Post-War Iraq Quiz

by Stephen R. Shalom

  1. The Bush administration claimed that it waged war on Iraq because of its concern about terrorism. How else has the administration shown its concern about terrorism?
    1. Though there are more than 100 chemical plants where a single terrorist attack could potentially expose more than a million people to toxic gas, there are no mandatory security regulations applying to chemical plants. Tough legislation in this regard was blocked by industry lobbying and lack of support from the Bush administration.
    2. It was not until 18 months after 9/11 that the Nuclear Regulatory Agency revised its policy stating that nuclear power plants needed to be secure only from an attack by three or fewer individuals armed with no more than rifles; the revisions were worked out in closed-door meetings with the nuclear industry and excluded public interest organizations. The new policy is secret, but NRC officials are on record as saying it is not necessary to be able to protect against a 9/11-scale attack.
    3. The Bush administration has ordered the elimination of 11% of airport baggage screener jobs.
    4. All of the above.

  2. Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declared on April 10 "we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found." Which of the following has been a result of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
    1. Before the war, the Bush administration warned that Iraq might have 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, and upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. So far, these estimates have fallen short by exactly 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, and 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.
    2. Despite the claim that the war was fought to prevent WMD getting into the hands of terrorists, U.S. officials allowed the looting of seven sites in Iraq where nuclear material was present.
    3. U.S. troops found a "top secret" Iraqi intelligence memo at a secret police headquarters that described an offer by a "holy warrior" in Africa to sell uranium and other nuclear material to Iraq. Iraq rejected the offer, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation."
    4. All of the above.

  3. U.S. officials warned that Saddam Hussein's forces were prepared to use chemical weapons during the war. Which of the following describes the actual conduct of the war?
    1. The United States and Britain used cluster bombs, condemned by international human rights groups.
    2. The only time "coalition" forces had to wear their protective chemical suits during the war was when recovering a body from a friendly fire incident to protect themselves from the effects of U.S. depleted uranium ordnance.
    3. The United States and Britain used depleted uranium munitions, which Amnesty International urges be banned until their long-term health effects can be properly investigated and which the European Parliament urges be banned pending a comprehensive study of their legality.
    4. All of the above.

  4. The Bush administration claimed that war against Iraq would somehow diminish the danger from al Qaeda. What is the al Qaeda threat today?
    1. The International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in May 2003 that al Qaeda was "more insidious and just as dangerous" as it was before September 11, 2001.
    2. Jason Burke, author of a forthcoming book on al Qaeda, has written "That the conflict in Iraq led to a rise in recruitment for radical groups is now so clear that even US officials admit it. This is a huge setback in the 'war on terror.'"
    3. Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on al Qaeda, said al Qaeda had been weakened, but it had no trouble in recruiting fresh members among Muslims whose anti-Western passions had been fuelled by the war in Iraq. "For every three to five members, they have five to 10 more recruits. As a result, active terrorist groups will be able to grow and become more powerful and influential."
    4. All of the above.

  5. U.S. officials claimed that there were ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. What evidence has come to light supporting this claim?
    1. Senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledge that they have not yet found any new and conclusive evidence inside Iraq of connections between Saddam Hussein's government and al Qaeda.
    2. U.S. intelligence officials have told journalist Seymour Hersh that the Boeing 707 parked at Salman Pak outside Baghdad was not, as U.S. spokespeople have charged, for training terrorists in airplane hijacking, but for training in anti-hijacking operations.
    3. Despite a much ballyhooed document said to be found by a reporter - after the CIA had gone through the building and "seemed to have missed" it - showing that an envoy from bin Laden visited Baghdad in 1998, British intelligence remained doubtful that any working relationship was established and noted the lack of any evidence of any follow up meetings.
    4. All of the above.

  6. The Bush administration claimed that this war would teach nations not to seek weapons of mass destruction. What is the state of proliferation in the wake of the Iraq war?
    1. "Paradoxically, the runaway American victory in the conventional arms race might inspire a new round of proliferation of atomic weapons. With no hope of matching the United States plane for plane, more countries may seek atomic weapons to gain deterrence."
    2. At the international disarmament conference that began in late April 2003 in Geneva, "disarmament experts said that American lack of commitment to non-proliferation was as damaging as the behavior of the proliferators."
    3. On April 24, shortly after the fall of Baghdad, North Korea announced that it possessed nuclear weapons.
    4. All of the above.

  7. The U.S. war on Iraq involved no mass slaughter as in Hiroshima or Dresden. Which of the following indicates the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians?
    1. According to the documented, but necessarily incomplete tabulations of Iraq Body Count, at least 5,400 civilians have been killed in Iraq by U.S.-led military action between March 21 and May 26.
    2. UNICEF reported that acute malnutrition rates in children under 5 had doubled from before the war.
    3. According to Kadem Hashem, a resident of Nasariya, "Before, we had no freedom, but we had security. Now, we have freedom, but no security, no work and no income."
    4. All of the above.

  8. The looting of Iraqi museums, hospitals, universities, and government ministries while U.S. troops stood by is well known. What other looting of Iraq has been taking place?
    1. Halliburton, formerly headed by and still paying Vice President Dick Cheney, which was fined $2 million to resolve fraud claims in 2002, and which has given $674,000 in campaign contributions to Republicans from 1999-2002, was awarded by the Pentagon a secret, no-bid contract for work in Iraq worth as much as $7 billion.
    2. Bechtel, whose former chief executive and current board member is George Shultz, Reagan's Secretary of State and head of the advisory committee of the Committee to Liberate Iraq, whose current CEO is on Bush's Export Council, whose other current or former board members include Reagan's Secretary of Defense and CIA director and a member of Bush's Defense Policy Board, which has given $766,000 in campaign contributions to Republicans from 1999-2002, and which tried to work out a pipeline deal with Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s with the help of emissary Donald Rumsfeld, was awarded the largest Iraq reconstruction contract by USAID.
    3. The U.S.-appointed chair of the U.S.-established "advisory" committee for the Iraqi oil industry, Philip J. Carroll, former head of Shell Oil and of Fluor (a firm currently bidding on Iraq reconstruction projects) and with substantial stock in both, has indicated that Iraq might "choose" not to remain within OPEC, which would serve the U.S. aim of breaking the oil cartel. The one near-certainty, said Carroll, is that the future expansion of Iraq's oil industry will be driven in part by foreign capital.
    4. All of the above.

  9. The end of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship is extremely welcome. Yet which of the following might indicate that democracy is not on the immediate horizon for Iraq?
    1. On April 28, the U.S. and Britain organized a meeting in Baghdad to start the political process. Many parties were not invited, and though U.S. and UK authorities refused to provide a list of invitees it was known that the two largest pre-Saddam Hussein parties - the Communist party and the Islamic Dawa party - were excluded, while outside thousands protested.
    2. The U.S. Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance - the formal occupying authority - is so lacking in transparency that even its charter remains classified secret.
    3. The formation of the Iraqi interim authority -- which U.S. officials made clear would not be an interim government, for Washington would retain the crucial levers of power for an indefinite period -- has been postponed by the U.S. until July at the earliest.
    4. All of the above.

  10. Attorney General John Ashcroft has replied to critics who warn that his policies threaten civil liberties, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message to you is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists." Which of the following have been aiding terrorists?
    1. The 31% of corporate chief security officers surveyed by CSO magazine who believe that the United States is in jeopardy of becoming a police state.
    2. Leading conservative ideologue and former House majority leader Dick Armey, who called the Justice Department "out of control" and "the most dangerous agency of government."
    3. The Republican-majority State legislature of Alaska, which passed with a single dissenting vote a resolution condemning the Patriot Act.
    4. All of the above.

  11. Match the quotations in column one with the person who said them in column two.
    1. "We came to bear country, we came loaded for bear and we found out the bear wasn't here."
    2. "The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy. I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."
    3. "We're going to ask people to turn up to the buildings even if they don't exist."
    4. "It's no coincidence that no terrorist operations were mounted by al Qaeda. This was the big game for them -- you put up or shut up and they have failed. It proves that the global war on terrorism has been effective, focused and has got these guys on the run."
    5. "[T]his was not the primary reason we went to war. We emphasized the danger of Saddam's weapons in order to gain legal justification for war from the United Nations and to emphasize the danger here at home to our own people. We were not lying 'it was just a matter of emphasis.'"
    6. "Saddam Hussein is a terrible person, he is a threat to his own people. I think his people would be better off with a different leader, but there is this sort of romantic notion that if Saddam Hussein got hit by a bus tomorrow, some Jeffersonian democrat is waiting in the wings to hold popular elections. You're going to get -- guess what -- probably another Saddam Hussein. It will take a little while for them to paint the pictures all over the walls again -- but there should be no illusions about the nature of that country or its society. And the American people and all of the people who second-guess us now would have been outraged if we had gone on to Baghdad and we found ourselves in Baghdad with American soldiers patrolling the streets two years later still looking for Jefferson."
    7. "Stuff happens."
    8. "We have entered World War IV. More than a war against terrorism, this is a war to extend democracy to those parts of the Arab and Muslim world that threaten the liberal civilization we worked to build and defend throughout the 20th century . . . . I hope it will not be as long as the 40-plus years of World War III but it will certainly be longer than either World War I or World War II. It will probably take decades."

    1. A Defense Intelligence Agency officer from Task Force 75, the group charged with finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, on closing up shop after finding no such weapons.
    2. A U.S. marine, after his unit killed 12 Iraqi civilians.
    3. Maj. Gen. Carl Strock of the Army Corps of Engineers at a news conference explaining that Iraqi civil servants were being asked to return to work even in cases where there were no facilities left because of looting.
    4. Cofer Black, long-time CIA terrorism official who now heads the State Department's counterterrorism office, a week before al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
    5. Unnamed U.S. officials, quoted by ABC News, asked the significance if no weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq.
    6. Colin Powell, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1992.
    7. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, explaining why U.S. forces had not prevented looting in Iraq.
    8. James Woolsey, former CIA director and current Pentagon adviser, indicating his broader agenda.
    9. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Saddam Hussein's Minister of Information.


Answers and Sources

  1. (D)
    1. Jacob M. Schlesinger and Thaddeus Herrick, "Chemical Manufacturers Elude Crackdown On Toxic Materials," Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2003, available on Sen. Corzine's website; U.S. General Accounting Office, Voluntary Initiatives Are Under Way at Chemical Facilities but the Extent of Security Preparedness Is Unknown, GAO-03-439, March 2003.
    2. Daniel Hirsch, David Lochbaum & Edwin Lyman, "The NRC's Dirty Little Secret," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 2003, pp. 44-51; Committee To Bridge The Gap, Nuclear Control Institute, and Union Of Concerned Scientists, press release, "Nuclear Terrorism Experts Criticize NRC's 'Mini-Steps' On Reactor Security; 'Minimal Changes Are Insufficient To Protect Against 9/11-Type Threats,'" May 1, 2003, [link]; Bennett Ramberg, "Safety or Secrecy," New York Times (NYT), May 20, 2003, p. A27.
    3. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, "Amid Criticism, U.S. Will Cut 11% of Airport Screener Jobs," Los Angeles Times (LAT), May 1, 2003, p. I:18; Ron Marsico, "Senators fault plans to cut screeners at Newark Airport," Newark Star Ledger, May 17, 2003; Edward Wong, "Security Cutbacks Worry Airport Officials," NYT, May 22, 2003, p. C1.

  2. (D) White House Press Briefing, April 10, 2003, [link].
    1. Administration claims from George W. Bush, State of the Union message, Jan. 28, 2003, [link].
    2. Barton Gellman, "Seven Nuclear Sites Looted; Iraqi Scientific Files, Some Containers Missing," Washington Post (WP), May 10, 2003, p. A01; Donald Macintyre, "In the Wreckage of Saddam's Nuclear Research Centre, Looters Take Their Pick of Lethal Spoils," Independent, May 10, 2003, p. 4; Walter Pincus, "U.N. Atomic Chief Again Warns U.S. About Iraq," WP, May 20, 2003, p. A08. Note: there is no evidence that these were weapons sites; their nuclear material had been under international supervision and seal.
    3. This rather significant document was referred to only in the middle of a long article on unrelated documents dealing with Israel and hence has gone largely unnoticed. Judith Miller, "Iraqi Documents on Israel Surface on a Cultural Hunt," NYT, May 7, 2003, p. A17.

  3. (D)
    1. See Amnesty International, "Iraq: Use of cluster bombs -- Civilians pay the price," April 2, 2003, [link]; Human Rights Watch, "U.S. Use of Clusters in Baghdad Condemned," April 16, 2003, [link]. See also Iraq Body Count, "How Many Civilians Were Killed By Cluster Bombs? The Pentagon says 1: Iraq Body Count says at least 200," May 2003, [link].
    2. Audrey Gillian, "'I never want to hear that sound again': Five British soldiers have died under 'friendly fire,'" Guardian, March 31, 2003, p. 3.
    3. Amnesty International, "Iraq: Voice your opposition to indiscriminate weapons - Take action!" April 4, 2003, [link]; European Parliament, "Unexploded ordnance and depleted uranium ammunition," Feb. 13, 2003, P5_TA-PROV(2003)0062, available at [link].

  4. (D)
    1. Michael Evans, "Al-Qaeda is now 'as great a threat as it was before September 11'," The Times (London), May 14, 2003, p. 16.
    2. Jason Burke, "The return of al Qaeda," Observer, May 18, 2003, p. 17. See also "Iraq war helped boost Al Qaeda," Toronto Star, May 20, 2003, p. A01.
    3. Robin Gedye, "Al-Qa'eda 'getting ready to strike back'," Daily Telegraph, May 22, 2003, p. 4.

  5. (D)
    1. James Risen, "Prewar Views of Iraq Threat Are Under Review by C.I.A.," NYT, May 22, 2003, p. A1.
    2. Seymour Hersh, "Selective Intelligence," New Yorker, May 12, 2003.
    3. Martin Bright and Jason Burke, "Saddam held talks on alliance with al-Qaeda," Observer, April 27, 2003, p. 2; Donald Macintyre, "Intelligence Papers Found In Baghdad Point To Regime's Links With Bin Laden," Independent, April 28, 2003, p. 9; Michael Evans, "Saddam link to al-Qaeda in doubt," The Times (London), April 28, 2003, p. 14; Richard Norton-Taylor and Ewen MacAskill, "Al-Qaida links still dubious," Guardian, April 28, 2003, p. 11.

  6. (D)
    1. Gregg Easterbrook, "American Power Moves Beyond the Mere Super," NYT, April 27, 2003, p. IV:1.
    2. Peter Popham, "Nuclear War Risk Grows As States Race To Acquire Bomb," Independent, April 29, 2003, p. 13. The U.S. lack of commitment has been demonstrated by Bush's signing of Presidential National Security Directive 17 saying that the U.S. reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapons state (in violation of Security Council resolution 984 of 1995), by its refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and by the Pentagon's request to have Congress lift the 10-year ban on developing small nuclear warheads. (See Julian Borger, "Pentagon wants mini-nuke ban to be lifted," Guardian, March 7, 2003, p. 18.)
    3. David E. Sanger, "North Korea Says It Now Possesses Nuclear Arsenal," NYT, April 25, 2003, p. A1.

  7. (D)
    1., accessed May 27, 2003 (sources and methodology included; a few additional deaths before March 21 are also listed). See also Laura King, "Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed," LAT, May 18, 2003, p. I:1; Peter Ford, "Surveys pointing to high civilian death toll in Iraq," Christian Science Monitor, May 22, 2003, p. 1.
    2. UNICEF, "Iraq survey finds child health sliding," May 14, 2003, [link].
    3. Quoted in Ed Vulliamy, "Gun gangs rule streets as US loses control," Observer, May 25, 2003.

  8. (D)
    1. David Ivanovich, "Pentagon defends Halliburton job; Firm got contract without bids," Houston Chronicle, April 11, 2003, Business section, p. 1; Minority Staff, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, "Fact Sheet: The Bush Administration's Contracts With Halliburton," May 2003, and letters, Robert B. Flowers to Henry A. Waxman, May 2, 2003; Waxman to Flowers, May 6, 2003, all available at [link]; Center For Responsive Politics, "Rebuilding Iraq," Updated 4/28/03, [link]; AP, "Papers Show Expanded Halliburton Iraq Role," NYT, May 7, 2003, p. C13.
    2. Center For Responsive Politics, "Rebuilding Iraq," Updated 4/28/03, [link]; Jim Vallette, Steve Kretzmann, and Daphne Wysham, Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured U.S. Government Focus on Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein, Washington, DC: Institute for Policy Studies, March 2003; Andrew Gumbel, "Well-Connected and Wealthy: Bechtel Wins from Saddam's Demise," Independent, May 24, 2003, p. 10. The administrator of USAID, Andrew Natsios, once headed the Boston-area "Big Dig" construction project, for which Bechtel was the prime contractor, with immense cost-over-runs.
    3. Peter S. Goodman, "U.S. Adviser Says Iraq May Break With OPEC; Carroll Hints Nation Could Void Contracts," WP, May 17, 2003, p. E1; Mark Fineman, "Advisor Cites Conflict Potential," LAT, May 16, 2003, p. I:4.

  9. (D)
    1. Elizabeth Neuffer, "Iraqis OK Conference on Self-Rule Critics Urge More Inclusion Next Month," Boston Globe, April 29, 2003, p. 1; Jonathan Steele, "Delegates agree new talks on government," Guardian, April 29, 2003, p. 4.
    2. Edward Epstein, "Congress curious about Iraq deals; Members from both parties want details on awarding of contracts," San Francisco Chronicle, May 20, 2003, p. A3.
    3. Neela Banerjee, "U.S. Says Iraqi Assembly Could Meet in July," NYT, May 22, 2003, p. A13; Edmund L. Andrews, "Shiite Group Says U.S. Is Reneging on Interim Rule," NYT, May 19, 2003, p. A10.

  10. (D) Ashcroft quoted: Neil A. Lewis, "Ashcroft Defends Antiterror Plan; Says Criticism May Aid U.S. Foes," NYT, Dec. 7, 2001, p. A1.
    1. CSO press release, "Chief Security Officers Reveal Concerns About U.S. Government Security Measures," May 12, 2003, [link].
    2. Quoted in Nat Hentoff, "Conservatives Rise for the Bill of Rights!" Village Voice, April 25, 2003, [link].
    3. Dean Schabner, "Northern Revolt: Alaska Passes Anti-Patriot Act Resolution; Second State to Oppose Feds," ABC News, May 23, 2003, [link]. Text of Alaska's resolution is at [link]. Similar resolutions have been passed by the state of Hawaii and by 112 cities, towns, and counties (as of May 27, 2003), including Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Tucson. See Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Guidelines for working on such resolutions are available at For general analyses of the state of civil liberties in the United States since 9/11, see American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom Under Fire: Dissent in Post-9/11 America, New York: ACLU, May 2003,; New York Civil Liberties Union, Arresting Protest: A Special Report of the New York Civil Liberties Union on New York City's Protest Policies at the February 15, 2003 Antiwar Demonstration in New York City, New York: NYCLU, April, 2003,; Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, A Year of Loss: Reexamining Civil Liberties Since September 11, New York: LCHR, 2002, and Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, Imbalance of Powers: How Changes to U.S. Law & Policy Since 9/11 Erode Human Rights and Civil Liberties, September 2002 - March 2003, New York: LCHR, 2003,

    1. (i) Barton Gellman, "Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq: Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons," WP, May 11, 2003, p. A1.
    2. (ii) Mark Franchetti, "US Marines Turn Fire on Civilians at the Bridge of Death," The Times (London), March 30, 2003, p. 1.
    3. (iii) Jane Perlez and Michael R. Gordon, "Baghdad Blasts At Arms Dump Kill at Least 6," NYT, April 27, 2003, p. I:1.
    4. (iv) Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, "Spy Agencies' Optimism On Al Qaeda Is Growing; Lack of Attacks Thought to Show Group Is Nearly Crippled," WP, May 6, 2003, p. A16.
    5. (v) ABC News, Nightline, April 22, 2003, John Cochran reporting.
    6. (vi) Quoted in Robert Blecher, "'Free People Will Set the Course of History': Intellectuals, Democracy and American Empire," Middle East Report Online, March 2003.
    7. (vii) "Rumsfeld's Words on Iraq: 'There Is Untidiness'," NYT, April 12, 2003, p. B5.
    8. (viii) James Woolsey, "This is World War IV," Herald Sun (Melbourne), April 8, 2003, p. 19.


Interpreting Your Score

15-18 Correct: Excellent. You're probably on file with the government's Total Information Awareness system (renamed the Terrorism Information Awareness system to reassure the American public [NYT, May 21, 2003, p. A20]).

10-14 Correct: Fair. You may have watched the non-stop cable coverage of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," but you could use a good dose of the alternative media.

5-9 Correct: Poor. But don't despair. As George W. Bush said on Nov. 6, 2000, "They misunderestimated me."

0-4 Correct: Failing. But it doesn't matter. You too are probably on file with the government's Total Information Awareness system.