a letter Jack Kemp sent to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on
December 18, urging Senate hearings on our military action in Iraq. It was
subsequently distributed to the press, but got almost no attention.
United States Senate
on your courage in questioning both the timing of President
Clintons military attack on Iraq and the policy on which it is based.
have made the point that skepticism about the timing is justified because,
in your words, the president had already "burned" us once by mistakenly
bombing a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, while deceptively
representing to the American public and the world that he had conclusive
proof that the plant was a facility for producing weapons of mass
Far from being
attacked for speaking the truthas you are by Democrats and
even some Republicans I believe you deserve praise and the gratitude
the American people and our party for your courageous act of questioning the
bombing of Baghdad "at midnight."
past two days, reports coming out of the Pentagon and from a
former U.N. weapons inspector raise a number of serious and troubling
questions that, in my opinion, vindicate your skepticism. These questions
are so troubling that I believe they warrant immediate congressional
inquiries. Therefore, I urge you to convene congressional hearings to dig
into these questions as soon as possible.
Let me list
just of few of the troubling questions arising from President
Clintons actions in Iraq during the past month.
- Did the White House
"orchestrate a plan to provoke Saddam Hussein into
defying United Nations weapons inspectors so that the president could
justify air strikes on Iraq" as reported on the front page of todays
- If the Administrations
"ultimate aim was to remove those weapons [of mass destruction],"
isnt it contradictory that "the strikes avoided the plants [suspected
of producing chemical and biological weapons] out of fear of unleashing plumes
of poisons and killing civilians," as reported in a
front-page article in todays New York Times. Isnt this contradiction
facie evidence that bombing Iraq is inappropriate if the objective is to
eliminate hidden weapons of mass destruction and facilities to create them?
- Did United States officials
consort with Richard Butler and UNSCOM to
devise inspection scenarios guaranteed to provoke Iraqi actions that could
be portrayed as less than "totally cooperative"?
- Did United States national
security officials assist Richard Butler in any
way, shape or fashion to author the U.N. report that found Iraq in violation
of its pledge to give UNSCOM complete and total cooperation? Did U.S.
officials have any communications with Richard Butler or his staff with
respect to the inspections or the report relating to them between November
15 and December 13; and did any U.S. official play any role in shaping the
text of Richard Butlers report?
- Did the president set
the Iraqi air strikes in motion on Sunday, December
13, 1998 even before Richard Butlers report was submitted to the Security
Council, as reported by the Washington Times on December 17? If so, why, and
why did the White House spokesman maintain that the president did not order
the strikes until Wednesday, December 16, based on the U.N. finding of noncompliance?
- How does the White House
assertion that the president ordered the air
strikes based on the U.N. finding of noncompliance square with the statement
by Israeli spokesman Aviv Bushinsky that President Clinton discussed preparations
for an attack with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just minutes
before Mr. Clinton flew home from Israels Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday,
- Why did Richard Butler
take it upon himself, without telling his superiors
at the U.N., to begin shutting down his inspection operations and removing
his inspection team prior to Security Council consideration of his report?
Did he have prior notice that the U.S. intended to initiate air strikes?
- Is there a danger that
the administration seeks to use the resolution of
support for our troops passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday
as a Gulf-of-Tonkin-like resolution to justify continued, open-ended military
engagement (including the introduction of ground forces) in Iraq?
- Is it true, as U.N.
secretary-general Kofi Annan and Iraqi Ambassador
Nizar Hamdoon contend, that there were between 200 and 300 separate
inspections between November 15 and December 13 and only five cited
instances of "non-cooperation." Is there substance to the claim
foreign minister Mohammed Said Al-Sahaf that even the cited instances were
- Is it plausible that
the Iraqi government believes that nothing it can do
will cause the United States to allow the economic sanctions to be lifted,
given past statements of U.S. officials and the recently passed legislation
appropriating $97 million specifically devoted to overthrowing the current
Iraqi regime? (For example, as early as 1993, President Clinton said, "I
have no intention of normalizing relations with him [Saddam Hussein]";
on March 26, 1997, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: "We do
agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations
concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.")
realistic to expect any regime to cooperate with U.N. inspectors if it
believes the United States has de facto declared war on it and that nothing
it can do will lead to a lifting of the sanctions?
- Is it true that for
seven years our government refused to have direct
contact with Iraq? Is it true that our government refused to allow Iraq to
state its case before the Security Council? Is it true that we even forbid
our ambassador to the U.N. to talk to the Iraq ambassador? If so, why?
- Is it true that, "Around
4,500 children under the age of five are dying
here every month from hunger and disease," as stated in a 1996 U.N. report
- Finally, now that the
UNSCOM inspectors have left Iraq and bombing has begun, what is the "end
game"? What specific purpose is the bombing meant to achieve: to get
the inspectors back into Iraq, to topple Saddam Hussein, to inflict punishment?
Or does it have no more purpose beyond venting frustration from years of failed
Trent, we stand
at a crossroads on foreign policy, and there are differing opinions on which
path we should take. Before we make that choice, it is important that Congress
deliberate and chart the road ahead. I urge you again to hold congressional
I am going
to send Bob Livingston a copy of this letter and urge him to hold congressional
hearings as well.
Your very good