Insiders Who Have Criticized Bush's Iraq Policy
Cracks In The Empire: Compilation Of Insiders Who Have Criticized Bush's Iraq Policy
By Anna Manzo And Scott Harris
When U.S. Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the "Pentagon Papers" to the press during the Vietnam War, the 47-volume Defense Department internal study of the U.S. role in Southeast Asian conflicts over three decades was classified top secret. The documents chronicled the lies and deceit employed by government officials to justify U.S. military intervention in the region's wars. Ellsberg -- a strong supporter of the Vietnam War who later became a committed opponent -- faced felony charges that could have put him in prison for 115 years. Those charges were dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct, which led to the conviction of several White House aides. The targeting of Ellsberg was an important factor in the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon.
Today, numerous Washington insiders are speaking out against what they allege are Bush administration violations of the public trust: most notably, the justifications cited for pre-emptive war in Iraq. In turn, high-level officials -- former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, former White House counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter -- and others have become victims of smear campaigns reportedly directed from the White House.
Compelling charges of secrecy and deception are leveled by former Nixon aide John Dean. In "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush," the former counsel to the president-turned whistle-blower reminds us that no one died in the Watergate scandal. Dean, whose testimony helped convince the House Judiciary Committee to vote for articles of impeachment against his former boss, charges that George Bush is guilty of impeachable offenses.
As Election Day draws near, presented here is an alphabetical, annotated list of several prominent government insiders -- many of them Republicans -- who have spoken out against President Bush's decision to launch the Iraq war his administration's conduct in managing the conflict.
Rand Beers, former anti-terrorism adviser to President George W. Bush, and now John Kerry's homeland security adviser. He said the administration is "underestimating the enemy;" has failed to address terrorism's root causes; and that difficult, long-term issues at home and abroad have been avoided, neglected or shortchanged and generally under-funded. The Iraq war created fissures in U.S. counterterrorism alliances, he added, and could breed a new generation of al Qaeda recruits. Source: "Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror," Washington Post, June 16, 2003.
Doug Bereuter, retiring Republican Nebraska congressman who broke ranks with his party, reversed his earlier stance, saying the military strike against Iraq is a "mistake," and blasted a "massive failure" of intelligence before the war. Source: "Retiring GOP congressman breaks ranks on Iraq," CNN, Aug. 18, 2004
Robert L. Black, a retired Ohio judge of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court and the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, stated publicly that he believes the "Republican party candidate's record has a history not only of repeated violations of the key principles underlying our democracy, but of the core values of the Christian faith to which he claims commitment." Black says he will refuse to support his lifelong Republican party in the re-election of the incumbent president. " Source: A Republican Declares His Independence," The Cincinnati Enquirer, Oct. 13, 2004
Hans Blix, former U.N. chief weapons inspector in Iraq and author of "Disarming Iraq." Two weeks before attacking Baghdad, the U.S. unsuccessfully pressured him to tell the Security Council that Iraq was violating UN resolutions. He said that if inspections had continued, Iraq may have proven its lack of banned weapons. He also says the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq had failed tragically in its aim of making the world a safer place and succeeded only in stimulating terrorism. Sources: "U.N. Inspector Writes of Pressure From U.S. on Iraq: Blix's Book Said He Was Challenged About Arms Assessment on Eve of Last Report to Security Council," Washington Post, March 9, 2004. "Blix Says Iraq War Stimulated Terrorism," Reuters, Oct. 13, 2003
Paul Bremer, former U.S. official appointed by Bush to govern Iraq after the invasion, said that the United States made two major mistakes: not deploying enough troops in Iraq and then not containing the violence and looting immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Source: "Bremer Criticizes Troop Levels," Washington Post, Oct. 5, 2004
John Brown, foreign service officer in Eastern Europe and Moscow, was the second career U.S. diplomat who resigned to protest the Bush administration's Iraq policies. The 22-year veteran said the Bush administration is pursuing a narrow-minded strategy, jeopardizing relationships with long-time allies around the world. Source: "Second Foreign Service officer resigns in protest over Iraq," The Government Executive, March 12, 2003.
Vince Cannistraro, former CIA head of counter-terrorism and member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan. He said, "These have been an extraordinary four years for the CIA and the political pressure to come up with the right results has been enormous, particularly from Vice President Cheney. I'm afraid that the agency is guilty of bending over backwards to please the administration. George Tenet was desperate to give them what they wanted and that was a complete disaster." Source: "The CIA 'Old Guard' Goes to War with Bush," The Telegraph/UK, Oct. 11, 2004
Richard A. Clarke, former White House counter-terrorism chief. Clarke helped shape U.S. policy on terrorism under President Reagan and the first President Bush, then served under President Clinton and the current President Bush. He said that in the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush ordered him to look for a link between Iraq and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, despite being told there didn't seem to be one. His book, "Against All Enemies," is critical of the administration's early emphasis on removing Saddam Hussein from power; downplaying of al Qaeda's threat prior to 9/11; and diverting military resources to a war in Iraq, instead of fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In response, the administration called the career public servant an "opportunist." Sources: "Clarke's Take on Terror," 60 Minutes, March 30, 2004; "A White House Adept at Revenge," The Associated Press, March 27, 2004.
Robin Cook, a former British foreign minister under Tony Blair. Resigned and wrote a book saying the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was over-exaggerated. Source: "Cook Denies Saddam was Threat," The Guardian/UK, June 17, 2003
John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, dared to tell him in 1973 that the web of lies surrounding the Watergate break-in of the Democratic Party headquarters had formed "a cancer on the presidency." Dean sees a worse scenario in the Bush White House. Sources: "Bush Puts a 'Cancer on the Presidency' - Watergate Insider calls this White House 'Scary'" Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2004; "Ex-Nixon Aide John Dean Tells Bill Moyers that Bush Should be Impeached," NOW with Bill Moyers, April 2, 2004
Marie deYoung, a former Army chaplain who audited accounts for Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root. After complaining of waste and fraud to her superiors to no avail, she says there was no effort to hold down expenses because all costs were passed directly on to taxpayers. DeYoung produced documents detailing alleged waste on routine services: $50,000 a month for soda, at $45 a case; $1 million a month to clean clothes - or $100 for each 15-pound bag of laundry. Source: "New Halliburton Waste Alleged," MSNBC, July 1, 2004
Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, 27 retired diplomats and generals -- including Arthur Hartman, former ambassador to the Soviet Union; Admiral Stansfield Turner, former director of the CIA; and General William Crowe, one-time chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- have signed a statement declaring that George W. Bush's foreign policy has harmed U.S. national security and that his administration must be defeated in the 2004 presidential election. Many served under Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Source: "Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change," www.diplomatsforchange.com
Fifty-two former diplomats signed a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair regarding their deepening concern with the policies which have followed on the Arab-Israel problem and Iraq, in close cooperation with the U.S.. Signers included Francis Cornish (ambassador to Israel 1998-2001); Sir James Craig (ambassador to Saudi Arabia 1979-84); Richard Muir (ambassador to Kuwait 1999-2002); Sir Crispin Tickell (British permanent representative to the UN 1987-90); Sir Harold Walker (ambassador to Iraq 1990-91). Source: "Doomed to failure in the Middle East: A letter from 52 former senior British diplomats to Tony Blair," The Guardian, April 27, 2004
Charles Duelfer, chief U.S. weapons inspector with the Iraq Survey Group, reported that Iraq had no stockpiles of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons before the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion and that Iraq's nuclear capability had decayed, not grown since the 1991 war. Source: "Report concludes no WMD in Iraq," BBC News, Oct. 7, 2004.
Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator. Told the 9/11 commission that well before Sept. 11, 2001, the bureau had detailed information that terrorists were likely to attack the U.S. with airplanes. Sources: "We Should Have Had Orange or Red-Type of Alert in June/July of 2001," www.Salon.com, March 26, 2004; "Lawyers Try to Gag FBI Worker over 9/11," Independent/UK, April 26, 2004
Jay Garner, the U.S. general abruptly dismissed as Iraq's first occupation administrator after a month in the job. Garner said he fell out with Bush's circle because he wanted free elections and rejected an imposed privatization program: "My preference was to put the Iraqis in charge as soon as we can, and do it with some form of elections ... I just thought it was necessary to rapidly get the Iraqis in charge of their destiny." Source: "General Sacked by Bush Says He Wanted Early Elections," Guardian/UK, March 18, 2004
Katharine Gun, a British government linguist who leaked an e-mail purportedly from U.S. intelligence services asking for help to spy on U.N. ambassadors. She faced a two-year prison term for charges filed under the British Official Secrets Act; the charges were dismissed. Sources: "GCHQ Translator Cleared Over Leak," BBC, Feb. 25, 2004; "U.S. Stars Hail Iraq War Whistleblower," Observer/UK, Jan. 18, 2004
Chuck Hagel, Republican senator of Nebraska, criticized the GOP party line of "staying the course in Iraq." He said that "crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required" to avert a prolonged engagement similar to Vietnam. He said in a CBS "Face the Nation" interview, "We're in deep trouble in Iraq" and that it would take "probably two years" to get an Iraqi army and police force up to speed to secure the country. He said in 2002 that he could think of no historical case where the U.S. succeeded in an enterprise of such gravity and complexity as regime change in Iraq without the support of a regional and international coalition. Sources: "Republican discord in the Senate," The Boston Globe, Sept. 22, 2004; "CIA Analysis Holds Bleak Vision for Iraq's Future," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 16, 2004
Bill Harlow, former CIA spokesman who resigned with former director George Tenet, acknowledged that recent CIA leaks had been made from within the agency to undermine the Bush administration with a battery of damaging leaks and briefings about Iraq. "The intelligence community has been made the scapegoat for all the failings of Iraq. It deserves some of the blame, but not all of it. People are chafing at that." Source: "The CIA 'Old Guard' Goes to War with Bush," The Telegraph/UK, Oct. 11, 2004
David Kay, former Bush administration chief weapons inspector sent to Iraq to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Resigned saying he didn't believe Saddam Hussein's government had large-scale weapons production programs in the 1990s. Source: "Ex-Arms Hunter Kay Said No WMD Stockpiles in Iraq," Reuters, Jan. 23, 2004.
John Brady Kiesling, a former political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, and first career U.S. diplomat to resign in protest of the Bush administration's Iraq policies. He wrote, "We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security." Source: "Diplomatic Offensive," TomPaine.com, March 14, 2003.
Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired lieutenant colonel formerly assigned to the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans. Wrote an article revealing how "Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war" in a plan that was never made public. Source: "The New Pentagon Papers" Salon.com, March 10, 2004
Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst and State Department Office of Counterterrorism official, also a registered Republican who contributed financially to the 2000 Bush campaign. Said the White House smear campaigns against former officials -- Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- were mild compared to the vicious assault against Clarke. Source: "The War on Clarke," TomPaine.com, March 29, 2004
Richard Lugar, Indiana Republican senator and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said so little Iraq reconstruction money has been spent due to the "incompetence in the administration." He said at a hearing, "Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration -- what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd' -- that we just simply will be greeted with open arms. The nonsense of all that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent." Sources: "Republican discord in the Senate," The Boston Globe, Sept. 22, 2004; "CIA Analysis Holds Bleak Vision for Iraq's Future," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 16, 2004
Tom Maertens, former U.S. State Department deputy coordinator for counterterrorism. Described the Bush administration smear campaign against Clarke and confirmed Clarke's charges that the Bush administration ignored the threat from al Qaeda and instead chose to fight "the wrong war" by attacking Iraq. Source: "Clarke's Public Service," by Tom Maertens, Star Tribune, March 28, 2004
John McCain, Arizona Republican senator, who on a Fox Network interview, criticized the serious mistakes of not having enough ground troops sent into Iraq and said that Bush perhaps is not as straight with the American people "as we'd like to see." Source: "Republican discord in the Senate," The Boston Globe, Sept. 22, 2004
Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst. Said outgoing CIA Director George Tenet took the fall for faulty intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the motivation behind Bush's Iraq war policy. The policy was predicated on a neoconservative strategy to use military force to gain dominant influence over oil-rich Iraq and to eliminate any possible threat to Israel's security. He also described how former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's public denouncement of Bush administration claims that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from the African nation Niger for their nuclear weapons, led to the White House outing of Wilson's wife as a CIA operative. The public disclosure is a felony. Sources: "Taking the Fall for Iraq," Miami Herald, June 7, 2004; "Critics Question Credibility of FBI Investigation into White House Leak Exposing CIA Operative," Between The Lines, Week Ending Oct. 17, 2003.
Roger Morris, a retired diplomat who quit over Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, sent out a call to Americans on the front lines of the Foreign Service, asking them to resign from the Bush administration, which Morris describes as "the worst regime by far in the history of the republic." Source: "A Call to Conscience," Common Dreams.org, May 25, 2004
National Intelligence Council, said Bush disregarded intelligence reports that prior to the invasion of Iraq a war could unleash a violent insurgency and rising anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East. Sources: "Bush Ignored Warnings on Iraq Insurgency Threat Before Invasion: Intelligence suggested country faced years of tumult," the Guardian/UK, Sept. 29, 2004; "CIA Analysis Holds Bleak Vision for Iraq's Future," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 16, 2004
Paul O'Neill, former Bush administration treasury secretary. He said in his book, "The Price of Loyalty," that 10 days after the inauguration -- eight months before 9/11 -- there was a "conviction" in the administration that Saddam Hussein was a "target" for removal. Source: "Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq," by CBS News, Jan. 11, 2004
Kevin Phillips, a one-time Republican strategist. Wrote in his book, "American Dynasty," that "[T]he Bush family has used all its resources to create a political dynasty that has gained the White House to further its family and ideological agenda, which would have horrified America's founding fathers. They, after all, led a revolution against a succession of royal Georges." Phillips also discusses the involvement of Prescott Bush and his father-in-law with Nazi-era German holding companies and how they became useful resources for the CIA during the Cold War. Source: "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush," Viking, 2004
Scott Ritter, the former lead inspector for the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) Concealment and Investigations team in Iraq for seven years and a registered Republican. He opposed the war before it was launched, saying Iraq posed no threat to the U.S. He also said Saddam Hussein's secular government was the antithesis of an Islamic fundamentalist, anti-American regime and had no links to the Sept. 11 attack. He blames senior officials in the Bush administration -- ideologues in pursuit of global hegemony -- for a war in Iraq that the "president elected to fight under false pretense." Source: "The Iraq War and The Bush Administration's Pursuit of Global Domination," Counterpoint, WPKN Radio, Sept. 15, 2003.
Michael Scheuer (originally "Anonymous,") a 22-year veteran CIA official, serving in a senior counterterrorism post and who headed the special office to track Osama bin Laden and his followers from 1996 to 1999. He has written a book, "Imperial Hubris," in which he warns that the U.S. is losing the war against radical Islam and that the Iraq invasion has played into the enemy's hands. Sources: "Book by C.I.A. Officer Says U.S. is Losing Fight Against Terror," New York Times, June 23, 2004; "Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands," The Guardian/UK, June 29, 2004; "CIA Felt Pressure to Alter Iraq Data, Author Says Agency analysts were repeatedly ordered to redo their studies of Al Qaeda ties to Hussein regime, a terrorism expert charges," the Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2004; "Boston Phoenix' IDs 'Anonymous' CIA Officer," Editor & Publisher, June 30, 2004
Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy, a nonpartisan group of experts in the field of national security and international politics. Over 725 foreign affairs specialists in the United States and allied countries have signed an open letter opposing the Bush administration's foreign policy and calling urgently for a change of course. Source: www.sensibleforeignpolicy.net
Gen. Eric Shinseki, former Army chief of staff. He was criticized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz after he told Congress in February 2003 that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Sources: "Ex-Army Boss: Pentagon Won't Admit Reality in Iraq," USA Today, June 3, 2003; "The High Costs of War with Iraq: The Administration Plays Russian Roulette with Our Economy," CommonDreams.org, March 1, 2003.
Clare Short, Britain's former international development secretary. She resigned from Prime Minister Tony Blair's government in protest after the Iraq invasion, and said she saw transcripts of conversations clandestinely recorded in UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's office. Source: "UK Spies Bugged UN Chief, Claims Short," The Independent/UK, Feb. 26, 2004
Tami Silicio, and her husband, David Landry, employees of Pentagon contractor Maytag Aircraft. They were fired because they "violated Department of Defense and company policies by photographing and releasing for publication, images of the flag-draped caskets of American servicemen and women being returned to the United States," defying a Bush administration ban on public dissemination of such photos. Source: "Bush Afraid to Let American People See Deadly Reality of Needless War," Niagara Falls Reporter, April 27, 2004
Greg Thielmann, former chief of the U.S. State Department's bureau of intelligence and research (INR) and aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell. He told journalist Sydney Blumenthal, "Everyone in the intelligence community knew that the White House couldn't care less about any information suggesting that there were no WMDs or that the UN inspectors were very effective." Source: "How Bush Misled the World," by Sydney Blumenthal, The Age, Feb. 6, 2004
Mike West, a Halliburton labor foreman in Iraq, was paid $82,000 a year but claims he never had any laborers to supervise. "They said just log 12 hours a day and walk around and look busy," he said. "OK, so we did." Source: "New Halliburton Waste Alleged," MSNBC.com, July 1, 2004
Thomas White, former Army secretary. He said in May 2003 that senior defense officials "are unwilling to come to grips" with the scale of the postwar U.S. obligation in Iraq. A series of public feuds with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld led to his firing. Source: "Ex-Army Boss: Pentagon Won't Admit Reality in Iraq," USA Today, June 3, 2003
Andrew Wilkie: former Australian Office of National Assessments intelligence analyst. He resigned, arguing that based on U.S. and other intelligence information he saw, there was no justification for war on Iraq. Source: "Australian Government Rocked by Resignation of Anti-War Official," InterPress Service, March 12, 2003
Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador. He investigated and refuted the White House claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger for a nuclear weapons program, and later publicly accused the White House of ignoring his findings. His wife, Valerie Plame, was then outed by columnist Robert Novak as a covert CIA operative, reportedly by a White House leak. Wilson believes the case, now before a grand jury, will reveal that the White House exposed his wife's identity to punish him and intimidate other critics from going public. Sources: "CIA Leak is Big Trouble for Bush," The Nation, Sept. 29, 2003; "Former Envoy Talks in Book About Source of C.I.A. Leak," New York Times, April 30, 2004.
Ann Wright, a career Foreign Service officer and Army Reserve colonel. The day of the invasion of Iraq, Wright resigned from the State Department in protest over several foreign and domestic Bush administration policies. She accused the administration of shunning the need for international cooperation on the Iraq issue and of "leaving the organizations [particularly the United Nations] in tatters that we have helped build." Wright also criticized the curtailment of civil liberties in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks. Source: "Diplomat Resigns to Protest War," www.govexec.com, March 21, 2003
Anthony Zinni, former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, has co-written a book with Tom Clancy, "Battle Ready." He criticizes the handling of postwar Iraq and the abuses of the U.S. military: "In the lead-up to the Iraq War and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption." Sources: "Chaos Under Heaven, and More to Come," Inter Press Service, Jan. 25, 2004; "Battle Ready" book review, Publisher's Weekly.
Anna Manzo and Scott Harris are producers of Between The Lines radio newsmagazine, www.btlonline.org, heard on more than 35 radio stations in the U.S, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. An earlier version of this article was published in the Summer 2004 print edition of the magazine Toward Freedom, www.towardfreedom.com.