Monday, January 2nd, 2012
Iraq: Legacy of Deception and Its Costs
By Susan Lindauer
Most Americans are astonished to discover that right up to 9/11, the CIA was developing a “Real Politik” vision of Iraq that recognized the fast approaching collapse of U.N. Sanctions. The CIA was preparing for Peace—with a ruthless determination that the United States would capture the lion’s share of spoils from Iraqi Reconstruction contracts in any post-sanctions period.
German pilots transporting medical supplies and doctors into Baghdad International Airport at the end of the Clinton Administration had blasted the myth of invincibility surrounding sanctions. To this day, those pilots are anonymous—but they changed the equation in total. Their courage honoring the Berlin Airlifts in the Cold War was quickly copied. Across Europe and the Arab world, activists began to organize humanitarian flights into Baghdad. On the Security Council, France and Russia argued strenuously that the ban on air travel had been self imposed, and the no-fly zone could not prohibit humanitarian flights.
By this time, UN sanctions had killed over 1.7 million Iraqis; wiped out literacy in a single generation; and created artificial starvation in the world’s second most oil-rich nation. Iraq’s world class hospitals that once rivaled London and New York had been ravaged. Sick of the misery, the global community refused to stay silent any longer.
The CIA saw the writing on the wall. International loathing for “genocide by sanctions” had reached such a peak of outrage that there was no possibility of re-crafting the hated policy. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s vision of “smart sanctions” had come too late.
The CIA was determined to control the agenda for the advantage of the United States, however. And so quietly through my back channel, we undertook a proactive, covert dialogue over exactly what concessions Iraq would offer the United States, in exchange for lifting the sanctions. As a long-time opponent of sanctions myself, I was eager to get results.
That dialogue—even the existence of our back channel to Iraq’s Embassy at the United Nations from 1996 to 2003—was strictly covert, kept close and precious— away from Washington pundits and think tanks whose ignorance would have smashed all progress on the rocks. Our dialogue was no less vigorous for that secrecy.
This was the CIA at its best. Nobody got soft on Saddam’s government. By any measure, the CIA’s demands far exceeded the U.N. mandate to eliminate Iraq’s WMDs. If there was going to be peace, it would have to be rock solid, with zero chance that Baghdad would bite the United States in retaliation for those years of misery and death.
A Prosperous Peace for All
What emerged was a dynamic and comprehensive framework hammered out with Iraq’s Ambassador Dr. Saeed Hasan and senior diplomats in New York.
The agreement required weapons inspections “with no conditions.” But the deal accomplished much more. By February, 2001—nine months before 9/11—Baghdad authorized the FBI to send Terrorism Task Force into Iraq, with permission to conduct investigations and make arrests. After 9/11, Iraq sweetened its contribution with promises to hand over banking and financial documents on Al Qaeda figures. There’s no question but that Iraq’s cooperation qualified as the most substantial windfall in the War on Terrorism. Notably, it targeted actual terrorists— not Islamic charities or frightened taxi drivers and plumbers with the wrong accents and ethnic coloring.
Every time Senator John McCain or Dick Cheney pounded the lectern on CNN, and demanded an interview with Al Anai, or other cooperation— Iraq complied within hours.
THE PEACE DIVIDEND
Most importantly, the CIA was determined that the U.S. would retain a strong footing inside Iraq in all major economic sectors, in any post sanctions period.
The CIA envisioned a great Peace Bonanza for U.S. corporations that would have gorged American workers and shareholders with billions of dollars in revenues. It was a vision of prosperity and wealth creation, which put the United States at the center of the banquet table. The CIA wanted jobs, more jobs and profits. The goal was to rival the economic impact of the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after World War II, driving as many of those economic benefits to U.S. coffers as possible.
Iraq was happy to oblige. Those were days when the United States commanded such power on the world stage that other nations recognized Washington would have to be gratified in order for a change of policy to move forward.
And so Baghdad agreed to Every Single Demand put forth by the CIA— without complaint that U.S. conditions far exceeded the scope of the U.N. mandate for ending the sanctions.
* The CIA demanded and won Iraq’s agreement to allow all U.S. corporations to return to Baghdad, post-sanctions, at the same level of market share as before the first Gulf War in 1990.
* Iraq promised first tier oil concessions to U.S. Oil Corporations in all new exploration and development leases, with priority contracts for the purchase of American oil equipment. Baghdad also promised the U.S. could join existing oil leases held by other countries on a second and third tier basis.
* In January, 2003, Iraq offered the LUKoil Contract held by Russia to U.S. oil companies instead, in a final, tragic bid to avert War.
* By December, 2001, Iraq agreed to give preferential contracts, post-sanctions, to U.S. Corporations in telecommunications
* In fact, the CIA demanded and won Iraq’s agreement to give the U.S. preferential contracts in health care, hospital equipment and pharmaceuticals.
* Iraq agreed to buy 1 million American-manufactured automobiles every year for 10 years. This would have required imports from the U.S., not licensing of technology. That would have created thousands of high-paying Union jobs in the Rust Belt of America.
Imagine the modern day Global Economy if the CIA’s vision had prevailed. There would be no bankruptcy of the Middle Class. No housing foreclosure crisis. No government stimulus packages to bail out Banks or the U.S. automobile industry. There would be No Great Depression on All Points of the Global Horizon. This bounty would have extended to Britain and all of Europe and Asia. All countries would have joined the Feast of Reconstruction in Iraq. The prosperity flowing from this Peace Bonanza would have multiplied like loaves of bread throughout the world.
Imagine better schools. Universal health coverage. Substantial new investment in green energy, mass transit and infrastructure improvements. That’s what the Middle Class sacrificed in this Bonfire of the Vanities.
Republicans quickly recognized American voters would be irate over those costs. No longer fired with courage in the belly, and lacking the strength of conviction, Republicans shifted blame for their mediocre war policy onto the Intelligence Community—which had developed this peace framework— rather than take responsibility for their own decision making.
All three U.S. Assets covering the Iraqi Embassy in New York got thrown in prison as “Iraqi Agents,” citing the Patriot Act. All of us faced secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. Myself, I spent a year locked up on Carswell Air Force Base without a trial or hearing, threatened with indefinite detention.
In a violent effort to force to me to recant, I was threatened with forcible drugging with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac. Only thanks to blowback from the blogs and internet radio was the truth that I had lived saved from a chemical lobotomy.
There’s a reason why, and it bodes very badly for America.
THE COST OF WAR:
The tragic truth is that pulling U.S. soldiers out from Iraq will not reverse those negative consequences for the U.S. economy or taxpayers. The Middle Class is down for the count and not getting up. Our grand children will be financing this failed War in Baghdad with hefty income taxes to pay America’s creditors in China for decades to come. There’s serious question as to whether the War in Iraq has ended the “American Century.”
The United States has hemorrhaged $4 TRILLION on the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and deficits continue to escalate in Kabul. Military spending for defense contractors has increased 81 percent since the 9/11 attack, while disability and health benefits for U.S. Veterans have stagnated.
* Over 4,000 U.S. Soldiers died in Iraq— while another 30,000 suffered serious traumatic injuries, paralysis, amputations and head injuries.
* An American soldier attempts suicide every 80 minutes, according to Veterans for Peace, which has demanded more community outreach to save their lives
* Post traumatic stress cripples tens of thousands of young American soldiers who face great difficulty returning to work and family life.
For all of the glory of U.S. military budgets, we have nothing to give our young people in uniform.
And that’s not all. What of that grand vision called the War on Terrorism?
Cunning like a fox, Saddam Hussein tried to give the United States banking and financial documents that would have closed down the financial pipeline feeding terrorism. Mostly that financing derives from heroin profits, which would have resulted in substantial seizures, and killed two birds with one powerful stone.
Yet for all the rhetoric, Republican leaders so desired to attack Saddam that they left all terrorism financing in circulation. There’s no question but those monies have financed attacks on U.S. and allied partners in Pakistan, India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the Philippines—wherever radical Islam is engaged in violent retaliation against U.S. military operations.
And so the greatest irony is that the U.S. has financed our Enemies’ War on Terrorism against our own people. That’s just plain stupid. And dangerous.
The damage goes farther. Former CIA Director of Operations and head of the Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer argues that U.S. interventions are in danger of igniting another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Guaranteed to outscore 9/11, the next attack will most likely involve a dirty nuclear attack on the financial district of New York City, which would push the global economy over the edge, into the abyss.
Pulling out of Iraq creates an opportunity to reduce that risk—but only if Washington learns the lessons of its past mistakes and resists the temptation to engage in new military mis-adventures.
The Weapons Trap in Iran
Indeed, as the world weighs another War against Iran, we must engage in a serious conversation as to whether any nation is worth the risk of destruction to our own?
Veterans and anti-war activists alike must force a consideration of what our economy has suffered already—since the value of human life has become so cheap. We must examine the costs of War to our economy, our taxpayers and our soldiers, with much greater clarity and honesty than Republicans in Congress applied to the War in Iraq.
Tragically, the War in Iraq has had an unexpected consequence. It has persuaded Iran of the dangers of nuclear disarmament. Baghdad would have been much less vulnerable to U.S. military adventurism, if only Saddam’s government had possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, per U.N. accusations. Baghdad’s inability to mount an effective defense created an irresistible provocation for War Hawks in Washington and London.
That lesson of the Iraq War is not lost on Teheran. On that contrary, it has proved to Iranian leaders that WMDs are vital to their future independence. Only a guarantee of “mutual assured destruction” will preserve the freedom of their country.
Unquestionably, that is the greatest tragedy of all, with more dangerous consequences to come.
One must ask: Would the CIA’s vision of peace been so terrible after all?
Susan Lindauer is the author of Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.
Charlotte NC Bill
January 2, 2012 – 7:53 am
In a perfect world: Saddam would still run Iraq and have that lost piece of Iraq aka Kuwait…he would strengthen his partnership w/the US ( he was our ally when ambassador April Glasbie gave him the green light to take back Kuwait )..But the Israel-centric neo-cons DON’T WANT us to have good relations w/the arab countries…And they want several million Persians murdered…the Merhav Group wanted it’s TAPI pipeline…the CIA wanted to re-partner w/Afghan drug lords…the Carlyle group needs it’s “defense” profits..Bechtel/KBR needed contracts..Which is why Mossad/CIA engineered 9-11 in the 1st place..
Log in to Reply Nasir
January 2, 2012 – 9:01 am
Do you think it is all right to take other people’s resources, for your own benefit? Do you have any values? When you complained about your detention you were complaining about the unfairness of it all. It appears that you believe in slecticive use of ethics; they only come to play when you feel wronged.
I am amazed at the people who talk from the both sides of their mouths. You don’t want to earn prosperity but live on subsidies from your victims.
The war was wrong. The first war wass wrong, the second war was wrong, the Kuwait farce was wrong, the peaceful “taste” was wrong. You seem to have no sense of right or wrong!
Log in to Reply Susan Lindauer
January 2, 2012 – 9:30 am
Of course the War was Horribly wrong. Nothing in this article defends War. It proves how EASILY this war could have been avoided in total. Every objective (including democracy reforms) were achieved BEFORE the War. I realized after publication that I forgot to mention it. Iraq had proposed a supremely creative solution. It involved repatriating Iraqi Exiles and housing them in expanded Embassy Compounds protected by Embassy security. All of you will know that Embassies are Sovereign Territory of the home country.
Saddam proposed bringing everyone back, and allowing them to create political parties, with political headquarters, opposition newspapers– Then they could move around the city protected by embassy security, if they felt it was necessary. He swore that nobody would bother them. And they could organize a campaign in front of the Iraqi people. Within 12 to 18 months, there would be elections. He proposed that Jimmy Carter would come as an election monitor.
Now– here’s the kicker– the man who floated this proposal was a face I’d seen at pictures of Revolutionary Council Meetings. He had the power to launch this. And he told me that “maybe Saddam will not be around” to join the elections (as a candidates). Those were his own words. I was so shocked to hear this that I immediately thought Saddam must be very sick. I could not imagine that Saddam would not run in these elections. But that was definitely up for negotiation.
In other words, the United States was offered Every Conceivable Objective that it could possibly have desired. Probably the CIA thought of a lot of stuff that George Bush didn’t (not a very smart boy, that one.)
Don’t ever think that I supported this War. I fought and fought and fought and fought and fought AGAINST this War. I created an email data base for every Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, Press Secretary and Foreign Policy staffer in the House & Senate. I also had a blast fax for every Congressional office and every Ambassadors’ office at the United Nations. My faxes ran 24-7 non-stop, feeding opposition papers to Congress and the United Nations. I pounded those guys with warnings that I wrote myself and excellent papers by other writers. It was a non-stop one woman battle, as an Asset, to stop that War.
I was absolutely devastated when the War started. I howled so loudly that 6 months before the November elections, the govt recognized I would cause a serious problem for George Bush’s re-election. Given my knowledge of the advance warnings of 9/11 AND my direct engagement on Iraq, including the peace framework, Republican leaders recognized that I posed a significant threat.
Democracy scares the hell out of a lot of Republicans. And I guess, a lot of Democrats, too, apparently! But if the GOP had not been so violent and selfish and corrupt in arresting me, a lot of truth would have come out.
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January 2, 2012 – 12:02 pm
You hit the nail on the head and drove it home. Democracy does scare Republicans and Democrats. It scares every career politician that sees representing their constituents as a way to the wealth and power that feeds their egos.
Log in to Reply Nasir
January 2, 2012 – 7:38 pm
A cogent reply!
You appeared to have done well to try to avoid the war, you were involved in a risky business, you paid the price for it. My hats off to you for that.
However, you did not address the “taste of peace dividend” issue. That is my main objection! Why should we force other nations to give us a “taste” for privilege to live? If the conditions for the negotiated peace were those that you describe–then I have to say the war was a better result, at least history will remember it, it for the bloodshed and those parents who lost their kids in the wars will remember it, as would the rest of the world. Those who died there did not even get honor of a decent burial. People who lost their loved ones will have to live with the knowledge that they did not fight for some lofty purpose but in the process of a heist. The chikens will come home to roost.
A quiet payoff will have been easy to fool the people of conscience. Now we have had a bloodbath, looting, graphic images, and history will judge us based on that.
A payoff would have stayed hidden. If you were informing us of the vileness of the negotiated (imposed peace); that is a wonderful thing. If you are saying we should have taken that route; then it is troubling.
Log in to Reply dirtus napus
January 2, 2012 – 4:07 pm
Reading the Bilderberg minutes has been 99% accurate since 96′. In 03′ when they said oil would hit $150, they only missed by 3 dollars. America had to be economically leveled, after watching them do it, I soon found it easy to see how they do things. I mean, they did say they were going to do this after all?!
Pick the logical side of any problem or argument and do the opposite. See, integrity and honesty are not laws. The folks that run Israel, the City, and D.C. don’t care about jobs, they need to opposite of jobs. They needed the US to drop 5 triilion in real wealth quickly. How does one get a superpower to blow 5 trillion? How does one stop free speech? All of this was planned before 95′. Ask Biden, he wrote a large part of the Patriot act. Ask Obama, he wrote the NDAA, or made sure it got in there. It’s just like Lybia…..everyone is still talking about spies here, Israel did this, Al Queda, blah blah. No one sees the big picture.
CIA? Safe to say they are a danger to the people of the world. They don’t work for me, that’s for sure. Everyone’s complaining about the weather, and no one’s doing anything about it…….blah, blah.
So, the point was the CIA put a honey deal together for Wallstreet and the Sanhedron decided to blow up Iraq regardless of all the humanitarian work the CIA did? Jesus. Seems to me, the indirect point you really made was, there are forces far higher than the CIA and they don’t give a squirt of piss what the CIA thinks about anything…..that’s the story to me.
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Charlotte NC Bill
January 3, 2012 – 1:33 am
Right..the spooks and the political whores work for the people who actually own the country and the western world…The people who own the Fed..who own the media, who own the entertainment industry..and “our” president..
Log in to Reply Susan Lindauer
January 3, 2012 – 3:44 am
Dirty Napus nailed it! The CIA put together the sweetest deal for Wall Street (heavy emphasis on maximizing profits and jobs for U.S. corporations). I was told to get everything. Demand everything. The U.S. wanted to dominate every sector in Iraq’s Reconstruction after sanctions. I cannot stres enough that before 9/11, international loathing had wrought the collapse of sanctions policy. The CIA could see the inevitable coming. They wanted to control the conditions for suspending the sanctions. Other countries were sending in trade missions, and the CIA was paying attention. We put together a package that would be as pork belly as possible for U.S. corporations.
Like it or not, Nasir– and you might not, I grant– the CIA has a legitimate function to think strategically and proactively, in terms of getting the best deal for the United States. Since there was no diplomatic relations via the State Department, there was a huge void to be filled. And our back channel existed to address those issues. So we built the peace option, and got it all wrapped in bows for whatever time the U.S> was ready to act.
Napus says: “So, the point was the CIA put a honey deal together for Wallstreet and the Sanhedron decided to blow up Iraq regardless of all the humanitarian work the CIA did? Jesus. Seems to me, the indirect point you really made was, there are forces far higher than the CIA–”
Exactly. And they had a different agenda, which entailed sacrificing Wall Street and U.S. workers. The world could have accomplished every stated objective through this peace option— including the retirement of Saddam from political life. There was no reason to fire a single missile or kill one Iraqi child. We never had to do it. It wasn’t just wrong on WMDS. Iraq agreed to an FBI Terrorism Task Force. They tried to give us financial records on Ramzi Youseff and Sheikh Al Zawahari. Bush/Cheney rejected it.
So who benefited Haliburton and Israel and KBR. Same folks setting up the FEMA camps. They are not thinking of OUR best interests, are they?