Former US Attorney Genereal Reports from Iraq, US Media: Propagandizing for War?, Inside the Secret US Invasion of Northern Iraq, What Channel Was George Watching?, Meet the Chicken-Hawks, Republican Voices against the War
September 27, 2002
Former US Attorney Genereal Reports from Iraq
A mother weeps for her dying child. A painting by a young resident of Basra in September 1998. Credit: Voices in the Wilderness (www.nonviolence.org/vitw)
BASRA, IRAQ (August 28, 2002) A US anti-war delegation traveling through Iraq has visited areas that have been targeted by this week's US bombing campaign. The delegation, which was led by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, was in Basra on Tuesday. Basra is Iraq's second largest city and suffered a major bomb attack on Sunday morning August 25. Eight people died and many civilians were injured, some seriously. Ramsey Clark issued the following statement:
"We had planned to come to Basra because the region is suffering stunning cancer rates. This area in Iraq was the site of the greatest use of depleted uranium weapons by US air force in the Gulf War eleven years ago.
"Two days before we arrived in Basra, US war planes struck again killing and wounding more than 20 people. We visited one of the wounded at the Basra Training Hospital and we interviewed workers in the area who saw and heard the gigantic explosion at approximately 11:00 am Sunday morning. While we were in Basra, US war planes carried out two more major bombing attacks against the airport in Mosul and against civil and service installations in Al-Nukhayb, located south of Baghdad.
"People in the United States must recognize that the war against Iraq goes on every day as the Bush administration prepares for a major land and ground war. The economic sanctions are a central part of the decade-long war waged against Iraq by the US. Bombing and sanctions constitute an integrated strategy designed to overthrow the government in Iraq and replace it with a proxy regime similar to what exists in Afghanistan.
A young girl named Dhuhu (Sunrise) awaits her mother in Baghdads Al Mansur Hospital in December 1996. Dhuhu needed a bone marrow transplant to treat her leukemia. US-imposed sanctions disabled Iraqs once-superb medical system. Dhuha is believed to have died sometime early in 1998. Photo: Chuck Quilty/Voices in the Wilderness.
The US government falsely declares that its campaign against Iraq is motivated by a concern over Iraq's potential possession of non-conventional weapons. The real goal is to dominate this strategic and oil-rich region and to destroy any government and people that desire to maintain their independence.
"We witnessed in Basra the care provided to the large number of adults and children who are suffering high rates of cancer. Certain childhood cancers, for instance, have increased by a huge factor in the last few years. While they can be treated by combination drug therapy protocols, Iraqi hospitals are unable to effectively import all of the medicines needed for the protocol. As a consequence, almost all the children with these cancers perish.
It is the U.S. imposed sanctions that makes access to the full protocol impossible. Deliberately obstructing sick people's access to medicines that would keep them alive otherwise must be understood as murder.
"It is urgent that this country be allowed to trade, buy and sell all the products necessary to sustain and improve life. US-imposed sanctions have killed more than a million Iraqis. The near-daily bombing since 1998 has killed hundreds if not thousands of people. The US government is guilty of violating the basic tenets of international law as a wages aggression against Iraq. We are urging all progressive people in the United States and elsewhere to take immediate action to end the criminal campaign against Iraq."
For more information: contact International Action Center , 39 W. 14th Street #206, New York, NY 10011 , (212) 633-6646, www.iacenter.org.
US Media: Propagandizing for War?
On February 16, 2001, US and British warplanes blasted five Iraqi air defense targets, killing two civilians and injuring 20. While the international press condemned the attacks, the US media drowned out the complaints with a vigorous beating of the war drums.
The media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR, 130 W. 25th St., New York, NY 10001, www.fair.org], noted that the New York Times reported on the attacks with not a single word of criticism or dissent. According to FAIR: The lead story on the front page quoted seven sources. All seven were government or military officials, all of whom supported the attack.
The US claims the right to self-defense when Iraq threatens its warplanes flying through US-imposed no-fly zones inside Iraqi airspace. A threat can be nothing more than an Iraqi air defense site tracking a US plane on radar.
The Times quoted George W. Bushs warning that Saddam Hussein has got to understand that we expect him to conform to the agreement he signed after Desert Storm. The Times failed to point out that Bushs statement was in error. The post-war agreement with Iraq contained no mention of no-fly zones, FAIR points out. The Washington Post did call attention to Bushs misstatement in a February 19 article headlined Bush on Stage: Deft of Just Lacking Depth? FAIR correctly notes that the US-imposed no-fly zones are self-declared and internationally unrecognized.
The Times editorial pages called the air strikes justified and timely. Instead of offering a contrasting opinion, the Times gave its op-ed slot over to the hawkish Anthony Cordesman who titled his essay, No Choice but To Strike. (FAIR reminds us that Amnesty International once condemned Cordesman for suggesting that Palestinians be subjected to interrogation methods that border on psychological and/or physical torture.)
US citizens getting their news from the US media would have had no idea how much this attack angered the rest of the world. France greeted the attacks with incomprehension, Italy called it counterproductive, and several NATO allies called the attacks a blatant violation of international law. Turkey, Jordan, Iran, and even Saudi Arabia denounced the attacks. Agence France-Press reported that even the Gulf States maintained an embarrassed silence.
Inside the Secret US Invasion of Northern Iraq
The following is a precis of a report from the DEBKAfile [www.debka.com], an Internet intelligence website that reportedly relies heavily on the Israeli military for its information.
Report: US Military Operations Already Underway in Iraq. US Iraq Campaign Has Its First Engagement.
Saturday, 10 August, 2002: Americas offensive against Saddam Husseins regime in Iraq has begun as an exercise in gradualism rather than a D-Day drama. DEBKAfiles military sources report that tens of thousands of US, British, French, Netherlands, Australian troops may take part in the campaign, openly or covertly
American military concentrations are already unobtrusively present in northern and southern Iraq. The US campaign to oust Saddam is therefore unfolding already, albeit in salami-fashion, slice by slice, under clouds of disinformation and diversionary ruses like the latest statements by
George W. Bush (No date set yet for the offensive) and
Tony Blair (Plenty of time before the war begins)
Special US forces entered the Kurdish regions of north Iraq towards the end of March
. to set up local Kurdish militias and train them for battle.
Around the same time, Turkish Special Forces went into northern Iraq in waves that continued through April, fetching up in Turkmen regions around the big oil towns of Mosul and Kirkuk
Since June, American and Turkish construction engineers have been working in northern Iraq, building and expanding airfields and air strips to make them fit for military use
[O]n August 8, Turkey executed its first major military assault inside Iraq
. [H]elicopters under US, British and Turkish warplane escort flew Turkish commandos to an operation for seizing the critical Bamerni airport in northern Iraq
. With the Turkish commandos was a group of US special forces officers and men
[T]he Americans have acquired full control of the skies over the two oil cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, as well as over the Syrian-Iraq railroad, which they can now cut off by aerial bombardment. A prime strategic asset, this railroad is Saddams back door for taking delivery of his illegal overseas arms purchases
. On the return journey, the same railway carries illegal Iraqi oil exports
The battle over this airfield was, in fact, the first important face-to-face engagement between a US-led invasion force and Iraqi troops. It was carried out seven hours before the Iraqi ruler delivered his televised speech to the nation, on the 14th anniversary of the bloody eight-year Iraq-Iran war. In that speech, Saddam threatened American troops going to war against Iraq that they would return home in coffins.
The DEBKAfile report concludes with a discussion of the kinds of response a US-attack on Iraq might provoke:
Such sudden action could take the form of an Iraqi missile or bomber attack on Israel using warheads loaded with radioactive, chemical or biological materials, a combined missile-terrorist strike to sabotage Saudi oil fields, or a mass terrorist attack in the United States.
The sharpest alert to a threat to Iraqs southern neighbors came not from military intelligence but from international oil dealers who warned that Saddam Hussein, if attacked, may well decide to set fire to Saudi and Kuwaiti oil fields, sending oil prices skyrocketing above US$40 per barrel.
What Channel Was George Watching?
Many Bushwatchers remain baffled that the Commander-in-Chief continued to sit and read books with a roomful of Florida schoolchildren after having been told that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center and America was under attack.
Here is another puzzle. During a White House press conference on December 4, 2001, George W. recalled: I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower the TV was obviously on
and I said, well, theres one terrible pilot.
Bush continued: And I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my Chief of Staff, who is sitting over here, walked in and said, A second plane has hit the tower. America is under attack.
The only problem with Bushs story is that the impact of the first plane crashing into the WTC was not broadcast at least not on any commercial channel. And that leads to the question:
What channel was George watching?
Youd think that Dick Cheney would have slapped Georges wrist for that statement and everyone would hope that it would quickly fade from memory. But on January 2 of this year, during his Town Hall Forum on the Economy in California, George W once again remembered that fateful morning:
[W]ell, first of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And, you know, I thought it was pilot error and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake. And something was wrong with the plane, or anyway, Im sitting there, listening to the briefing, and Andy Card came in and said, America is under attack.
What channel was George watching?
We know that George is not too bright. This leaves us with two equally disturbing possibilities: Resident Bush is either (A) a pathological liar or (B) a criminal co-conspirator.
Meet the Chicken-Hawks
The New Hampshire Gazette was founded in 1756, 21 years before the American Revolution. As Americas oldest newspaper, the Gazettes editorial voice has a profound historic resonance. In its 292-years of reporting, the Gazette has covered a lot of politicians and it is not much impressed with the current crop of bloodless warmongers beating their well-upholstered chests in Washington.
In March 2002, the Gazette compiled a list of Washingtons preeminent Chickenhawks, which the Gazette defines as: public persons generally male who (1) tend to advocate or are fervent supporters of those who advocate, military solutions to political problems and who have personally (2) declined to take advantage of a significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime.
The list of Chickenhawks includes 33 politicians, 13 bureaucrats, six judges and 37 reporters and dozens of media figures.
Heading the list is George W. Bush who, like fellow GOPster Dan Quayle, skipped the Vietnam war by serving in the National Guard (Bush was mustered out of the Texas Air National Guard after he refused to take a drug test. For all the sordid details, check out: www.awolbush.com.)
In the number two slot is former Haliburton CEO Dick Cheney who explained that he didnt participate in Vietnam because he had other priorities.
Nearly every Chickenhawk in Congress wears a Republican Party tie clip. Apparently, the only Democratic Chickenhawk to make the list is Al Gores old running mate, Senator Joe Leiberman.
The Gazette has gleefully listed some of the lame excuses these pro-war cheerleaders offered for avoiding military service. Heres a brief sampling.
Michigan Governor John Engler claims he was too fat (eight pounds overweight); Clinton Prosecutor Ken Starr plead psoriasis, and radio commentator Rush Limbaugh won a deferment due to anal cysts.
The New Hampshire Gazette is still in the hands of the same venerable publishing dynasty, the Fowle family. If you want to check out the still-evolving Chickenhawk Database (or subscribe to a newspaper thats older than America) check out www.nhgazette.com/chickenhawks.html.
Republican Voices against the War
The notion of justified pre-emption runs counter to modern international law, which sanctions the use of force in self-defense only against actual not potential threats.
Former National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
I dont believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation. It would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation.
Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX).
I dont know what planet theyre on. Such a war would make the situation between Israel and the Palestinians much worse.
General Anthony Zinni, former head of the Pentagons Central Command and US Peace Envoy to the Middle East.
[Attacking Iraq] could turn the whole region into a cauldron and, thus, destroy the war on terrorism.
Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.
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