Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Impeachment: State Department memo shows Iraq war crimes actively planned

We have more evidence that the real reason for the war was a "regime" change, something that is contrary to international law.

The state department memo also shows a number of other clear indicators that the 2002 planning assumptions were not realistic.

Evidence war crimes were planned in November 2002

It's against the laws of war to enter combat to change leadership. The goal has to be related to military necessity, some sort of imminent attack. It is also a violation of international law to explicitly plan to change leadership in the absence of any military threat.

Need for urgent environmental assessments in hours after regime change in Bastra and Baghdad 12/31

Treaty compliance standards on Iraq, not the US

24/31 is most absurd given the contrast between the standard to be imposed on Iraq -vs- the US practice of ignoring treaties: Geneva Convention, UN Charter, Protocols against torture.

"Organize plans for a change in Iraqi foreign policy toward full compliance with its treaty commitments, including the UN charter"

This one is even more laughable in light of the GITMO torture photos that are about to be released:
"Develop plans to institutionalize compliance with international human rights norms.

  • Why was the State Department talking about goals which the US had no plan to follow at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib?

    Let's hope the Democrats take these "lessons learned bout flawed RNC-PNAC planning disasters in Iraq, and come up with some credible plans for the US:

  • How to ensure the US is in "full compliance with treaty commitments";

  • How to make sure that the standards were use to impose on others as civil society objectives are something the US can point to as an example it practices at home.

    Actual practices at odds with stated objectives

    The plan talked about the importance of training journalists. 21/31 Post-invasion results show that this training was contrary to US policy of shutting down the media. This isn't evidence of any "training" but a "gun-to-the head ultimatum" approach.

    What's more absurd is that these journalist standards are completely opposite the notion of what the NYT was doing in re Judith Miller: Blindly taking whatever information the US pumped out about Iraq; and failing to credibly challenge absurd statements about WMD that defined reason, logic, and facts.

    If only these principles on page 21 were applied to the US in re the journalist standards in questioning US government information. Indeed, if these standards and goals laid out for Iraq were actually applied to the US, wouldn't that be lovely.

    More of this absurdity occurs on 33/31, when the plan talks about teaching "tolerance." Huh? The US idea of "tolerance" is to jail people who dare speak out about an unlawful war; monitor their domestic communications with NSA in violation of the law; and then send in the FBI-JTTF to annoy those who dare use their brains and question what is an unlawful war.

    And the notion that "tolerance for diversity" is going to credibly be "taught by the US" is laughable:

  • How many "tolerant" states passed anti-same-spouse marriage;

  • what type of border controls are in place to stop migration;

  • how is racial profiling used to target those who had nothing to do with 9-11; and

  • how does the government shift attention from their own malfeasance during 9-11 and point fingers at those who dare speak out like Sibel Edmonds?

    Planning for economic output does not create an economy

    One must do more than simply create a plan to talk about economic supply. Need something that translates a vision into reality. 25/31 shows how the petroleum production goals were just pie in the sky. Here we are in 2005, still with high oil prices, inadequate oil output from Iraq.

    What's also needed are viable programs in place to ensure that the products of that economy are sold using money, not simply given away.
    Agricultural reforms could quickly increase productivity at low cost . . . Replanting date palms in the south . . . will have important psychologial value . . . 13/31
    The problem is that despite economic output, people are giving goods away: Food is given out, not necessarily sold. This means there are economic disincentives from producing food, contrary to the invasion plan objectives.

    Evidence US standards not effectively applied to the US

    The issue are:

  • How were the standards applied:

  • Were they enforced in Iraq;

  • Were they enforced in the bilateral agreements/cooperation between Iraq-US; and

  • How were the standards which were imposed on Iraq satisfied by the US?

    10/31 shows the following objective:
    Develop plans for transparency and accountability in public expenditures and to restore confidence in domestic finance

    The post-invasion audits have been interesting. We have reports of $9B gone missing.

    Given the US failed to meet this objective, it is clear that the standards which were imposed on the Iraqis were not effectively implemented in either the Iraqi-controlled efforts; or in the US-managed programs.

    In other words they had plans, but there was no mechanism to

  • A. Ensure that the plans were implemented; or

  • B. There was oversight or a mechanism to monitor the ongoing efforts, or

  • C. Adjust.

    Note the key theme: "Failure to adjust to new information." This is how the President is interacting with Cindy Sheehan: "once the decision was made to invade, we have no more meetings; now that we know more about the basis for war from the Downing Street Memo, we will not revisit the decisions."

    Small problem: When you have a war crimes trial, you always go back in history to compare what was done -vs.- the laws of war. The President is living in denial -- he hopes to ignore the disconnect between [a] what the laws of war are; and [b] what he actually did by simply refusing to face Cindy Sheehan.

    Bush's decision to "not meet with Sheehan" has more to do with his denial about "how much was fabricated" and the real possibility he could be held accountable for war crimes.

    Comparisons between Iraq, and Germany/Japan

    11/31 discusses the transition participant's desire that US "make a commitment" to Iraq just as it did to Germany and Japan.

    This is a key point. If we contrast how the US "won in Iraq" to how it "won in Germany and Japan" we'll find a core problem behind the assumptions.

    First, to "be committed" to a favorable outcome in Iraq is far different than actually achieving that result.

    Second, the US defeated Germany and Japan after a long war. Iraq, on the other hand, was not defeated in the same way: The US simply walked in, fought a few ground skirmishes/battles, and then it was over in a matter of weeks.

    Small problem. Unlike Germany and Japan where the opposing armies were decisively defeated, the Iraqi army disappeared and transformed itself into an insurgency.

    Because the war really didn't end, but turned into an insurgency [unlike Germany and Japan], the basis for the US approach and cooperating with the Iraq pre-invasion planners was flawed.

    The Iraqi participants essentially assumed that once the US captured Baghdad, then things would go well. They didn't count on the US walking into a trap.

    Importance of an objective is not the same as implementing a plan to achieve that objective

    It's all well and good to talk about "important things," but to develop a credible plan to achieve that result is a far different thing.
    "Fundamental importance of clean water supplies for Iraqis immediately after transition. Key to coalition/community relations. . . . . Many Iraq engineers willing to offer expertise to US Army, DART, or new Iraqi government."

    Issues are:

  • Despite this known requirement, how were the DoD plans made subsequent to this "known desire to work with the US Army" updated, refined, or incorporated into other efforts to ensure this objective was met?

  • Once the assigned the "objective" of ensuring there were clean water supplies, how effective were the pre-invasion plans to identify resources, personnel, the necessary logistical support, and other resources needed to meet this objective?

    It is clear, given the abysmal results by 2005, that something broke down between the pre-invasion meetings among the Iraqis and the pre-invasion planning in DoD.

  • Who was assigned liaison between State and DoD?

  • How involved was DoD in these pre-invasion planning meetings in State?

  • To what extent did the State Department and DoD get together before the President to ensure that [a] the goals outlined by state were [b] met with appropriate and realistic resource allocations in DoD?

    Evidence initial plans had no mid term milestones to adjust

    When a government develops a plan [whether it be the occupying/invading nation, or the local officials working in concert with that invading army], there needs to be some intermediate milestones.

    The plan shows evidence of being success oriented, without any mid-term mitigation efforts to either adjust, change course, or assess the progress.
    Develop training program for local government official to educate them on rule of law, anti-corruption and democratization initiatives.18/31

    Rather, the plan was implemented on the assumption that the war would be over. We now know that the "training program on the rule of law" could not be credibly be expected to be either implemented or succeed with the insurgency still waging.

    Moreover, the self-evident corruption not only shows the training program failed, but had no credibility given the US involvement in the corruption in re contract awards.

    This plan merely outlined a skeleton of a checklist, without any credible consideration for the details of how they would accomplish the objectives. It appears those involved in the meeting were enthusiastic about the vision, but short on understanding the details required to achieve the objectives.

    This is just a dream list: Nothing about "how". They appear to have looked at the US culture and said, "We want that too." It took 200 years in the US; and Iraqis wanted this to happen in 30 days. Get real

  • 30 Day timelines had no basis of estimate 14/31

  • $6.2B figure for electricity grid is a clear indication of the time required to implement the plan 16/31. However, despite discussing a large dollar figure, there was no credible follow-up to translate "how the extended timeline to expend those funds in a realistic program" would act at cross purposes with [a] the objectives of having a fast implementation; or [b] the known downside that slow access to water/electricity would be adversely received

  • Iraqi defense establishment disconnected from reality 17/31: Discussing plans, without a credible follow-up mechanism to ensure the plans were either workable, or likely to succeed.

  • Vague plans for civil society were not credibly developed with realistic planning assumptions, nor were there follow-on efforts to implement options to achieve the desired objectives 19/31 It's unclear how these vague plans were approved; or what lessons learned we could apply to the US society in terms of, "If this plan got approved, despite the flaws, in Iraq, what kind of other plans could we expect to see for the US that are equally pie in the sky?" Answer: Social security.

  • Very vague notions of "transparency" without a credible demonstration by the occupying army that these principles were important 20/31

    Flawed assumptions

    One example of an absurd planning assumption, in light of the above problems, is the disconnect between what was planned, and what would be reasonable to expect.

    Take the discussion on 23/31 in re "issues of returning refugees". Given the above planning problems [already known to be inherent into he process in 2002; and the known $6.2 budget requirement/plan that was at odds with the 30-day target figure], we already would have known that there would be a problem with execution.

    Thus, at this juncture to talk about "returning refugees" is absurd: The very plan that was inherently flawed and did little to suggest there was a stable environment, would inherently have no need to talk about "returning refugees", but the opposite: What to do when the expertise needed to implement this flawed plan failed to show up.

    In other words, what the plan failed to do was have an integration team which scrubbed the planning assumptions across each of the functional areas. If x-assumption failed, there was no follow-on effort to ensure that the subsequent planning efforts were logically linked with what was actually going on.

    It makes no sense to have as the "big goal of the day" an effort to spend money, time, resources, or energy on "integration efforts for refugees" when the momentum of the effort was in the opposite direction: Personnel flight, destabilized situation, and known factors in 2002 that would drive people away from Iraq.

    Flawed assessment of Model in Summary

    27-29 asserted the planning model was working. Self-evidently, the model, in light of what we have in 2005, failed.

    What's needed is a full discussion on:

  • What was actually planned

  • who was involved

  • What kind of training did they get/their education

  • The assumptions of the model

  • Who oversaw the planning outputs

  • What efforts, if any, there were to ensure DoD was involve din this efforts

  • How the CIA assessments, if any, were dovetailed with these plans

  • To what extent OSP overshadowed the CIA and focused on the PNAC-success oriented planning assumptions

  • Where else this model has been used

  • The status of any post-action review plans to review what failed in this model; what needs to be addressed;

  • how the DoD/State IG were involved in these planning and review efforts;

  • to what extent this model had been previously discussed by the various auditors or other consultants who, at conferences, were discussing the "benefits" of this approach;

  • an exploration of the planning assumptions and other literature and working papers extolling the virtues of these planning approaches.

    Clearly something major broke:

  • Communication from CIA failed to act as a credibly check on planning assumptions

  • The 30-day window was at odds with the $6.2B dollar figure that had to be expended to achieve the objective. This shows evidence that the plan was simply a checklist of nice things to have, without a credible discussion on how one could realistically expect to achieve results in terms of getting $6.2B on contract, and achieve the results in 30 days. This is impossible.


    It was known in November 2002 that the US was planning to commit war crimes: Unlawfully stating that the clear objective of the invasion was to change the regime.

    The approach shows evidence the planning was not based on hard evidence or workable assumptions, but merely objectives, devoid of reality.

    The plan was internally inconsistent. The US planning groups show clear evidence that the known data and budget figures could not expended in the time required to achieve the objectives.

    The plan outlined a number of principles which the US cannot credibly demonstrate it implements at home. Other nations, in light of this State Department memo, would have a reasonable basis to question the veracity and credibility of democracy, US planning models, capitalism, and the ability of US military forces to act as a force of positive change.

    In short, this report is but another signal to the international community that the idea of democracy and capitalism, although "better" than competing models, fails to deliver. The US helped fuel excessively high expectations; those expectations, when unmet, gives further support to those who are fighting the US.

    The American corporate-"democratic" model is asserted to be "the shining example," but those in the third world who see the results in Iraq are justifiably perplexed by the American arrogance. Locals in places like India will be emboldened to assert themselves against American corporations and planning models.

    Other links

    State Department says it warned President of problems with plans.