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Key Events

Key events related to DSM (56)

General Topic Areas

Alleged al-Qaeda ties (83)
Politicization of intelligence (80)
Pre-9/11 plans for war (34)
Weapons inspections (122)
Alleged WMDs (99)
The decision to invade (104)
Internal opposition (29)
Motives (53)
Pre-war planning (30)
Predictions (19)
Legal justification (96)
Propaganda (23)
Public opinion on Iraqi threat (13)
Diversion of Resources to Iraq
Pre-war attacks against Iraq (18)

Specific Allegations

Aluminum tubes allegation (59)
Office of Special Plans (24)
Africa-uranium allegation (95)
Prague Connection (24)
Al Zarqawi allegation (10)
Poisons And Gases (5)
Drones (4)
Biological weapons trailers (18)

Specific cases and issues

Spying on the UN (8)
Outing of Jose Bustani (13)
Powells Speech to UN (13)
Chalabi and the INC (63)

Quotes from senior US officials

Chemical and biological weapons allegations (23)
Imminent threat allegations (5)
Iraq ties to terrorist allegations (15)
Nuclear weapons allegations (29)
WMD allegations (9)
Democracy rhetoric (33)
Decision to Invade quotes (16)
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Events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq: Diversion of Resources from 'War on Terror' to Iraq

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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October 19, 2001

       US Special Forces begin ground attacks in Afghanistan. [MSNBC, 11/01] However, during the Afghanistan war, US ground soldiers are mainly employed as observers, liaisons, and spotters for air power to assist the Northern Alliance—not as direct combatants. [Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02 (B)] White House Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke will suggest in 2004 that the Bush administration did not commit more ground forces to Afghanistan because it wanted to have enough troops available to stage a large offensive against Iraq. “I can't prove this, but I believe they didn't want to put in a lot of regular infantry because they wanted to hold it in reserve,” Richard Clarke explains. “And the issue is the infantry. A rational military planner who was told to stabilize Afghanistan after the Taliban was gone, and who was not told that we might soon be doing Iraq, would probably have put in three times the number of infantry, plus all the logistics support ‘tail.’ He would have put in more civil-affairs units, too. Based on everything I heard at the time, I believe I can make a good guess that the plan for Afghanistan was affected by a predisposition to go into Iraq. The result of that is that they didn't have enough people to go in and stabilize the country, nor enough people to make sure these guys didn't get out.” [Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: United States, Northern Alliance, Bush administration, Taliban, Richard A. Clarke
          

Early 2002

       Most of Task Force 5's members are called home from Afghanistan to prepare for operations in Iraq. In early 2002, there were roughly 150 Task Force 5 commandos in Afghanistan. After the massive transfer, Task Force 5's numbers dip to as low as 30 men. Task Force 5 is a top-secret elite group that includes CIA paramilitary units and military “special mission units,” or SMUs. One of the SMUs is the former Delta Force. The name of the other unit, which specializes in human and technical intelligence operations, is not known. “These elite forces, along with the battlefield intelligence technology of Predator and Global Hawk drone aircraft, were the scarcest tools of the hunt for jihadists along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,” the Washington Post notes in June 2004. According to Flynt Leverett, a career CIA analyst assigned to the State Deparmtent, “There is a direct consequence for us having taken these guys out prematurely. There were people on the staff level raising questions about what that meant for getting al-Qaeda, for creating an Afghan security and intelligence service [to help combat jihadists]. Those questions didn't get above staff level, because clearly there had been a strategic decision taken.” [Washington Post, 6/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Flynt Leverett
          

February 19, 2002

       General Tommy Franks allegedly tells Sen. Bob Graham (D) of Florida, who is on a visit to US Central Command: “Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq.” [Council on Foreign Relations, 3/26/04 Sources: Bob Graham] (In his memoirs, Graham quotes Franks as saying that “military and intelligence personnel are being re-deployed to prepare for an action in Iraq.” [Knight Ridder, 6/18/2004; Graham and Nussbaum, 2004, pp 125] ) Franks denies making the comment. [Knight Ridder, 6/18/2004] The New Yorker magazine also reports on a redeployment of resources to Iraq at this time (see Early March 2002). [New Yorker, 10/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Bob Graham
          

Spring 2002

       The Bush administration shifts its attention from Afghanistan and al-Qaeda to Iraq. White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke later recalls: “They took one thing that people on the outside find hard to believe or appreciate. Management time. We're a huge government, and we have hundreds of thousands of people involved in national security. Therefore you would think we could walk and chew gum at the same time. I've never found that to be true. ... It just is not credible that the principals and the deputies paid as much attention to Afghanistan or the war against al-Qaeda as they should have.” [Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004] Laurence Pope, an ambassador to Chad, similarly recalls in 2004 that the change in focus that spring had a particularly damaging effect on operations in Afghanistan. “There was a moment of six months or so when we could have put much more pressure on the tribal areas [to get al-Qaeda], and on Pakistan, and done a better job of reconstruction in Afghanistan. In reality, the Beltway can only do one thing at a time, and because of the attention to Iraq, what should have happened in Afghanistan didn't.” [Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004] US Intelligence agencies are also affected by the shift in priorities. The CIA's limited supply of Arabic-speakers and Middle East specialists are redeployed to help meet the increasing demand for intelligence on Iraq. Michael Scheuer, a career CIA officer who was head of the agency's anti-bin Laden team from the late 1990s until his retirement in 2004, says, “With a finite number of people who have any kind of pertinent experience there [was] unquestionably a sucking away of resources from Afghanistan and al-Qaeda to Iraq, just because it was a much bigger effort.” [Atlantic Monthly, 10/2004]
People and organizations involved: Michael Scheuer, Laurence Pope, Richard A. Clarke, Bush administration
          

(Spring 2002)

       The US Air Force's only two specially-equipped RC135 U spy planes—credited with having successfully intercepted the radio transmissions and cellphone calls of al-Qaeda's leaders—are pulled from Afghanistan to conduct surveillance over Iraq. [Guardian, 3/26/2004]
          

March 2002

       Fifth Group Special Forces—an elite group whose members speak Arabic, Pashtun, and Dari—is pulled from its mission in Afghanistan and sent to Iraq where the group is assigned the task of locating Saddam Hussein. Its mission in Afghanistan is reassigned “to people who [speak] no Dari, Pashtun or Arabic, and [have] no rapport” with the Afghans. Members of Fifth Group, who spent six months developing a network of local sources and alliances and who believe they were close to finding Osama bin Laden, are upset with the orders. “We were going nuts on the ground about that decision,” one of them will later recall. [Guardian, 3/26/2004]
          

Mid-March 2002

       Deputy CIA Director John E. McLaughlin informs senior members of the president's national security team that the CIA is cutting back operations in Afghanistan. [Washington Post, 6/22/04]
People and organizations involved: John E. McLaughlin, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency
          

Late July -September 2002

       President Bush allegedly approves a request from the Pentagon for $700 million to help fund military preparations underway in the Gulf for war against Iraq. The charge is made by Bob Woodward in his book, Plan of Attack, released in the spring of 2004. [Woodward, 2004; CBS News, 4/18/04] The White House and Pentagon will deny the charge claiming that Bush only approved the spending of $178.4 million out of a requested total of $750 million. According to the Pentagon, $178.4 million is spent on 21 projects in Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. At least 11 of them are in Kuwait, which becomes the major staging ground for operations in Iraq. In that country alone, $24 million is spent constructing an ammunition storage and supply system for an Army brigade, and $15 million worth of communications equipment is installed at the Arifjan Base Camp. The military also builds a $3 million detention facility and a $6.5 million inland petroleum-distribution system. In Qatar, $36.4 million goes toward the construction of a forward headquarters facility for Central Command. [Wall Street Journal, 4/22/2004, pp A4] The money for these projects is taken from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War without congressional approval. [CBS News, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          


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