Military Operations in the 2000s

Operation Iraqi Freedom

December 2003

Materials arranged chronologically.

Ferris, John. "A New American Way of War? C4ISR, Intelligence and Information Operations in Operation 'Iraqi Freedom': A Provisional Assessment." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 155-174.

"In Operation 'Iraqi Freedom,' the success of C4ISR [command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] and IO [Information Operations] was mixed at strategic-political levels, and overwhelming at operational ones, better at action than calculation."

Powers, Thomas. "The Vanishing Case for War." New York Review of Books 50, no. 19 (4 Dec. 2003). []

The U.S. "invasion and conquest of Iraq ... was the result of what is probably the least ambiguous case of the misreading of secret intelligence information in American history. Whether it is even possible that a misreading so profound could yet be in some sense 'a mistake' is a question....

"[W]hat American intelligence organizations learn is all filtered through the CIA, which is part of the executive branch of the government, led by directors appointed by the president, answerable to the president. In theory the director of the CIA can and should reach his own independent judgment; but in fact no director of central intelligence can disagree with the White House and keep his job for long. What Congress knew came entirely from CIA officials....

"[T]he United States is certain to pay a debilitating price for the conquest of Iraq for a generation, and the argument over the cause of the disaster is sure to be long and bitter. The first round in this contest is already taking shape inside the Senate Intelligence Committee, where the majority is drafting a critique that blames the 'mistake' on the CIA, while the minority argues that equally to blame were the marching orders coming out of the White House.

"The two sides will never agree, but they are both right. The administration could never have convinced Congress of its argument for war without the mystique of secret intelligence to lend gravity to its case; and the CIA would never have made so much of so little if George Tenet had not been a willing member of the President's team. The problem is structural, not personal. Presidents can fire directors they don't like, and the CIA has no other customer. The big mistakes all come when presidents don't listen, or let it be known what they want to hear. The CIA is as serious, as prudent, as honest as the presidents for whom it works -- never more. Directors deliver what is wanted, or depart....

"[W]e have ample reason to conclude that the intelligence wasn't solid at all, there was no need for war, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction didn't exist. This discovery ought to put the American people on constructive notice that the functioning of our democracy is threatened by the nexus of the White House and a too-pliant CIA -- a closed loop of presidents who know what they want, intelligence chiefs willing to make the argument and classify the evidence, and members of Congress under their spell."

Priest, Dana, and Robin Wright. "Iraq Spy Service Planned by U.S. to Stem Attacks; CIA Said to Be Enlisting Hussein Agents." Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2003, A41. [http://www.]

According to U.S. government officials, "[t]he Bush administration has authorized creation of an Iraqi intelligence service to spy on groups and individuals inside Iraq that are targeting U.S. troops and civilians working to form a new government.... The new service will be trained, financed and equipped largely by the CIA with help from Jordan..... Although no deadline has been set, officials hope to have the service running by mid-February. Congress had approved money for the effort in the classified annex of this year's budget."

Gellman, Barton, and Dana Priest. "When Focus Shifted Beyond Inner Circle, U.S. Got a Vital Clue." Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2003, A1. []

According to U.S. officials, "[t]he clues that led to [Saddam] Hussein's capture emerged three weeks ago,... when intelligence analysts and Special Operations forces shifted the focus of their hunt from Hussein's innermost circle to the more distant relatives and tribal allies who they suspected had been sheltering the deposed president.... What U.S. forces call a 'fusion cell of HVT analysts,' drawn from the CIA and military intelligence personnel, commenced a fresh review in late November of the vast trove of information already in hand about 'the people helping to facilitate his freedom,' one official said....

"U.S. military forces and the CIA formed a task force devoted exclusively to finding Hussein and his top allies. Called Task Force 121, it is an interagency team of CIA paramilitaries and 'black,' or unacknowledged, Special Operations forces. Two officials,... said Task Force 121 took part" in the raid that captured Hussein.

Jehl, Douglas. "Spy Agencies Vindicated After String of Setbacks." New York Times, 15 Dec. 2003. []

"Although it was American soldiers who unearthed [Saddam] Hussein, it was the intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency and its military counterparts, that set them on the right path.... C.I.A. officers have played a major part in the supersecret military Special Operations teams, including Task Force 121, that were given the leading role in tracking down Iraqi leaders. In recent weeks, the information gathered by the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency and the intelligence arms of the military services has been closely shared among the agencies through a new cooperative arrangement in Baghdad."

Priest, Dana, and Thomas E. Ricks. "CIA Poised to Quiz Hussein; Rumsfeld Says Agency To Control Interrogations." Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost. com]

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said on 16 December 2003 that the CIA "will take the lead in questioning Saddam Hussein.... Rumsfeld ... said he asked CIA Director George J. Tenet to take responsibility for the interrogation because the agency has 'the people who have competence in that area....' The CIA, he said, 'will be the regulator over the interrogations -- who will do it, the questions that'll get posed, the management of the information that flows from those interrogations.'"

Risen, James, and Thom Shanker. "Hussein Enters Post-9/11 Web of U.S. Prisons." New York Times, 18 Dec. 2003. []

According to U.S. government officials, Saddam Hussein will be held "in what has developed into a global detention system run by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency." The system is "made up of large and small facilities scattered throughout the world," which have been established "to handle the hundreds of suspected terrorists of Al Qaeda, Taliban warlords and former officials of the Iraqi government arrested by the United States and its allies.... The C.I.A. has quietly established its own detention system to handle especially important prisoners. The most important Qaeda leaders are held in small groups in undisclosed locations in friendly countries in the developing world."

Pfiffner, James P. "US Blunders in Iraq: De-Baathification and Disbanding the Army." Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 1 (Feb. 2010): 76-85.

The "fateful decisions" to exclude from the new Iraqi government members of the Baath Party and to disband the Iraqi Army "were made against the advice of military and CIA professionals and without consulting important members of the President's staff and cabinet.... Both of these decisions fueled the insurgency."

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