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July 31, 2002

Eight Washington Lies About Iraq


by Jon Basil Utley

ONE

IRAQ WAS INVOLVED IN THE 9/11 ATTACK ON AMERICA OR IS CLOSE TO OBTAINING NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

ANSWER: The War Party in Washington has mounted a vast campaign in conservative media to attack Iraq again. See Georgie Anne Geyer column on lobby in Anti-Arab Advocates Risk U.S. Interests. Saddam is an enemy of Islamic Fundamentalists. Iraqi women are among the most emancipated in the Moslem world. You never see Saddam wearing a robe and shouting about Holy War. Iraq has not been a supporter of "global terrorism," although it does support Palestinian terrorists against Israel's UN declared illegal settlements on the West Bank. There is no evidence of Iraqi nuclear ability, nor that it ever provided chemical weapons to other nations or terrorists.

TWO

IF WE DON'T BOMB IRAQ, SADDAM WILL USE HIS WMD AGAINST US OR HIS NEIGHBORS OR ISRAEL

ANSWER: Saddam is rational. He had these weapons during the First Gulf War and didn't use them because he feared our threats of worse consequences even when his nation was being decimated. Israel has some 200 atomic bombs and its own active biological and chemical weapons program. It can well defend itself. Meanwhile Washington arms all Iraq's neighbors (except Iran), and Turkey bombs and invades Iraq at will. Yet the pressure now in Congress to attack Iraq is based upon its unreal threat to Israel. Also, Iraq's neighbors oppose an American attack. If Iraq was such a threat, why do they not fear it?

THREE

IRAQ WOULDN'T LET THE UN--US MONITORS INSPECT POSSIBLE WMD PRODUCTION OR STORAGE SITES. THAT'S WHY AMERICA STARTED BOMBING.

ANSWER: Untrue – Iraq did allow them from 1991 until 1998, but Washington still wouldn’t take off the trade blockade, under which thousands of children were dying every week without clean water, electricity, etc. Scott Ritter, the former UNSCOM inspector, told CNN on 2/18/01 "In terms of large-scale weapons of mass destruction programs, these had been fundamentally destroyed or dismantled by the weapons inspectors as early as 1996." Yet Madeleine Albright declared in 1997: “We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.” Clinton went one step further when he said, “sanctions will be there until the end of time, or as long as he [Saddam] lasts." THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT REPUDIATED THESE STATEMENTS.

Then in 1998 Washington made new demands, access to all government personnel files, the basis of its power structure. UN weapons inspectors were still roaming Iraq and the country had been found "clean" for 7 years. Iraq saw that U.S. demands were just always escalated with no hope of sanctions being lifted. The Iraqis also complained that most of the UN inspectors were British and American intelligence agents, who were trying to overthrow their government (Scott Ritter on CNN 1/5/02 said he had been working with Israeli intelligence from 1995-98). Clinton then launched a new bombing campaign using information from the "spy UN inspectors" for bombing targets. Iraq now fears, justifiably, that this would happen again.

FOUR

IT'S SADDAM'S FAULT THAT HALF A MILLION CHILDREN DIED SINCE THE ECONOMIC BLOCKADE, SADDAM COULD FEED HIS PEOPLE IF HE CARED INSTEAD OF USING HIS MONEY TO BUY WEAPONS – " More than one million Iraqis have died – 500,000 of them children – as a direct consequence of economic sanctions... As many as 12% of the children surveyed in Baghdad are wasted, 28% stunted and 29% underweight." – UN FAO, December 1995. For details see Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children 1990-98.

ANSWER: Nearly all oil sales money has been controlled through United Nations officials, subject to over 35% reduction for reparations (Iraq is forbidden to contest any claim) and UN expenses, and subject to Washington's veto and foot dragging. Washington allowed food and medicine imports, but almost nothing else for economic reconstruction. For nearly ten years it blockaded chlorine to sanitize the water and any equipment to rebuild the electricity grid, sanitation and irrigation facilities. Even pencils for school children were prohibited. (A NY Times editorial 2/11/01 reports, "currently American diplomats are holding up billions of dollars of imports needed for civilian transportation, electric power generation...and even medical treatment"). Finally the Europeans rebelled at the cruelty and shamed Washington into allowing such imports, (NY Times 12/6/00). However, as of 12/2/01 about $1 billion of electric and other machinery has been held up for a year by Washington. Until oil prices increased in 2000, sales ran about $4 billion yearly minus about 35% withheld by UN left 2.6 billion divided by 20 million population = $130 per year per person = 36 cents per day per person for food, medicine.

Iraq is now also getting substantial monies through sales of smuggled oil, especially since the price of oil went up and the rest of the world tires of the American blockade. No doubt some of this goes for weapons purchases.

FIVE

IF IRAQ ALLOWED INSPECTIONS FOR WMD (WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION), WASHINGTON WOULD REMOVE THE BLOCKADE. IRAQ MUST PROVE THAT IT HAS NO WMD AND THAT IT WON'T MANUFACTURE ANY IN THE FUTURE.

ANSWER: There's No Connection Between Inspections and Sanctions on Iraq. Equally no Nation can "prove" a negative, that it's not doing something. Biological and chemical weapons can be made, "in a large closet which is all the space you need to mix deadly chemical weapons... Chemical and biological weapons are the great equalizers against our atomic weapons." (Time "Everyman a Superpower", 11/24/97).

Re inspections, Reuters reported, 12/13/99, "The (European) aim was to prevent the United States and Britain from imposing arms requirements that Iraq could not meet and thus keeping the sanctions in place for years to come." And Agence France Presse 12/13/99, "French diplomats retorted that by insisting on full cooperation, the council would give the United States an excuse to refuse to suspend sanctions on the flimsiest grounds.”

Scott Ritter, former head of the U.N. arms inspection team in Iraq, on the NBC Today Show, 12/17/98, explained, "Washington perverted the U.N. weapons process by using it as a tool to justify military actions... The U.S. was using the inspection process as a trigger for war." For details on how Iraq complied, e.g. 700 inspections by UN/US officials, and grew to realize that Washington would prevent the sanctions from ever being lifted see Le Monde-Diplomatique . Note also that Iraq did not expel the inspectors. The U.N. withdrew them in anticipation of the extensive American bombing attacks.

SIX

IT'S IRAQ'S FAULT THAT THE BLOCKADE CONTINUES. AMERICA HAS NOTHING AGAINST IRAQ'S PEOPLE, ONLY AGAINST ITS GOVERNMENT.

ANSWER: Britain and Washington have introduced a "peace plan"demanding that Iraq must allow inspections, but would still be under the trade blockade indefinitely.

Russia and France have introduced a plan (vetoed by Washington) allowing for immediate lifting of sanctions in return for continued, ongoing WMD inspections and blockade of military supplies. Washington's policy (also followed in Serbia) is to tell local dictators to get themselves killed or thrown out of power (and then tried for "war crimes") or otherwise have their citizenry starve while their country's devastated economy is kept in ruins. The policy was denounced by former Pres. Jimmy Carter . (For detailed discussion of UN resolutions see CASI from Cambridge and IAC detailed analysis of UN Resolution)

Most nations in the world want trade sanctions lifted for non-military goods. It is the U.S. veto that prevents lifting of sanctions (United Press, 11/1/00). Imposed in 1990 many nations argue that they were never intended to last for years and are one of the most brutal sanction regimes in modern history. The crippling trade embargo is incompatible with the UN charter as well as UN conventions on human rights and the rights of the child (BBC News Online, 9/30/00).

SEVEN

SADDAM GASSED HIS OWN PEOPLE

ANSWER: Atrocities are often the key substance of propaganda to get Americans to go to war. Didn’t our government also do that at Waco? The C2 gas used by the FBI killed children who couldn’t fit into gas masks and then created an explosive mixture which triggered fire and immolation, (see super documentary, Waco, nominated for an Academy Award).

To see how good natured Americans are lied to by our own government see, How Hill and Knowlton Public Relations "sold" the Iraq War). For the First World War, it was stories that German soldiers ate Belgian babies. For the Iraq war it was lies about babies being thrown out of incubators, "testified" to a Congressional Committee, with massive media coverage, by a "mystery" witness who later turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti sheik’s ruling family who is Ambassador in Washington. It was all lies. Then we were told there were aerial photographs of the Iraqi Army massed on Saudi Arabia’s border ready to attack. They were never released; they apparently were lies too. How do we know we weren't also lied to about the gassing? See Jude Wanniski Report on gassing for questions about it.

For more background and earlier answers about Iraq, please go to http://iraqwar.org/talking-points.htm and to http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-consp.htm#one about the missing evidence that Iraq was planning to attack Saudi Arabia in 1990.

EIGHT

A WAR WOULD BE QUICK AND EASY TO WIN. IRAQIS WOULD WELCOME AMERICANS TO OVERTHROW THEIR CRUEL DICTATOR. AMERICA WOULD THEN SET UP A FRIENDLY REGIME, EASILY OCCUPY THE COUNTRY AND RID IT OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

ANSWER: To assume that after massive new bombing (what we always do) and killing tens of thousands more Arabs, that America would be welcome is unreal. Also Washington is now considered in the Arab world as an instrument of Israeli policies. More likely would be continuing guerrilla warfare against occupying Americans, possible break up of the nation, economic chaos in Jordan and Turkey which trade with Iraq, and/or the rise of a new dictator. War, once started, has its own momentum. Arnaud de Borchgrave draws a possible scenario of a worldwide oil crisis, overthrow of pro-U.S. Moslem regimes, and chaos for American interests.

Also millions more Moslems would be seeking vengeance against America. There would be little support in Congress for a prolonged occupation and "Democracy building."

CONCLUSION

Look at the above and think how America is now hated. No wonder many Arabs engage in suicide missions. American soldiers are so unpopular in Saudi Arabia that the government hides our Airmen away in desert bases to keep them out of sight from its citizenry. How the world sees us was reported by the Wall Street Journal's European edition editor (2/24/98):

"What came up most were charges of American hypocrisy. The US wants to bomb Iraq over its violations of UN directives, but won’t take any action against the Israelis for theirs (e.g. occupation of and settlements in Palestine)."

Washington Times columnist Bruce Fein (10/9/01) put it another way, "Other nations and peoples are more resentful of our pious hypocrisy than of Realpolitik bluntness."

No doubt America can easily decimate Iraq again. But then what? More death, more hatred, more enemies wanting vengeance. Out of the billion plus Moslem world others would finally find new ways, perhaps biological, to hit us back. And meanwhile we would live in constant fear of that day.

If, instead, Washington showed justice and fairness in its policies, then it would not be creating sworn and desperate enemies who, in former Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick's words, "define themselves as being Enemies of America." The best security for Americans is not to make so many enemies (see Joseph Sobran column, How Many Enemies Do We Want?)

ADDENDUM

The Boston Globe (5/16/99) reported:

"In planning the 1991 Persian Gulf War, US officers found a 12 bridges for the movement of Iraqi troops in and out of Kuwait. US planes bombed those bridges over and over, with little effect. So they bombed every bridge in Iraq, 160 in all, about two-thirds of them far from Kuwait. After a while, all bridges were seen and treated equally. Similarly, now in Belgrade, it seems, all military agencies are seen and treated as if they were of equal importance. The Pentagon announced last week that three-quarters of the targets hit in this air war, 270 out of 380, have been 'strategic targets.' Only 110 have been directly connected to the soldiers and militias in Kosovo."


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  • Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative and Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A former correspondent for Knight Ridder in South America, Utley has written for the Harvard Business Review on foreign nationalism and was for 17 years a commentator on the Voice of America. He is director of Americans Against World Empire.

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