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Attacking Iraq With Flawed Intelligence

July 12, 2002

I served with the U.S. Marine Corps Battle Assessment Team during the Gulf War. Ranan Lurie's July 9 commentary, "Don't Dither as Hussein Builds Nuclear Devices," advising that the U.S. attack Iraq as soon as possible, is based on a fundamental flaw as to the number of troops and the equipment needed to achieve U.S. goals in the 1991 Gulf War.

The Iraqi army had largely gone home prior to our arrival. Had the Iraqis stayed and fought, and especially if they had decided to use the chemical and biological weapons that were standard equipment in Iraqi units, the outcome would have been far different. Indeed, it was common knowledge that our only recourse in such a situation was to use nuclear weapons.

In any attack on Iraq, we face the same situation today, with the nuclear option far more likely than it was in 1991, given that we have far fewer ground troops available. I have no reason to believe that intelligence on Iraq and Iraqi forces is better than it was during our first misguided attempt to deal with Saddam Hussein.

Patrick J. Blessing

Col., USMCR (Ret.)

Spring Hope, N.C.

*

I think Lurie should stick to his cartoons and avoid commentary regarding dropping leaflets on Iraq, unless he wants to alleviate a toilet paper shortage there.

Jon Schmid

La Mirada

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