- Most Americans are astonished to discover that right
up to 9/11, the CIA was developing a "Real Politik" vision of
Iraq that recognized the fast approaching collapse of U.N. Sanctions. The
CIA was preparing for Peace---with a ruthless determination that the United
States would capture the lion's share of spoils from Iraqi Reconstruction
contracts in any post-sanctions period.
- German pilots transporting medical supplies and doctors
into Baghdad International Airport at the end of the Clinton Administration
had blasted the myth of invincibility surrounding sanctions. To this day,
those pilots are anonymous-but they changed the equation in total. Their
courage honoring the Berlin Airlifts in the Cold War was quickly copied.
Across Europe and the Arab world, activists began to organize humanitarian
flights into Baghdad. On the Security Council, France and Russia argued
strenuously that the ban on air travel had been self imposed, and the no-fly
zone could not prohibit humanitarian flights.
- By this time, UN sanctions had killed over 1.7 million
Iraqis; wiped out literacy in a single generation; and created artificial
starvation in the world's second most oil-rich nation. Iraq's world class
hospitals that once rivaled London and New York had been ravaged. Sick
of the misery, the global community refused to stay silent any longer.
- The CIA saw the writing on the wall. International loathing
for "genocide by sanctions" had reached such a peak of outrage
that there was no possibility of re-crafting the hated policy. Secretary
of State Colin Powell's vision of "smart sanctions" had come
- The CIA was determined to control the agenda for the
advantage of the United States, however. And so quietly through my back
channel, we undertook a proactive, covert dialogue over exactly what concessions
Iraq would offer the United States, in exchange for lifting the sanctions.
As a long-time opponent of sanctions myself, I was eager to get results.
- That dialogue-even the existence of our back channel
to Iraq's Embassy at the United Nations from 1996 to 2003-was strictly
covert, kept close and precious- away from Washington pundits and think
tanks whose ignorance would have smashed all progress on the rocks. Our
dialogue was no less vigorous for that secrecy.
- This was the CIA at its best. Nobody got soft on Saddam's
government. By any measure, the CIA's demands far exceeded the U.N. mandate
to eliminate Iraq's WMDs. If there was going to be peace, it would have
to be rock solid, with zero chance that Baghdad would bite the United States
in retaliation for those years of misery and death.
- A Prosperous Peace for All
- What emerged was a dynamic and comprehensive framework
hammered out with Iraq's Ambassador Dr. Saeed Hasan and senior diplomats
in New York.
- The agreement required weapons inspections "with
no conditions." But the deal accomplished much more. By February,
2001-nine months before 9/11-Baghdad authorized the FBI to send Terrorism
Task Force into Iraq, with permission to conduct investigations and make
arrests. After 9/11, Iraq sweetened its contribution with promises
to hand over banking and financial documents on Al Qaeda figures. There's
no question but that Iraq's cooperation qualified as the most substantial
windfall in the War on Terrorism. Notably, it targeted actual terrorists---
not Islamic charities or frightened taxi drivers and plumbers with the
wrong accents and ethnic coloring.
- Every time Senator John McCain or Dick Cheney pounded
the lectern on CNN, and demanded an interview with Al Anai, or other cooperation---
Iraq complied within hours.
- THE PEACE DIVIDEND
- Most importantly, the CIA was determined that the U.S.
would retain a strong footing inside Iraq in all major economic sectors,
in any post sanctions period.
- The CIA envisioned a great Peace Bonanza for U.S. corporations
that would have gorged American workers and shareholders with billions
of dollars in revenues. It was a vision of prosperity and wealth creation,
which put the United States at the center of the banquet table. The CIA
wanted jobs, more jobs and profits. The goal was to rival the economic
impact of the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after World War II, driving
as many of those economic benefits to U.S. coffers as possible.
- Iraq was happy to oblige. Those were days when the United
States commanded such power on the world stage that other nations recognized
Washington would have to be gratified in order for a change of policy to
- And so Baghdad agreed to Every Single Demand put forth
by the CIA--- without complaint that U.S. conditions far exceeded the scope
of the U.N. mandate for ending the sanctions.
- The CIA demanded and won Iraq's agreement to allow all
U.S. corporations to return to Baghdad, post-sanctions, at the same level
of market share as before the first Gulf War in 1990.
- Iraq promised first tier oil concessions to U.S. Oil
Corporations in all new exploration and development leases, with priority
contracts for the purchase of American oil equipment. Baghdad also promised
the U.S. could join existing oil leases held by other countries on a second
and third tier basis.
- In January, 2003, Iraq offered the LUKoil Contract held
by Russia to U.S. oil companies instead, in a final, tragic bid to avert
- By December, 2001, Iraq agreed to give preferential contracts,
post-sanctions, to U.S. Corporations in telecommunications
- In fact, the CIA demanded and won Iraq's agreement to
give the U.S. preferential contracts in health care, hospital equipment
- Iraq agreed to buy 1 million American-manufactured automobiles
every year for 10 years. This would have required imports from the U.S.,
not licensing of technology. That would have created thousands of high-paying
Union jobs in the Rust Belt of America.
- Imagine the modern day Global Economy if the CIA's vision
had prevailed. There would be no bankruptcy of the Middle Class. No housing
foreclosure crisis. No government stimulus packages to bail out Banks or
the U.S. automobile industry. There would be No Great Depression on All
Points of the Global Horizon. This bounty would have extended to Britain
and all of Europe and Asia. All countries would have joined the Feast of
Reconstruction in Iraq. The prosperity flowing from this Peace Bonanza
would have multiplied like loaves of bread throughout the world.
- Imagine better schools. Universal health coverage. Substantial
new investment in green energy, mass transit and infrastructure improvements.
That's what the Middle Class sacrificed in this Bonfire of the Vanities.
- Republicans quickly recognized American voters would
be irate over those costs. No longer fired with courage in the belly, and
lacking the strength of conviction, Republicans shifted blame for their
mediocre war policy onto the Intelligence Community-which had developed
this peace framework- rather than take responsibility for their own decision
- All three U.S. Assets covering the Iraqi Embassy in New
York got thrown in prison as "Iraqi Agents," citing the Patriot
Act. All of us faced secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury
testimony. Myself, I spent a year locked up on Carswell Air Force Base
without a trial or hearing, threatened with indefinite detention.
- In a violent effort to force to me to recant, I was threatened
with forcible drugging with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac. Only thanks to blowback
from the blogs and internet radio was the truth that I had lived saved
from a chemical lobotomy.
- There's a reason why, and it bodes very badly for America.
- THE COST OF WAR:
- The tragic truth is that pulling U.S. soldiers out from
Iraq will not reverse those negative consequences for the U.S. economy
or taxpayers. The Middle Class is down for the count and not getting up.
Our grand children will be financing this failed War in Baghdad with hefty
income taxes to pay America's creditors in China for decades to come. There's
serious question as to whether the War in Iraq has ended the "American
- The United States has hemorrhaged $4 TRILLION on the
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and deficits continue to escalate in Kabul.
Military spending for defense contractors has increased 81 percent since
the 9/11 attack, while disability and health benefits for U.S. Veterans
- Over 4,000 U.S. Soldiers died in Iraq--- while another
30,000 suffered serious traumatic injuries, paralysis, amputations and
- An American soldier attempts suicide every 80 minutes,
according to Veterans for Peace, which has demanded more community outreach
to save their lives
- Post traumatic stress cripples tens of thousands of young
American soldiers who face great difficulty returning to work and family
- For all of the glory of U.S. military budgets, we have
nothing to give our young people in uniform.
- And that's not all. What of that grand vision called
the War on Terrorism?
- Cunning like a fox, Saddam Hussein tried to give the
United States banking and financial documents that would have closed down
the financial pipeline feeding terrorism. Mostly that financing derives
from heroin profits, which would have resulted in substantial seizures,
and killed two birds with one powerful stone.
- Yet for all the rhetoric, Republican leaders so desired
to attack Saddam that they left all terrorism financing in circulation.
There's no question but those monies have financed attacks on U.S. and
allied partners in Pakistan, India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the Philippines-wherever
radical Islam is engaged in violent retaliation against U.S. military operations.
- And so the greatest irony is that the U.S. has financed
our Enemies' War on Terrorism against our own people. That's just plain
stupid. And dangerous.
- The damage goes farther. Former CIA Director of Operations
and head of the Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer argues that U.S. interventions
are in danger of igniting another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Guaranteed to outscore 9/11, the next attack will most likely involve a
dirty nuclear attack on the financial district of New York City, which
would push the global economy over the edge, into the abyss.
- Pulling out of Iraq creates an opportunity to reduce
that risk-but only if Washington learns the lessons of its past mistakes
and resists the temptation to engage in new military mis-adventures.
- The Weapons Trap in Iran
- Indeed, as the world weighs another War against Iran,
we must engage in a serious conversation as to whether any nation is worth
the risk of destruction to our own?
- Veterans and anti-war activists alike must force a consideration
of what our economy has suffered already-since the value of human life
has become so cheap. We must examine the costs of War to our economy, our
taxpayers and our soldiers, with much greater clarity and honesty than
Republicans in Congress applied to the War in Iraq.
- Tragically, the War in Iraq has had an unexpected consequence.
It has persuaded Iran of the dangers of nuclear disarmament. Baghdad would
have been much less vulnerable to U.S. military adventurism, if only Saddam's
government had possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, per U.N. accusations.
Baghdad's inability to mount an effective defense created an irresistible
provocation for War Hawks in Washington and London.
- That lesson of the Iraq War is not lost on Teheran. On
that contrary, it has proved to Iranian leaders that WMDs are vital to
their future independence. Only a guarantee of "mutual assured destruction"
will preserve the freedom of their country.
- Unquestionably, that is the greatest tragedy of all,
with more dangerous consequences to come.
- One must ask: Would the CIA's vision of peace been so
terrible after all?
- Susan Lindauer is the author of <http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Prejudice-Terrifying-Story-Patriot/dp/1453642757>Extreme
Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of
9/11 and Iraq.