03:03 PDA Bulletin - Iraq War and its Consequences
- PDA has just released three new reports on the Iraq War. An excerpt
from one of them, "What Colin Powell Showed Us: The End of Arms
Control and the Normalization of War", follows:
"The photographic evidence that Kennedy presented to the nation on 22
October 1962, and that Ambassador Stevenson presented the following
day to the UN Security Council, showed new and rapid construction of
9 secret military sites in Cuba with equipment and layouts typical of
missile launch areas. There appeared to be launch pads, missile
erector equipment, long storage tents or sheds, fuel trucks,
revetments, command bunkers, and lines of electrical cable for launch
control. The revelation of the sites, although itself quite
incriminating, was not the half of it. The central pieces of
evidence brought forward by Kennedy and Stevenson were photographs
showing 14 large transporters at the sites bearing canvas-covered
cargo that was cylindrical in shape and about 70 feet long, 9 feet
wide. These cylinders, which accompanied the launch vehicles, were
consistent with the size and shape of SS-5 medium-range nuclear
missiles -- and not much else. No plausible competing interpretation
was offered at the time. Instead, the Soviet ambassador to the
United Nations, Valerian Zorin, challenged the authenticity of the
photographs. To this, Stevenson had a reply that demonstrated the
Kennedy administration's confidence in its case:
'I wonder if the Soviet Union would ask its Cuban colleague to
permit a U.N. team to go to these sites. If so, I can assure you that
we can direct them to the proper places very quickly.'
In proposing a simple test of the American assertions, Stevenson
added incomparably to the weight of the administration's charges.
This final, pivotal step is precisely the one that Secretary Powell
failed to take on 5 February 2003.
Kennedy and Stevenson had offered positive evidence that the Soviets
and Cubans had overstepped a strategic 'line in the sand'. By
comparison, Secretary Powell's evidence did not establish that
Iraq still possessed proscribed weapons or that Iraq was
circumventing UNMOVIC's disarmament efforts. Powell's
evidence could only support the more modest -- some might say 'self-
evident' -- proposition that there could not be certainty about Iraqi
"What Colin Powell Showed Us: The End of Arms Control and the
Normalization of War"
by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Report #14, 05 May 2003 (.pdf file) --
An appreciation of the value and limits of arms control is necessary
in order to understand how debasing the standards of proof leads
ultimately to the demise of diplomacy and the unnecessary resort to
"Disarming Iraq: What Did the UN Missions Accomplish?" by Carl
Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #27, 25 April 2003 (.pdf file) --
A review of the evidence finds that while UN disarmament missions
contributed substantially to disarming Iraq and increasing
confidence, they also left substantial residual uncertainties.
However, the disarmament missions served to tightly constrain Iraq's
WMD capability and undercut its effectiveness and standard military
deterrence would have acted to keep this residual threat in check.
"Reconstructing Iraq: Costs and Possible Income Sources"
by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #28, 25 April 2003 (.pdf file). --
A review of accounts reveals a severe shortage of reconstruction
Each of the above reports will be published in HTML in the coming
days, as well as .pdf format which is available now. For HTML
versions check the "What's New" page at
PDA also continues to update several times a week the "War Report"
page on the Iraq War and the Afghan Aftermath --
Project on Defense Alternatives