Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My God! We Dropped Bombs On People Who Were Shooting At Us!

Looks like this week's talking point for those opposed to the opening of the Iraqi front of the Global War on Terror has to do with increased Allied retaliatory bombing in the No-Fly zones in 2002 and early 2003. Michael Moore has any entry up, and my good friend Rob is also talking about it. (Actually, he's posted about it a couple of times.)

It's interesting to me that the apparent new interest in this bombing campaign was brought about by an article in the London Sunday Times, as part of their coverage of the Downing Street Minutes (DSM). This article "revealed" that Allied air forces had ramped up their retaliatory bombing of the Iraqi military targets in retaliation for no-fly zone violations. This is apparently a believable source, as opposed to U.S. General Tommy Franks, commander of CENTCOM during the major combat operations of Afghanistan and Iraq. General Franks, in his 2004 autobiography, described a meeting in the White House Situation Room in August 2002 in which he said: "We've flown over four thousand sorties over Iraq since January... Iraqi air defenses have targeted our aircraft or violated the no-fly zones fifty-two times... We want to continue to use response options to degrade the Iraqi Integrated Air Defense System. If it ever comes to war, we'll want their IADS as weak as possible." (p. 388, "American Soldier", Gen. Tommy Franks, 2004.)

And the left wonders why some on the right dismiss the "DSM" as "old news"?

Yes, I'll admit that it seems that CENTCOM did this as part of a plan to make any subsequent invasion easier, if and when it was ordered. It needs to be pointed out, though, that each bombing raid was done in response to an Iraqi violation of the no-fly zones. Had Iraq quit violating the rules that were imposed on them as a consequence of their earlier failure to fulfill the terms of the cease-fire that they had signed, we wouldn't have been bombing them. The fact is that we did raise the level of retaliation (instead of bombing only the gun that shot at us, we bombed the HQ that controlled that gun), but we never said that we'd only retaliate in kind. As the victors of the 1991 war, we had the right to impose those conditions on Iraq, as confirmed by the UNSC resolutions confirming the cease fire and subsequent to that. (In fairness, this point is debatable, as shown in this BBC article.) We even warned the air defense troops that we'd retaliate if they fired on us. I also happen to know that the leadership of Congress (both parties) were briefed after every raid. OK, we didn't spell it out in detail to the public... after all, apparently maintaining military secrecy is not allowed in a "free" society. (/sarcasm)

If those opposed to the Iraq war consider that any bombing we did prior to the October 2002 Congressional resolution to be illegal, I can provide a personal witness that this bombing did indeed take place. As I commented on one of Rob's posts:

"I was on the Carrier Group SEVEN staff aboard USS John C. Stennis during their 2000 deployment, and can report that we dropped several bombs on Iraq. Does this help in your investigation? None of them were napalm, though..."

I didn't mention who the President was in 2000 in my comments, but figured that was pretty self-evident...
Rob also wonders if these raids happened outside of the no-fly zones. To be honest, since the southern no-fly zone extended up to within 20mi of downtown Baghdad, we really didn't need to go beyond it. The only time I know of recently that we went beyond that line, prior to October 2002, was during Operation Desert Fox... in 1998.

As far as any suggestion that we used napalm on any of these retaliatory bombing raids -- as one of Rob's commenter's suggested -- this shows a complete ignorance of the mandatory legal review that goes on for any planned operation, as well as how the world works in general (the Iraqi's would have pasted it all over the news at the time, which they didn't...)

Going deep...

14 Comments:

Blogger Rob said...

Fair enough...I'd like to see them (being the Administration) make it official, on record, that the bombing was done per the allowances they had from Congress at the time and in keeping with the UN resolutions. I don't doubt or have issue with the bombings/defensive fire used in and over the no-fly zones, that was our job at the time. The DSM's bring up the possibility that we (and possibly the Brits) were exceeding those authorized actions...if we were, it's another lie in the chain. If not, great. At any rate, I think the people deserve a straight answer.

And really...the "Iraqi Front" in the war on terror...haven't the facts established clearly that the war on terror only moved to Iraq in response to our invasion?

6/28/2005 11:34 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Regarding the semantics: Yes, I admit the phrase "Iraqi front of the GWOT" is somewhat forced, but you have to admit that I never said that it wasn't us doing the opening... I freely admit that; I just happen to think it was the right thing to do at the time (not taking into account the cluster that it's turned into -- not that I don't think we can't turn it around, although we probably won't; the national will to do those things necessary to turn it around for us just isn't there, and I don't see the kind of leadership coming from the Administration to make it happen).

6/28/2005 11:46 AM

 
Blogger Rob said...

I can agree with you on the leadership issue...my personal political leanings aside, Bush simply doesn't have it.

I honestly do admire some Republicans for their leadership, though I often take exception to their policies/views. For example, Reagan. Or McCain. Colin Powell. Ike.

Hell, Bush Sr. was a better leader, and he never really "did it" for me.

Bush Jr....loser with a capital "L".

6/29/2005 12:56 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

As much as I might be disappointed with the administration's performance (especially regarding Iraq) in the last year, I still think President Bush has done a much better job wrt terrorism than either Gore or Kerry might have done...

6/29/2005 1:25 AM

 
Blogger bothenook said...

joel, i found the whole DSM flap a sophomoric attempt to denigrate the pres and his cabinet.
there was never any secret that iraq was in the crosshairs. clinton fired missles into iraq when he felt saddam needed an adjustment, and they published that fact when it happened, each time it happened.
and then tommy franks comes out with his book, and lays it out, conversation by conversation. i think that anyone still attempting to use the DSM as a tool for castigating the government has failed to "go to the source" about what did and didn't happen in the leadup to the iraq invasion. unless you've read the book, you don't have enough information to form a rational and arguable opinion.

6/29/2005 8:38 AM

 
Blogger Rob said...

Tommy Franks, while a great general, isn't the "source"...he wasn't the one making the decision to go to war in Iraq, he was the one carrying it out.

Bush and his administration were the decision makers. The policy makers.

It's easy for you to discount any allegations of wrongdoing or lack of truthfulness from Bush...you're Repubicans (not an insult, merely a fact). But here's a way to put it to bed in everyone's mind once and for all.

Independent panel investigation (similar to the 9/11 Commission). A war such as this certainly justifies a full look into the questionable reasoning. Especially in light of Bush, Cheney, and now Rep. Hayes of North Carolina saying "yes, there's hard evidence of Saddam-al Qaeda-9/11 links". Why was that not brought out in the 9/11 Report? They found zip for Iraq involvement in 9/11, and only a desire for collaboration on the part of ObL (that apparently wasn't followed through). Now, after supposedly spilling the goods to the 9/11 Commission (even behind closed doors, for reasons of "security") they now say they had the Saddam-al Qaeda goods??

The whole leadup to the Iraq invasion stinks...it has enough holes, contradictions, mistakes, incorrect intel, and apparent untruths to fill a Trident sub missile compartment a dozen times over.

I simply do not trust what the Administration says. The DSM (not a "smoking gun", granted) only raises more questions. Blair's statements in the press today even contradict the meeting minutes in the memo.

I don't think it's too much to ask that the whole situation be looked into by an objective, independent commission (after all, by GOP standards a lie over a blowjob warrants one). If, after pulling the strings and unraveling all the tangled messes that comprise the overall Bush Iraq policy, it's found that all was on the up-and-up...great. I'll be the first to say "I was wrong".

But you'll forgive me if I don't simply take the word of a President who seems no more honest or forthright than his philandering predecessor.

6/29/2005 11:59 PM

 
Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

*Nervous look at the big guns on the right and left*
Ok, as someone who sits staunchly in the middle (die-hard independent – I don’t trust any political party to ever tell the whole truth), I will brave the political waters that I have feared to tread in up until now, and let y’all know what I think. Please, if I sound ignorant, let me know – I would rather know and correct myself than be a dumba$$.

I’ll quote Rob, as he seems to be the most prolific on this so far:

Tommy Franks, while a great general, isn't the "source"...he wasn't the one making the decision to go to war in Iraq, he was the one carrying it out.

True, he was not the decision maker, but he was privy to conversations that bear on this issue. As such, should not such first-person accounts be given legitimate consideration?

It's easy for you to discount any allegations of wrongdoing or lack of truthfulness from Bush...you're Repubicans (not an insult, merely a fact).

Whoa whoa – the last group of people I would accuse of blind acceptance is the group we tend to drift in – submariners. Regardless of affiliation, all bubbleheads I know are a skeptical, bitter lot who question just about everything. I doubt you would accept everything the left says at face value, just as I doubt Bubs is simply just accepting all righty press releases as gospel.

Independent panel investigation (similar to the 9/11 Commission). A war such as this certainly justifies a full look into the questionable reasoning.

Personally, I think the beltway gang has gotten a little too commission-happy. There are some things that definitely warrant it (9/11), there are others that obviously are ridiculous (Monica-gate). The difference? Hard, actionable proof. There may be questions, there may be uncertainty, but there almost always is. Unless there is some definite, damning piece of evidence – which the DSM sounded like it might be, then turned out it probably isn’t – then we should expend our resources elsewhere. An investigation would simply be a distraction at this point. It would make the Dems look like witchhunters, and not accomplish much good. Should better evidence show up, then yeah, I might agree.

The whole leadup to the Iraq invasion stinks...it has enough holes, contradictions, mistakes, incorrect intel, and apparent untruths to fill a Trident sub missile compartment a dozen times over.

Ok, I agree. And I was underway before it started (your boat shot just before mine, dammit!) so I heard even less reasoning for the whole deal. But, frankly, when nations starting swinging their big sticks, things get muddled. Yes, it was muddled, but our elected leaders (and not just the Prez.) supported the action. We elected them to make calls like this, and they did. Unless we have more than ‘apparent untruths’, I can’t see a justification for a top-down investigation.


I don't think it's too much to ask that the whole situation be looked into by an objective, independent commission (after all, by GOP standards a lie over a blowjob warrants one).

And I think you and I can both agree that GOP standards are not the ones we should be judging proper government action by. Reference Tom Delay.


But you'll forgive me if I don't simply take the word of a President who seems no more honest or forthright than his philandering predecessor.

Forgiven ;-) I don’t either. I just don’t have anything that offers good evidence that he deliberately mislead anyone. Caveat – I am not the most informed person in the world, so I am open to correction here.

6/30/2005 3:32 PM

 
Blogger Rob said...

Fair 'nuff, pigboatsailor (by the way, do you and bothenook have a vendetta against capital letters?)

I can see your point on Franks. I don't know that he was such an "insider", but it's entirely conceiveable that he may well have been. And I do need to (and plan to) read his book.

My point on political affiliation...it seems to me (this is an impression/observation, not meant to malign anyone's beliefs/views) that Republicans seem to be less questioning (politically speaking) than Independents/lefties. That's just my impression...but it sometimes seems to me that the right is more willing to take the administration at face value than the left. I was not very political (and leaned right, if I paid attention at all) back during the Clinton/Dem majority years, so I can't really say if I would be as inclined to put faith in the statements of a Democrat-led Congress/White House or not. I'd like to think that my political/philosophical agreement wouldn't blunt my skepticism...we'll see for sure when/if there are Dem majorities/a Dem in the White House. For what it's worth, I was (and still am) pretty critical of Clinton for the BJ issue, as the real issue was not the BJ but that he lied under oath about it (I simply don't see that as impeachable...yes, he lied, but it was about a BJ...not exactly national security issues).

I do stick to my call for a commission/investigation. I think there are too many unanswered/poorly answered questions, and a war (especially one that is getting as costly as this, and I'm not talking $$) should be based on sound reasoning. I can accept a mistake...if the intel was simply wrong, so be it. Hold the critique, find the root cause, determine/carry out corrective action, hold training, move on. But...if it was "fixed" (and there is probable cause to believe it may have been) that's beyond error and into willful misconduct.

Will it look like a witch-hunt? Probably. That's why Congress shouldn't do the inquiry. I still like the panel idea...bipartisan (nonpartisan would be ideal, but let's be realistic here), independent, with enough authority to get the job done. I'd be glad, frankly, if they found that all was on the up-and-up and it was simply a case of sloppy intel. That's easier to fix. While I have little respect for Bush, I'd rather not have an impeachment unless it was absolutely necessary. Bush will roast his own duck...he's doing a good job of campaigning for a Democrat in '08 right now. But if he willfully faked/falsified the data to put us in a war...that is wrong enough in my mind to warrant his removal.

Either way, I'd like to have the truth fully rooted out. In my mind it's a win-win...if it's bad intel, we find/fix the problem, if it's a Presidential lie we find and fix the problem.

Either way, also, we still have to deal with the Iraq situation. That's the 9,000 lb gorilla that won't go away in either case.

BTW and off-topic..which boat were you on when we beat you to the shot?

7/01/2005 3:20 AM

 
Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Rob-

Just answering, as I am wiped at the moment, and having trouble with original thought:

by the way, do you and bothenook have a vendetta against capital letters?

No vendetta – blogger just takes my PigBoatSailor and coverts it to all lower case as often as not…

My point on political affiliation...it seems to me (this is an impression/observation, not meant to malign anyone's beliefs/views) that Republicans seem to be less questioning (politically speaking) than Independents/lefties. That's just my impression...but it sometimes seems to me that the right is more willing to take the administration at face value than the left.

It could also be argued that the left attacks absolutely everything that comes out of the White House. Frankly, it makes them seem less reasoned and more mindless in many ways. No attempt at flattery here, but you are one of the very few reasonable liberals I have seen online. (I have to add *online* or my demo-wife will whup me)

I do stick to my call for a commission/investigation. I think there are too many unanswered/poorly answered questions, and a war (especially one that is getting as costly as this, and I'm not talking $$) should be based on sound reasoning. I can accept a mistake...if the intel was simply wrong, so be it. Hold the critique, find the root cause, determine/carry out corrective action, hold training, move on. But...if it was "fixed" (and there is probable cause to believe it may have been) that's beyond error and into willful misconduct.

I believe that an independent, or at least bi-partisan investigation has its place, if it is called for. Here, though, I just don’t see enough compelling evidence to warrant an investigation. I mean, the Clinton investigation was not fully wrapped up until 2002, and cost about $64M. That was about some shady property deals and relatively minor domestic issues. Can you imagine how long and costly something like what you are proposing would cost? In order to incur that, we have to have a –dang- good reason. I still stand by my assertion that “apparent untruths” are not enough to commence such a process. Show me hard evidence, and I will change my mind.

Will it look like a witch-hunt? Probably. That's why Congress shouldn't do the inquiry. I still like the panel idea...bipartisan (nonpartisan would be ideal, but let's be realistic here), independent, with enough authority to get the job done.

Because Ken Starr was seen as non-politically motivated, right? It doesn’t matter who runs it, based on what evidence is available now, and how non-compelling it seems to be, such an investigation will be seen as political grandstanding by the American public, and will seriously weaken the Dems' chances in upcoming elections, and frankly, I would like to see a more balanced Congress again, or even a slightly liberal Capitol Hill. It is a good check to a Repub. White House.

But if he willfully faked/falsified the data to put us in a war...that is wrong enough in my mind to warrant his removal.

I agree, but we have no proof that this is so at this point. Not even compelling circumstantial evidence.

Either way, I'd like to have the truth fully rooted out. In my mind it's a win-win...if it's bad intel, we find/fix the problem, if it's a Presidential lie we find and fix the problem.

We have already started attacking the intel problem. And until there is more proof that it is a Presidential problem, I cannot imagine spending that kind of money on what would look like a 'fishing' expedition.

Either way, also, we still have to deal with the Iraq situation. That's the 9,000 lb gorilla that won't go away in either case.

Agree – another reason why I would rather not see an investigation just yet – it would simply be a distraction.

BTW and off-topic..which boat were you on when we beat you to the shot?

I’ll email you the answer to that one – the folks I work for might not be too thrilled with my blog-activities, so I try to stay somewhat anon. Of course, if anyone –really- wanted to, it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out who I was, I suppose…

7/01/2005 12:26 PM

 
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7/04/2005 11:05 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Janette -- Thank you so much! I really enjoy reading the work of all the ladies of the Cotillion...

7/04/2005 11:18 AM

 
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