Analyst raps Iraq intelligence use

On Veterans’ Day, those who served in several U.S. wars protested outside Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland and at other locations across the country.

Among those at the Maryland facility, where a large number of wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan are being treated, was one Peter Molan.

Molan spent many years listening to Arab radio broadcasts, watching Al Jazeera TV and dropping in on Arabic chatrooms on the Internet.

He was one of numerous intelligence bureaucrats in the Pentagon. Molan retired in August, 2001 after 25 years as a Mideast analyst.

Then came Sept. 11. Shortly after the planes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Molan got a call from the Pentagon telling him his services were needed once more.

Molan is fluent in Arabic and was assigned to work on the bin Laden case for the Defense Department. Four months later, he returned to retirement.

Shortly afterward, he began hearing the Bush administration ratcheting the rhetoric against Iraq, suggesting Saddam Hussein was linked to the attacks of Sept. 11.

It triggered Molan’s anger. “The justifications for that war were completely counter to everything that I had learned in that 20-odd years of government service working on the Middle East,” Molan told the radio program Democracy Now!

“I was simply outraged by the twisting and turning of intelligence information that I had helped develop to what was clearly, to my mind, a preordained policy decision that I felt to be profoundly wrong. Nothing about this suggests that Saddam Hussein was anything but a brutal dictator,” Molan said. “He was. But that’s not why we went to war.”

Molan said that was what prompted his current involvement with veterans’ groups and anti-war protesters. Had the Bush administration worked with the U.N. in dealing with Iraq, he said, he might have supported them.

“But nothing but poison plants can grow from poison seeds,” he said. “This administration’s goals and intentions and policies, which are quite clearly articulated in the Security Strategy Document and in the work of the Project for a New American Century, are completely at odds, radically at odds, with America’s now more than a century-old tradition of trying to build international institutions.”

Molan added: “We believe that the Bush administration is dishonoring both the commitment that is required by today’s holiday (Nov. 11)—to the veterans and to concurrently serving GIs, as well as to that notion of international peace and justice.

“All the talk about support for the troops that we hear from the White House is belied by the fact that facilities are being closed, charges are being placed on the veterans. This administration is not in support of these troops,” Molan declared.

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