The United States military, the Central Intelligence Agency and Iraqi exiles began a broad covert effort inside Iraq at least three months before the war to forge alliances with Iraqi military leaders and persuade commanders not to fight, say people involved in the effort. Even after the war began, the Bush administration received word that top officials of the Iraqi government, most prominently the defense minister, Gen. Sultan Hashem Ahmed al-Tai, might be willing to cooperate to bring the war to a quick end and to ensure a postwar peace, current and former American officials say. General Hashem’s ministry was never bombed by the United States during the war, and the Pentagon’s decision not to knock Iraqi broadcasting off the air permitted him to appear on television with what some Iraqi exiles have called a veiled signal to troops that they should not fight the invading allies. Full Story
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