Monday, December 05, 2005

THE RENDON GROUP: Yet MORE Proof Bush lied

With new allegations about the Lincoln Group and phony news stories in Iraq, a more important aspect of the propaganda which preceded the Iraq Invasion has either been under reported out actually ignored.

In case you were wondering, some of the Bush Administration's information about Weapons of mass Destruction in Iraq actually came from a pathological liar named Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri. For those of you who missed this story, al-Haideri was an Iraqi defector who flunked a polygraph test, but whose lurid story about secret Weapons of Mass Destruction was accepted hook, line, and sinker by the all to eager Bush Administration during the run up to our invasion of Iraq.

So just who pray tell is Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri? Put simply, Al Haideri is a stooge for the Iraqi International Congress, a front organization which was created by the right wing Rendon Group in 1991. In other words, the organization which had been pushing for the removal of Saddam Hussein was actually the creation of the ubiquitous right wing Rendon Group. It installed Achmed Chalabi to run the organization, and acted as a an advisor to the Iraqi National Congress throughout the 1990s. More important, it also served as a right wing media advisor, pciking two friendly journalists, the now infamous Judith Miller who wrote the first story which officially claimed that there was evidence for WMDs in Iraq, and an Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist,Paul Moran who had ties to both, the Iraqi National Congress and to Rendon. (Moran, incidentally, was killed on March 22, 2003 in a car bomb explosionn in Northern Kurdistan.)

Once again it appears as a Bush Administration's sources (al-Haideri and Rendon) are proven liars. In the case of Al Haideri, the man flunked a polygraph test and yet his information was deemed factual.

For those of you who would like to read the full length story as it appeared in the November online edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, please be so kind as to click on "The Man Who Sold The War: Meet John Rendon, Bush's General in the Propaganda War."


Rhino-itall said...

brandong said...

I'm sorry, I was hopin for something in the line of a mainstream publication which might have countered my post and link. And what did I get? A stream of consciousness which related to nothing. That wasn't even a nice try. It was just pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Im sorry my post isnt "mainstream" enough for you, but thats irrelevant because you are unable and unwilling to argue my points so you go to the age old liberal modus operandi of belittling my post and avoiding the issue altogether. Your posts title was inaccurate, misleading, and factually wrong. It proved nothing besides that "Curveball" may have lied then or may be lying now. Now thats pathetic.

Rhino-itall said...

You're giving me the la times and rolling stone magazine, and i'm supposed to take them seriously? the point, since you obviously missed it, is that during the clinton administration, when he bombed iraq,(saying they had wmd) when he sent troops into kosovo(saying it was ethnic cleansing)two things we now know to not be true, the republicans weren't accusing him of lying, they didn't stand up during a time of war and call for immediate surrender, they didn't demoralize our troops. there were no cindy sheehans outside the white house, and if there was, it wasn't covered every day by the the main stream media. nobody made any accusations when he surrendered in mogadishu, after an american pilots body was dragged through the streets!Did you know that the pilots gear was found in afghanistan? probably not. The dems surrendered to osama after the first world trade center bombing, they surrendered after the bombings of the african embassies, they surrendered after mogadishu, they surrendered after the cole bombing, they were willing dupes in kosovo, and now we have a president who won't surrender, and you guys are shaking in your boots worried about what the french will think of us. well how is the french policy of appeasement working for them? The dems voted for the war, the senate intelligence committee saw all the info that the president saw, the 9/11 commission saw everything except the stuff sandy berger put in his panties, everyone agreed at the time it was the thing to do, and now, with the help of the la times, and others, the dems are trying to revise history. Curveball? the guys a liar, and has admitted to lying and now we should believe him?

Karen said...

Rhinohue, your paranoia is showing. You keep shooting the messenger, but like a bad marksman you keep missing the target which is the information itself. You keep tossing out these unrelated points to confuse the issues and we simply aren't going to let you get away with it.

What's gadually coming out here is that the Downing Street Memo and the other revelations Brandon has talked about, prove that this administration injected phony information into the media in an attempt to create a war fever during the build up to the that war.

Your talking points might be more effective if the Administration hadn't reveled that it intended to establish an office of misinformation--an idea which proved so unpopular with the American people that the administration had to withdraw the idea. Of course that doesn't mean that they didn't just go ahead and implement the damned thing. As we're learning now, they probably did. The military is currently injecting paid propaganda into the Iraqi Press--probably in the hope that some of their phony stories will be picked up by the mainstream media and spread here back at home. And what Brandon didn't mention is that the Smith Mundt Act specifically forbids the use of domestic propaganda on the American people. So if the Bush Administration is planting phony stories in Iraq in the hope that it can seed the American press with misinformation, there's a distinct possibility....well, you get the picture.

I too am disgusted with the Democrats. Or at least some Democrats. But for different reasons than the ones you give.

You tout the fact that they voted for this war. That isn't quite true. But, like the Demon in THE EXORCIST, you are quite talented at mixing just enough truth with misinformation to make it sound believable. The Democrats believed that this schwienhund of an Administration would do everything that it could to find a peaceful resolution to the situation. The authority they gave Bush was based on the President's good will, but as we have seen Bush's mind was made up well before the assault was launched in the spring of 2003.

As for the intelligence, I remind you that the intelligence was funneled through the Vice President's office. Here I again fault the Democrats almost as much as I fault the Republicans. Why DIDN'T the Democrats demand to see more intelligence? Why didn't they ask questions like: "Why is Dick Cheney making so many visits to CIA headquarters? Is he trying to get information or is twisting arms and issuing threats so that the information will be skewed to support his delusional quest?" Like I said, they should have asked more questions. They should have behaved like an opposition party is supposed to behave, but they didn't.

They were both, misled, and afraid. It was only a year and a few months after 911 and they were scared shitless that the GOP would smear them as unpatriotic if they didn't give the president what he asked for. As it turned out that's exactly what the Republicans did anyhow. During the election cycle of 2002 they ran a fear-based smear campaign which actually increased Republican seats in the House and Senate. The way the GOP exploited 911 and the fear surrounding it was both, a stroke of political genious and a symptom of the dysfunctional, behavior which has become the modern GOP.

Whether you like it or not, the Republicans were in control of the agenda. They held the Whitehouse and both Houses of Congress. Something tells me that they would have given permission for this war either with or without the Democrats. I know it and you know it Rhinohue, so stop playing fast and loose with the facts. The Republicans asked for it and they got it. If it isn't what they expected, don't blame us.

As for the situation in Yugoslavia....ohhhh dearrrrr.

You probably didn't see a Cindy Sheehan camped out infront of the Whitehouse because that particular war didn't result in 2100 dead troops. (Tell me, do you ever get tried of comparing apples and celery stalks?) I'd like to remind you that this particular argument can cut both way. You have just condemned Democrats for not supporting the Conquest of Iraq based on humanitarian reasons, but I think if you go back and reread some of the comments that were made by prominent Republicans at the time, you will discover quickly that the GOP argued that ethnic cleansing was no reason to go to war because that same ethnic cleansing posed no serious threat to American security. It makes me wonder. When did the GOP develope a thing against ethnic cleansing, since it had no problem with the practice in the past. But then again the GOP didn't see any encomonic or geo political gains in Yuoslavia either. Of course you might wonder what might have happened if another Balkan War had broken out in Yugoslavia and if the world situation would have been helped by a bloody civil war on the back and front doors of Europe and the former Soviet Union, but that's only speculative at this time.

As for the last sentence which reads: "Curveball? the guys a liar, and has admitted to lying and now we should believe him?" My God, did you even bother to read the flippin' LA Times article? All you did was bitch about the Los Angeles Time, which really IS a repected mainstream medium. That was Brandon's point! The guy (Curveball) was a liar. He wanted to get a favorable immigration status, so he made up a cock and bull story about weapons of mass destruction to get booted to the head of the immigration list. At first German Intelligence bought it, but as they asked more and more questions, and once the guy thought he had pulled it off, he began to show some very unstable personality traits. At this point the Germans began to ask some serious questions, and the guy tripped himself up. You're just upset because the Germans found the chinks in his story and made him crack. The Germans then contacted Washington, which promptly ignored any fact which didn't fit its delusion based world view. This happened prior to that awful presentation that Colin Powell made at the United Nations. So, my man, we knew that particular source was a crock, and yet it figured heavily in Powell's UN presentation.

I agree with you about Clinton. The guy stuck his nose into areas of the world that should never have been any of our business, but before you blame Clinton for not taking action against Osama Bin Laden after the first attack on the towers, I would remind you that the Taliban were our "freedom fighter" during the 1980s when they were fighting against the Soviet backed regime in Afghanistan. Your comments about Clinton seem rather trivial when you realize that it was a Republican regime in Washington which gave Ismalmic freedom fighters (read "the budding Taliban")financial support, military and technical training during the 1980s. Can you say "blow back?"

You can deny that all you like, but it also happens to be true. I'm sure it will be met with the confusion, pedantic points, and unmitgated hogwash, but if we've learned anything about you it's that you not only believe you have a right to your very narrow opinions, you really believe that you have a right to your own, selective facts.

Rhino-itall said...

i didnt' read your whole rebuttal, too long for me, ADD i think, but its starts out so ridiculously that it didn't seem worth my time anyway how can i take you seriously? its all "if,probably in the hope, distinct possibility, etc etc" do you even realize what you're saying? YOU DON'T KNOW, so you choose to believe the anti american side. How about the latest post on my blog? the donkey says it all right there, it's not bush lied or the intelligence was bad, its sadamms fault, if he had allowed the inspections, if he hadn't fired on our planes in the no fly zone, if he had stopped with the rhetoric, and just complied with the u.n. resolutions, there would be no iraq war, and he would still be getting rich stealing from the iraq oil for food program. How about that? what do you say about that? maybe it's not Bush's war or Bush's fault, maybe it's sadamms war, sadamms fault? i know that must sound very patriotic of me, and therefore very abhorrent to you, but that's what i believe. I don't believe that clinton lied about kosovo, i don't believe that clinton lied about iraq, i don't believe that Bush lied, i don't think that America is evil, i believe we did the right thing. I also believe that we have liberated over 20 million people in this war alone, so that's not to bad either.

Karen said...

From the Assopciated Press at:

27 November 2005

Allawi: Iraq Abuses As Bad As Under Saddam

LONDON - Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein and could become even worse, the country's former interim prime minister said in an interview published Sunday.


"People are doing the same as Saddam's time and worse," Ayad Allawi told The Observer newspaper. "It is an appropriate comparison."

Allawi accused fellow Shiites in the government of being responsible for death squads and secret torture centers and said the brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police.

Although Allawi is a Shiite, he is secular in his politics and is running separately from the Shiite religious parties in the Dec. 15 election. His comments appear to be an attempt to appeal to Sunni voters, who claim their community has been unfairly targeted by the Shiite-led security forces.

"People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same thing," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Iraqi officials have played down reports of rights abuses, insisting they are lies created by their enemies.

Eli Blake said...

These people are willful liars. Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, who invented all sorts of lurid tales that were used before the war (like the claim that Saddam would be ready to use WMD in 45 minutes), who can't set foot in Jordan after an indictment for defrauding a bank for $28 million, and who turned out to be a double agent (telling the Iranians we had broken their military code), is still a darling of some in the right wing.

Rhino-itall said...

Karen, once again i ask you very plainly. Isn't it really sadamms fault that we went to war in Iraq? Don't you agree that if he hadn't kicked out the inspectors, fired on our planes, and defied the u.n. resolutions we wouldn't be there right now?

Rhino-itall said...

I am assuming karen is busy flashing everyone in the doctors office right now so she can't answer, so if anyone else in the family wants to tackle that last question, feel free.

Kelli said...

Excuse me, but your time line is a little off. What you mentioned happened prior to the runup of this war. In the end it was the inspectors who were begging for more time to find something and the Bush Administration that wouldn't give them that time. Well OF COURSE he didn't want to give them the time. He knew what they wouldn't find.

I'll flip another question at you. The Iranians had three objections. They wanted Saddam out of Power. They wanted Iraq neutralized as a viable fighting force, and they wanted greater religious and political ties to Iraqi Shi'ites.

You poster boy has given them all of these, and to make the situation even worse, Vladimir Putin--the dude whose soul W thought he understood--has agreed to sell advanced missile technology to Iran. Yup. I know I feel A LOT safer knowing that we've made the world safe for an expanded Islamic Republic.

Rhino-itall said...

yes, i know all of those things happened BEFORE we went to war, that was the point. he kicked the inspectors out BEFORE we bombed him, he fired on our planes BEFORE we invaded he didn't comply with the un resolutions BEFORE we found him in a dirt hole. if he didn't, we wouldn't have done all those things. he was constantly saying ok, you can come in and look around, but not here or there, only where i say. then kicking the inspectors out again. don't forget the situation, saddam was not in compliance with ANY of the un resolutions, and there was at least 17 of them! Sadamm is the cause of the war, thats it. if you can't admit that, you're either politically blind, or you're a liar. oh and by the way, the Soviets wanted the nazi's to be defeated in WWII, should we have stayed out of it? after all, they ended up taking half of europe after we helped them win. do you really believe it was the russian winter that defeated the nazi's? no it was us! Iran can be dealt with very easily, the isreali's took care of the reactors in the 80's, i don't see why they won't do it agian.

Enlightenment said...

Hey Rhino. You'll be pleased to know that Abe is back home and comfortably nestled into his new, downstairs quarters. He isn't quite up to blogging yet, but we did discuss some of the above points and this, is more or less what we agreed on.


Iraq was already contained. Between the sanctions, occasional bombings, and the Stalinistic encomomic polcies that the Ba'athists imposed on their own people, Iraq was already a basket case. It, like the former Soviet Union, would have collapsed under its own weight with only a little outside pressure. And as we're seeing in his trial, Saddam was hardly a case study for stability. Since the invasion of Kuwait, he made became a poorer and poorer judge of human nature. As for his sons, they were sociopaths--raving madmen--no doubt about it-- but they hardly possessed the intelligence nor the required self-control to keep their dying regime alive beyond its approaching expiration date.

The whole Iraq thing is a study in the impatient. We waited decades for the Soviet Union to collapse--a country which was armed to the gills with nuclear weapons--but we couldn't wait for a dying regime in the Middle East to draw its last breath.

IRAN, however, was and is, an even bigger threat, and the Iraq war has only served Iran's long term goals.

As Karen has already said, Iran has been developing a nuclear weapon program. The idea that an oil rich country needs nuclear power is laughable, and only indicates that the country is seeking--dare we say it--Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Iran also has the unique distinction of being Israel's greatest and most deadly enemy in the region, esepcially since they elected a new Islamicist fanatic for a president and since the Russians have agreed to supply them with sophisticated missile technology.

Contrary to what some on the other side and on this very blog may think, I am not a pacafist. Nor is Abe. We fully support the effort in Afghanistan and would have actually stepped up and intensified our action there. Some of my team members won't like to hear that, but like I said, I am not a dyed in the wool pacafist. There are times when you need to use military action, and if IRAN isn't such a case then I don't know what is. With advanced missile technology and nuclear weapons they not only pose a threat to the Middle East, but to Europe and areas of the former Soviet Union, not to mention Israel. And if the missile technology is advanced enough, quite possibly to the entire world.

This, after all, is the same nation that is dedicated to the establishment of a Shi'ite Empire that would stretch from the entire Middle East to Spain to the proverbial gates of Vienna. Not a comforting goal in the eyes of Western Civilization. And let's not forget that their recently elected president is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. And to make matters even worse, even reform-minded Iranians are proud of their budding nuclear technology and don't understand why the rest of the world is so worried. And to make matters even worse, the reform movement in Iran appears to be comatose--at least for the time being.

Instead of a half-hearted invasion of Iraq with an inadequate number of troops, we should have maintained an international quarantine of Iraq and launched a full scale assault against Iran. It sounds harsh, but let's face it. This is a regime that has been caught red-handed supporting international terrorism. This is a regime that hates women and the idea of religious pluralism.

Abe and I don't want this to be construed as a verbal attack on the millions of Muslims who really would like to live in peace and just get on with their every day lives, but we also think that the western powers AND Russia have to admit that this particular regime, these particular Iranian leaders, represent a genuine threat to civilization on a global basis. I'm sorry, but I really don't want to live in a world where women have top wear floor length black veils. I really don't like the idea of a Greater Iranian Empire in which religious dissdients and adulters can be executed in the public square, or where thieves hands are chopped off according to some anal retentive interpretation of the Koran.

Of course it could just be that the whole thing was a huge misunderstanding. It might just be that W's dyslexia kicked in when he read the word "Iran" and thought that it read "Iraq."

Enlightenment (AKA Trevor)

PS. If there's anyone out there who can confirm or disprove this next little tidbit I would be very appreciative. Someone recently told me that in the early days of the Iranian Islamic Republic, the Revolutionary Council decided it would be a fun idea to ban the refrigeration of meat on the grounds that such a practice would violate the teachings of the Koran. Is that by any chance true? The Iranian people had so many quirky laws and "traditions" imposed on them from the top down that I really can't say for certain if that one is true or not. The idea of serving 6-day- old mutton and telling the family that the squiggly white things are just additional protein doesn't sound like a viable public health policy, but with the late Ayatollah Koehmeni you just never knew. I haven't been able to obtain too many records on incidents of food poisoning and the like after the revolution, and the whole thing sounds a little loopy, but when it came to the late Ayatollah Crackpot you just couldn't tell.

Enlightenment said...

In one way I kind of LIKE the idea of taking out the nuclear facilities, BUT if you let Israel do it you'll successfully unite every Muslim in the Mid East. If you thought Mid Eastern anti-semitism ws bad before, just give them a unifying cause that would set the entire region on fire.


I would not be too unhappy if the facility or facilities were to experience a sudden and inexplicable series of "freak accidents" which would render their nuclear program null and void for at lest another forty to fifty years. If you get my drift.

Rhino-itall said...

light, we actually kind of agree on something. that's amazing, or scary. Anyway let me get to the areas where we disagree first. Iraq wouldn't have just collapsed, they have oil, and they had $$$ that they were stealing from the un oil for food program. not to mention that they had many friends in the region. Look at cuba for example, castro is still kicking even though his soviet masters are gone. As for the soviets that we waited for, we HAD to wait for them, BECAUSE they had arms. that's the point, and that's why i think we did the right thing in Iraq. you see i don't believe that Bush lied, the intelligence was wrong, and guess what, it was wrong on iran as well. just a few weeks ago the national intelligence estimate said iran was a DECADE away from a nuclear weapon, now we find out they're only months away! And the russians are not only not helping, they're selling them "defensive" missle technology. Finally, i agree that we should have invaded iran, i think we still should, i agree that letting isreal do it would create even more problems, i agree that we should at least cause some unexplained disasters, however heres the problem. the others on this blog are the types that would freak out if we had invaded iran, on what grounds they would have asked!!! the media would have crushed the president even more if that's possible, kerry and murtha would be screaming bloody murder (oh they are already) i mean that's just ridiculous! and if we did it now? well, i don't need to tell you how that would work. The bottom line light, is that if we listen to howard dean, we're living in a world where we get attacked by crazy muslims who hate us and they do it with no fear of retribution. these people are nuts, and they don't understand appeasement, they only understand an ass kickin. sorry i know this is a long one, but one more thing, tell abe i said welcome home, and even though he's always wrong and i'm always right, i look forward to hearing from him again soon.

Brandon said...

Hey there Rhino. I just tuned into this, and I hope you won't mind if our little strike force here drops in to badger you from time to time.

First of all....


The idea that Saddam ws 10 years away from a nuclear weapon should be ranked along side the insane rantings of the Flat Earth Society and the Pro Incest Lobby.

I mean, what is this? Are you guys anti-communist or not?? On the one hand you condemn as socialistic anything that might democratize a very repressive and unfair economic climate here in the United States, but then,in the next breath, you tell us how tough and long-lived these Communist regimes are. It's getting a little hard to tell. Do you hate them or do you admire their tenacity? I'm beginning to suspect that it's the latter. Especially since key Republican operatives like Ralph Reed have gone on the record as admiring Russian Bolsheviks for the way they infiltrated organizations. I guess you just have to be on guard for those Communist loving capitalists.

But since you mentioned Castro and Cuba, I would point out that while Fidel has managed to stay in power, his little Communist fiefdom has begun to crumble without continued Soviet support and continued economic opposition from the United States. And since you claim Castro as an example, I would point out that American sanctions have indeed rendered him toothless in so far as military intervention goes. Which I believe, is the point we were making. Thanks for agreeing with us. Would you care to offer up another example that works for our side? And while you're at it, you might want to rethink that remark about how you're always right abut everything?

I'm also a little amused by this remark.

"oh and by the way, the Soviets wanted the nazi's to be defeated in WWII, should we have stayed out of it? after all, they ended up taking half of europe after we helped them win. do you really believe it was the russian winter that defeated the nazi's? no it was us!"

Which makes me wonder.


That particular remark was nothing more than blatant historical revision. I won't deny that it was allied (read American and English) troops in alliance with Soviet Troops which crushed the Nazi war machine, but you are way off if you suggest that other factors weren't helpful in that very noble task.

First I would suggest that you check out a 1040 minute documentary by Issac Kleinerman from 1978 called THE UNKNOWN WAR along with the accompanying book of the same title by Harrison Evans Salisbury. Failing that I would suggest that you whip out stand by copy of THE RISE AND FALL OF THIRD REICH. All three will put your delusional hybrid of lies and fantasies to a quick and jstly deserved rest.

I'm sorry, but you just have it wrong. First of all, HItler had intended to invade Russia earlier in the spring of 1941, but he was delayed until June 22. Then the invasion took more time than he had anticipated. And what few people remember is that it wasn't only the Russian winter that played a factor. It was the rainy Russian autumn of that year which turned the Russian countryside into mud and slowed down the German war mcahine well before the Russian winter settled in.

But settled in the Russian did and the results were disastrous. The Germans had not prepared for a Russian winter. Their clothing was too light. Their divers and bombers couldn't function in the subzero temperatures. It became increasingly difficult to get supplies to the German troops.

Hint Hint. Freezing, hungry troops do nmt fight too well, especially when their tanks and jeeps won't move in the increasingly debilitating snow. And, now that I think about it,
tanks and jeeps don't operate very well when they run out of gas. To his credit, Hitler did NOT make the fatal mistake that a certain Frenchman made when he retreated from Russia, but the results were not pretty.

When Hitler resumed the offensive in the spring of 1942, fortune again seemed to have shone on the Nazi warlord, but now his megalomania was burning at a feverish pitch and he decided to slit his forces to take two, unobtainable objectives.

I agree, the effort on behalf of America made a huge difference, but there were other factors at play which might have negated the effort. In fact, I would suggest that you get a copy of a book called THE HITLER OPTIONS by Kenneth Macksey. In it you will find alternative scenarios in which the Axis Powers might have won World War II if certain actions had not been taken or taken. The point being that the outcome of that war was anything but certain.

In closing I would suggest the following article from Sparknotes at:

For those who are interested I shall Copy and Paste the entire article below:



June 22, 1941 - Germany begins invasion of USSR

July 1 - Germany has Riga, Dvinsk, Minsk, and Lvov under control

July 3 - Stalin orders scorched-earth policy

September - Hitler shifts priority of attack to southern Russia

September 8 - Germans begin siege of Leningrad

September 19 - Kiev falls to German forces

October - Thousands of russian civilians dig trenches around Moscow

November 27 - German advance on Moscow is halted

December 8 - Hitler orders all forces in USSR to shift from offensive to defensive operations

July 27, 1942 - German troops cross Don River

August 23 - German troops reach Volga River; Luftwaffe bombs Stalingrad

November 19–20 - USSR launches two offensives against Germans
December 12 - Germany launches Operation Winter Storm

February 2, 1943 - German Sixth Army surrenders

Joseph Stalin - Soviet premier; ordered scorched-earth policy to halt German advances in USSR

Friedrich Paulus - German field marshal; defied Hitler’s orders and surrendered to Soviets at Stalingrad

The initial German invasion of the Soviet Union was known as Operation Barbarossa. It began on June 22, 1941, after months of delay and years of planning. The general goals were to gain more land for Germany, control the oil fields of Azerbaijan, and exterminate Bolshevism—the radical Communism that Vladimir Lenin had installed in Russia during the Russian Revolution. Moreover, Hitler wanted to exterminate the “racially inferior” Russian people from Leningrad, Moscow, and the rest of the western USSR while pushing the rest of the population eastward beyond the Ural Mountains.

Despite the fact that the USSR was far larger than Germany both geographically and militarily, Hitler believed that the country would collapse quickly, after a brief show of German force. The German advance was organized into three main thrusts: one through the Baltic region, toward Leningrad; one through central Russia, toward Moscow; and one to the south, toward Kiev and the Black Sea coast. This resulted in a front line nearly 1,000 miles long, which necessitated a gargantuan Axis force of approximately 4 million soldiers, 3 million of whom were German. Although Hitler hoped to complete the operation by the onset of winter in late 1941, Germany’s conflict with the Soviet Union would continue for most of the war.

Much like Hitler’s previous invasions, the attack on the USSR began by air and concentrated on Russian frontline airbases. The Soviet Union had a substantially larger, though less modern, air force than Germany, and destroying it was crucial to Germany’s success. The German attack began in the predawn hours of June 22 and continued without letup nearly all day. Though estimates vary significantly, the USSR lost between 1,200 and 2,000 aircraft—approximately one quarter of its entire air force—the first day. Most of these aircraft were destroyed on the ground, parked at their airbases. Over the next week, the Soviets lost an additional 2,000 to 3,000 in battle. The setback was devastating and would take the USSR a long time to overcome.

The German attack caught the Soviet military completely off guard, and its forces were not positioned to respond effectively to the attacks. In its confusion, the Soviet high command issued contradictory orders, and Soviet premier Joseph Stalin hesitated before ordering decisive action. In the meantime, German forces advanced quickly across the Russian countryside. In little more than a week, by July 1, the Germans had pushed 200 to 300 miles into Russia and captured the major cities of Riga and Dvinsk in the north, Minsk in the central region, and Lvov in the south.

Even prior to the invasion, Stalin had made several decisions that severely weakened his country’s ability to respond to the German threat. First, during his infamous purges of the 1930s, Stalin had most of the Soviet military leadership murdered or sent to labor camps in Siberia. Because this group included many seasoned officers, Russia’s military leadership in 1941 was much less experienced than it had been only five or six years before. Second, Stalin had resisted early recommendations by his military leaders to mobilize forces along the western border or to take steps to protect air bases from attack. Stalin’s motives in this matter have never been clear.

Despite these setbacks, the USSR still put up a formidable fight. Unlike most of the enemy forces that the Germans had encountered in western Europe, the Soviet troops tended either to retreat or fight to the last man—not surrender. Within days of the invasion, the Soviets organized small partisan groups and “destruction battalions” and sent them behind enemy lines to interfere with German efforts in numerous ways.

On July 3, Stalin ordered the Soviet army to implement a scorched-earth policy and either destroy or remove all useful supplies or facilities before retreating so that these resources would not fall into German hands. The Russians thus destroyed roads and bridges, burned fields of crops, and demolished or emptied many factories. Some major factories were even disassembled and moved eastward out of danger. The scorched-earth policy was effective and hindered the advancing German armies.

Although Britain and the United States were wary of Stalin and Russian Communism in general, the idea that the entire USSR might fall to the Germans was unacceptable. Within days of the invasion, Britain began providing Stalin with intelligence information gleaned directly from secret German transmissions that Allied code breakers had cracked and continued to read on a daily basis. In early July, the British also intensified their bombing of Berlin and other major German cities in an effort to force Hitler to recall some of the Luftwaffe forces back to Germany.

By late July, the first allied shipments of military supplies began reaching ports in the northern USSR. These shipments from Britain and the United States continued to grow significantly and included large numbers of aircraft and tanks, as well as food and medical supplies. From August 10–14, Churchill and Roosevelt met onboard a ship off Newfoundland and together laid out an extensive plan for providing large-scale assistance to the USSR.

By early September 1941, German forces had moved deep into European Russia, within easy reach of the major cities of Kiev and Leningrad. On September 10, Hitler decided to concentrate on the invasion of southern Russia and the Ukraine, hoping to gain access to the region’s economic resources, which included the wheat fields of the Ukraine, the citrus farms of the Black Sea coast, and the oil fields of the Caucasus.

On September 12, Hitler ordered the northern forces to cease their advance on Leningrad. Rather than enter the city, they were ordered to hold their current position, encircle the city, and slowly starve it to death. This strategy would allow several German tank divisions in the Leningrad area to be diverted for use in the south. Thus began the famous 900-day siege of Leningrad.

With more German troops available for in the south, the Ukraine collapsed quickly. After the Germans captured nearly half a million Soviet troops outside Kiev, the Ukrainian capital fell on September 19.

Hitler originally planned for the campaign against the Soviet Union to take six weeks. Although the Germans did initially make very fast progress, the farther into the USSR they traveled, the more things slowed down. In the meantime, summer turned to autumn, bringing a constant, miserable mix of rain and snow. During October, the roads turned to mud, effectively halting the German advance. By November, snow covered the ground, and temperatures were so cold that they interfered with the operation of equipment. German soldiers, still in summer uniforms, succumbed to frostbite and hypothermia in large numbers. Hitler nonetheless ordered them to continue.

The winter gave the Soviet armies a new advantage, as they were far better prepared to fight under such conditions. Moreover, reinforcements from the Russian Far East arrived in large numbers, while the tanks and planes sent from Britain and the United States were finally entering combat. German intelligence was unaware of these reinforcements, leaving the German troops in for a nasty surprise.

As the Germans approached Moscow, they encountered row after row after row of trenches and ditches reinforced by barbed wire. Since late October, thousands of Russian civilians had dug more than 5,000 miles of trenches by hand all the way around the city. On November 27, 1941, these trenches finally brought the German advance on Moscow to a halt, less than twenty miles from the Kremlin.

Overwhelmed by a strong Russian defense, frigid temperatures, and constant harassment by Russian partisans behind the lines, the Germans became mired. In just three weeks, they lost 85,000 men—the same number that they had lost over the entire Barbarossa campaign up to that point. During the first week of December, the Germans slowly began losing ground, and the Soviets managed to push them back for several miles. Although the Germans still did not retreat, on December 8, 1941, a directive issued from Hitler himself instructed all German troops in Russia to shift from offensive operations to defensive.

Most historians would agree that Hitler’s decision to invade the USSR was one of the main reasons that Germany lost the war. German forces were tied up in this conflict for years. It drained Germany’s resources, hurt morale, and diverted its military presence from western Europe, ultimately making it possible for British and American forces to invade France in 1944.

Germany’s failure in Russia was the result of several gross miscalculations. Hitler underestimated how long the operation would take, how hard the Russians would fight, how successful Russian partisan actions would be, and how quickly and effectively the Allies would come to the Soviet Union’s aid. Hitler also failed to comprehend how difficult it would be to maintain control of such a huge territory or how poorly prepared the German military was for fighting in Russia’s climate.

The scope of the devastation that occurred in the Soviet Union during World War II is poorly appreciated in the West and indeed hard even to fathom. Germany carried out the invasion with a brutality rarely seen in human history. Twenty million people died in Russia at the hands of the invaders—a total that includes soldiers fighting on the front, Jews who were singled out and murdered in Russian towns, local government officials, and millions of ordinary Russian citizens who were killed with the same calculating methodology. One of Hitler’s specific goals for the invasion was to substantially reduce the overall population of the western Soviet Union to make more room for the Germans whom he intended to move there. The scale of the killing was so great that even some members of the German death squads became overwhelmed by the grotesqueness of their orders.

After the stalemate near Moscow over the winter of 1941–1942, Germany shifted the focus of its invasion force to the south, where it had already captured most of the Ukraine, and sent most of its troops across the southern Russian steppes. On July 27, 1942, these forces crossed the Don River and made for the industrial center of Stalingrad. Yet another prong of the German offensive was heading even farther south, into the region of the Caucasus Mountains. In the meantime, resistance by Soviet partisans behind the German lines continued with increasing success.

The Germans reached the Volga River on August 23, 1942, to the north of Stalingrad, and made ready for an all-out assault on the city. On the same day, hundreds of German bombers struck Stalingrad with enough ordinance to set off a firestorm, and the Volga itself caught fire after the burning contents of local oil reserves spilled into the river. Approximately 40,000 residents of Stalingrad died during the initial assault. Encouraged by the early success, German commanders believed that Stalingrad would be a quick victory. As it turned out, it would become one of the deadliest single battles in history and would last for six months.

Within days, the German army entered Stalingrad, where Soviet forces were waiting. Both Stalin and Hitler had forbidden their troops from retreating under any circumstances. For months, the fighting moved street by street, block by block, and the city was gutted to a skeleton of its former self as the Germans launched repeated air raids involving up to 1,000 planes at a time. On the ground, troops from both sides took cover in bombed-out buildings, tanks roamed awkwardly through rubble-strewn streets, and Russian and German snipers hid in the ruins and tried to pick off enemy soldiers.

Stalin ordered thousands of additional Soviet troops from other regions to be amassed to the north of Stalingrad and sent the majority of Russia’s military aircraft to the city’s defense. Meanwhile, the Germans surrounded the city from the west, trapping the Russian defenders inside the city. The Germans failed to gain control of the Volga River, however, and the Russians were able to send in food and supplies via that route.

As the autumn of 1942 waned, the German army faced its second winter in Russia. The Germans attempted to bring in supplies for the winter, but powerful Soviet air defenses combined with vicious snowstorms proved too much of an obstacle. On November 19–20, the Russians launched two new offensive actions from the north and the south, which eventually surrounded the entire German Sixth Army. The German commander on the scene, Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, requested permission to break free and retreat to the Don River. Hitler refused and ordered him to fight on, even as food and supplies were running out.

On December 12, Germany launched Operation Winter Storm in an attempt to rescue the trapped army, but the action failed. The Sixth Army struggled on as its soldiers slowly starved. At the end of January 1943, Paulus decided to defy Hitler’s orders and surrender. By February 2, all remaining German forces at Stalingrad had given up to the Soviets.

Historians estimate that approximately 2 million people died in the Battle of Stalingrad, more than 800,000 on the German side and 1.1 million on the Soviet side. After the battle, little of the city itself remained, and it would not be reconstructed fully for decades. Despite the catastrophic losses, the Soviet victory stood as solid proof to the world that the Third Reich was not invincible.

Brandon said...

Of course none of this says anything about the bloody, Umaerican Rendon Group and how it led us into a war of choice.

Eli Blake said...

A very interesting letter today in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from a retired career Naval Officer:

Remembering Pearl Harbor seems doubly -- or even triply -- important today. With that memory comes also the voice (rebroadcast almost every year) of President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring to Congress and the nation, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked ..."

My 31 years of service as an officer in the U.S. Navy were richly satisfying -- in large measure because of the men and women with whom I served. But even more, my satisfaction came from an appreciation for living in and serving a nation dedicated to the principles of freedom and opportunity and justice for all, and of nobody being above the law.

But now, we are living in a country whose administration both declares and acts upon the belief that preemptive strikes are wise foreign policy, are a legitimate use of our military. Was the attack on Pearl Harbor anything other than a preemptive strike?

I ask President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- are we now to view Pearl Harbor as the product of a sound foreign policy by a nation with a strong military? Or would we instead be wise to remember that December 7, 1941, is still a date which will live in infamy?


In other words, if we use the Bush policy on pre-emptive war as a standard, then the Pearl Harbor attack was justified (since there is no question that the U.S. military in 1941 was a far greater threat to Japan than Saddam Hussein was to us in 2003.

Rhino-itall said...

sorry guys, that was just too much to read. i scanned it. that's the best i can do right now. here's my summary of my position. Bush didn't lie, we did the right thing invading iraq, commies are bad, i am not on crack. Eli, i just heard decorated war veteran and former congressman bob kerrey on imus this morning, he still thinks we did the right thing going into iraq. so i'll see your war hero, and raise you a war hero senator who sat on the 9/11 commission and saw all the intelligence. we can go back and forth on whether or not the iraq invasion was the right thing to do, the truth is, only time will tell. but i beleive that with the info we had at the time, with the backdrop of 9/11, and with the history of sadamm using wmd, we had to do what we did. once again i say, if sadamm had complied with the U.N. resolutions, we wouldn't be there right now. Don't lose sight of who is at fault here.