[IWAR] TERROR biological, future scenarios

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Mon Feb 09 1998 - 08:36:51 PST

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    >From Salon [http://www.salonmagazine.com/]
      BY JEFF STEIN | One late
      summer day, Iraqi army
      units stand poised on the
      border of Kuwait. Two days
      later, Iranian-backed Shiites
      in Bahrain, home to U.S.
      Naval forces in the Gulf,
      launch a coup. As President Clinton mobilizes
      military units, a two-seat helicopter spools off an
      unmarked tanker in the Indian Ocean and heads for
      the U.S. Naval base at Diego Garcia. Spraying a
      fine mist from cylinders attached to its skids, the
      chopper makes three looping passes over the
      gathering armada of U.S. ships in the port and B-52
      bomber crews on the runways. 
      Meanwhile, at U.S. air and Naval bases in Georgia
      and North Carolina, unmarked converted bread
      trucks pull up to staging areas and start pumping
      out an invisible plume of gas. Within minutes
      thousands of airmen, soldiers and logistics
      personnel are down and coiled in agony. Back in
      the Gulf, hundreds of sailors on U.S. ships headed
      for Kuwait begin collapsing with the "flu." 
      In fact, it's cholera, and the victims have been
      felled in a "germ war" that a study conducted for
      the Pentagon says U.S. forces are not ready for. 
      According to the study, made available to Salon,
      U.S. military units are "vulnerable" to a chemical
      and biological attack whose purpose is to delay, if
      not paralyze, the deployment of U.S. forces
      involved in desert fighting with Iraq. Yet many
      criticisms raised in the study, produced last
      November, have been ignored even as hostilities
      between the U.S. and Iraq appear imminent,
      informed sources say. 
      The study raises serious concerns should the
      Clinton administration take the Republicans' advice
      and seek to go all the way in toppling Saddam
      Hussein. "Our nation's ability to project power is
      vulnerable to limited chemical/biological (attacks)"
      when troops and equipment are being mobilized for
      the Gulf, warns the study conducted by Booz-Allen
      & Hamilton, a management consulting firm based
      in MacLean, Va. 
      The study projected a scenario in the year 2010,
      which suggests to one of the study's authors that
      U.S. vulnerability to germ-war attacks is even
      greater now, when U.S. and United Nations
      weapons inspectors are being barred by Iraqi
      authorities from checking out the regime's
      suspected weapons of mass destruction, including
      chemical and biological agents. 
      "The universal perception has been that's it's been a
      really important thing thatyou're pointing out and I
      hope someone else takes care of it," said Amoretta
      Hoeber, deputy secretary of the Army in the
      Reagan administration. "That's the generalized
      response we're getting." 
      The U.S. budget for protection against chemical
      and biological warfare has been soaring since last
      year. Estimates of "more than $2 billion could be
      defended," according to Bill Richardson, a former
      deputy assistant secretary of Defense for chemical
      and biological matters. That includes everything
      from the FBI's counter-terrorism programs to civil
      defense training to the U.S. Marines' mobile
      Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force
      teams, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. 
      "They're putting a lot of money into this," Hoeber
      said, "but the problem is there's no one in charge
      and no one is thinking right about it yet. They're
      not thinking about protecting the military, they're
      thinking about domestic preparedness and things
      like that." 
      Sophisticated shipboard gas and germ war detection
      systems have been deployed but found wanting,
      according to a technician who told Salon that navy
      computer labs in New Jersey are frantically trying
      to fix the bugs as the Iraqi crisis deepens.
    The Booz-Allen team contracted with about two
      dozen former top military officials, including a
      former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency
      and the Army's former chief special operations
      officer, to "war game" germ and chemical attacks
      on U.S. forces and how the Pentagon would
      respond to them. 
      In the scenario, economic sanctions on Iraq have
      been lifted, allowing Saddam Hussein to secretly
      rebuild his chemical and biological stocks. At the
      same time, despite warming relations with
      Washington, Iran has continued its military build-up
      and held to its goal of expelling U.S. forces from
      the Gulf. A crisis is triggered when the formerly
      bitter enemies act in concert, Iraq invading Kuwait
      but quickly assuring Saudi Arabia that its goal is
      limited to recapturing its "19th province." At the
      same time, Iran sends a "Trojan horse" naval
      convoy to Bahrain to back a Shiite plot to
      overthrow the U.S.-friendly regime. 
      Then, in the war game scenario, chemical and
      biological attacks are launched to paralyze U.S.
      ground, Naval and air reinforcements en route. 
      "CNN had picked up the cholera story," the
      scenario goes. "The ships en route to the Gulf were
      being referred to as 'the plague convoy.'" They
      begin steaming in circle, their sick bays swamped.
      Suddenly Iraq looses a volley of missiles armed
      with mustard gas on a U.S. airfield in Kuwait,
      stopping a line of huge C-5 transports taking off for
      resupply flights to Europe. 
      In North Carolina, meanwhile, a crop duster lifts
      off the night runway at the appropriately named
      Locust, a farming town near Pope Air Force Base,
      and heads toward hangers filled with F-15 fighters
      and pilots. In Savannah, Ga., and 10 other East
      Coast military bases, Iraqi agents driving bread
      trucks position themselves upwind with
      gas-spewing generators. 
      "The teams had come into the United States two
      years earlier (and) obtained jobs in the area. The
      pilots worked as taxi drivers at the airport. The
      others had similar positions, driving hotel courtesy
      vans or delivery trucks," the scenario goes. The
      terrorist attacks paralyze U.S. personnel. "The
      casualties overwhelmed the largely ill-equipped and
      untrained first responders," the study adds. 
      Havoc reigns. Next, a saboteur steps off the last
      subway train at the Pentagon Metro station the
      following night, dons a gas mask and tosses several
      quart glass bottles of liquid mustard agent onto the
      platform. An anonymous caller "claims
      responsibility for the attack on behalf of the
      'Friends of Iraq and Iran' and (says) that a second
      device has been emplaced within the Pentagon
      And so on. 
      In the end, the good guys win. After days of death,
      delays, confusion and mass panic, the U.S. moves
      its logistical bases to alternates in western Saudi
      Arabia, rushes unaffected Naval and Air Force units
      to the region, pounds the Iraqis into submission,
      decontaminates poisoned bases, buries the dead and
      evicts the Iranians from Bahrain. 
      Hooray. But not after considerable damage has
      been done -- and delays that might give the Iraqis
      time to sway U.S. public opinion against a long,
      drawn-out struggle on behalf of Kuwait, whose
      super-rich, quick-to-flee elites earned little
      sympathy when they were televised partying in
      Cairo while G.I.s put their lives on the line in
      Desert Storm. 
      That may be one reason U.S. officials from
      President Clinton on down have warned Saddam of
      instant, apocalyptic response if he launches
      chemical and biological attacks. They fear that the
      American public may have little stomach for
      protracted conflicts, especially when the casualties
      mount up. 
      At the same time, the Booz-Allen & Hamilton study
      ("Assessment of the Impact of Chemical and
      Biological Weapons on Joint Operations in 2010")
      assumes a rather brilliant symphony of political,
      military and terrorist attacks -- one for which the
      Iraqis have shown little previous aptitude. Even one
      of the study's authors concedes that the "Red
      Team" that took the part of the Iraqis in the war
      game might have played its roles too well. 
      "One of the things I've always thought about as
      questionable in the study is that it assumes a logical
      enemy," admitted Bill Richardson, a deputy
      assistant of Defense for chemical and biological
      matters in the Bush administration. "One must
      assume that -- but it's often wrong." 
      How much better an "illogical" enemy like Iraq
      makes us feel, so long as it possesses chemical and
      biological weapons, is another question. 
      SALON | Feb. 9, 1998 
      Jeff Stein writes about national security and intelligence issues
      for Salon. He is the author of "A Murder in Wartime: The
      Untold Spy Story That Changed the Course of the Vietnam
      War" (St. Martin's Press).

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