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I met a Kurd the other day -

What about his view?
I pulled into the Texaco station uptown yesterday to get some gas. Yes - I purchased gas. The man that owns the station noticed the piece of paper taped to the window - "stomp out mad cowboy disease". With his thick accent he asked me about it - I explained my views of Bush - and how I feel he is acting out a childhood fantasy of "GI-JOE", etc. The man then told me his views - he is a Kurd from Nothern Iraq and has been here for 6 years. He went into gory detailed stories of how his family and friends were slaughter and tortured by Saddam. He also went on to say that Saddam has killed way more than the Americans are right now. (I don't see it as, well we've killed less, therefore we are right and better - not at all).

This man has had to run from Iraq for his life and for his birth given rights of freedom. He sees the US invasion as "a MUST" - he sees this as a chance for the rest of the Iraqie people to finally live in peace- without the fear of being brutilized. He also stated that his phone bill is huge - because he calls home nightly to check in with loved ones that were left behind.

Doesn't his first-hand account of Saddam's bullshit count for anything?

This situation is not black and white too me - there are so many things that need to be factored in.

I guess if you can try to find a silver lining in all the killing - it would be that the folks that are left alive - can live without Saddam?
sure his view counts 05.Apr.2003 09:05

mm

but it's one person's story.

i'm sure plenty of people here and abroad feel the same about GW. maybe we should ask someone to come bomb us.

yes 05.Apr.2003 09:16

mike

It's true, and it's a sad situation. The problem is that regardless whether Saddam is good or bad, evil or a saint, that's not the reason why the US is invading. Saddam's character is actually prob the least of reasons in the minds of the controllers in Wash. The US supports lots of dictator types, terrible regimes....but they in turn support the business interests of the US. They're diff issues,and the US govt focuses only on the moral issue (esp when it couldn't find WMD) and on the fraudulent terrorist link issue. When you have this much serial lying going on, you know something is up. genuine democratic movements arise form the bottom and are not imposed from the top down. (Which is sort of what we are desperate for here in ou rown country). Moreover, how is it that the US appoints itself the ostensible policeman of the world (which is a cover for other motives)?

Birth Right? 05.Apr.2003 09:21

Dave

You stated birth right . . . as if these people have birth rights!
They were not born in this country. In the places that they are being born, there is no such thing as birth rights.

And to the person that responded, "why don't they come bomb us . . ."
What kind of crap is that? UUUUUU they did! And did that make you feel better? Not me.

I'm not pro war by any measure, but I have to wonder about the other people spreading the anti war message. Do they actually know what it is that they are saying.

There is no birth rights in Iraq unless you are the son of Saddam.
Bomb us? Only if it hits you on the head and thus stops you from annoying me further.

PS. That persons view does count. Just not to the people that have. Those that have not . . . don't want to hear it! They just want to bitch and protest!

Found what I was looking for - 05.Apr.2003 09:23

Sherry

chatting in email with a buddy of mine - this is his response to my story. This is what I was looking for - being overcome by emotion from my conversation with the Kurd dude - I got stuck and lost perspective. This is Jon's email response to me:
*******************************************************
of course it counts...being aganist the war isn't being "pro-Saddam" or
"anti-troops" as lots of people try to portray it

your "we've killed less" so we're good argument is dead on...it's called
moral relativism and is frequently decried by conservatives when they talk
about cultural issues.

but the war is also wrong for a slew of other reasons.

- we've abandoned and alienated all the countries and people who also hate
Saddam and his kind, but insist on using broad agreements and established
internation law and institutions (the U.N. & NATO) to reach resolutions.
acting without them, we're saying any country can invade or bring violence
to any other country that they say has a "potential" to harm them. this
lead to anarchy and chaos.

- the war is based on unproven facts at best lies at worst...the existence
of weapons of mass destruction, ties to international terrorism, etc. we
had an inspection regime that could have been made stronger and extended to
handle the WMD; as long as they were there, Irag is not an imminent threat
to us. As far as links to terrorism are concerned...well, i just don't
think they amount to a hill of beans (i could write a lot on that)

- we do have a real enemy in Osama and other fundamentalists...Saddam is
NOT a fundamentalist who has declared war on us. when japan attacked us at
pearl harbor, did we retaliate by invading china? no, we went to war with
who attacked us. by allowing bush and his cronies to attack anyone who
they proclaim to have ties to terrorism.

- we have a real problem with lots of islamic states that turn a blind eye
or even assist the radicals in their midst (Saudi Arabia, our closest arab
ally, is the perfect example). we need to engage these countries,
encourage them to give more rights to women, allow more free speech, etc.,
promote more economic freedoms, etc, if they're ever gonna enter the 21st
century and not have backwards populations that are easy prey for the
Osama's of the world. by antagonizing the world's billion muslims with
this war, we're setting back that important effort by years or decades or
generations

there are other reasons i could go on about...but in the end, this Kurdish
man has a powerful statement, too. the irony here is that when we do get
rid of Saddam, we'll have done something admirable in freeing the iraqi
people from the grips of a sadistic madman. but at what cost?

i find it hard to watch the war...i want it to be over quick, but in the
long run i want all the policies of this administration to fail...because
in the long run, they're only harming and shaming our country, and
endangering us and everybody on a small and shrinking planet

memories of Halabja 05.Apr.2003 09:28

Kurdish Pawn


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Birth Rights - 05.Apr.2003 09:32

Sherry

My belief is this: We are all born with certain rights - as humans. Men - heads of state and "countries" take that away from you.

Wow, Dave 05.Apr.2003 10:00

Dave

you're a GENIUS! Do share more of your mismatched grammar and tweeker logic. It'll shock and awe all the people here who graduated from grade school.

Spabadee 05.Apr.2003 10:02

plopo

"we do have a real enemy in Osama and other fundamentalists...Saddam is
NOT a fundamentalist who has declared war on us. when japan attacked us at
pearl harbor, did we retaliate by invading china?"

No, but we did go to war with Germany and Italy, as well, and--I forget, what was their role at Pearl Harbor, again?

Iraq War Quiz 05.Apr.2003 10:03

by Stephen R. Shalom - repost

Below is a "quiz" on the war, by Stephen Shalom, who writes frequently for Z Magazine. It was sent out both on the New York Teachers Against the War listserv and the Rethinking Schools critical teaching listserv.

1. The anti-war movement supports our troops by urging that they be brought home immediately so they neither kill nor get killed in a unjust war. How has the Bush administration shown its support for our troops?
a. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee voted to cut $25 billion in veterans benefits over the next 10 years.

b. The Bush administration proposed cutting $172 million from impact aid programs which provide school funding for children of military personnel.

c. The administration ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans.

d. All of the above.
2. The anti-war movement believes that patriotism means urging our country to do what is right. How do Bush administration officials define patriotism?
a. Patriotism means emulating Dick Cheney, who serves as Vice-President while receiving $100,000-$1,000,000 a year from Halliburton, the multi-billion dollar company which is already lining up for major contracts in post-war Iraq.

b. Patriotism means emulating Richard Perle, the warhawk who serves as head of the Defense Intelligence Board while at the same time meeting with Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi on behalf of Trireme, a company of which he is a managing partner, involved in security and military technologies, and while agreeing to work as a paid lobbyist for Global Crossing, a telecommunications giant seeking a major Pentagon contract.

c. Patriotism means emulating George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft, Lewis Libby, and others who enthusiastically supported the Vietnam War while avoiding serving in it and who now are sending others to kill and be killed in Iraq.

d. All of the above.
3. The Bush administration has accused Saddam Hussein of lying regarding his weapons of mass destruction. Which of the following might be considered less than truthful?
a. Constant claims by the Bush administration that there was documentary evidence linking Iraq to attempted uranium purchases in Niger, despite the fact that the documents were forgeries and CIA analysts doubted their authenticity.

b. A British intelligence report on Iraq's security services that was in fact plagiarized, with selected modifications, from a student article.

c. The frequent citation of the incriminating testimony of Iraqi defector Hussein Kamel, while suppressing that part of the testimony in which Kamel stated that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed following the 1991 Gulf War.

d. All of the above.
4. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher stormed out of a press conference when the assembled reporters broke into laughter after he declared that the U.S. would never try to bribe members of the UN. What should Fleisher have said to defend himself?
a. It wasn't just bribery; we also ordered the bugging of the home and office phones and emails of the UN ambassadors of Security Council member states that were undecided on war.

b. Oh, come on! We've been doing this for years. In 1990 when Yemen voted against authorizing war with Iraq, the U.S. ambassador declared "That will be the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast."

c. Why do you think the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act makes one of the conditions for an African country to receive preferential access to U.S. markets that it "not engage in activities that undermine United States national security or foreign policy interests"?

d. All of the above.
5. George Bush has declared that "we have no fight with the Iraqi people." What could he have cited as supporting evidence?
a. U.S. maintenance of 12 years of crippling sanctions that strengthened Saddam Hussein while contributing to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

b. The fact that "coalition" forces have indicated that they will use cluster bombs in Iraq, despite warnings from human rights groups that "The use of cluster munitions in Iraq will endanger civilians for years to come."

c. By pointing to the analogy of Afghanistan, which the U.S. pledged not to forget about when the war was over, and for which the current Bush administration foreign aid budget request included not one cent in aid.

d. All of the above.
6. The Bush administration has touted the many nations that are part of the "coalition of the willing." Which of the following statements about this coalition is true?
a. In most of the coalition countries polls show that a majority, often an overwhelming majority, of the people oppose the war.

b. More than ten of the members of the coalition of the willing are actually a coalition of the unwilling - unwilling to reveal their names.

c. Coalition members - most of whose contributions to the war are negligible or even zero - constitute less than a quarter of the countries in the UN and contain less than 20% of the world's population.

d. All of the above.
7. The war on Iraq is said to be part of the "war on terrorism." Which of the following is true?
a. A senior American counterintelligence official said: "An American invasion of Iraq is already being used as a recruitment tool by Al Qaeda and other groups....And it is a very effective tool."

b. An American official, based in Europe, said Iraq had become "a battle cry, in a way," for Al Qaeda recruiters.

c. France's leading counter-terrorism judge said: "Bin Laden's strategy has always been to demonstrate to the Islamic community that the West, and especially the U.S., is starting a global war against Muslims. An attack on Iraq might confirm this vision for many Muslims. I am very worried about the next wave of recruits."

d. All of the above.
8. The Bush administration says it is waging war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Which of the following is true?
a. The United States has refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, viewed worldwide as the litmus test for seriousness about nuclear disarmament.

b. The United States has insisted on a reservation to the Chemical Weapons Convention allowing the U.S. President the right to refuse an inspection of U.S. facilities on national security grounds, and blocked efforts to improve compliance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

c. Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified on Feb. 11, 2003, "The long-term trends with respect to WMD and missile proliferation are bleak. States seek these capabilities for regional purposes, or to provide a hedge to deter or offset U.S. military superiority."

d. All of the above.
9. The Bush administration says it wants to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East. Which of the following is true?
a. If there were democracy in Saudi Arabia today, backing for the U.S. war effort would be the first thing to go, given the country's "increasingly anti-American population deeply opposed to the war."

b. The United States subverted some of the few democratic governments in the Middle East (Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953), and has backed undemocratic regimes in the region ever since.

c. The United States supported the crushing of anti-Saddam Hussein revolts in Iraq in 1991.

d. All of the above.
10. Colin Powell cited as evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link an audiotape from bin Laden in which he called Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party regime "infidels." Which of the following is more compelling evidence?
a. An FBI official told the New York Times: "We've been looking at this hard for more than a year and you know what, we just don't think it's there."

b. According to a classified British intelligence report seen by BBC News, "There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network."

c. According to Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, "Since U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in October 2001, I have examined several tens of thousands of documents recovered from Al Qaeda and Taliban sources. In addition to listening to 240 tapes taken from Al Qaeda's central registry, I debriefed several Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees. I could find no evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

d. All of the above.

Answers and Sources

1. d (a) Cong. Lane Evans, "Veterans Programs Slashed by House Republicans," Press Release, 3/13/03, http://www.veterans.house.gov/democratic/press/108th/3-13-03budget.htm. (b) Brian Faler, "Educators Angry Over Proposed Cut in Aid; Many Children in Military Families Would Feel Impact," Washington Post, 3/19/03, p. A29. (c) See Veterans' for Common Sense, letter to George W. Bush, 3/20/03 http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/print.asp?id=563; Melissa B. Robinson, "Hospitals Face Budget Crunch," Associated Press, 7/31/02; Jason Tait, "Veterans angered by marketing ban," Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, MA), 8/2/02, http://www.eagletribune.com/news/stories/20020802/FP_003.htm

2. d (a) Warren Vieth and Elizabeth Douglass, " Ousting Hussein could open the door for U.S. and British firms. French, Russian and Chinese rivals would lose their edge," Los Angeles Times, 3/12/03, p. I:1; Robert Bryce and Julian Borger, "Halliburton: Cheney is still paid by Pentagon contractor, Bush deputy gets Dollars 1m from firm with Iraq oil deal," Guardian (London), 3/12/03, p. 5 (which notes that Halliburton "would not say how much the payments are; the obligatory disclosure statement filled by all top government officials says only that they are in the range of" $100,000 and $1 million. (b) Seymour M. Hersh, "Lunch with the Chairman," New Yorker, 3/16/03; Stephen Labaton, "Pentagon Adviser Is Also Advising Global Crossing," NYT, 3/21/03, p. C1. Perle is to be paid $725,000 for his lobbying effort, including $600,000 if his lobbying is successful. (c) New Hampshire Gazette, "The Chickenhawks," http://nhgazette.com/chickenhawks.html.

3. d (a) See the evidence collected in Cong. Henry Waxman's letter to George W. Bush, 3/17/03, http://www.house.gov/waxman/text/admin_iraq_march_17_let.htm. (b) See Glen Rangwala's report, http://traprockpeace.org/britishdossier.html. (c) See Glen Rangwala's report, http://traprockpeace.org/kamel.html.

4. d (a) Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy, and Peter Beaumont, The Observer (London), 3/2/03. (b) Quoted in Phyllis Bennis, Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN, New York: Olive Branch, 1996, p. 33. (c) Sarah Anderson, Phyllis Bennis, and John Cavanagh, Coalition of the Willing or Coalition of the Coerced?: How The Bush Administration Influences Allies in Its War on Iraq, Washington, DC: Institute for Policy Studies, 2/26/03, p. 4.

5. d (a) For background, see Anthony Arnove, ed., Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War, Cambridge: South End Press, updated ed. 2003. (b) Paul Waugh, "Labour MPs Attack Hoon After He Reveals That British Forces Will Use Cluster Bombs," Independent, 3/21/03, p. 4; Human Rights Watch, Press Release, 3/18/03: "Persian Gulf: U.S. Cluster Bomb Duds A Threat; Warning Against Use of Cluster Bombs in Iraq." (c) Zvi Bar'el, "Flaws in the Afghan Model," Ha'aretz, 3/14/03, http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?ite mNo=272884.

6. d (a) See, for example, the revealing comment of Secretary of State Powell: "We need to knock down this idea that nobody is on our side. So many nations recognize this danger [of Iraq's weapons]. And they do it in the face of public opposition." Quoted in Steven R. Weisman With Felicity Barringer, "Urgent Diplomacy Fails To Gain U.S. 9 Votes In The U.N." NYT, 3/10/03, p. A1) (b) U.S. Dept. of State, Daily Press Briefing, Richard Boucher, Washington, DC, 3/18/03. (c) Country list: White House, Statement of Support from Coalition, 3/25/03, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/print/20030325-8.html; population calculated from Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2001, Washington, DC: 2001, table 1327. Total includes USA. The White House list includes countries whose leaders have done no more than state their support for the United States, and the listing changes from day to day, with some countries being added and some removed.

7. d (a) Don Van Natta Jr. and Desmond Butler, "Anger On Iraq Seen As New Qaeda Recruiting Tool," NYT, 3/16/03, p. I:1. (b) Van Natta and Butler, NYT, 3/16/03. (c) Van Natta and Butler, NYT, 3/16/03.

8. d (a) Colum Lynch, "U.S. Boycotts Nuclear Test Ban Meeting; Some Delegates at U.N. Session Upset at Latest Snub of Pact Bush Won't Back," Washington Post, 11/12/02, p. A6. (b) Amy E. Smithson, "U.S. Implementation of the CWC," in Jonathan B. Tucker, The Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation Challenges and Solutions, Monterey Institute, April 2001, pp. 23-29, http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/reports/tuckcwc.htm; Jonathan Tucker, "The Fifth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention," Feb. 2002, http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_7b.html. (c) Testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, excerpted at http://traprockpeace.org/usefulquotesoniraq.html.

9. d (a) Craig S. Smith, "Saudi Arabia Seems Calm But, Many Say, Is Seething," NYT, 3/24/03, p. B13. In fact, "Though the Saudi government officially denies it, the bombing campaign is being directed from Saudi Arabia - something that few Saudis realize." (b) On Syria, see Douglas Little, ACold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945 1958,@ Middle East Journal, vol. 44, no. 1, Winter 1990, pp. 55 57. On Iran, see Mark J. Gasiorowski, "The 1953 Coup D'Etat in Iran," International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 19, Aug. 1987, pp. 261-86. (c) Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, New York: HarperPerennial. 1999, chap. 1.

10. d (re audiotape, see David Johnston, "Top U.S. Officials Press Case Linking Iraq To Al Qaeda," NYT, 2/12/03, p. A1; Mohamad Bazzi, "U.S. says bin Laden tape urging Iraqis to attack appears real," Newsday, 2/12/03, p. A5. (a) James Risen and David Johnston, "Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. On Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda," NYT, 2/2/03, p. I:13. (b) "Leaked Report Rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda Link," BBC News, 2/5/03. (c) Rohan Gunaratna, "Iraq and Al Qaeda: No Evidence of Alliance," International Herald Tribune, 2/19/03.

Interpreting Your Score

9-10 Correct: Excellent. Contact United for Peace and Justice, http://www.unitedforpeace.org/, and work to fight the war and the system that produced it.

6-8 Correct: Fair. You've been watching a few too many former generals and government officials who provide the "expert" commentary for the mainstream media. Read the alternative media!

3-5 Correct: Poor. Don't feel bad. George W. Bush only got a C- in International Relations at College.

0-2 Correct: Failing. You have a bright future as an "embedded" journalist.

Yes 05.Apr.2003 11:39

An observer

Sherry, your conversation with the Kurdish gentleman is very informative. I think that too many here try to brush these types of concerns under the carpet and then can't understand why it's party time in Iraq when the troops arrive.

Thanks for your post.

busted. 05.Apr.2003 12:52

pfft

"party time?" just looking for an excuse aren't you, you coked up pervert?

yeah, sherry 05.Apr.2003 13:02

gw

mikey and observer really care about the kurds and iraqis. they're not just jacking off to the war (product) coverage.

seriously, though, even though little hitler (gw) is bad, would you really consider that a foreign gov't bombing your house in the US of A is doing you a favor?

the kurds in america bear grudges against a government that oppressed them ... that's fair ... but remember they're doing that from the safety of armchairs far from those "liberating" bombs. should you listen to them? of course. should you still evaluate the place from which they speak. of course.

War not the end of the story 05.Apr.2003 13:32

noname

No matter what your view is on whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, there should be no doubt that most Iraqis will benefit from the removal of Saddam.

But that is not the end of the story.

What lies ahead for them, us, and the rest of the world because of this action is of great concern.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could be the saviors that the Bush administration paints us as? It is certainly true that many Americans have that sentiment in their hearts. But that is not what is at the heart of the Bush administrations motivation. It is just a lucky fringe benefit for them... something they can use to manipulate people and justify their actions.

Some Iraqi official recently said something like "There is no morality in politics. There is only interest in politics."

If you care about that Iraqi at the gas station, you are not a politician. Bush and his people are all politicians.

I protested the war before is started, but can no longer do so. Pulling out now after what we've done would be the worst thing we could do at this point. I hope that all the anti-war activists, with whom I agree on principle, will keep up the pressure and apply it to U.S. policy and actions in Iraq, AFTER the war. This is so important.

Our government has done the wrong thing in Iraq many times already. And not because it loved Iraqi people.

uh, 05.Apr.2003 14:18

heimdallr

"we did go to war with Germany and Italy..."

Who were members of a formal alliance with Japan, (not to mention that we were already fighting the Germans over our aid convoys to England) unlike Saddam and Al-Qaeda, any cooperation between whom remains a proposition lacking any evidence and contradicting common sense.

Duh.

... 05.Apr.2003 15:13

.

we were the ones who left the Kurds in the lurch after kuwait. we allowed saddam to use bio and chem warfare against them.

our war in iraq right now is NOT about liberation. if it were, we would have done it a long time ago.

people see this as black or white. war or complacency. there is a HUGE area between war and no action. peace is about ACTION.... NON-VIOLENT ACTION.

we can get rid of saddam and other humanitarian criminals without war.

Oh Sherry 05.Apr.2003 16:25

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Raed, an Iraqi native who keeps a weblog, is currently living in Iraq. Time will tell how much longer he will live, given the genocidal nature of the war against Iraqi civilians waged by US stormtroopers. Rael is amused at the attitudes of what he calls "expats," those Iraqis who moved away from Iraq and at a safe distnace, agitate for regime change. These people are all for a war against Iraq because they are far away from all the violence, safe from the bombs. Raed doesn't seem to appreciate these expats who run away from their homeland before agitating for an attack against Iraq. Check it out;

 http://dear_raed.blogspot.com/

A favorite quote of Raed's;

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
-- Samuel P. Huntington

Intent - 05.Apr.2003 16:32

Sherry

I believe in INTENT - and I in no way believe that the governments intent is to "free or liberate" the iraqie people. That vocabulary came AFTER Bush saw that the whole fucking WORLD was against this war - before that it was about disarming - weapons of mass destruction - etc. But now his words have changed - but his intent? That still confuses me - Ego? Oil? Revenge? Flat out hillbilly ignorance? (well they wear those things on their head - like osama - so....). If our government cared - they wouldn't have asked the kurds to rise up in the gulf war - only to split and let most of them be slaughtered.

Will we ever actually KNOW what this is about?

Whatever - 05.Apr.2003 16:44

sherry

WE all have choices - and kurd-dude at the gas station did what he felt was right for him. He is for the war - and yes he is far away - but his family isn't. I didn't get the feeling he wanted a shitload of people killed - he just doesn't enjoy seeing Saddam fucking everyone up.

I'm not Iraqie - and I don't know what it's like. But I do know that's it's been documented that Saddam tortured the Kurds - is your buddy a Kurd?

I'm not here to argue - there is no black and white - just a whole bunch of different perspectives - that are all right in one way or another.

There will be no silver lining, Sherry 05.Apr.2003 17:05

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Sherry, while I appreciate your will to find the positive outcome of the US's imperialism, it must be pointed out that US imperialism has never historically had any silver lining (unless you are a shareholder in certain corporations - then this war is being fought for your benefit anyways). Every ham-fisted "solution" the US has for other countries are invariably recipes for disaster, as far as the natives of that land are concerned. Remember that it was the US who installed and supported Saddam in his roughest years. The US even congratulated Saddam when he put down uprisings by killing his own citizens with US/UK-provided chemical and biological weapons. "Atta boy, Saddam! [I'm paraphrasing what the US said to Saddam] You sure are a son-of-a-bitch, but dammit you're OUR son-of-a-bitch!"

So what will be the silver lining of having removed Saddam (the disobedient US puppet)? We will replace him with someone more friendly to US interests (the new, more obediant [for now] US puppet). And what can we expect from the puppet-elect of Iraq? Let's look at what another puppet-select, Karzai, has done for Afghanistan; women are still chattel, opium crops have skyrocketing over 2,000 percent, flooding the middle east with cheap heroin and creating countless junkies. US companies are moving into the cities while US troops still fight entrenched mountain mujahadeen. No, the US hasn't finished in Afghanistan. The US IS STILL FIGHTING AFGHANISTAN. And our puppet has maneuvered himself into the prime spot of PunkBitchSupreme, profiting handsomely from his new gig as heroinMaster, protected by US military and the CIA. He's a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch, as Nixon once said long ago about a US puppet.

Bye bye old Saddam, hello new Saddam. I wonder how long the new puppet in Iraq will be US-friendly before things go sour? Any bets?

Kurds aren't why the US is invading Iraq 05.Apr.2003 17:46

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Twenty million strong, the Kurds are the largest stateless ethnic group in the world. They live mostly in Northern Iraq and Turkey, and it's hard to tell which nation abuses them more. Hussein tested nerve gas on them in the late 1980s, but Turkey has been at war with Kurdish guerrillas since 1984. In the mid-1990s, Turkey used its American-made Cobra helicopter gunships and tanks to attack Kurdish strongholds and villages, slaughtering hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians. In any post-Hussein Iraq, the Kurds will demand their own state in northern Iraq, a wish that could make Iraq all but ungovernable.

The US still backs Turkey's war against the Kurds, so why aren't we attacking Turkey too? because Iraq's oil is far more valuable. While denying financial aid to the kurds in the late 70s, Kissinger reminded us "Don't get covert operations confused with charity." Remember, the US is only backing Kurds because they are also fighting the same common enemy, not because the US gives a damn about the Kurds. If the US DID care even a little bit about Kurds, we'd be dealing with Turkey as well as providing Kurds the money to rebuild their society. If you buy the line about "We're helping the Kurdish people" then you should get off the corporate media teat and nourish yourself with the truth for once.

no he didn't 06.Apr.2003 01:29

Peltiere

"Hussein tested nerve gas on them in the late 1980s"


===============


A War Crime or an Act of War?
By STEPHEN C. PELLETIERE
(New York Times, January 31, 2003)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. It was no surprise that President Bush, lacking smoking-gun evidence of Iraq's weapons programs, used his State of the Union address to re-emphasize the moral case for an invasion: "The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured."

The accusation that Iraq has used chemical weapons against its citizens is a familiar part of the debate. The piece of hard evidence most frequently brought up concerns the gassing of Iraqi Kurds at the town of Halabja in March 1988, near the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. President Bush himself has cited Iraq's "gassing its own people," specifically at Halabja, as a reason to topple Saddam Hussein.

But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.

And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent that is, a cyanide-based gas which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.

These facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned. A much-discussed article in The New Yorker last March did not make reference to the Defense Intelligence Agency report or consider that Iranian gas might have killed the Kurds. On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran.

I am not trying to rehabilitate the character of Saddam Hussein. He has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war. There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them.

In fact, those who really feel that the disaster at Halabja has bearing on today might want to consider a different question: Why was Iran so keen on taking the town? A closer look may shed light on America's impetus to invade Iraq.

We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world's largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century A.D., and was a granary for the region.

Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990's there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change.

Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades not solely by controlling Iraq's oil, but by controlling its water. Even if America didn't occupy the country, once Mr. Hussein's Baath Party is driven from power, many lucrative opportunities would open up for American companies.

All that is needed to get us into war is one clear reason for acting, one that would be generally persuasive. But efforts to link the Iraqis directly to Osama bin Laden have proved inconclusive. Assertions that Iraq threatens its neighbors have also failed to create much resolve; in its present debilitated condition thanks to United Nations sanctions Iraq's conventional forces threaten no one.

Perhaps the strongest argument left for taking us to war quickly is that Saddam Hussein has committed human rights atrocities against his people. And the most dramatic case are the accusations about Halabja.

Before we go to war over Halabja, the administration owes the American people the full facts. And if it has other examples of Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds, it must show that they were not pro-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas who died fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein's supposed atrocities, why are we picking on Iraq on human rights grounds, particularly when there are so many other repressive regimes Washington supports?

Stephen C. Pelletiere is author of "Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Persian Gulf."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/31/opinion/31PELL.html

=======================================================


"We are not saying Saddam is totally respectful of human rights, but he is the one who is supporting us. Saddam is BETTER THAN THE UN and he is MUCH BETTER THAN TURKEY."

- Ahmet Vurgun, Kurdish refugee crossing to the border from Turkey into Iraq to seek sanctuary, as witnessed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugess, May 1997

no he didn't 06.Apr.2003 01:30

Peltiere

"Hussein tested nerve gas on them in the late 1980s"


===============


A War Crime or an Act of War?
By STEPHEN C. PELLETIERE
(New York Times, January 31, 2003)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. It was no surprise that President Bush, lacking smoking-gun evidence of Iraq's weapons programs, used his State of the Union address to re-emphasize the moral case for an invasion: "The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured."

The accusation that Iraq has used chemical weapons against its citizens is a familiar part of the debate. The piece of hard evidence most frequently brought up concerns the gassing of Iraqi Kurds at the town of Halabja in March 1988, near the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. President Bush himself has cited Iraq's "gassing its own people," specifically at Halabja, as a reason to topple Saddam Hussein.

But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.

And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent that is, a cyanide-based gas which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.

These facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned. A much-discussed article in The New Yorker last March did not make reference to the Defense Intelligence Agency report or consider that Iranian gas might have killed the Kurds. On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran.

I am not trying to rehabilitate the character of Saddam Hussein. He has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war. There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them.

In fact, those who really feel that the disaster at Halabja has bearing on today might want to consider a different question: Why was Iran so keen on taking the town? A closer look may shed light on America's impetus to invade Iraq.

We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world's largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century A.D., and was a granary for the region.

Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990's there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change.

Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades not solely by controlling Iraq's oil, but by controlling its water. Even if America didn't occupy the country, once Mr. Hussein's Baath Party is driven from power, many lucrative opportunities would open up for American companies.

All that is needed to get us into war is one clear reason for acting, one that would be generally persuasive. But efforts to link the Iraqis directly to Osama bin Laden have proved inconclusive. Assertions that Iraq threatens its neighbors have also failed to create much resolve; in its present debilitated condition thanks to United Nations sanctions Iraq's conventional forces threaten no one.

Perhaps the strongest argument left for taking us to war quickly is that Saddam Hussein has committed human rights atrocities against his people. And the most dramatic case are the accusations about Halabja.

Before we go to war over Halabja, the administration owes the American people the full facts. And if it has other examples of Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds, it must show that they were not pro-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas who died fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Until Washington gives us proof of Saddam Hussein's supposed atrocities, why are we picking on Iraq on human rights grounds, particularly when there are so many other repressive regimes Washington supports?

Stephen C. Pelletiere is author of "Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Persian Gulf."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/31/opinion/31PELL.html

=======================================================


"We are not saying Saddam is totally respectful of human rights, but he is the one who is supporting us. Saddam is BETTER THAN THE UN and he is MUCH BETTER THAN TURKEY."

- Ahmet Vurgun, Kurdish refugee crossing to the border from Turkey into Iraq to seek sanctuary, as witnessed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugess, May 1997

Thank you Peltiere 06.Apr.2003 20:45

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

That was a good article. Thank you for posting it. Now I know.

War won't bring democracy to Iraq 07.Apr.2003 00:44

David B.

Why? Short answer: because bringing democracy to Iraq will be very complex and difficult, and the US has neither the patience for that task, nor is willing to accept its likely outcomes.

Longer answer:

Iraq, like many Third World nations, is a bastard stepchild of western imperialism. Its borders have no correspondance to the boundaries of any ethnic group, and encompass three different ethnic groups that distrust each other. This was deliberate. Imperialists drew the boundaries of their colonies in this way, and embarked on policies to sew distrust amongst the ethnic groups in their colony, so as to maximize the difficulty of the people living there being able to unite against the colonizer and govern themselves.

Therefore, it will be extremely difficult to get the three ethnic groups in Iraq (Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis) to cooperate in governing a democratic Iraq. It's not for nothing that Iraq has been a dictatorship since it gained independence.
The obvious way around this problem is to split Iraq in three.

But wait -- any independent Kurdish state is anathema to the virulently anti-Kurdish government of Turkey. The Turks already have forces amassed on their border with Iraq, poised to invade. Wait again -- any Shiite state in southern Iraq is going to gravitate towards its predominantly Shiite neighbor, Iran. That's not going to be acceptable to the USA. Hold on -- the rump Iraq comprising the remaining central part of the country is going to be bitter and resentful at the US at having just lost 2/3rds of its national territory, and will probably elect an anti-US government. Also unacceptable to the US.

And really now, can anyone logically expect the administration that has budgeted -no- money in 2004 for reconstructing Afghanistan to have any patience with the even more difficult task of building a democratic Iraq?

So, no, this war isn't going to end in either a democratic Iraq or an independent Kurdistan. Sorry.

Portland, OR