Iraq, Y2K, and the military ... Can you trust the government any longer? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This from the Boston Globe, not a noted conservative newspaper.

What's troubling are the bland, simple re-assurances we were given no later than Saturday about how damage was inflicted for our almost 800 million in weapons destroyed. Based on this, we took more damage than they did..


Strikes didn't finish job US set out to do

By Fred Kaplan, Globe Staff, 12/21/98

For the very latest on Operation Desert Fox, see our special coverage in The Boston Globe's

WASHINGTON - One question has emerged in the aftermath of President Clinton's four-day bombing campaign against Iraq: What was that all about?

If his aim was to put a dent in Saddam Hussein's ability to produce chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons, the dent was not a large one.

If, as some of the air war's targets suggested, Clinton was trying to destabilize Hussein's regime, he did not hit its foundations hard enough.

Speaking of the Pentagon's estimates of damage, John Pike, a specialist with the Federation of American Scientists, said Saturday night, ''It doesn't look like they did anything on what they said they were going to do, and not enough on what they were actually doing.''

According to the Pentagon's most recent figures, the attacks hit a total of 97 targets over the four days. The strikes damaged beyond repair only a few of the targets - the weapons sites, military headquarters, and industrial facilities that Pentagon planners thought had to be hit to accomplish the mission.

''I'm mystified why they stopped the campaign just as they had amassed sufficient force to complete the job,'' Pike added.

More forces, including another aircraft-carrier battle-group and more than 70 additional combat planes, had just arrived Friday.

''You don't deploy 70 aircraft halfway around the world just so they can fly one combat sortie,'' Pike said.

Iraq's nuclear and chemical materials were not attacked.

Part of the reason might have been that nobody knew where these materials were.

Andrew Cockburn, co-author of the forthcoming book ''Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein,'' noted that the UN inspectors themselves ''couldn't find the stuff because Saddam kept moving it.'' So, Cockburn asked, ''If a bunch of people on the ground couldn't find it, how could some generals target it from the air?''

There are some well-known, immovable sites where chemical weapons could be built, but these are ''dual-use'' facilities - places with civilian functions as well, such as a chlorine plant vital to Baghdad's drinking water.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said the campaign was avoiding these targets so Iraqi people would not be hurt. The concern was laudable, but, given these limitations, it again raises the question: What did Clinton expect the bombing would accomplish?

Cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs did strike some factories involved in producing missiles that could theoretically deliver chemical or nuclear weapons. The Pentagon said that 11 such targets were attacked. None were destroyed, one was damaged severely, five moderately, and four lightly. The damage to one target had not yet been assessed.

From a purely military standpoint, it is hard to imagine that the commanders would not have wanted to go back and take another shot.

General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Saturday that even these attacks had set back Iraq's ability to produce long-range missiles ''by at least a year.''

However, General Thomas Wilson, the Joint Staff's director of intelligence, said that even without the strikes, Iraq was a couple of years away from acquiring this ability. So, the upshot of the bombing appears to have put off this prospect from two years to three - not trivial, but hardly critical, either.

Missiles were also fired at facilities for the security forces that have guarded and hidden Hussein's weapons. These were the people who obstructed the UN inspectors. However, if the inspectors are no longer in Iraq - and it is doubtful that Hussein will let them back in soon - then their functions are no longer so vital.

Furthermore, just because their facilities - barracks, headquarters, and so forth - were bombed does not mean the guards themselves were killed. Everyone agrees Hussein has become resourceful at moving his assets around on short notice.

William M. Arkin, a military historian and former US Army intelligence officer, said of the strikes, ''I think we're hitting a lot of empty buildings.''

Strikes were also aimed at Hussein's command and control, TV and radio transmitters, Republican Guard facilities, private security forces - in other words, the apparatus that keeps him in power and maintains his links with the Iraqi army.

These attacks, too, seemed fairly light. Of 20 command-control targets hit, seven were destroyed, four damaged severely, four moderately. Of nine Republican Guard targets hit, none were destroyed, three damaged severely, five moderately. Of 18 security targets hit, two were destroyed, five damaged severely, six moderately.

Bombing rarely has much effect on these sorts of targets, no matter how heavy. During the 1991 Gulf war, American-led air forces mounted 500 strikes on command-control and 260 strikes on Iraq's leaders.

Yet, ''despite the lethality and precision of the attacks,'' concluded the US Air Force's official five-volume ''Gulf War Air Power Survey,'' Hussein's ability to command his forces ''had not collapsed... The system turned out to be more redundant and more able to reconstitute itself.''

Perhaps Operation Desert Fox was called off for diplomatic reasons. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday night that he and Clinton ''always envisaged it would last four days ... because such a campaign is the right and proportionate response to Saddam's breach of UN obligations and also because of our sensitivity to the holy month of Ramadan.''

This claim is confusing, however, because the bombing continued into Ramadan, and it leaves unexplained the costly deployment of vast additional forces that did not arrive until the third and fourth days.

In any event, yesterday morning, Hussein, who lived through it all once again, claimed victory - which, from his point of view, might outweigh Clinton's claim that the Iraqi leader stands ''degraded'' and ''diminished.''

This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 12/21/98. ) Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (, December 23, 1998


Damned if I know what that was all about Robert. I don't believe the story that Clinton was hoping to put off a vote on impeachment - what good would that do? They surely had something in mind - but what?

BTW - note that several hundred air strikes did not knock Command and Communications functions. A lesson for Y2K perhaps?

-- Paul Davis (, December 23, 1998.

I saw that too - but can't extrapolate - multiple phone lines out west were waxed by one fiber optic cable getting cut.

Don't know enough to know what I don't know so I can figure out what to know about what I have to know - then you still have to separate the truth from the fabrications from the half-truths from the 'advertising" based on truth.

Once you know the truth (one starting condition), then *if* you know where you are trying to go - then you can start to extrapolate from one condition to the second condition to figure out a way to get there.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (, December 23, 1998.

Robert: Your post proves that the Clinton administration is damned if they do and damned if they don't. Some say they waited too long, but others say they should not have bombed at all. Some say they should have had a more aggressive campaign, but other say any American casualties would be totally unsatisfactory.

We don't live in a perfect world. And we are past the point of implementing diplomatic solutions to 1999's upcoming military problems. To those that want to throw rocks at Clinton because of this latest action in Iraq, I say please give our Commander in Chief his due, or furl up your flag and hop on the next shuttle out of this land.

Paul: Hardware problems pale in comparison to software/firmware problems.

-- a (a@a.a), December 23, 1998.


The example that our President gave when he was a young guy ought to be followed, i.e., protest the undeclared war.


-- Joska (, December 23, 1998.

Joska: Look at the calendar. This is not 1965. Things are different now.

-Vietnam had no nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, nor the ability to use those weapons on American soil or interests.

-Vietnam was not strategically important (except for the drug trade, which was indirectly one of the main reasons the war was waged - turf war over the Golden Triangle)

-Vietnam did not disobey a UN order on weapons inspection.

-Vietnam involved the deaths of tens of thousands of American soldiers.

-Vietnam was not handled with kid gloves, given every diplomatic option, etc. etc.

-Vietnam was not engaged in genocide against its own people.

-Vietnam did not have a nasty history of inflicting environmental terrorism, like setting the worlds oil fields afire.

Now, I'm not arguing that it's not a sad state of affairs that America has been reduced to bombing the piss out of folks that impede the orderly flow of oil in that region. But for better or worse, this is now the situation we are in. I could make the argument that it's the fault of all the greedy fools that have been falling over themselves to make a million in the stock market (without so much as lifting a finger I might add). See PNGs site for some background on how we got where we are.

My main concern at this point is how you and I can survive into the next century with a minimum of worldwide bloodshed.

-- a (a@a.a), December 23, 1998.

From an earlier thread "Clinton's 73% Approval rating"...

"Saddam was and is still useful for the USA to drop bombs on, every now and then, as a diversion.

Saddam was not "taken out" after desert storm for precisely this reason."

Substitute desert fox for desert storm above.

-- Andy (, December 23, 1998.

Andy: how do propose we would "get" Sadaam? Hell, man, we didn't even "get" many of the Repulican Guards! They high tailed it from their barracks as soon as the UN inspectors departed.

And remember, the US has a law against assasination.

Again, you have not demonstrated a legitimate gripe with our President.

-- a (a@a.a), December 23, 1998.

Come on a, I can't make my views any easier to understand can I? Read again what I just posted above, there was never any intention to "get" saddam.

I'm going to post two articles. They describe 1) how the "crisis" was deliberately orchestrated, and 2) how Saddam was given plenty of advance notice in order to dissipate his forces and take any measures he felt expedient.

By the way a, if you are a troll I apologise to the real a :)


The Washington Times 12-20-98

The White House orchestrated a plan to provoke Saddam Hussein into defying United Nations weapons inspectors so President Clinton could justify air strikes, former and current government officials charge.

Scott Ritter, a former U.N. inspector who resigned this summer, said Thursday the U.N. Special Commission (Unscom) team led by Richard Butler deliberately chose sites it knew would provoke Iraqi defiance at the White House's urging. Mr. Ritter also said Mr. Butler,executive chairman of the Unscom, conferred with the Clinton administration's national security staff on how to write his report of noncompliance before submitting it to the U.N. Security Council Tuesday night.

The former inspector said the White House wanted to ensure the report contained sufficiently tough language on which to justify its decision to bomb Iraq. "I'm telling you this was a preordained conclusion. This inspection was a total setup by the United States," Mr. Ritter said. "The U.S. was pressing [the U.N.] to carry out this test. The test was very provocative. They were designed to elicit Iraqi defiance."

Mr. Ritter resigned from Unscom in August, accusing the Clinton administration of interfering in how and when inspections were carried out. Mr. Butler, in charge of inspections to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, denied the charges at a U.N. press conference. "Now, I want to say simply, slowly and plainly that any suggestion that that report was not factual, was not objective, is utterly false," he said.

Military sources say the White House notified the Pentagon on Sunday -- the same day that Mr. Butler ordered an end to inspections -- that air strikes would begin this week. The warning came two days before Mr. Butler submitted his report -- the catalyst the administration cites for Mr. Clinton ordering Wednesday's start of a four-day bombing campaign.

Asked about a Sunday decision before the report was done, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen told reporters, "We have always been prepared to go during the month of December, to take action. We were not going to take any action until such time as a report was filed, we knew what it -- what was said, and the president actually called for a strike."

Mr. Butler defended his report amid charges by Mr. Ritter that the White House helped him write it. "I want to say it as simply and as plainly as I can. That report was based on the experts of Unscom," he said. "It danced to no one's tune. It was not written for anyone's purposes, including, as some of you have suggested, for the purposes of the United States, for example."

Republican lawmakers, retired military officers and military experts have questioned the attack's timing. Some GOP lawmakers bluntly accused the president of orchestrating a war to shore up waning public support in his impeachment battle. Administration officials, including Mr. Cohen, vehemently denied that charge.

Pentagon officials, rebutting an impeachment motive, said Thursday that Mr. Cohen and the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been looking for another opportunity to strike since mid-November, when Mr. Clinton called off a planned attack after Saddam pledged to cooperate with the U.N. inspectors. They said they wanted to take action before the month-long Islamic holiday Ramadan began this weekend and they grew tired of seeing badly needed budget dollars drained by on-and-off military buildups in the Gulf.

Mr. Ritter's charge that the White House co-authored the Butler report is at odds with the version of events given by administration officials. For example, as Tomahawks began destroying Iraqi targets Wednesday, Mr. Cohen was asked if he had any advance warning of the report's contents. "No. There was some speculation about what it might contain," he answered. "And frankly, we had assumed that it might be mixed. We didn't know."

Said Mr. Ritter, "If Bill Cohen said he did not know this report was not going to trigger a military response, he is being disingenuous." He added, "On Tuesday they worked closely with Richard Butler to make sure the report had no wiggle room. The concept this is the first time they saw the report is ludicrous. They orchestrated with Richard Butler."

Mr. Ritter said he is criticizing the timing of the attack in the media because Mr. Butler has become a "tool" of the White House and has "corrupted" Unscom's independence.Gen. Henry H. Shelton, Joint Chiefs chairman, said planners had been eyeing Wednesday for a possible attack for weeks because they had the right mix of forces in the region and it also would commence before Ramadan.

If Iraq had not defied inspectors, the military would have lost its "window" of opportunity. "We were looking at the calendar seeing Ramadan that we've got to be sensitive to," Gen. Shelton said. "And so we had to prepare for a window during which time, if there were a failure to comply, we could take action. And so, it was not until Mr. Butler filed his report that this became a reality as far as we were to go and then the decision had to be made."

Mr. Ritter cited two inspections as proof that Mr. Butler wanted to provoke Saddam. Mr. Ritter said Unscom demanded access to Ba'ath Party headquarters, even though an intelligence report that ballistic missile parts were inside was three months old and, as sources told him, no longer accurate. Mr. Ritter also said inspectors chose to inspect the building of the Iraqi commission overseeing weapons development even though intelligence reports said it was empty. Indeed, he said, nothing was found.

The White House knew by Dec. 9, when U.N. inspectors were in Baghdad, that the House had planned to debate impeachment as early as Wednesday, Dec. 16. Air strikes began that day. The Washington Post first reported Wednesday that administration officials "played a direct role in shaping Butler's text during multiple conversations."

"The decision to attack was driven on Sunday," Mr. Ritter said. "Ask Richard Butler why he stopped inspections on Sunday. The answer is, 'We have enough. We have enough points here. Get your team out.'"


) Copyright 1998 by Harvest Trust All Rights Reserved

In what British Prime Minister Tony Blair called an Anglo-American strike, The United States and Great Britain launched a massive attack dubbed Operation Desert Fox against the nation of Iraq. It was a unilateral violation of the United Nation's Charter. The attack was ordered after President Clinton spent the day in an effort to turn the votes of moderate Republican Congressmen to his favor. The tail began wagging the dog.

It became obvious that we would attack Iraq Wednesday morning when terrorist warnings were issued to our installations overseas. It was confirmed when Rush Limbaugh announced that the United States would attack Iraq that same afternoon.

It was no accident that the attack came right after President Clinton's visit to Israel. Zionism is the only agenda served by an attack upon the Arab world. [And BTW Zionism does NOT mean Jew-bashing, you do not have to be Jewish to be a zionist, and before anyone starts on me I've lived and worked in Both Israel and Saudi Arabia and have fiends in both countries including Palestine, Jordan and Iran - Andy]

I predicted that if Clinton found himself in serious danger of impeachment there would be war in the Middle East. He did, and there was.

There was no doubt that Clinton had engaged in a desperate bid to delay the impeachment vote until the new Congress was seated changing the division in the house adding 5 more Democrats and subtracting 5 Republicans. It was a last ditch effort to stave off impeachment and remain in office. The attack upon Iraq delayed the vote in the House of Representatives. If necessary Clinton could continue the operation until January.

Iraq had Advance Knowledge

The media was given advance knowledge. The plan was leaked by Rush Limbaugh on his Wednesday broadcast. CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and other representatives of the press were notified long enough in advance to be perched on the roof of the Ministry of Information building in Baghdad ready to broadcast before the first attack began.

Our sources informed us that President Clinton and his Zionist advisors believed an attack upon Iraq would circumvent impeachment or at least delay the vote until the new Congress was seated in January. The press was given advance notice to facilitate the broadest possible coverage in an attempt to save the Clinton Presidency.

Great Britain's Tony Blair, US Defense Secretary Cohen and the Clinton White House lied to the world. They told us that their war against the third-world nation of Iraq was successful because we struck immediately upon the withdrawal of UN inspectors. In other words, that it was the element of surprise.

How was it then that CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN all had film crews and correspondents stationed on the roof-top of Iraq's Ministry of Information Building, accompanied by their Iraqi censors, showing live TV of Baghdad within minutes of the announcement that air strikes were scheduled. How could there have been a surprise attack? Do they really believe that Arabs are so stupid?

How early was the press informed? On Wednesday night Bernard Shaw made the statement that Christiane Amanpour had driven for 19 hours to be in Baghdad before the attack began. The statement went right over the heads of most of the sheople of the world.

When did they seek permission to broadcast from the top of the Ministry of Information Building? And when was it granted? What did they tell Iraq, "Oh Mr. Minister the United States and Great Britain are going to mount a full scale air attack against your country and we wish to film the death and destruction that is about to occur on top of your building"?

How was it that the American media was already positioned with live TV being broadcast before Congressional Leaders or the United Nations Security Council were informed of the attack? It would appear that the United Nations, and the United States Congress were the last to learn of this war.

Or maybe I'm missing something?

Regards, Andy

-- Andy (, December 23, 1998.

fiends, friends, whatever :)

-- Andy (, December 23, 1998.

exhibit a: more evidence that people will see what they want to see.

-- Flag-waver (open@youreyes.please), December 23, 1998.

Robert, this is a good article. I actually saw the conference on CSPAN. The qoutes the article used were used to prop up the slant of the article. The conference was well balanced.

I don't think the official, stated, government purpose of the bombing included ousting Saddam. From what I remember, the reason was to show that the resolve of the United States was sound. That could be the very political reason you're searching for as to why the action was taken. Perhaps the politics behind the action was to show Saddam that regardless of what ever political problems the U.S. had at home no country should test our resolve to take action.

Regardless, it's over and it'll be forgotten soon enough when the impeachment trial begins.

Any way, I don't trust government. There are shadows working deals and manipulating everything from legislation to elections and we (the people) don't really matter. We're all supposed to remain complacent and myopic and never question anything.

That's exactly why y2k is a threat. It unsettles the populous on a grand scale. What could create more fear among the power brokers than that? As long as the majority of people are complacent and myopic then the power brokers are safe. Once the tide shifts and more and more people become worried, active or militant then the power brokers have a serious problem.

That's where I differ with Robert's perspective about Clinton. I think that puts too much power into the hands of one branch of the government and maybe even too much power into the hands of Clinton himself. I'm afraid I'm so cynical about politics that I don't think even Clinton has the ability to manipulate all the agencies, foreign governments and our military on his own. If this was more than an effort to show resolve then there is another agenda.

I think there may be more to this story than what we know. But, I don't think it has anything to do with Clinton and his need to fend off impeachment. After all, and in the end, the impeachment happened anyway.

In closing, I don't think anyone could actually believe that a few hours of bombing over 4 days could topple or diminish Saddam. That is why the premise of the article is wrong.

The bombing, in the end, was always a political gesture brought about by UN resolutions and UN inspectors and political game playing on ALL sides. And, the game stil continues.

Next year is going to be the really, really interesting year for war.

Mike =======================================

-- Michael Taylor (, December 23, 1998.

I predict well see more about the anticipated terrorism attacks in the U.S. because Iraq was not sufficiently degraded in their future use of weapons of mass destruction. What a world this is! What a government game this rattling the sabers is! Stay tuned for Y2K game coverage about to commence, January 1999. -- Diane 25901+0+wAAA+%22Iraqis%7EAre%7ECalled%7EMasters%7Eof%7EConcealment%22

New York Times -- International Iraqis Are Called Masters of Concealment December 20, 1998


UNITED NATIONS -- Even the smartest bombs have trouble undercutting Saddam Hussein's ability to make new weapons of mass destruction because the Iraqis are masters at hiding their assets, United Nations weapons inspectors and other experts say.

Seven years of inspections in Iraq have taught experts that the Iraqis have extremely well-developed plans for moving weapons and factory machinery out of the way of bombs, said Scott Ritter, the American concealment expert who resigned from the United Nations Special Commission in August.

The Iraqis have also fine-tuned the ability to reconstitute programs quickly, an Iraqi exile with knowledge of these projects said, citing this as a sign of the high priority Hussein places on keeping prohibited arms at any cost to the Iraqi nation.

Ritter said in an interview that Iraq's Military Industrial Commission had an emergency dispersal plan, which U.N. inspectors have seen.

"The Military Industrial Commission has an evacuation plan for each facility," Ritter said. "In fact, they run an emergency operation center that makes the call. This emergency operation center is linked in with an organization called the joint committee that's run by the presidential secretary. The joint committee makes these calls at national level."

Experts who study Iraq's evasion techniques said that an announcement on Wednesday in Baghdad that the country was being divided into four military regions was a signal that a plan for nationwide evasive action was in place.

"The joint committee is the one that ordered Iraq broken up into four sectors and set up regional headquarters," Ritter said. "In addition to evacuating MIC facilities, for example, the joint committee will order the Republican Guard to disperse." The Republican Guard, Hussein's elite army, has been a major target of the American strikes.

Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi nuclear scientist who has lived in exile in the United States since 1995, said that in the past, the Iraqi government has moved material all around the country to conceal it, at one point parking valuable equipment in date-palm groves near a technical college.

Other exiles, who asked not to be identified because they still have relatives in Iraq, said that Hussein's regime could foist military equipment on the homes or businesses of ordinary Iraqis at will. Civilian neighborhoods become temporary ammunition or weapons dumps, they said, and no dissent is possible.

When people are killed, the Iraqi government can use them again, for propaganda.

A year ago, U.N. arms inspectors were able to watch an evacuation in process at some sites, after arms teams were withdrawn but video cameras kept running. When teams returned, cameras showed empty spaces where suspect equipment had been, Charles Duelfer, deputy executive chairman of the Special Commission reported at the time.

"We actually noticed the Iraqis removing material away from our cameras," Ritter said. "The reason they were removing those materials was that they were implementing their evacuation plan."

"They move all the equipment out of a building to evacuation sites, and these sites change all the time, and they are designed to minimize damage that will occur from air strikes," he added.

"One of the most graphic examples of this was in 1993, when the United States fired cruise missiles into Iraq and hit the Zafaraniya complex," he said. The complex contained a factory called Al Rabiyah, where machinery for the Iraqi nuclear industry was installed. "We completely destroyed it," Ritter said. "Impressive hits. But it was totally evacuated. Within eight weeks they had rebuilt the facility and reinstalled the equipment. All the personnel were back to work and they were doing what they were doing beforehand."

"Since 1993, they've had five years to refine their capability, and its almost a certainty that the high-value items Iraq wants to keep have been evacuated and hidden -- not hidden from inspectors, but hidden from the air strikes," he said.

"They will be put into forests, covered with tarpaulin," he said. "They will be put into civilian housing areas, along the streets. In some cases the Iraqis just move them next door. These are precision air strikes, so they hit the site, blow it up. But nothing's there."

At the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert, has studied how Iraq disperses valuable weapons programs to private sites all over the country to make these stashes of components virtually impossible to locate, and therefore almost immune from surprise attacks.

Furthermore, even if the United States military knew where these sites were, hitting them would involve large civilian casualties.

On Thursday, Pentagon officials said they had not targeted biological and chemical weapons sites to avoid the potential for contaminating the population. But inspectors wonder how it could be that years of sleuthing by the Special Commission failed to find such sites, while American military officers seemed to know where they were.

Ritter, who said that during his seven years on the Special Commission he had inspected some of the sites hit this week, said that some of the target buildings may have been evacuated by the end of October, when Hussein stopped cooperating with arms inspectors and hunkered down for a possible attack, which almost came on the weekend of Nov. 14-15.

When inspectors resumed their work in Iraq after Hussein backed down to avoid attack, they found that some buildings had been completely cleaned out, as Richard Butler, the executive chairman of the Special Commission, wrote in his report made public on Tuesday.

"We have aircraft hitting Republican Guard sites," Ritter said. "I can tell you my experience with the Republican Guard in times of crises. They don't park their tanks in nice neat lines so bombers can come in and blow them up. They distribute their tanks across miles and miles of territory."

Last February, reporters covering Secretary General Kofi Annan's trip to Baghdad landed at the Habbaniyah air base northwest of the Iraqi capital and saw military aircraft under camouflage also scattered over a wide area of scrubland.

At Pentagon briefings, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Gen. Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, acknowledged that results from the bombing were mixed and that it might not be possible to know exactly what was in a building that had been hit. They showed a photo of Republican Guard barracks that had been destroyed, but were unable to say whether there had been soldiers inside.

"The Republican Guard barracks were empty," Ritter said. "I inspected those barracks. The ones they destroyed contained old uniforms, expired ammunition, food supplies, derelict bedding, smelly latrines. The troops are elsewhere."

In news conferences this week, the Iraqis also said that some buildings hit were empty. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz sneered at American claims that the Defense Ministry had been hit, saying that it was an old building with nothing in it. Reporters in Iraq are not allowed to look at military sites, so independent confirmation of claims made anywhere is impossible.

The United States also hit buildings at the Military Industrial Commission headquarters and the Special Security Organization's headquarters. Butler's report, which served as the American justification for military action, said that inspections of those buildings was called off because they were found to be cleared not only of suspect material, but also of the furniture.

-- Diane J. Squire (, December 23, 1998.

I am more curious about what the U.S. will do after the bombing - they are obviously not going after Saddam, just the facilities with the toxics in them. It does not look good to the rest of the world to bomb Bagdhad and civilians, so Saddam is safe there.

So this in effect allows Saddam to set foreign policy for the U.S. and Britain with them reacting to Iraq, rather than setting the rules and making him play by them. If the U.S. charged Iraq for the cost of the warfare in response to his refusals to allow the inspectors in (by U.N. mandate), and deducted that from the money he was allowed to collect for "food/medicine for oil" then pretty soon there would be no income for the country. That is what it will take for the people themselves (with co-ordinated covert help from outside the country) to overthrow Saddam.

But this is not really what those who manipulate the situation want - they need to keep the area unstable to stop another country becoming too strong. Also when oil prices are down really low, it is a great time for the huge oil conglomerates to acquire smaller companies which is what is happening here in N. America and I assume internationally. The whole balancing act of keeping the different countries level in their control of the area is just a farce anyway...the U.S. supported both Iran and Iraq at one time, and they (the U.S. taxpayers) are still paying for the charade being played out in the middle east.

-- Laurane (, December 23, 1998.

So we've all seen some of the live reporting from "the streets of Baghdad" while the bombing and the anti-aircraft and tracer rounds were flying. Didn't *anyone* find it incredible that the city was lit up like a Christmas tree? Or that traffic continued leisurely down the streets and groups of people strolled the sidewalks? Doesn't this give us a clue?

-- Elbow Grease (, December 23, 1998.

Andy: yes I read the same story about Ritter when it came out three days ago. So they finangled a bit to make sure they could proceed with the bombing. Would you have rather had the continued cat&mouse shenanigans? The Navy and Air Force wanted to sieze the opportunity. Do you have any experience planning major military exercises? It sure doesn't sound like it.

Please support our military and executive administration so that we don't end up losing the war we will find ourselves in next year. I think one more strike and we're out.

-- a (a@a.a), December 23, 1998.

Funny - that's I was telling Clinton and his friends when my friends and relatives were in Vietnam getting shot at by his friends in Moscow. Hmmn.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (, December 23, 1998.

a, I'm still a British citizen and, as always, we *did* support you. Robert asked a question about trusting the government and basically the answer is hell no.

Anyone care to quantify the cost of the rather pointless exercise, other than dead Arabs? The cost is increased enmity towards the USA and Britain worldwide, from the Russians, through the Chinese all the way to the entire Islamic population.

Were there a *real* threat of any kind I would be the first to sign up.

Anyway, as Bob Walton said, maybe we should all cool it - this is after all a y2k forum and not speaker's corner!

So to one and all

A Merry

Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanza,

and a

Happy New Year

-- Andy (, December 23, 1998.

According to my recollection of a PBS report today, the cost included about $715M in ship-launched cruise missiles, $270M in air-launched missiles, and $11M in sorties (at about $17k per flight), plus other charges. This totals to $996 million. Interesting concept Laurane, submit an invoice to Iraq.

-- Jon (, December 23, 1998.

Here's an interesting link from This story says you-know- who in Iraq was more afraid of rebellion in his own military than he was about the airstrikes:

"Saddam Protected Himself"

-- Kevin (, December 24, 1998.

Missing Missiles

Interesting article 12/31/1998 about USA depleting cruise missiles, which are no longer being made, spent over $$ 1 Billion $$ on latest Iraq escapade, shortage of money, missiles, capabilities, etc.

Real sharp, running out of money & missiles & capabilities to defend as 2000 approaches.
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (, December 31, 1998.

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