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Tag Archives: Saddam Hussein

In my last post I highlighted some of the reasons why Americans should condemn the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. However, as deplorable as the past five years of war have been, I also believe it is necessary to look back at the economic war that was waged against Iraq in the 1990’s. The Iraq Sanctions, supported by the Clinton administration, are considered to be some of the most brutal in all of history. The ostensible goal of those sanctions was to weaken Saddam Hussein’s totalitarian grip on the people of Iraq and to eliminate the “threat” posed to the Middle East and the West by Hussein and his alleged weapons programs. Of course, that’s not the way things would pan out. In fact, the Clinton backed Iraq sanctions and the invasion of Iraq begun by Bush in 2003 have one dubious “accomplishment” in common. They have both resulted in tremendous suffering for the Iraqi people.

In the early 1990’s the U.N. Security Council passed resolutions which placed sanctions on Iraq. The first Bush administration believed the sanctions should not be lifted as long as Hussein remained in power. But, Bill Clinton was and still is a humanitarian, right? Surely he wouldn’t feel the same way. Or would he? In 1993, as he takes office Clinton says:

“I am a Baptist. I believe in death-bed conversions. If he [Hussein] wants a different relationship with the United States and the United Nations, all he has to do is change his behavior.” (The New York Times, January 14, 1993)

Clinton adds regarding Hussein: “I have no intention of normalizing relations with him.”

On May 12, 1996 on 60 Minutes Ambassador Madeleine Albright is asked:

“We have heard that a half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?”

Albright responds:

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price-we think the price is worth it.”

Then, on October 4, 1996, UNICEF releases a report on Iraq in which it states:

“Around 4,500 children under the age of five are dying here every month from hunger and disease.”

And of course, it gets worse. On October 3, 1997 a joint study conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program discovers that the sanctions:

“significantly constrained Iraq’s ability to earn foreign currency needed to import sufficient quantities of food to meet needs. As a consequence, food shortages and malnutrition became progressively severe and chronic in the 1990s.”

In the face of this disaster, what does Bill Clinton do? He responds with bluster. In November 1997, during a standoff on weapons inspectors, the President says:

“What he [Hussein] says his objective is, is to relieve the people of Iraq, and presumably the government, of the burden of the sanctions. What he has just done is to ensure that the sanctions will be there until the end of time or as long as he lasts. So I think that if his objective is to try to get back into the business of manufacturing vast stores of weapons of mass destruction and then try to either use them or sell them, then at some point the United States, and more than the United States, would be more than happy to try to stop that.” (Emphasis Added)

Is this the same Bill Clinton who is now regarded as a supreme humanitarian? Just think of all of those bumper stickers that read “Nobody died when Clinton lied.” The truth is that hundreds of thousands of people died when Clinton lied.

Anyway, the tragedy in Iraq continued, as on November 26, 1997 UNICEF reported:

“The most alarming results are those on malnutrition, with 32 per cent of children under the age of five, some 960,000 children, chronically malnourished-a rise of 72 per cent since 1991. Almost one quarter (around 23 per cent) are underweight-twice as high as the levels found in neighbouring Jordan or Turkey.” Philippe Heffinck, UNICEF Representative in Baghdad: “And what concerns us now is that there is no sign of any improvement since Security Council Resolution 986/1111 [oil-for-food] came into force.”

Just a couple of weeks after this report is issued Clinton reminds the public of his intentions:

“I am willing to maintain the sanctions as long as he does not comply with the resolutions…. There are those that would like to lift the sanctions. I am not among them.”

Then on January 10, 1998 the Pope speaks out against the sanctions:

“I insist on repeating clearly to all, once again, that no one may kill in God’s name,” recalling “our brothers and sisters in Iraq, living under a pitiless embargo… The weak and the innocent cannot pay for mistakes for which they are not responsible.”

The next grim report from UNICEF would come in April. It stated:

“The increase in mortality reported in public hospitals for children under five years of age (an excess of some 40,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is mainly due to diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. In those over five years of age, the increase (an excess of some 50,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, liver or kidney diseases.”

On October 6, 1998, Dennis Halliday, the former head of the “oil for food” program for Iraq gives a speech on Capitol Hill in which he cites:

a “conservative estimate” of “child mortality for children under five years of age is from five to six thousand per month.” Halliday states: “There are many reasons for these tragic and unnecessary deaths, including the poor health of mothers, the breakdown of health services, the poor nutritional intake of both adults and young children and the high incidence of water-born diseases as a result of the collapse of Iraq’s water and sanitation system-and, of course, the lack of electric power to drive that system, both crippled by war damage following the 1991 Gulf War.”

However, the Clinton administration remained unbowed in their steely eyed determination to oust Hussein from power through the crippling sanctions. They too, espoused more nonsense about WMDs, for which George W. Bush is now infamous. On November 10, 1998 State Department spokesman James Rubin said:

“We’ve stated very clearly that it is up to Saddam Hussein to comply with the resolutions of the Security Council that lay out the needs and requirements, including on weapons of mass destruction, coming back into compliance with those resolutions, including on Kuwaiti prisoners, Kuwaiti equipment, and, in short, demonstrating his peaceful intentions, in which case we are prepared to see an adjustment in the sanctions regime.”

And let’s not forget the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, in which it is averred that Iraq:

“…has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

So we see that the lies of 2001 and 2002 are strikingly similar to the lies of 1998. Two different Presidents, yet the lies remain the same. In the 1990’s Clinton’s lies led to the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis through those despicable sanctions. In the early 2000’s Bush’s lies have led to the mass murders of possibly over a million Iraqis.

Call one a Democrat. Call the other a Republican. One is “conservative.” One is “liberal.” That is all irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that they are partners in crime.

Everyone is encouraged to live in the “present”. In fact, it is really all anyone can do. Our lives keep changing as the country and the world change, and it is imperative that we keep up with the pace. Occasionally, however, we should all stop and think of the line from the Talking Heads hit “Once In A Lifetime” and ask ourselves, “Well, how did I get here?”

For, if we really want to know why our country exists in its current state we need to understand how we got to this point. As bad as the current Bush presidency has been, it didn’t start with his administration. There is a long chain of events that brought us endless war, interventionism at home and abroad, loss of civil liberties, debasement of the currency, and the threat of terrorism. I would like to mention some of the events that I believe are the most significant. Admittedly, this will not be a complete list. I welcome any comments about events that I don’t mention in this post. Of course I welcome comments about the events that I do mention as well.

Let’s start way back in the 1860’s with Abraham Lincoln. If you want to know where the precedent for suppression of civil liberties in America was set, look no further than “Honest Abe.” Check out what Thomas DiLorenzo has to say about Lincoln. Funny, but they don’t teach this stuff in the government schools.

Next there is the war that marked the beginning of America’s expansionist foreign policy: The Spanish-American War.

Not too long after that, in 1913, two more pernicious acts were committed upon the American people. First there was the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, that set in motion the forces that are destroying our currency. But, there’s also the Sixteenth Amendment, which brought us the income tax, and the notion that the government actually owns our paychecks and allows us to keep a portion of them.

Soon after these dastardly acts America entered WWI. The Wilsonian policy of “making the world safe for democracy” exists to this very day.

Moving on to the early 1930’s we see the genesis of the American corporate state with FDR and the New Deal. Interestingly, the fascist Mussolini government in Italy was drawn on for inspiration here.

Also significant in American history is the day of April 5, 1933, when FDR made it illegal for Americans to own gold coins, bullion, or certificates, thus speeding up the process of currency destruction.

And what about all of those Japanese internment camps in this country during WWII? Long before people like Dubya were concerned about “Islamofascists” and homegrown terrorism, FDR set the stage.

And speaking of setting the stage, there is the U.S. involvement in Korea and Vietnam. With these wars the Constitutional requirement of a formal declaration of war by Congress was eschewed, giving the President carte blanche to wage war whenever and wherever he likes. Of course, this Executive power is largely viewed as being normal these days. Furthermore, the United States is now expected to get involved in various conflicts around the globe that have no connection to American national security.

And the hits just keep on coming. We now move on to the Middle East and 1953. The CIA launched Operation Ajax in Iran. The end result would be the removal of the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh from power. He was replaced with the U.S. supported brutal dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.

In the 1960’s, in the interest of keeping the Commies at bay, the CIA also assisted in bringing Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party to power in Iraq. I’ll come back to Saddam in a moment.

Returning to money matters, August 15, 1971 was indeed a fateful day for the American dollar, as Richard Nixon closed the gold window completely. From here the Fed’s printing presses have been working overtime.

Alright, so now more about Hussein. Back in the 1980’s the U.S. government considered the “butcher of Baghdad” to be a great ally. He was the recipient of military support during his eight year long war with neighboring Iran. Anyone starting to see some reasons why the people of Iran might harbor some enmity toward the United States?

Also in the 1980’s, and once again in the name of fighting Soviet Communism, the U.S. supported Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan referred to them as “freedom fighters.” Osama bin Laden was one of those freedom fighters. Strange, now they are portrayed as the people who are trying to take away our freedom.

And why did our “allies” in Afghanistan become our enemies. Well, according to Osama bin Laden it has a lot to do with the U.S. establishing military bases in Saudi Arabia. He cites the existence of those bases as one of the main reasons why he started fighting a holy war against the U.S.

Moving into the 1990’s we have the sanctions against Iraq which are considered to be some of the most brutal in history. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children died as a result of these U.S. government backed sanctions. Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright said on national television that those deaths were “worth it” since the ultimate goal was to remove the now evil Hussein from power.

Again, I know that these events do not cover everything that has brought us to our current state of affairs in America. But, we need to remember them. They are enormously significant as mile markers on our road to the destruction of the American Republic.

Based on a few comments I have received on this post it appears that there is still some confusion regarding the issue of whether or not Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I have been accused of “assuming” that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein’s government and the hijackers. Well, with this post I intend to corroborate my claims and prove that they were not “assumptions” at all.

I will begin with Mr. War on Terror himself, George W. Bush. In this video he admits that there is no Iraq-9/11 connection. In the same clip he also admits that there were no weapons of mass destruction. No, I’m not “assuming” this. He actually says it.

Then we have vice president Dick Cheney. In this video he too, admits that there is no connection between Iraq and 9/11. He does claim that there is evidence linking Iraq to Al Qaeda, but that claim has also been refuted.

Continuing with the neocon war zealots parade we come to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Guess what? He also admits there’s no connection between Iraq and 9/11.

And former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was a major architect of the Iraq war echoes those sentiments.

Now, I can just hear some people saying ” What about Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi?” Just in case you’re not familiar with that name I’ll clue you in. In 2004 former Navy secretary John Lehman, a Republican member of the 9/11 commission was very concerned about Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi. It was posited that he was a member of Saddam’s militia, the Fedayeen. Furthermore, an Al Qaeda meeting that was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2000 had none other than Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi, the presumed Fedayeen man, as one of its attendees. It is thought that much of the planning for 9/11 took place at this meeting. Therefore, Lehman concluded that this was solid evidence which proved Saddam’s government had collaborated with the 9/11 hijackers and Al Qaeda in general.

However, it all turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. It’s true that Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi was there in Malaysia in 2000. He was, in fact, an Al Qaeda greeter at the airport. It’s false, however, that he was also a member of the Fedayeen. That man was named Lt. Col. Hikmat Shakir Ahmad.

A Bush administration official more or less shrugged off Lehman’s claim saying “By most reckoning that would be someone else.” The official did say that the issue was still being studied, but that “it doesn’t look like a match to most analysts.”

And let’s think about this for a second. If this story was even remotely true, Bush would have been on television a long time ago to inform us of this one. I mean, it could have been his saving grace. Apparently, it was too false even for him.

So was I really “assuming” that there was no Iraq-9/11 connection? Or was I simply restating what some of the highest level champions of the war had said before?