S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ground Truth from Stars and Bars

The natural tension between civilian and military leaders is a salient fact of life upon which U.S. citizens can count. Civilians, rather than the military, according to our constitution, are actually in charge of things. Unlike the U.S., various other systems of government are subjected to military coups when things do not go well. Things are currently, indeed, not going well in the United States. But we should feel comforted that some of our military (as well as many civilians and those in foreign nations) are resorting to "ground truth" to help us to put things right for the American public. "Ground truth" is defined, according to GIS Glossary, as,
ground truth - Information collected at the same site and at the same time as a remote sensing system is collecting data. Ground truth is considered more accurate, and is used to interpret and calibrate remotely sensed observations.
How many stars does Intelligence get? (stock.xchng images)

It is not the first time disagreements over what is true have split analysts in the U.S. intelligence community. Before the Iraq attack they did not all agree on the ground truth regarding WMD threats presented by Iraq. But our current president Bush (OCP) and his administration made up its own truths to sell to the American public about the dangers present, in order to justify the invasion. And the rest is history.
In an eerily familiar pattern, the almost exact same events are again playing out in the Middle East. Again there are the details of weapons disagreements, and who is doing what to whom. The only thing that has changed is one letter of the alphabet. Change "q" to "n." Iraq becomes Iran.
Leaders disagree - Yesterday (2/14/07), the International Herald Tribune carried the story of how much trouble decision makers are having agreeing on the ground truth in Iran. Unlike 2002-2003 however, the disagreement is in public. The headline reads, "Fissures emerge on Iran's role in Iraq attacks." To quote,

Bush administration officials, intelligence analysts and some leading Democrats in Congress all agree that a particularly lethal class of roadside bomb is killing American troops at an increasing rate. But fissures have emerged as to whether senior leaders of Iran's government are directly involved in the attacks.
The disagreements have laid bare a fundamental tension in intelligence analysis — how and when to draw firm conclusions from battlefield intelligence about the motivations of foreign leaders.
Based on evidence gathered inside Iraq, American intelligence analysts have concluded that a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps known as the Quds Force is supplying Shiite groups with Iranian-designed weapons, called explosively formed penetrators.

Four Star General's truth? It has become rather normal to have a general disagree with (OCP) the "decider-in-chief." This general is Peter Pace who is in quite public disagreement about the basic logic of this conclusion possible from the known facts. He correctly states that we cannot make assumptions about who knew what at the top in Iran. A (2/14/07) The BBC News headlined, "Top US general doubts Iran proof." To quote from the article,

Suggestions by some analysts that the US allegations against Iran were intended to prepare public opinion in the US for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities have prompted public statements by the leaders of both nations.
US President George W Bush dismissed suggestions of a plan to attack Iran as "noise" by critics of his administration.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview with US TV, said he was ready for talks with the US, but would defend Iran in the event of any attack.

Bush's truth star dims. Millions of us no longer believe OCP and his administration. His current publically stated "certainty" is mind-boggling, particularly since he admits he does not get out of the White House that much. The only explanation is the existence of a secret "truth machine" in a closet in the basement. It clearly is in need of a service call. If it remains dysfunctional OCP may again push the button on military intervention. From his press conference yesterday, the (2/15/07) edition of the International Herald Tribune headlined, "Bush declares Iran's arms role in Iraq is certain." I quote from it,

President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he was certain that factions within the Iranian government had supplied Shiite militants in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs that had killed American troops. But he said he did not know whether Iran's highest officials had directed the attacks.
Bush's remarks amounted to his most specific accusation to date that Iran was undermining security in Iraq. They appeared to be part of a concerted effort by the White House to present a clearer, more direct case that Iran was supplying the potent weapons — and to push back against criticism that the intelligence used in reaching the conclusions was not credible.
Speaking at a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Bush dismissed as "preposterous" the contention by some skeptics that the United States was drawing unwarranted conclusions about Iran's role. He publicly endorsed assertions that had until now been presented only by anonymous military and intelligence officials, who have said that an elite branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps known as the Quds Force has provided Shiite militias in Iraq with the sophisticated weapons that have been responsible for killing at least 170 American soldiers and wounding more than 600.

Truth told to European Union - The actual truth about Iran's pending acquisition of nuclear weapons is quite unsettling. But it is not the end of the world. And that fact will never be enough to justify an attack on Iran. The truth is that we have learned to live with any number of nations that have nuclear weapons, including North Korea very recently. Nuclear proliferation is an unpleasant and unsettling fact of life in a post cold-war world. But like the European Union, the United States must apply the same logic of restraint to the various countries. A (2/12/07)Financial Times headlined, "Iran on course for nuclear bomb, EU told."

Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.
In an admission of the international community’s failure to hold back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the document – compiled by the staff of Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief – says the atomic programme has been delayed only by technical limitations rather than diplomatic pressure. “Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded,” it states.
The downbeat conclusions of the “reflection paper” – seen by the Financial Times – are certain to be seized on by advocates of military action, who fear that Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a bomb over the next two to three years. Tehran insists its purposes are purely peaceful.

Whose flag flies over al Sadr? For a time there was disagreement over the whereabouts of militant Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. But another of our generals seems certain that the radical Shiite is no longer in Iraq, but in Iran. The story rings true to me, somehow. The (2/14/07) Financial Times article was headlined, "US military says Sadr has fled Iraq." To quote from it:

Radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has left Iraq and is in Iran, the U.S. military said on Wednesday, after the cleric’s aides denied earlier reports he had departed to avoid an offensive against militants.
“All indications are in fact that he is in Iran and he left last month,” US military spokesman Major-General William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad.
Earlier, four of Sadr’s aides rejected suggestions by unidentified US officials in Washington that the cleric had left to escape the crackdown, saying he was still in Iraq and keeping a low profile in the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf.
“We are tracking Moqtada al-Sadr very closely,” Caldwell said.

Since 9/11/01 courageous generals, who wear the stars and bars of the U.S. military, have spoken out about what they see as the truth about our so-called enemies. Many of them paid a high price for it later, being fired, booted up, or transferred.
Courageous intelligence officials have all along voiced their disagreements over what constituted the ground truth in Iraq or Iran. Most of our allies in the European Union publically disageed on the justification for an invasion of Iraq. None of these disagreements are not taken into account by OCP when crucial decisions were, and are made.
Thanks goodness for the voice of the American people, who sensed the ground truth in the mid-east and courageously voted to change direction last November. Now the U.S. House of Representatives is breezing along with an actual debate that will culminate in a vote tomorrow on a resolution that disagrees with the illusory "surge" tactic of OCP. It is up to our representatives in Congress to adhere to actual ground truth, because the faulty truth machine in the White House basement is circulating dangerous illusion throughout the building. OCP needs a breath of fresh air every now and then. The next one will come with the vote count on the pending House Iraq War Resolution.

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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about my love of books and reading.


Al S. E. said...

President Ahmadinejad's views are summarized on this website:

Carol Gee said...

Thanks for the link to your blog. I visited and found it very interesting. You are a thoughtful and edgy writer; I often read Canadian bloggers. You have much to teach us in the USA.