Iraqi “intelligence” was disinfo

Remember when Al-Douri was the focus of a manhunt in Iraq because the US was convinced that he was a leader of the insurgency?

Here’s a Sydney Morning Herald article from December, 2003:

With the capture of Saddam Hussein, US forces are focusing more attention on Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a long-time Saddam deputy as vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, and now top of the shrinking list of Iraqi officials who have eluded capture. He is one of 13 former regime members from the US list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis to elude capture, and the only one with a $US10 million ($13 million) bounty on his head. The US says al-Douri is a leading force behind the Iraqi insurgency, but Iraqi officials say he has leukaemia and is probably expending his energy avoiding capture.

The US has stepped up the hunt for al-Douri in recent weeks, destroying one of his homes with missiles and detaining his wife and daughter in an attempt to pressure him to surrender.

Human rights groups condemned the detentions, saying family members should not be used as bargaining chips and that the arrests violated international law and the Geneva Convention, which guarantees rights for people under occupation.

Many Iraqis were bewildered when the $US10-million reward was announced, because al-Douri was the subject of much ridicule during Saddam’s regime. Atwan Rasul, 38, a Baghdad fish seller, said: “You couldn’t tell jokes about Saddam himself, but you could tell jokes about Izzat al-Douri. No one respected him. This man can’t be the leader of the Iraqi resistance.”

Knowing what we now know about the near-total absence of actual intelligence being gathered by the military in Iraq, despite their willingness to inflict pain and humiliation on their captives, and the tendency for torture victims to say whatever their torturers want to hear it seems likely that the focus on Al-Douri was inspired by the now-infamous “flow of information” from Abu Ghraib interrogations. Watching the Americans chasing a clown like Al Douri was probably the subject of much coffee-shop humor in Baghdad.

Less funny is the Keystone Kops like idiocy of the US’s “decapitation” strikes at the opening of the invasion. Much ado was made of the strikes aimed at Saddam Hussein (which managed to kill dozens of civilians instead of Saddam) but only today do we have confirmation that the US was trying to bomb many Iraqi leaders in that period, although they managed to miss them all, reduce the number of “hearts and minds” that were available for winning, and jump-start the insurgency that was to form in the wake of the pointless violence.

These strikes were apparently based on “intelligence” acquired from Iraqis on the ground which looks like it was about on par with Ahmed Chalabi’s “intelligence.” It’s interesting in hindsight to look back and see why some of the neocons’ trumpeted predictions about Iraq failed to materialize. Remember all the en masse surrenders that were supposed to happen? Sometimes they would even announce them and after a day or two of confusion it would become clear that they were about 180 degrees wrong. Remember this one? Iraqi army division surrenders to coalition forces, Pentagon officials say. Never happened. Basra “uprising?” Never happened. An Najaf “HUGE chemical weapons plant” that was supposed to have been discovered, breathlessly reported in screaming headlines by Fox News and the Jerusalem Post?? Nada. Zip. Nothing.

The extent of the wrongness of practically everything the neocons and Bushie warbots believed about Iraq would be amusing if it weren’t so destructive and fatal to thousands of people. Oh, and Al Douri’s family is still in one of the US’s Iraq gulags, and their detention is still a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.