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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order

PREFACE: Paul Miller is the associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin. I responded to the excerpt from his book, American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy. He also wrote the 06MAR17 War on the Rocks article, Reassessing Obama’s Legacy of Restraint. Professor Miller didn't respond to my e-mail, so I don't know whether he's read it.



from: [me]
to: [Paul Miller]
date: Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 12:20 AM
subject: re American Power and Liberal Order: Operation Iraqi Freedom was an inflection point, not an outlier

Professor Miller,

I read with much agreement the excerpt from your book, "American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy", at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/american-power-liberal-order-17715?page=show. I support your advocacy of American leadership of the free world. The need for it is critical.

I agree that the stigmatization of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) is the chief obstacle to your thesis. However, I disagree with your attempt to skirt the OIF stigma: "advocates of restraint sometimes overgeneralize from Iraq as if it were the paradigmatic case of the United States’ role in the world. But Iraq was a single outlier, not a representative sample of U.S. foreign policy".

Skirting the OIF stigma invites skepticism of your thesis because your premise is obviously wrong. The Iraq intervention was paradigmatic. The 1990-2011 US-led enforcement of Iraq's compliance with the UNSCR 660 series set the foundation and over its progressed course, which culminated with OIF, defined American leadership following the Cold War. While OIF was not a "representative sample" in terms of usual routine, it was not an "outlier" but rather an inflection point. A rough analogy for OIF's significance to US foreign policy is the Korean War.

The intervention to "bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations" (P.L. 105-235) manifested the principles of American leadership of the free world that you advocate. US efforts in Iraq did not fail before President Obama disengaged the OIF peace operations. According to the UN Security Council official assessment of Iraq's progress in December 2010, the US peace operations with Iraq were succeeding. See http://www.un.org/press/en/2010/sc10118.doc.htm (UNSC, 15DEC10).

President Bush upheld paradigmatic American leadership of the free world with Iraq. President Obama's disengagement of the OIF peace operations was a deviation from American leadership of the free world.

Rather than skirt the OIF stigma, to clear the obstacle, I recommend that you de-stigmatize the Iraq intervention by setting the record straight on the law and policy, fact basis - the why - of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For that purpose, I suggest you review my explanation of OIF's legal-factual basis at http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html. It's essentially a cheat sheet synthesizing the situation, controlling law, policy, and precedent that defined the operative enforcement procedure for the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) and, in the operative context, the determinative fact findings of the Saddam regime's breach of the Gulf War ceasefire that triggered enforcement with OIF. The US case versus Saddam is in fact substantiated; on the law and facts, President Bush's decision for OIF demonstrably was correct.

Again, I support your advocacy of American leadership of the free world, Professor. I hope my feedback will help strengthen your position.



Critical responses to pundits:
Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor (Chibli Mallat);
Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement;
Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq";
Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq;
Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order;
Critique of the Iraq portion of chapter one of Anne Pierce's A Perilous Path;
Critical response to John Rentoul's "Chilcot Report: Politicians".

Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq

PREFACE: William Inboden is the Executive Director and William Powers, Jr. Chair, Clements Center for National Security, and Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. I responded to his 15AUG16 Foreign Policy article, It’s Impossible to Count the Things Wrong With the Negligent, Spurious, Distorted New Biography of George W. Bush. Professor Inboden didn't respond to my e-mail, so I don't know whether he's read it.



from: [me]
to: [William Inboden]
date: Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 8:21 AM
subject: Augmenting your Foreign Policy critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography re Iraq

Professor Inboden,

I appreciate your article, "It’s Impossible to Count the Things Wrong With the Negligent, Spurious, Distorted New Biography of George W. Bush", at http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/08/15/its-impossible-to-count-the-things-wrong-with-the-negligent-spurious-distorted-new-biography-of-george-w-bush/. President Bush is a decent man and, at an inflection point in American history, he was a dutiful President.

Your notice, "Smith devotes more attention to this [Iraq War] than any other topic in the book", prompted this e-mail. I can augment your defense of President Bush in relation to the Iraq War from my study of the law, policy, precedent, and facts of President Bush's decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

I recommend my explanation of OIF's legal-factual basis at http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html. It synthesizes the situation, controlling law, policy, and precedent that defined the operative enforcement procedure for the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) and, in the operative context, the determinative fact findings of the Saddam regime's breach of the Gulf War ceasefire that triggered enforcement with OIF.

I excerpted Iraq-related passages from your article and interjected comments and references.

[Note: Quotes from the article were italicized in the e-mail and block-quoted here, and quotes from cited sources are plain text in the e-mail and italicized here.]

Inboden:
Moreover, in Smith’s account, this alleged presidential application of biblical prophecies to Iraq had a tremendous consequence in that it caused Chirac to decide to oppose the war: “Bush’s religious certitude and his invocation of Gog and Magog scuttled the possibility of French support for military action” (339)
_French opposition to the US-led military enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire started, at the latest, in August 1996 with Operation Desert Strike. The French (and other nation[s']al) opposition that President Bush faced over Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002-2003 was carried forward from the same French (and other nation[s']al) opposition that President Clinton faced over Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

Excerpt from Iraq Survey Group report:
"Iraq pursued its related goals of ending UN sanctions and the UN OFF program by enlisting the help of three permanent UNSC members: Russia, France and China. ... Saddam expressed confidence that France and Russia would support Iraq’s efforts to further erode the UN sanctions Regime.
... In May 2002, IIS correspondence addressed to Saddam stated that a MFA (quite possibly an IIS officer under diplomatic cover) met with French parliamentarian to discuss Iraq-Franco relations. The French politician assured the Iraqi that France would use its veto in the UNSC against any American decision to attack Iraq, according to the IIS memo."


New York Times: U.N. Rebuffs U.S. on Threat to Iraq if It Breaks Pact, 03MAR98:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/03/world/un-rebuffs-us-on-threat-to-iraq-if-it-breaks-pact.html
Los Angeles Times: Allies Sit on Sidelines for Desert Fox, 18DEC98:
http://articles.latimes.com/1998/dec/18/news/mn-55387
New York Times: To Paris, U.S. Looks Like a 'Hyperpower', 05FEB99:
http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/05/news/05iht-france.t_0.html


Inboden:
After denying Bush any credit for protecting the nation against further attacks, Smith goes further and blames Bush for any terrorist threats that the nation does face. As he puts it, “the threat of terrorism that confronts the United States is in many respects a direct result of Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.” But Smith just states this as an article of faith, and offers no evidence for such an overwrought assertion. In fact, as every serious counterterrorism expert knows, the jihadist threat existed well before the Iraq invasion, and has continued and metastasized through to today in many ways that have nothing to do with the Iraq war. Instead of Smith’s reckless calumny, a more scrupulous and nuanced assessment of the Iraq War’s effect on jihadism would find a complex relationship wherein the American troop presence and chaos in Iraq certainly inspired and attracted a large number of new jihadists, but also had a “flypaper” effect, which, when combined with lethal advances in American intelligence and counterterrorism operations, led to the near decimation of al Qaeda in Iraq by 2009. Meanwhile, other al Qaeda franchises and other jihadist groups have proliferated over the last 15 years in places like Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Algeria, and Nigeria, and their growth in numbers and in hostility to the United States has had almost nothing to do with the Iraq War.
_Knowing what we know now about Saddam's terrorism, it seems less the case that OIF "inspired and attracted a large number of new jihadists" than Saddam's terrorism and its network of "regional and global terrorism" (IPP) were converted to the insurgency. Saddam was a world-leading vector of terrorism: "Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime" (IPP). Saddam also ruled Iraq with "widespread terror" (UNCHR). A chief reason the US was caught off guard by the insurgency appears to be that Saddam's terrorism was significantly underestimated by US analysts before OIF, although it was recognized enough to constitute a lead element of the OIF casus belli[.],

US Joint Forces Command Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents, November 2007:
http://fas.org/irp/eprint/iraqi/
Kyle Orton: The Islamic State Was Coming Without the Invasion of Iraq, 12DEC15:
https://kyleorton1991.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/the-islamic-state-was-coming-without-the-invasion-of-iraq/


Inboden:
The Patriot Act sends Smith into a frenzy of righteous indignation. Yet once again, his treatment of it demonstrates his familiar problems with facts and historical perspective. He denounces the act as “a direct assault on the civil liberties Americans enjoy” and calls it potentially “the most ill-conceived piece of domestic legislation since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.”
_It's not directly Iraq-related, but I'll point out that the Patriot Act's content was recycled from the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 and Antiterrorism Amendments Act of 1995 requested by President Clinton. P.L. 104-132, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, contained a watered-down version of the 1995 acts.

Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995, 10FEB95:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-104s390is/pdf/BILLS-104s390is.pdf
Antiterrorism Amendments Act of 1995, 15MAY95:
https://www.congress.gov/104/bills/hr1635/BILLS-104hr1635ih.pdf
Public Law 104-132, Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, 24APR96 (see sections 301 and 324):
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ132/html/PLAW-104publ132.htm


Inboden:
Then there is the Iraq War. Smith devotes more attention to this than any other topic in the book. And yet, because he relies almost exclusively on secondary sources and has failed to do any meaningful original research, his account sheds virtually no new insight on any aspect of the war — such as the Bush administration’s changed risk calculus in the post-September 11 environment, Bush’s own deliberations and decision-making, the inter-agency divisions and disputes that hindered post-war planning, the intelligence challenge posed by a dictator who wanted the world to believe that he possessed weapons of mass destruction when in fact he did not ...
_President Clinton marked Saddam's distinctive combined WMD-and-terrorism threat. Prevention of terrorist acquisition of WMD from rogue state actors, especially Saddam, was Clinton policy; President Bush carried forward the standing policy, heightened by the 9/11 attacks. Iraq's proscribed armament was more than a belief; it was established fact in the UNSCR 687 disarmament process. There was no "intelligence challenge" in terms of the operative enforcement procedure because enforcement of UNSCR 687 et al was compliance based. The burden of proof was on Iraq to cure its established and presumed guilt of UNSCR 687-proscribed armament by proving the mandated disarmament. Iraq's threat was gauged by Saddam's compliance and disarmament. If Saddam was noncompliant and not disarmed according to UNSCR 687, then Saddam continued to be an armed threat. Saddam's breach of UNSCR 687 regarding WMD was [established by UNSCOM, ]decided by UNSC, confirmed by UNMOVIC, and corroborated by ISG. The UNMOVIC and ISG findings are rife with disarmament violations. Saddam did not disarm as mandated and was rearming in breach of UNSCR 687. Saddam's WMD program, as proscribed by UNSCR 687, was active.

President Clinton address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff, 17FEB98:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/1998/02/1998-02-17-president-remarks-on-iraq-to-pentagon-personnel.html
Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-39, 21JUN95:
http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/_previous/Documents/2010%20FOIA/Presidential%20Directives/PDD-39.pdf
UNMOVIC Clusters document: Unresolved Disarmament Issues Iraq’s Proscribed Weapons Programmes 6 March 2003:
http://www.un.org/depts/unmovic/new/documents/cluster_document.pdf
Iraq Survey Group: DCI Special Advisor Report on Iraq's WMD (Duelfer report), 30SEP04:
https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/


Inboden:
For example, he returns again and again to the assertion that it was not until over a month after the original Iraq invasion that Bush summarily invented the goal of establishing a democracy in Iraq, in his “Mission Accomplished” remarks aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. Smith accuses Bush of using the speech to “unilaterally changing the plan” to replace the Saddam Hussein dictatorship with a democracy, and claims this is the first time that Bush ever announced the strategic objective of a democratic Iraq. Which would be a significant violation of the commander-in-chief’s responsibility — if it were true. But what Smith fails to mention is that Bush had declared the goal of leaving behind a democratic government in Iraq months earlier, before the invasion. For example, in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute in February 2003, Bush laid out an extensive case for why the removal of the Hussein regime would best be followed by a democratic government accountable to its people: “The nation of Iraq–with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people–is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.”
_The "democracy" goal of the Iraq intervention was rooted in UNSCR 688 (5 April 1991) and concurrently established as US policy under President HW Bush, carried forward without break, and progressed in law and policy under Presidents Clinton and Bush. Consistent with the standing law and policy of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement, the "democracy" goal was a constant element in Bush's major speeches on Iraq leading up to OIF and carried forward in the 2002 AUMF. The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 is cited and nation-building "efforts" are "expected" in section 4 of P.L. 107-243.

Excerpt from President Bush's remarks at the UN General Assembly, 12SEP02:
"If all these steps [to make Iraq compliant with UN mandates] are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government that represents all Iraqis -- a government based on respect for human rights, economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.
... The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq."


President HW Bush Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Iraq's Compliance With United Nations Security Council Resolutions, 19JAN93:
http://bush41library.tamu.edu/archives/public-papers/5191
[Secretary of State Albright speech on President Clinton’s 2nd term policy on Iraq, 26MAR97:
https://web.archive.org/web/20140701184550/http://fas.org/news/iraq/1997/03/bmd970327b.htm]
Joint statement by VP Al Gore and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, 26JUN00:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/2000/06/2000-06-26-joint-statement-by-vp-and-leaders-of-iraqi-national-congress.html
Bush White House: Statement of the Atlantic Summit: A Vision for Iraq and the Iraqi People, 16MAR03:
http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030316-1.html


Inboden:
Smith’s lack of research and original insights into the war do not prevent him from making it the centerpiece of his evaluation of Bush, or from declaring in the final sentence of his book that Bush’s “decision to invade Iraq is easily the worst foreign policy decision ever made by an American president.”
_Setting aside Professor Smith's subjective opinion of Bush's decision, the US case versus Saddam is substantiated. President Bush's decision for OIF objectively was correct on the law and facts.

In my [OIF FAQ] explanation, see the FAQ answers to "Why did Bush leave the ‘containment’ (status quo)?", "Did Iraq failing its compliance test justify the regime change?", and "Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?".


Inboden:
Nor does he even begin to offer a net assessment of the successes and failures, and benefits and costs, of the war. The costs and failures are well known and grim, including the over 4,000 American troops killed in action and thousands more physically maimed, the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths ... But the war’s successes and benefits need to be accounted for as well, including the removal from power of a genocidal dictator who had already destabilized the region for over two decades (having invaded two of his neighboring countries, threatened to invade a third, and attacked a fourth), Muammar al Qaddafi’s voluntary relinquishment of his weapons of mass destruction stockpile in Libya, and the fact that upon leaving office in January 2009, Bush left to his successor an Iraq that was relatively stable and peaceful, with a reasonably functioning elected government, and with al Qaeda in Iraq almost completely defeated.
_According to the UN Security Council official assessment of Iraq's progress in December 2010, the US peace operations with Iraq were succeeding before President Obama disengaged the OIF peace operations.

Security Council Takes Action to End Iraq Sanctions, Terminate Oil-For-Food Programme as Members Recognize ‘Major Changes’ Since 1990, 15DEC10:
http://www.un.org/press/en/2010/sc10118.doc.htm
In my [OIF FAQ] explanation, see the FAQ answer to "Was Operation Iraqi Freedom a strategic blunder or a strategic victory?".


Inboden:
... the damage to American credibility, the incitement of more terrorists, and the further destabilization of the region.
_The "damage to American credibility" is mainly a product of the disinformation promulgated by actors, including UNSC permanent members, who opposed American leadership and/or were complicit with Saddam's breach of the Gulf War ceasefire. The corrupted political state of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement was carried forward from Operation Desert Fox in 1998 to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002-2003. Fixing the "damage to American credibility" begins with clarifying that OIF's basis was humane, legal, and justified, and discrediting the prevailing yet false narrative of OIF. Again, it's not clear to what degree OIF "incite[d]...more terrorists" and to what degree the insurgency was converted product of Saddam's terrorism, if they can be distinguished (in other words, Saddam's terrorism was growth-oriented regardless of OIF). The notion that OIF "further destabiliz[ed]...the region" seems like a conflation of OIF and the subsequent [degeneration of the] Arab Spring. In fact, before President Obama disengaged the OIF peace operations and led from behind with the Arab Spring, he characterized post-Surge Iraq as a potential healing influence for the region: "Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress".

Politico: The Iran Deal’s Fatal Flaw by Charles Duelfer, 02APR15:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/iran-deal-kerry-flawed-negotiations-close-116623_full.html#.V-OhedQrKrd
President Obama Remarks on the Middle East and North Africa, 19MAY11:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/19/remarks-president-middle-east-and-north-africa

The references in this e-mail, except the [19MAY11] Obama speech, also can be found listed and linked at http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2004/10/perspective-on-operation-iraqi-freedom.html.



Critical responses to pundits:
Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor (Chibli Mallat);
Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement;
Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq";
Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq;
Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order;
Critique of the Iraq portion of chapter one of Anne Pierce's A Perilous Path;
Critical response to John Rentoul's "Chilcot Report: Politicians".

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq"

PREFACE: Stephen Knott is a Professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College and the author of Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics. I critiqued his 15MAR13 Wall Street Journal article, When Everyone Agreed About Iraq. Professor Knott's e-mail in the exchange is omitted.



from: [me]
to: [Stephen Knott]
date: Sun, Sep 4, 2016 at 5:24 AM
[addenda date: Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 1:20 AM]
subject: ... your 2013 WSJ article

Professor Knott,

...
Rather than write a quasi-thesis on your WSJ article, I'll interject comments and references from my table of sources at http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2004/10/perspective-on-operation-iraqi-freedom.html. My theory is a recipe-like format is more useful for your work. If you prefer a woven narrative, I cover the same ground in my OIF FAQ explanation, 10th anniversary of OIF survey, and other OIF-related posts.

Comments on When Everyone Agreed About Iraq
For years before the war, a bipartisan consensus thought Saddam possessed WMD.
By Stephen F. Knott, March 15, 2013, Wall Street Journal

[Note: Quotes from the article were italicized in the e-mail and block-quoted here.]

Knott:
At 5:34 a.m. on March 20, 2003, American, British and other allied forces invaded Iraq. One of the most divisive conflicts in the nation's history would soon be labeled "Bush's War."
_Operation Iraqi Freedom was at least as much President HW Bush and President Clinton's war as it was "Bush's War". OIF was the coda of the US-led enforcement of Iraq's compliance with the UNSCR 660 series, including the Gulf War ceasefire, that began in 1990-1991. At the conclusion of the decade-plus of Iraq's noncompliance, Operation Iraqi Freedom, the ultimate enforcement step for Iraq's "final opportunity to comply" (UNSCR 1441), progressed from the penultimate enforcement step, Operation Desert Fox, that had enforced Clinton's judgement, "Iraq has abused its final chance".

President HW Bush address to the nation on the suspension of Allied offensive combat operations in the Persian Gulf, 27FEB91:
https://bush41library.tamu.edu/archives/public-papers/2746
President Clinton statement regarding UNSCR 1205, 05NOV98:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/1998/11/1998-11-05-statement-by-the-president-on-iraq.html
President Clinton announcement of Operation Desert Fox, 16DEC98:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/1998/12/1998-12-16-president-statement-on-iraq-air-strike.html
New York Times: With Little Notice, U.S. Planes Have Been Striking Iraq All Year, 13AUG99:
http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/081399iraq-conflict.html


Knott:
The overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime became official U.S. policy in 1998, when President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act—a bill passed 360-38 by the House of Representatives and by unanimous consent in the Senate. The law called for training and equipping Iraqi dissidents to overthrow Saddam and suggested that the United Nations establish a war-crimes tribunal for the dictator and his lieutenants.
The legislation was partly the result of frustration over the undeclared and relatively unheralded "No-Fly Zone War" that had been waged since 1991. Saddam's military repeatedly fired on U.S. and allied aircraft that were attempting to prevent his regime from destroying Iraqi opposition forces in northern and southern Iraq. According to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Hugh Shelton, in 1997 a key member of President Bill Clinton's cabinet (thought by most observers to have been Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) asked Gen. Shelton whether he could arrange for a U.S. aircraft to fly slowly and low enough that it would be shot down, thereby paving the way for an American effort to topple Saddam. Kenneth Pollack, a member of Mr. Clinton's National Security Council staff, would later write in 2002 that it was a question of "not whether but when" the U.S. would invade Iraq. He wrote that the threat presented by Saddam was "no less pressing than those we faced in 1941."
_Iraqi regime change as the solution for Saddam's failure to comply as mandated by the Gulf War ceasefire was implicit and covert policy under HW Bush and progressed to explicit law and policy under Clinton.

[President HW Bush remarks on assistance for Iraqi refugees and a news conference, 16APR91:
http://bush41library.tamu.edu/archives/public-papers/2882]
National Security Advisor Scowcroft response to Congressman Murtha's letter on Iraq, 14NOV91:
https://bush41library.tamu.edu/files/persian-gulf/41-CO072-287965ss-365241/41-co072-302096-2.pdf
President HW Bush letter to Congress reporting on Iraq's compliance with UNSCRs, 19JAN93:
http://bush41library.tamu.edu/archives/public-papers/5191
[Los Angeles Times: Hussein Torpedoed CIA Plot Against Him, Officials Say, 08SEP96:
http://articles.latimes.com/1996-09-08/news/mn-41835_1_king-hussein]
Secretary of State Albright policy speech on Iraq, 26MAR97:
http://fas.org/news/iraq/1997/03/bmd970327b.htm
Joint statement by Vice President Gore and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress, 26JUN00:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/2000/06/2000-06-26-joint-statement-by-vp-and-leaders-of-iraqi-national-congress.html


Knott:
Radicalized by the events of 9/11, George W. Bush gradually concluded that a regime that had used chemical weapons against its own people and poison gas against Iran, invaded Iran and Kuwait, harbored some of the world's most notorious terrorists, made lucrative payments to the families of suicide bombers, fired on American aircraft almost daily, and defied years of U.N. resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction was a problem.
_Before the 9/11 attacks, Bush officials were deeply concerned that the 'containment' of Iraq was broken and that a noncompliant, unreconstructed Saddam was "out of the box" (Rumsfeld). President Bush entered office with President Clinton's assessment, "Iraqi actions pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States". 9/11 pushed Bush's Gulf War ceasefire enforcement with a heightened threat consideration of Saddam's distinctive WMD-and-terrorism threat, which was marked by Clinton, that raised the urgency to expeditiously resolve the Saddam problem with the "full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations" (UNSCR 1441) required to satisfy "the need to be assured of Iraq's peaceful intentions [and] ... to secure peace and security in the area" (UNSCR 687).

President Clinton address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff, 17FEB98:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/1998/02/1998-02-17-president-remarks-on-iraq-to-pentagon-personnel.html
President Clinton letter to Congress on the continuing national emergency with Iraq, 28JUL00:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/2000/07/2000-07-28-letter-from-the-president-on-the-iraqi-emergency.html
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld working paper regarding Iraq, 27JUL01:
https://web.archive.org/web/20120912105032/http://waranddecision.com/docLib/20080403_RumsfeldmemoIraq.pdf
President Bush remarks to the United Nations General Assembly, 12SEP02:
http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020912-1.html


Knott:
The former chief U.N. weapons inspector, an Australian named Richard Butler, testified in July 2002 that "it is essential to recognize that the claim made by Saddam's representatives, that Iraq has no WMD, is false."
In the U.S., there was a bipartisan consensus that Saddam possessed and continued to develop WMD. Former Vice President Al Gore noted in September 2002 that Saddam had "stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton observed that Saddam hoped to increase his supply of chemical and biological weapons and to "develop nuclear weapons." Then-Sen. John Kerry claimed that "a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his [Saddam's] hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Even those opposed to using force against Iraq acknowledged that, as then-Sen. Edward Kennedy put it, "we have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing" WMD. When it came time to vote on the authorization for the use of force against Iraq, 81 Democrats in the House voted yes, joined by 29 Democrats in the Senate, including the party's 2004 standard bearers, John Kerry and John Edwards, plus Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Joe Biden, Mrs. Clinton, and Sens. Harry Reid, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd and Jay Rockefeller. The latter, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Saddam would "likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years."
_Saddam's guilt of UNSCR 687-proscribed armament was a "bipartisan consensus" (Knott) because Iraq's "continued violations of its obligations" (UNSCR 1441) were basic established fact in the UNSCR 687 disarmament process.

[On top of the basic established fact of Saddam's UNSCR 687-proscribed armament, which was presumed until Iraq proved it disarmed as mandated, the pre-OIF "bipartisan consensus" was informed by the indicators - corroborated by the Iraq Survey Group - of Iraq "rebuilding his [Saddam's] military-industrial complex", "increasing its access to dual-use items and materials", "creating numerous military research and development projects", and running "procurement programs supporting Iraq’s WMD programs" (ISG), and most compellingly, the UNSCR 1441 inspection findings of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" (UNMOVIC), which provided the basis for key assessments. In other words, while the panned intelligence estimates were predictively imprecise, the "bipartisan consensus" was nonetheless based on sound data of Saddam's confirmed "material breach" (UNSCR 1441).]

In terms of enforcement, Saddam's WMD was not an intelligence issue because there was no burden on the enforcers of the Gulf War ceasefire to prove Iraq was armed as estimated. It was a compliance issue because the "onus [was] clearly on Iraq" (UNMOVIC) to prove Saddam disarmed as mandated. Upon the established fact of Iraq's proscribed armament, the only legally prescribed and practical way to know Saddam disarmed was Iraq proving he was compliant with UNSCR 687. The UNMOVIC Clusters document finding of "about 100 unresolved disarmament issues" confirmed "Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687" (UNSCR 1441) and thus retained "the threat Iraq’s non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security" (UNSCR 1441). While the pre-war intelligence estimates were additionally cited by Bush officials, the basis for enforcement of the UNSCR 660 series, including with OIF, was always Iraq's "material breach" (UNSCR 1441).

UNMOVIC Clusters document (“Unresolved Disarmament Issues Iraq’s Proscribed Weapons Programmes 6 March 2003″):
http://www.un.org/depts/unmovic/new/documents/cluster_document.pdf - note the "A Historical Account of Iraq's Proscribed Weapons Programmes" section.
IAEA Iraq Nuclear Verification Office's Iraq Nuclear File: Key Findings:
https://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Invo/factsheet.html
Secretary of State Powell presentation to the U.N. Security Council, 05FEB03:
http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030205-1.html
President Bush report to Congress on the determination and legal authority for Operation Iraqi Freedom, 18MAR03:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CDOC-108hdoc50/pdf/CDOC-108hdoc50.pdf


Knott:
Support for the war extended far beyond Capitol Hill. In March 2003, a Pew Research Center poll indicated that 72% of the American public supported President Bush's decision to use force.
_The public support at the time for President Bush's decision to use force is less compelling than whether Bush's OIF decision accorded with the controlling law, policy, and precedent that defined the operative enforcement procedure for the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) and, in the operative context, the determinative fact findings of Iraq's (non)compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire mandates. The answer is yes, it did. President Bush's decision to use force demonstrably was correct on the law and facts, which is more compelling than the public support it had at the time.

My OIF FAQ explanation synthesizes the situation, law, policy, precedent, and facts of the OIF decision:
http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html


Knott:
If Mr. Bush "lied," as the common accusation has it, then so did many prominent Democrats—and so did the French, whose foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, claimed in February 2003 that "regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of [Iraq's] capacity to produce VX and yperite [mustard gas]; in the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin." Germany's intelligence chief August Hanning noted in March 2002 that "it is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years."
_They didn't lie. Again, the burden was on Iraq to prove Saddam was disarmed as mandated, and there was no burden on the US and UN to prove Iraq was armed as estimated. That being said, the UNMOVIC and the post-war Iraq Survey Group findings variously support Mr. de Villepin's statement about Iraq's "capacity to produce" CW and "possible possession" of BW.

[Regarding Saddam's "capacity to produce" CW and BW, ISG found "clear evidence of his [Saddam's] intent to resume WMD", a covert active Iraqi Intelligence Service biological and chemical "network of laboratories could have provided an ideal, compartmented platform from which to continue CW agent R&D or small-scale production efforts", a large IIS "covert procurement program", and substantial readily convertible "dual-use" production capability in which "it would have been possible for Iraq to assemble a CW production plant ... Iraq had improvised and jury-rigged equipment in the past" and "the equipment used for their [BW agent simulants] manufacture can also be quickly converted to make BW agent". The clandestine IIS role in Iraq's WMD-related violations is significant because Saddam's CW and BW programs started in the IIS. The IIS is also the Saddam regime arm that managed Saddam's terrorism, which included "considerable operational overlap" (IPP) with the al Qaeda network.

Regarding Saddam's "possible possession" of BW stocks, neither UNMOVIC nor ISG cleared Saddam. UNMOVIC: "With respect to stockpiles of bulk agent stated to have been destroyed, there is evidence to suggest that these was [sic] not destroyed as declared by Iraq." ISG found that the evidence needed to make a determination was missing: "ISG cannot determine the fate of Iraq’s stocks of bulk BW agents [nor] ... The fate of a portion of Iraq’s BW agent seed-stocks."]

The nuclear-related IAEA findings in the UNSCR 1441 inspections were less alarming than the UNMOVIC findings. However, Iraq wasn't fully compliant with the UNSCR 687 nuclear mandates, either, and ISG corroborated that there were indicators of proscribed nuclear activity. While Mr. Hanning's pre-war estimate of the maturity of Iraq's nuclear program was off the mark, the confirmed indicators of proscribed nuclear activity validate Bush's push to restore the UNSCR 687 IAEA inspections forthwith.

DCI Special Advisor Report on Iraq's WMD (Iraq Survey Group), 30SEP04:
a. Iraq’s Chemical Warfare Program: https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/chap5.html
b. Biological Warfare: https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/chap6.html - note the "Unresolved Issues" section.
Update report of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Security Council pursuant to resolution 1441 (2002), 27JAN03:
https://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Invo/reports/s_2003_95.pdf
[10 year anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom: thoughts:] "A false premise asserted by OIF opponents is the casus belli for OIF was based on a claim that Saddam possessed nuclear weapons":
http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2013/03/10-year-anniversary-start-Operation-Iraqi-Freedom-thoughts.html#nuclear


Knott:
According to interrogations conducted after the invasion, Saddam's own generals believed that he had WMD and expected him to use these weapons as the invasion force neared Baghdad.
The war in Iraq was authorized by a bipartisan congressional coalition, supported by prominent media voices and backed by the public. Yet on its 10th anniversary Americans will be told of the Bush administration's duplicity in leading us into the conflict. Many members of the bipartisan coalition that committed the U.S. to invade Iraq 10 years ago have long since washed their hands of their share of responsibility.
We owe it to history—and, more important, to all those who died—to recognize that this wasn't Bush's war, it was America's war.
Mr. Knott, a professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, is the author of "Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics" (University Press of Kansas, 2012).
_In fact, nearly all the Bush case versus Saddam is substantiated. President Bush's decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom was correct on the law and facts. We owe it to history to set the record straight on the law and policy, fact basis - the why - of OIF.

More current, the stigmatization of OIF has been the cornerstone premise for President Obama['s] choices with Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, and other foreign affairs. The prevailing yet demonstrably false narrative that has stigmatized the Iraq intervention has effectively discredited the vital American leadership of the free world. Re-normalizing American leadership of the free world requires de-stigmatizing OIF, and the basic step of de-stigmatizing OIF is setting the record straight on the why of OIF at the premise level of our political discourse. History will follow suit.

For those who died in the line of duty and for their loved ones who are inundated by dis[mis]information, we owe them the confirmation that their mission was moral, strategic, lawful, justified, and manifested the principles of American leadership of the free world. In short, we owe them the knowledge that their mission was honorable.

---------------

from: [me]
to: [Stephen Knott]
date: Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 11:22 AM
subject: Re: ... your 2013 WSJ article

Professor Knott,

Thank you. I hope the information will be put to use. Responding within the scope of your 2013 WSJ article, I gave you a lot of it - enough to re-lay the foundation of the issue in the discourse - but my response wasn't altogether comprehensive.

For example, whereas the Gulf War ceasefire compliance basis is key to properly understand President Bush's decision for OIF, I left out that contrary to their disinformative partisan rhetoric on the issue, Obama officials plainly understood the compliance basis of the Iraq intervention.

Vice President Biden statement on behalf of the UNSC, Security Council Takes Action to End Iraq Sanctions, Terminate Oil-For-Food Programme as Members Recognize ‘Major Changes’ Since 1990, 15DEC10:
http://www.un.org/press/en/2010/sc10118.doc.htm

For 2nd example, I didn't unpack Secretary of State Powell's panned 05FEB03 UN Security Council presentation to show that contrary to the prevailing narrative, the main points of Powell's speech are in fact validated nearly across the board:
http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2016/05/powell-unsc.html

In your words, "We owe it to history—and, more important, to all those who died" to set the record straight on the Iraq intervention. And, what's past is prologue. Re-litigating the narrative of the epochal Iraq intervention versus active disinformation reinforcement such as Professor Smith's biography [of President Bush] and the Bush on Trial play is critical to insert keystone premise in the discourse that's needed to correct the currently misguided course of American leadership in the world...if it's not too late already for us to right our course.

With respect to you[r WSJ article], President Bush's OIF decision was more justified than a publicly supported bipartisan consensus. With respect to Judith Miller, Professor Inboden, et al, it was not a mistake excused by the pre-war intelligence estimates. Rather, knowing what we know now according to the situation, law, policy, precedent, and fact record of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement, President Bush's decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrably was correct.



Critical responses to pundits:
Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor (Chibli Mallat);
Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement;
Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq";
Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq;
Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order;
Critique of the Iraq portion of chapter one of Anne Pierce's A Perilous Path;
Critical response to John Rentoul's "Chilcot Report: Politicians".