[FoRK] The administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Mon May 17 06:32:00 PDT 2004


Is that a killer sentence or what. Its in slate's link here:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2100549/
to this story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4431601/

They were laughing at you folks. The white house that is. "Can you 
believe that the morons that live in this country actually bought this 
crap?"
Owen
=============================================================================================
Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind
Abu Musab Zarqawi blamed for more than 700 killings in Iraq
By Jim Miklaszewski
Correspondent
NBC News
Updated: 7:14 p.m. ET March 02, 2004

With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with 
ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in 
Iraq.

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But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush 
administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation 
and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi 
and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern 
Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise 
missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according 
to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the 
National Security Council.

‘People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow 
Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of pre-emption against 
terrorists.’

— Roger Cressey
Terrorism expert

“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to 
support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do 
it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin 
in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again 
killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow 
Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against 
terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security 
Council member Roger Cressey.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six 
terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, 
the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation 
was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist 
camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the 
war, but it was too late — Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone. 
“Here’s a case where they waited, they waited too long and now we’re 
suffering as a result inside Iraq,” Cressey added.

And despite the Bush administration’s tough talk about hitting the 
terrorists before they strike, Zarqawi’s killing streak continues today


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