Did the Pentagon forge/lie about satellite photos at start of Gulf War 1?


I heard this allegation (that the U.S. forged/lied about satellite photos showing Iraqi troops massing on the Saudi border) on a radio program today, and a quick Google search turned this up.

Anyone else heard this before? Is it likely true?

I’ve heard about it before and here’s a 2002 Christian Science Monitor article with the same details. An interesting bit:

I can’t imagine why we shouldn’t trust Dick and friends. :rolleyes:

Certainly fishy… but two points to consider:

  • No one will leave troops just baking in the desert, Iraqi troops were busy plundering and keeping Kuwaitis in control.

  • Once Iraqis got rolling its too late to protect Saudi Arabia. So either you send in troops or the Iraqis might be tempted to invade. Personally I doubt they would invade Saudi Arabia… but fine.

    I thought that the primary mission was taking back Kuwait… not only defend Saudi Arabia…

I don’t have any evidence to support either position, but I think there are obvious flaws in the journalist’s study. Heller claims to have satellite photos which show nothing in the desert, so therefore nothing was in the desert. Did these photos cover the entire area in question? Were they of sufficient resolution and were they examined by analysts qualified to identify camouflaged positions? It’s a shame the Pentagon hasn’t released documentation to the contrary, but their refusal to do so does not necessarily prove Heller was right. It may just prove that they don’t want to identify the types and precision of the intelligence they have in the area.

You know, my wife claims she saw a pretty bird in a tree outside the window, but I just looked and it wasn’t there, so she must be a dirty stinking liar.

I would have no difficulty believing there was a fabrication, nor that there was genuine satellite evidence. Unless/Until the correspondent releases the satellite photos that he alleges prove there was no build-up (or the Pentagon releases theirs), this is simply a matter of “he said; they said”. We can’t even begin to assess whether the evidence was sufficeint to lend credence to either side, and our conclusion ends up being based on our preexisting beliefs.

While have not yet found enough substantial evidence on this particular controversy to tell if this is what I jokingly call a “cavity resonator” (an empty space, like an echo chamber, than amplifies whatever comes in) such tactics have been used by both sides of many recent pro/anti Administration controversies, and have only served to polarize the nation by making each citizen believe that their views are incontrovertibly proven, when neither side actually is. This serves only to strengthen the leaders on both sides of the schism, without the messiness (and often embarrassments) that come from real world facts, which are often not clear cut – may cast light on other issues that they may not wish illuminated.

I am sick of it. I get as angry at those who use casuistry, deceit, or misrepresentation to argue opinions I support as I do at those who use them to oppose my views. I’d actually be angrier at those who lie in support of my views, but, by definition, I think the other side is “wrong” to begin with.

Has anyone seen an article, cite, or even a website with the actual satellite photos or other evidence in support of either the Administration or correspondent’s view? We may not be qualified photo recon analysts, but I think we can begin to decide if the volume and scope of the data is sufficient to support either side’s conclusion.

I think your questions are valid and deserve to be answered, but in fairness to your wife, a bird can fly away a lot quicker than 120,000 troops and 850 tanks possibly could.

Saudi Arabia’s much larger than Kuwait as has much larger oil reserves, as well as a more formidable military. No one would suprise Kuwait first and then attack SA later. This never made sense to me.

Plus of course the Iraqis lay a historic claim (not debating the merits thereof here) to Kuwait and obviously not SA.