Did Iraq REALLY SARAN-Gas the KURDS, their  Own People?
OP-ED from New York Times:

"A War Crime or an Act of War?" Posted by Anita Sands Hernandez, astrology@earthlink.net

ARTICLE is by STEPHEN C. PELLETIERE but others exist in cyberspace !! <(CLICK THERE)

(S.C.P is a Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000,  privy to the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. )

 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." Answer is THE PIPELINE!


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The Flimflam Bushitters got caught a second time. Imagine how many other things lie in the basement of history with labels reading "Bush Administration. Remember this datum?: Newsweek  reported that Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect and Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, told the United Nations, the CIA and Britain's MI-6 in 1995 that Iraq destroyed all of its chemical and biological stocks, as well as the missiles to deliver them, in 1991.

Yet the U.N. arms inspectors, the CIA and MI-6 chose to keep that secret. If  it's true — and there's no reason to believe it isn't — then it's pretty hard evidence that the Bush administration is lying through its teeth when it keeps insisting that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. It also bolsters the credibility of former chief arms inspector Scott Ritter, who has likewise insisted that Iraq's weapons were destroyed. For that matter, it bolsters the credibility of the Iraqi government, which insists it no longer has any weapons of mass destruction.

You might recall that Kamel defected to Jordan and about six months later made the mistake of returning to Iraq, where he was killed. This coming war with Iraq gets murkier and murkier. Let's see if we can sort it out.

First, we have a chief executive so naive about the world outside of Texas, he probably couldn't find a lot of countries on a map. Second, he has surrounded himself with American Likudniks — supporters of Israel's right-wing government. Even The Washington Post reported recently what I've
been saying for months: that Bush's policy is identical to that of Ariel Sharon's, the Israeli prime minister. I've said that Bush has been acting like Sharon's puppet; The Washington Post story quoted a U.S. official as saying Sharon has "played Bush like a violin."

The Israelis have long feared Iraq, Iran and North Korea (because they fear it will sell missiles to Iran). What a coincidence that those three countries are Bush's "axis of evil."

Before Bush's election, Dick Cheney ( vice president), John Bolton ( undersecretary of state for arms control), Douglas Feith ( third-highest-ranking official in the Defense Department), Richard Perle ( chairman of the Defense Policy Board) and James Woolsey (former CIA director) all had one thing in common: They served as advisers to the pro-Israeli Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. This is according to an article that appeared in the magazine The Nation. Bush recently appointed as director of Middle Eastern affairs for the National Security Council Elliott Abrams, a protιgι of Perle and a man convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1996, according to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Perle, Feith and David Wurmser,  an assistant to Bolton, wrote a policy proposal for Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel's prime minister. Included in their advice were tips on how to manipulate the American government (OK, even the Haaretz reporter says the report comes "dangerously close" to dual loyalty) and advice to drop the peace plan, drop the idea of land for peace and concentrate on toppling Saddam Hussein and eventually replacing other Middle Eastern governments in order to create a safe environment for Israel.

There's your explanation for the war. When sons and daughters come home in body bags or maimed, or when a few cagy muslims with box cutters take another planet into a bldg, or put a fertilizer bomb in a public building, or ram it into a taco shop, which they've been doing for years in Israel, THE BUSHITTER GROUP is  the people you can blame. Others in this group — who formed an outfit called the Project for the New American Century in 1997 that also called for toppling Saddam — include, in addition to most of those named above, Donald Rumsfeld; William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard; Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's No. 2 guy; William Bennett, the best the neocons can do for an intellectual; Richard Armitage, now Colin Powell's deputy; Zalmay Khalilzad, now ambassador to Afghanistan; and others, Condoleeza,the usual Suspects.The Jean Kirpatrick-meister, Kissinger, etc.

If you watch the silly cable-news shows, you will recognize many of these names as part of the parade of "experts" in favor of war with Iraq. The American people are being played for suckers. Their sons and daughters will be cannon fodder in a war that might benefit a foreign country but will greatly damage the interests of our own.

TRY TO DENY THIS TRUTH BUT this AUTHOR is a Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000,  privy to the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. )

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