iraqi disarmament. The United States and UNSCOM said their use of increasingly intrusive inspections and sophisticated technology was made necessary by Iraq's resistance to full disclosure of its illegal arms. Iraq maintained that the United States and other unfriendly powers were using UNSCOM's access to the country for espionage.

The new disclosures suggest that both claims were true."

U.S. Spied On Iraqi Military Via U.N
Arms Control Team Had No Knowledge Of Eavesdropping

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 2, 1999; Page A1

This happened under President Bill Clinton. The story was published in major papers. It outraged weapon inspectors, as well as Saddam. But the Us contended that it was legal: ..."because the bulk of the U.S. espionage came under cover of the system of "ongoing monitoring and verification" imposed on Iraq by Security Council Resolution 715."

On September 11, 1998, the Editor of the New York Times wrote an editorial entitled:

On My Mind; A Test for Presidents

So he (Saddam) will continue to fight inspection, and stall on calling off the latest in his series of inspection bans.

The what-next responsibility can only be the President's, if he does his duty -- despite his scandal and shame, despite the ever smaller number of people around him who believe in him. The duty he did not perform before is now his hope for redemption in history.

He is the President. He will have to act on the choice before him. He can tacitly, and denying it all the time, accept Iraq as the military superpower of the Middle East, the germ warfare supplier to terrorists.

Or he can order air attacks on all military and Government installations -- and hope that by missile or revolution, Saddam will be killed.

France won't like it, neither will China. And the new Yeltsin choice for prime minister turns out to be Agent Primakov himself. He is the former high K.G.B. operative -- if there are any ''formers'' among such -- who is Saddam's great supporter abroad.

So, if he is to be taken seriously, President Clinton will have to tell the U.N. that under the U.N. Charter and existing resolutions, the U.S. has the power to do it alone and, if necessary, will.

Presidents Bush and Clinton could have done that before. But the courage and skills of U.N. inspectors, the growth of the danger from Iraqi weapons, from Saddam or his traveling terrorists, eliminate any wiggle-out room for Mr. Clinton.

Dealing with Iraq was still on President's Clinton's mind, and at the to of his task list. (Clinton had previously bombed Iraq in September 1996)

The Bombing of Iraq Dec 16 1999

"When U.S. bombs and missiles fell on Iraq on the evening of Dec. 16, ...the targeting list was stunning in its specificity."

"Thanks to the hard work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), U.S. targeters know a lot more about the Iraqi regime today than they did during the Gulf War in 1991. The United States and Britain now have a diagrammatic understanding of the Iraqi government structure, as well as of the intelligence, security and transport organizations that protect the Iraqi leadership. The same mission folders that UNSCOM put together to inspect specific buildings and offices in its search for concealed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) became the basis for the targeting folders that missile launchers and pilots used in December."

William M. Arkin an independent defense analyst, spent two months in Iraq after the Gulf War and has written extensively on Operation Desert Storm wrote of the Clinton attack - code named : Dessert Fox:

" How could a 70-hour bombing campaign possibly generate an outcome that the utter defeat of the Iraqi army and tens of thousand of airstrikes over 43 days failed to deliver? The answer is again in the target list – and in the administration's belief that ever more accurate bombs and unprecedented target data can have far-reaching reverberation."

It was the previous spying efforts with the weapon inspectors that made the difference.

The target list:
Zeroed In

Of the 100 targets on the list for Operation Desert Fox in Iraq, 87 were hit. A breakdown of the seven categories and their key areas is as follows:

COMMAND AND CONTROL: 18 of 20 targets hit

Abu Rajash, Jabul Makhul, Radwaniyah, Republican (Baghdad), Sijood palaces
Ba'ath party headquarters
Iraq Intelligence Service headquarters
Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Industry
Presidential Secretariat Building
State radio and television

WMD INDUSTRY AND PRODUCTION: 12 of 12 targets hit

Biological Research Center (Baghdad University)
Ibn al Haytham missile R&D center
Karama electronics plant
Al Kindi missile R&D facility (Mosul)
Shahiyat liquid engine R&D, T&E facility
Zaafaraniyah fabrication facility (Nidda)

18 of 18 targets hit

Directorate of General Security headquarters
Special Security Organization (SS0) headquarters
Special Republican Guards (SRG) headquarters
SSO Communications/Computer Center
SSO/SRG barracks (Abu Ghraib, Radwinyah, Baghdad, Tikrit)

REPUBLICAN GUARDS: 9 of 9 targets hit

ECONOMIC: 1 of 1 targets hit

Basra refinery distribution manifold

AIRFIELDS: 5 of 6 targets hit

AIR DEFENSES: 24 of 34 targets hit

Sources: U.S. Central Command, Department of Defense

Clinton as Bush. Sr. hoped from an internal change of government, fearful of the cost of an actual overthrow.

When George W. Bush came into office he was facing a considerably weak Iraq. Saddam had held onto power of a country who had one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and didn't like us (or Israel) or President Bush's father, whom Saddam had tried to assassinate in the first moths of Clinton's Presidency. Saddam was at odd with the other Arab countries for not supporting him if the first Gulf War. He stood between George W. Bush's hope of finnaly setteling the Isreali- Palistinian problem.

The George W. Bush administration just needed a reason to go to war, the sooner the better, the quicker the better, the least footprint made, the better

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