Military Operations in the 2000s

Operation Iraqi Freedom


Materials arranged chronologically.

Rayment, Sean. "Top Secret Army Cell Breaks Terrorists." Sunday Telegraph (London), 5 Feb. 2007. []

In Iraq, a "small and anonymous British Army unit" known as the Joint Support Group (JSG) "has proved to be one of the Coalition's most effective ... weapons in the fight against terror." JSG members "are trained to turn ... terrorists into coalition spies using methods developed ... [in] Ulster during the Troubles.... Since war broke out ... in 2003, they have been responsible for running dozens of Iraqi double agents. Working alongside the Special Air Service and the American Delta Force as part of the Baghdad-based counter-terrorist unit known as Task Force Black, they have supplied intelligence that has saved hundreds of lives and resulted in some of the most notable successes against the myriad terror groups fighting in Iraq."

Pincus, Walter, and R. Jeffrey Smith. "Official's Key Report on Iraq Is Faulted: 'Dubious' Intelligence Fueled Push for War." Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2007, A1. []

According to a report by the Pentagon's inspector general, the "[i]ntelligence provided by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq included 'reporting of dubious quality or reliability' that supported the political views of senior administration officials rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community."

Vanden Brook, Tom. "Drones' Supply Short of Demand." USA Today, 28 Mar. 2007. []

"The Air Force has lost about 40% of its Predator unmanned aircraft and lacks enough trained crews to meet the demand for battlefield surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military officials and analysts." Records show that 53 of the 139 Predators delivered to the Air Force have been lost. According to budget records, the Air Force has asked for "22 more of the $4.5 million aircraft in the emergency war funding bill being debated in Congress."

Levin, Carl. "Press Release: Levin Releases Newly Declassified Pentagon Inspector General Report on Intelligence Assessment Activities of the Office of Under Secretary of Defense Doug Feith." 5 Apr. 2007. []

In releasing the report, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: "It is important for the public to see why the Pentagon's Inspector General [IG] concluded that [Under] Secretary [of Defense for Policy Douglas J.] Feith's office 'developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship,' which included 'conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community,' and why the Inspector General concluded that these actions were 'inappropriate.'"

The declassified report by the Pentagon Inspector General, dated 9 February 2007, is available at: http://www.fas/org/irp/agency/dod/ig020907-decl.pdf. A rebuttal from Feith's Office, dated 16 January 2007, to a draft version of the IG report, is available at: The arguments in the latter amount to a lengthy "we didn't do anything wrong."

Shane, Scott, and Mark Mazzetti. "Ex-C.I.A. Chief, in Book, Assails Cheney on Iraq." New York Times, 27 Apr. 2007. []

In At the Center of the Storm (2007), former DCI George J. Tenet "has lashed out against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials..., saying they pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a 'serious debate' about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States." Tenet argues that the "slam dunk" remark "was taken out of context and that it had little impact on President Bush's decision to go to war. He also makes clear his bitter view that the administration made him a scapegoat for the Iraq war."

Shane, Scott. "Senate Democrats Say Bush Ignored Spy Agencies' Prewar Warnings of Iraq Perils." New York Times, 26 May 2007. []

A 226-page report by the Senate intelligence committee on prewar intelligence predictions of the effects of toppling Saddam Hussein drew differing assessments along partisan lines. "Democrats ... accused the Bush administration of ignoring preinvasion warnings ... that a war in Iraq could be followed by violence and division and that it could strengthen the hands of Al Qaeda and of Iran.... Republicans said the report exaggerated the prescience of the intelligence agencies." See also, Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung, "Analysts' Warnings of Iraq Chaos Detailed: Senate Panel Releases Assessments from 2003," Washington Post, 26 May 2007, A1.

Pillar, Paul R. "Inside Track: Sometimes the CIA Is Right." National Interest, 6 Jun. 2007. "The Right Stuff." National Interest, 29 Aug. 2007. []

The author was NIO/Near East and South Asia 2000-2005. He notes that the much excoriated "estimate was one of only three ... community-coordinated assessments about Iraq that the intelligence community [IC] produced ... prior to the war." The other estimates "addressed the principal challenges that Iraq likely would present during the first several years after Saddam's removal, as well as likely repercussions in the surrounding region." These estimates present a different view of how the IC really performed on Iraq. They "offered judgments on the issues that turned out to be most important in the war..., even though those judgments conspicuously contradicted the administration's rosy vision.... And for the most part, those judgments were correct."

Fainaru, Steve, and Alec Klein. "In Iraq, a Private Realm of Intelligence-Gathering: Firm Extends U.S. Government's Reach." Washington Post, 1 Jul. 2007, A1. []

The British security firm Aegis Defence Services Ltd. won a three-year, $293 million U.S. Army contract in 2004 to, among other things, "collect sensitive information" in Iraq. The firm's "sprawling presence in Iraq" is "the most visible example of how intelligence collection is now among the responsibilities handled by a network of private security companies.... Aegis's intelligence activities include battlefield threat assessments, the electronic tracking of thousands of private contractors on Iraq's dangerous roads, and community projects the company says are designed in part to win over 'hearts and minds.'"

White, Rebecca N. "Inside Track: The Facts of the Matter." National Interest, 21 Sep. 2007. []

On 19 September 2007, Paul R. Pillar "told a crowd at an event hosted by The National Interest and Georgetown's Center for Peace and Security Studies ... [that] we knew that war in Iraq would be a disaster. Two U.S. intelligence reports foresaw a post-invasion Iraq in turmoil.... But these documents, like all input that did not support the Bush Administration's Iraq policy line or sales pitch, were summarily rejected or blatantly ignored. The course of U.S. policy had been set before the repercussions of an invasion were ever assessed." See also, David Ignatius, "When the CIA Got It Right," Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2007, B7.

Moyar, Mark. "The Phoenix Program and Contemporary Warfare." Joint Forces Quarterly 47 (4th Quarter 2007): 155-159. []

This article "is an abridged chapter" from a new edition of Moyer's Phoenix and the Birds of Prey. The author argues that "indigenous forces are much more effective than foreigners at quelling local subversion.... The great question is whether the local forces can become strong enough to establish and maintain security on their own."

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