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Iraq War 09-25-02

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Little Boys With Their Toys By JOHN S. TULLY
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 25, 2002
      Please send as far and wide as possible.


      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Little Boys With Their Toys
      By JOHN S. TULLY

      Los ANGELES, SEPT. 24, 2002 ---

      It has become the age of "muddled thinking" around Washington D.C.
      and throughout this great nation. The debate about Mr. Hussein never
      materialized and now the war drums are beating hideously loud. No
      politician it seems is even questioning the administration's stance
      that regime change must take place now. The non-debate is currently
      focusing on when to strike and whether the rest of the world will be

      This is a time when we are still actively engaged in Afghanistan,
      searching for remnants of Al-Quaeda amongst the Taliban regime; one
      that still has a viable presence in a country that our troops will be
      engaged in for many years to come. In this War On Terrorism Osama Bin
      Laden has not been found and dozens of milatary experts can still
      find no connection between Al Quaeda and Iraq. The Middle East peace
      process is in shambles; the two sides continue to tear one another
      apart and there are no concrete plans in place to change this
      paradigm. Indeed, Mr. Sharon has declared that he will strike back if
      Iraq launches scud missles on Israel as it did during the Gulf War.

      Meanwhile, both India and Pakistan have nuclear capability at a time
      of increased reports of Al Quaeda presence in both countries. There
      is serious uneasiness in the entire region about the ramifications of
      a power play in an Islamic country by a foreign power.

      Administration officials asked the United Nations for permission to
      go back into Iraq and hold meaningful inspections of their weapons
      program; permission was granted unconditionally with disarmament
      being the ultimate goal. Now it seems that nothing short of a "regime
      change" will satisfy officials in the White House and the State

      Experts from the milatary, scholars of international diplomacy,
      recognized leaders of democratic countries have warned the United
      States that an attack on Iraq could be disasterous for the entire
      region and in fact the entire globe. Saddam Hussein is a very
      dangerous man in a very dangerous neighborhood. Evidence shows that
      he does have chemical and biological weapons. There is however
      absolutely no conclusive evidence of any kind that Mr. Hussein
      has "Weapons of Mass Destruction".

      Young American men and women are about to go to a war with Iraq that
      may take more lives than that devastating day last September. With
      six weeks until the elections United States Congressman and Senators
      have fallen silent; their hollow echoes frightening the rest of the

      Who will speak up?


      Saddam Wins War Against America...In War Game
      By Gordon Thomas

      America has just lost the war with Saddam.

      Its battle fleet in the Gulf was blown out of the water with
      Sidewinder missiles. Al-Quaeda terrorists staged suicide attacks on
      US carriers. Thirteen thousand crack American troops were decimated.

      Using what the Pentagon called "surprise and unorthodox tactics",
      Saddam won a resounding victory.
      It was the biggest war game in history. But the results have sent
      panic bells ringing in the Pentagon.

      Now the officer who played "Saddam" has blown the whistle - adding
      red faces to the panic buttons.

      General Paul "Saddam" Van Riper - a tough-talking much-decorated
      Marine - has now heaped further embarrassment on Bush's military
      chiefs by castigating "Exercise Millennium Challenge" as one that did
      not "auger well for the future".

      And - perhaps the worst crime of all in any war game designed to test
      the readiness of soldiers, Van Rider accused the US "enemy" he "well
      and truly whipped" of cheating.

      "Saddam" says that in "the most expensive ever war game - costing
      $250 million - US ships were "raised from their watery graves in the
      Gulf and allowed back in to join the fight against me"."

      Dead "troops" wiped out on computers were "ordered back to life",
      said Van Rider in Washington.
      "Saddam's" electronic defences were ordered to be switched off by
      senior Pentagon officers refereeing the war game.

      "Then I was told to use cell phones to communicate. Crazy".

      Worse was to follow. As the remnants of the US forces struggled to
      make amphibious landings - all on computer simulations - "Saddam" was
      ordered, he said, to "look the other way so the US troops could get
      ashore. If I hadn't obeyed, we would have stopped them dead in their

      "Saddam" had at his disposal a computer generated fleet of small
      boats and replicas of Saddam's somewhat outmoded aircraft.

      He mobilised them to attack the US fleet "by sending a coded message
      in Arabic from the minarets of mosques at the call to prayer".

      Watching from his electronic command console, Van Riper felt a sense
      of "astonishment" how his ploy worked.

      "Sixteen ships were sunk at once. Thousands of marines died. If this
      had really happened, it would have been the worst naval disaster
      since Pearl Harbour", said Van Riper.

      The exercise ended a month ago. But until yesterday the Pentagon have
      kept a tight lid on the outcome.

      Admiral Cutler Dawson, the commander of the "computer fleet" and in
      real life the man who will help launch the US forthcoming naval
      attack on Iraq, admitted yesterday that "some things worked, some
      things didn't. That's how you learn from a war game".

      But Van Riper has ridiculed the whole war game as "rubbish. My own
      concern is that our forces showed they are just not yet ready".

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      Sneak Attacks and American Aggression
      By Marty Jezer, AlterNet
      September 11, 2002

      Growing up in the Bronx in the years after the Second World War,
      there was a game that boys used to play in the schoolyard. One boy
      would walk up to another (usually smaller) boy and say, "Let's play
      Pearl Harbor."

      Then he'd grab the kid by the crotch and shout, "Sneak attack!"

      Make no mistake about it -- if we launch a unilateral attack on Iraq,
      it would be the moral equivalent of the Japanese attack on Pearl
      Harbor. This time, however, we'd be the "Japs." In the eyes of the
      world, we'd be the aggressor nation.

      To be sure, the idea for such an attack is no longer secret. But
      that's only because opponents of an attack inside the Bush
      Administration leaked the plans to the New York Times. Subsequent
      articles in the Times provoked the current discussion.

      If it were up to the Administration, the idea of attacking Iraq would
      still be a secret. We'd wake up one morning to televised pictures of
      Baghdad being bombed and anti-American demonstrations throughout the

      Is an attack on Iraq something we want to be responsible for as a
      nation? I agree with Texas Republican Dick Armey who, early in
      August, said,

      "If we try to act against Saddam Hussein, as obnoxious as he is,
      without proper provocation, we will not have the support of other
      nation states who might do so. I don't 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."

      Armey's historical memory is a little warped, however. The United
      States has waged unilateral and unprovoked wars a number of times in
      its history, and American presidents have ordered military action
      without the approval of Congress. The invasion of Grenada was one
      such instance. So was the 1961 invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.
      But the plans for Iraq take brazenness to a dangerous level. A Middle
      East conflagration is one probable outcome.

      We can learn something from the Bay of Pigs debacle. It too was
      supposed to be secret but, as with Iraq, government critics leaked it
      to the New York Times. To its confessed regret, the Times sat on the
      story. As a result, neither the American people nor Congress, in any
      official capacity, knew that an invasion was pending. Without public
      discussion, the CIA came to believe its own self-serving propaganda.
      President Kennedy approved the invasion on the basis of CIA
      assurances that the Cuban people would welcome the invaders and
      themselves overthrow the Castro government. Sound familiar? Beware of
      government intelligence briefings that reinforce government
      ambitions. The Cuban people never rebelled, and Castro, who knew an
      invasion was coming, stopped it at the beachhead.

      Fidel Castro is no Saddam, despite Bush's nonsensical attempt to tar
      him as a terrorist. Successive U.S. governments have more or less
      opposed Castro for ideological reasons, not because he has weapons of
      mass destruction or threatens Miami. Earlier this year, when the
      Administration accused Castro of building biological weapons, the
      accusation went no further than the day's headlines. False
      accusations and dubbing opponents "evil" do not justify a war of
      aggression. So far, Bush's argument for "taking out" Saddam consists
      of ad hominem name-calling. This is schoolyard stuff. Just because
      Bush can't goose Saddam (and perhaps avenge his father) is no reason
      to set Iraq afire.

      Public pressure has forced Bush to at least promise to go before
      Congress. I take this with a grain of salt. Remember the Tonkin
      Resolution? Congress approved an open-ended escalation of the war in
      Vietnam because the North Vietnamese supposedly attacked American
      naval ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. We now know that the attacks never
      happened and that President Johnson knew it was a lie.

      A Congressional debate would be useful. I would like to know when
      Saddam became the modern-day Hitler that Bush says he is. Was it when
      he used chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iranians with our
      political support and military assistance? Was it after Senator Bob
      Dole went to Baghdad to cut a deal for oil and proclaimed Saddam
      (even after he had used those chemical weapons) "a leader to whom the
      United States can talk."

      Saddam is a brutal dictator, no doubt; and he may or may not be
      building dangerous weapons. As Noam Chomsky, a leading critic of
      American foreign policy, says, Saddam "is as evil as they come....No
      one would want to be within his reach. But fortunately, his reach
      does not extend very far."

      Iraq is not a U.S. problem. His weapons cannot reach America. Nor is
      there any evidence tying him to Osama bin Laden. Saddam is a problem
      for the Middle East and for his own people. Bombing people in order
      to save them, which is how the U.S. proposed to help the people of
      Vietnam, is not likely to win the support of the Iraqi victims. The
      United Nations recognizes Saddam as an international outlaw. It's
      U.N., not American, weapon inspectors we want back in Iraq. It's U.N.
      resolutions, not American laws, that Saddam is flouting.

      Without U.N. backing, without sufficient evidence to win support from
      our allies, the United States has no right to go to war against Iraq.
      If Bush starts a war without congressional backing, he ought to be
      impeached for violating the U.S. Constitution. And any member of
      Congress who votes for war without U.N. backing ought to be voted out
      of office, no matter what his or her party.

      Marty Jezer's books include "Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel" and "The
      Dark Ages: Life in the U.S. 1945-1960." He writes from Brattleboro,
      Vermont and welcomes comments at mjez@....



      Untested administration hawks clamor for war
      By James Bamford

      Beware of war hawks who never served in the military.

      That, in essence, was the message of retired four-star Marine Corps
      general Anthony Zinni, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War
      and the White House point man on the Middle East crisis. Zinni is one
      of a growing number of uniformed officers, in and out of the
      Pentagon, urging caution on the issue of a pre-emptive strike against

      In an address recently in Florida, he warned his audience to watch
      out for the administration's civilian superhawks, most of whom
      avoided military service as best they could. ''If you ask me my
      opinion,'' said Zinni, referring to Iraq, ''Gen. (Brent) Scowcroft,
      Gen. (Colin) Powell, Gen. (Norman) Schwarzkopf and Gen. Zinni maybe
      all see this the same way. It might be interesting to wonder why all
      of the generals see it the same way, and all those (who) never fired
      a shot in anger (and) are really hellbent to go to war see it a
      different way.

      ''That's usually the way it is in history,'' he said.

      Another veteran, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who served in combat in
      Vietnam and now sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, was even
      more blunt. ''It is interesting to me that many of those who want to
      rush this country into war and think it would be so quick and easy
      don't know anything about war,'' he said. ''They come at it from an
      intellectual perspective vs. having sat in jungles or foxholes and
      watched their friends get their heads blown off.''

      The problem is not new. More than 100 years ago, another battle-
      scarred soldier, Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman,
      observed: ''It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard
      the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more
      vengeance, more desolation.''

      Last month, Vice President Cheney emerged briefly to give several two-
      gun talks before veterans groups in which he spoke of ''regime
      change'' and a ''liberated Iraq.''

      ''We must take the battle to the enemy,'' he said of the war on
      terrorism. Cheney went on to praise the virtue of military
      service. ''The single most important asset we have,'' he said, ''is
      the man or woman who steps forward and puts on the uniform of this
      great nation.''

      But during the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War, Cheney decided
      against wearing that uniform. Instead, he used multiple deferments to
      avoid military service altogether. ''I had other priorities in
      the '60s than military service,'' he once said.

      Cheney is far from alone. For instance, neither Paul Wolfowitz, the
      deputy Defense secretary, nor Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense
      Policy Board, has served in uniform, yet they are now two of the most
      bellicose champions of launching a bloody war in the Middle East.

      What frightens many is the arrogance, naïveté and cavalier attitude
      toward war. ''The Army guys don't know anything,'' Perle told The
      Nation's David Corn earlier this year. With ''40,000 troops,'' he
      said, the United States could easily take over Iraq. ''We don't need
      anyone else.'' But by most other estimates, a minimum of 200,000 to
      250,000 troops would be needed, plus the support of many allies.

      Even among Republicans, the warfare between the veterans and non-vets
      can be intense. ''Maybe Mr. Perle would like to be in the first wave
      of those who go into Baghdad,'' Hagel, who came home from Vietnam
      with two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, told The New York Times.

      Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Vietnam combat veteran and former
      chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has often expressed anger
      about the class gap between those who fought in Vietnam and those who
      did not.

      ''I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed
      managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units,'' he
      wrote in his 1995 autobiography, My American Journey. ''Of the many
      tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the
      most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and
      owe equal allegiance to their country.''

      Non-combatants, however, litter the top ranks of the Republican
      hierarchy. President Bush served peacefully in the Texas National
      Guard. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spent his time in a
      Princeton classroom as others in his age group were fighting and
      dying on Korean battlefields (he later joined the peacetime Navy).
      Another major player in the administration's war strategy, Douglas
      Feith, the Defense undersecretary for policy, has no experience in
      the military. Nor does Cheney's influential chief of staff, Lewis

      The top congressional Republican leaders -- Senate Minority Leader
      Trent Lott, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader Dick
      Armey and House Majority Whip Tom Delay -- never saw military
      service, either; only one, Armey, has shown hesitation about invading
      Iraq. In contrast, House International Relations Committee Chairman
      Henry Hyde, R-Ill., a World War II combat veteran, has expressed
      skepticism about hasty U.S. action, as have some prominent Democrats -
      - House Minority Whip David Bonior, Senate Majority Leader Tom
      Daschle and former vice president Al Gore -- who were in the military
      during the Vietnam War.

      No administration's senior ranks, of course, have to be packed with
      military veterans in order to make good military decisions. But what
      is remarkable about this administration is that so many of those who
      are now shouting the loudest and pushing the hardest for this
      generation's war are the same people who avoided combat, or often
      even a uniform, in Vietnam, their generation's war.

      Military veterans from any era tend to have more appreciation for the
      greater difficulty of getting out of a military action than getting
      in -- a topic administration war hawks haven't said much about when
      it comes to Iraq.

      Indeed, the Bush administration's non-veteran hawks should review the
      origins of the Vietnam quagmire. Along the way, they might come
      across a quote from still another general, this one William
      Westmoreland, who once directed the war in Vietnam.

      ''The military don't start wars,'' he said ruefully. ''Politicians
      start wars.''

      James Bamford is author of Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-
      Secret National Security Agency and a member of USA TODAY's board of


      Byrd Charges Bush's War Plans Are A Coverup
      By Paul J. Nyden
      Charleston Gazette Staff Writer

      Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said President Bush's plans to invade
      Iraq are a conscious effort to distract public attention from growing
      problems at home.

      "This administration, all of a sudden, wants to go to war with Iraq,"
      Byrd said. "The [political] polls are dropping, the domestic
      situation has problems.... So all of a sudden we have this war talk,
      war fervor, the bugles of war, drums of war, clouds of war.

      "Don't tell me that things suddenly went wrong. Back in August, the
      president had no plans.... Then all of a sudden this country is going
      to war," Byrd told the Senate on Friday.

      "Are politicians talking about the domestic situation, the stock
      market, weaknesses in the economy, jobs that are being lost, housing
      problems? No."

      Byrd warned of another Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Passed on Aug. 7,
      1964, that resolution handed President Lyndon Johnson broad powers to
      escalate the war in Vietnam, a conflict that cost 58,202 American
      lives and millions of Asian lives.

      "Congress will be putting itself on the sidelines," Byrd told the
      Senate. "Nothing would please this president more than having such a
      blank check handed to him."

      Byrd said his belief in the Constitution will prevent him from voting
      for Bush's war resolution. "But I am finding that the Constitution is
      irrelevant to people of this administration."

      Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., both praised
      Byrd after he spoke.

      "It is the height of patriotism to ask such hard questions," Clinton
      said. "No one exemplifies that more than the senior senator from West

      Byrd said, "Before the nation is committed to war, before we send our
      sons and daughters to battle in faraway lands, there are critical
      questions that must be asked. To date, the answers from the
      administration have been less than satisfying."

      Byrd repeatedly said Bush has failed to give members of Congress any
      evidence about any immediate danger from Iraq. Byrd also criticized
      his speech to the United Nations.

      "Instead of offering compelling evidence that the Iraqi regime had
      taken steps to advance its weapons program, the president offered the
      U.N. more of a warning than an appeal for support.

      "Instead of using the forum of the U.N. General Assembly to offer
      evidence and proof of his claims, the president basically told the
      nations of the world that you are either with me, or against me,"
      Byrd said.

      "We must not be hell-bent on an invasion until we have exhausted
      every other possible option to assess and eliminate Iraq's supposed
      weapons of mass destruction program. We must not act alone. We must
      have the support of the world."

      Byrd said Congress needs solid evidence and answers to several
      specific questions, including:
      * Does Saddam Hussein pose an imminent threat to the U.S.?
      * Should the United States act alone?
      * What would be the repercussions in the Middle East and around the
      * How many civilians would die in Iraq?
      * How many American forces would be involved?
      * How do we afford this war?
      * Will the U.S. respond with nuclear weapons if Saddam Hussein uses
      chemical or biological weapons against U.S. soldiers?
      * Does the U.S. have enough military and intelligence resources to
      fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while mobilizing resources to
      prevent attacks on our own shores?

      Byrd said the proposed resolution Bush sent Congress on Thursday
      would be the "broadest possible grant of war powers to any president
      in the history of our Republic. The resolution is a direct insult and
      an affront to the powers given to Congress."

      Byrd also criticized Bush's request for power to carry out "pre-
      emptive attacks" and send troops to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon,
      Yemen, the West Bank and anywhere else in the Middle East.

      "I cannot believe the gall and the arrogance of the White House in
      requesting such a broad grant of war powers," Byrd said. "This is the
      worst kind of election-year politics."

      To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail or call 348-5164.

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