The top American commander in Iraq has been privately rebuked by the Bush administration for openly discussing plans to reduce troop levels there next year, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
President George W Bush personally intervened last week to play down as "speculation" all talk of troop pull-outs because he fears that even discussing options for an "exit strategy" implies weakening resolve.
Gen George Casey, the US ground commander in Iraq, was given his dressing-down after he briefed that troop levels - now 138,000 - could be reduced by 30,000 in the early months of next year as Iraqi security forces take on a greater role.
The unusual sign of US discord came as Iraqi politicians and clerics drafting a new constitution continued their own wrangling over autonomy demands by various factions.
DOWNING STREET is refusing to release e-mails from a senior official relating to the attorney-general’s legal advice in the run-up to the Iraq war, raising suspicions that No 10 intervened at a crucial time.
A four-star general relieved of his command this week for adultery was ordered last January to break off the affair but continued to have contact with the woman, two senior Army officials said on Friday.
A major reason the general, Kevin P. Byrnes, was dismissed as head of the Army Training and Doctrine Command was that the inspector general found that he had violated the direct order from the Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is still being adjudicated.
Army officials disclosed the details of the inspector general's inquiry to explain the unusual decision to relieve a four-star officer with a distinguished record.
The order to break off contact with the woman, whose identity has not been made public, came after the inspector general began an inquiry into an accusation that General Byrnes was involved in an adulterous affair, the officials said
War Plans Drafted To Counter Terror Attacks in U.S (Pentagon will be involved in domestic operations, though legally constrained to interfere in law enforcement)
The U.S. military has devised its first-ever war plans for guarding against and responding to terrorist attacks in the United States, envisioning 15 potential crisis scenarios and anticipating several simultaneous strikes around the country, according to officers who drafted the plans.
The classified plans, developed here at Northern Command headquarters, outline a variety of possible roles for quick-reaction forces estimated at as many as 3,000 ground troops per attack, a number that could easily grow depending on the extent of the damage and the abilities of civilian response teams.
The possible scenarios range from "low end," relatively modest crowd-control missions to "high-end," full-scale disaster management after catastrophic attacks such as the release of a deadly biological agent or the explosion of a radiological device, several officers said
Some of the worst-case scenarios involve three attacks at the same time, in keeping with a Pentagon directive earlier this year ordering Northcom, as the command is called, to plan for multiple simultaneous attacks.
The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which has been reluctant to become involved in domestic operations and is legally constrained from engaging in law enforcement. Indeed, defense officials continue to stress that they intend for the troops to play largely a supporting role in homeland emergencies, bolstering police, firefighters and other civilian response groups....
But the new plans provide for what several senior officers acknowledged is the likelihood that the military will have to take charge in some situations, especially when dealing with mass-casualty attacks that could quickly overwhelm civilian resources.
From American Conservative magazine- Cheney tasks Stratcomm to nuke Iran in case of a strike against the United States
In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
It has admitted that an aide reporting to Tony Blair sent confidential e-mails relating to the advice just days before Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, issued a summary version of his legal advice which stated unequivocally that the war was legal. His original advice, issued 10 days earlier on March 7, 2003 warned that a decision to go to war could be challenged in the international courts.
Until now the government has maintained that Goldsmith was left to get on with his work during this crucial 10-day period without political interference from Downing Street.
Last week, however, Downing Street admitted to The Sunday Times that during that period Baroness Morgan, until recently Blair’s director of government relations, sent e-mails “relating” to the legal advice. It is not clear to whom they were directed.
No 10 says that it will not release the e-mails because they relate to the “formulation of government policy”, which could suggest they reflect the arguments going on about the legal flaws in the case for war.
Senior government sources suspect that the e-mails contain a summary of the arguments that No 10 was privately making to Goldsmith that, contrary to his original advice, war was justified because Saddam Hussein was in breach of United Nations resolutions
FORT MONROE, Va. -- Here’s the scenario…A seafaring vessel transporting a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead makes its way into a port off the coast of Charleston, S.C. Terrorists aboard the ship attempt to smuggle the warhead off the ship to detonate it. Is this really a possibility?
Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) here is planning its next exercise on the premise that this crisis is indeed plausible.
Sudden Response 05 will take place this August on Fort Monroe and will be carried out as an internal command post exercise. The exercise is intended to train the JTF-CS staff to plan and execute Consequence Management operations in support of Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV’s response to a nuclear detonation.
Some of this year’s objectives for SR05 are to refine nuclear incident Concept of Operations, produce a CM Operation Order, refine command post set-up procedures and maintain situational awareness of multiple CM incidents.