The Warmaker's Third Attack On Iraq
From a Gulf War veteran
To whomever will listen...
I am an honorably discharged veteran of the US army, and I served in Saudi Arabia with the 724th Support Battalion, 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Shame in 1990-1991. I offer a minority view of the bombing of Iraq. I propose we think about our actions and the consequences associated with them.
Have you considered how many people live in Iraq? You'd think there was only Saddam Hussein and his cabinet, and some "million man army" - including the 'elite' Republican Guard. No one stops to consider the 20 million men, women and children who (attempt to) live there.
Have you considered what a tremendous military threat Iraq is (was)? Prior to 1991 - the country had a GNP roughly equivalent to that of the state of Kentucky. some threat.
Have you considered the effect that economic sanctions have on a nation? Virtually no imported medicines or antiseptics or vaccines, no imported chlorine to purify drinking water, no replacement parts for destroyed infrastructure, no fertilizer for growing crops, not even graphite for childrens' pencils. All these items are forbidden by the US/UN sanctions as dual use technologies, because these would supposedly be used to develop 'weapons of mass destruction'. Consequently, about 5,000 children ages 5 and other die EACH MONTH due to malnutrition and preventable diseases. RACIST GENOCIDE, thy name is SANCTIONS.
Have you considered what is left to bomb? We utterly destroyed their infrastructure in the 1991 attacks. Under the guise of "suspected chemical sites" we destroyed their factories, their food processing facilities, their water processing, their electrical plants, in addition to most of their 1950's era military equipment. (You should see the captured Iraqi 'war trophy' museum at Fort Stewart GA. Old Soviet surplus and discarded equipment reminiscent of World War II and Korea. Some prize)
Have you considered that the Iraqi people do not have the opportunity to vote their leadership out of office? We at least have a mechanism to remove poor leadership from office. Observe how difficult this is to accomplish, even in the light of overwhelming evidence to support removal of our infamous (the world over) president.
Have you considered that Tomahawk missiles are "weapons of mass destruction" when we target civilian water supplies, sewage treatment plants and power generation facilities, as we did in 1991, and are doing so now?
Have you considered that Iraq is not fighting back? No scrambled aircraft, no massing of troops, no assaults on our carriers, no diversionary attacks on neighboring countries. Only token anti-aircraft fire from their manually sighted 1950's - era weapons, hardly effective against supersonic attack aircraft.
Have you considered how much more cooperative Iraq will be concerning UN inspections? I'm sure they will welcome our puppet "inspectors" with open arms, after we destroy their country again.
Have you considered that Saddam Hussein is a very `marketable' enemy? If the rumors are true about troops having been called off, when he was virtually in their sights, why where they called off? WHO called them off?
Alternatively, how could the greatest intelligence network in the world (with their mapping satellites, agents, and operatives) - our own CIA - be so inept as to not be able to locate him and provide his GPS coordinates?
The US government does not want Saddam Hussein dead. As long as he is alive, he provides a very convenient focal point to distract from the human suffering caused by our attacks, the matter that human beings live in Iraq, the true motives behind our attacks. He provides an easy target for the frenzied rage that our leadership and the media and the church whip up amongst the American public. When he is gone, who will be the next whipping boy?
Have you considered a logical replacement for Saddam Hussein's government? When he and his cabinet are gone, then what? No one seems to have a solution should he be assassinated by a western-sponsored coup, or directly by the US government (blatantly illegal by international law). Should we install another puppet regime as we have in so many places around the globe, with the CIA standing by to offer 'assistance' and 'foreign aid' when our puppet cannot adequately control (oppress) his subjects? Or, will we do nothing and allow the country to descend into anarchy and civil war?
Or, should we assist while the country is systematically carved up by its neighbors in a bloody land grab?. I presume everyone is supposed to live happily ever after, after we destroy their land and kill their leadership.
Perhaps the surviving Iraqi citizens will send a delegation to thank us for ridding them of Saddam Hussein, for destroying their homes and livelihood and social structure, for allowing benevolent Christian capitalist industries to move in, steal their resources, and essentially enslave the natives as they have done in Central America, Malaysia, Indonesia, Haiti, etc., etc.
Have you considered that the Iraqi people are non-white? Consider our country's historical relationship with African peoples, the Native American Indians, the Chinese workers imported to build the railroads, the persons of color in sweatshops worldwide working for Nike and Kathie Lee Gifford and Wal-Mart. If our foreign policy is not racist and genocidal, please refute from the examples presented by the peoples listed above.
Have you considered that we have stored in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD alone, over 400 thousand gallons of chemical agents? with no protection from a civil aviation disaster at that, just stored in above-ground steel tanks (I was stationed there for two years). Not to mention Redstone Arsenal - Alabama, Toole Utah and dozens of other sites in the US which are in need of toxic cleanup efforts. (remember "Superfund"? -established supposedly to finance cleanup efforts, it is largely exhausted by the attorneys who lobbied for its establishment.) FYI, Aberdeen is situated in a community of several thousand, and is less than 60 miles from a slightly larger community, namely Baltimore. Who is the real possessor of "weapons of mass destruction" here? Yet another dual standard.
Have you considered that the administrations' argument that Saddam Hussein is a threat to his neighbors has not been voiced by his neighbors? Not Saudi Arabia, not Iran, none of Iraq's neighbors have called for military action. Furthermore, we are not allowed to launch military strikes from their soil. The Arab nations and China and Russia have (in varying degrees) denounced the strikes, but have limited their voice, due to the fear that they will be next if they do not cooperate with the US' agenda.
The discerning person should be able to see something of significance here, one point being that unilateral action in others' backyard is less than appreciated.
Have you considered what our true motives and plans for the region are? 'Containing terrorism' & 'sending a message' really do not qualify, considering the windfall to be reaped by big oil, military contractors, etc. The US' lifeline is maintained by the resources in third world countries, and we go to great trouble militarily to ensure that they will remain third world countries so we can continue to exploit their resources.
Incidentally, oil reserves in Iraq are estimated to be 99 billion barrels, and natural gas reserves are 108 trillion cubic feet. Problem is, there are human bodies in the way of US' plans for the region. Washington's solution - just remove the bodies, preferably after killing them. Pave the way for Big oil and friends. Big oil will be still be able to finance Congressional candidates and buy elections for some time. One hand does indeed wash the other. It's just so hard to get the blood off, though.
Have you considered the timing? Just as the impeachment noose was tightening. Remember the last time - August '98, about 3 months ago - when the issue was Monica Lewinsky, the cigar and the Starr report? Our "ethics poster boy" bombed the undefended pharmaceutical factory in Sudan and some villagers in Afghanistan. No independently determined connection was made to any terrorist activities in either location, but this event is now ancient history. The American people are not interested in justice, only slick marketing as practiced by our administration and military. "Never underestimate a desperate president".
Have you considered that we have a very limited input via the media (If you have ever been interviewed, I'm sure you are familiar with their incredible ability to misreport, and present their own bias in your name). No input is garnered from legitimate sources in the region, only the select few we send to tell us what our itching ears want to hear.
Have you considered that - no matter what Iraq does - a 'rationale of the week' spin would be produced by Washington (as were presented by James Baker and Dick Cheney in 1990-91) until a consensus would be built in support of airstrikes, until the place is completely and irrevocably pulverized to pave the way for western interests? We used to hear all about the tremendous threat posed by SCUD missiles.
Have you considered that the range of a SCUD missile is approximately 300 miles? Do you know how far Israel is from Iraq? How about New York City? surely the threat to the Big Apple must justify preemptive military action.
Have you considered that Saddam Hussein will use these attacks to reinforce anti-US sentiments not only in Iraq, but among the entire Arabic community? That military strikes will force retaliation in the only way these people can? There is no opportunity for a "fair" fight for them, considering that our annual military spending is greater than the combined expenditures of the next 10 or so countries? When the school bully is pummeling you and stealing your lunch money, where are you going to kick him? Same rationale applies.
I hold that the Bible is God's inerrant word, and is not to be ignored or diluted in this day of free-for-all morality. Regardless of whether you choose to acknowledge Almighty God, I assure He does indeed exist. Have you considered how He feels about military strikes by a religious / "Christian" nation against a people created by the same God?
Someday we all die, none of us will get out of this world without tasting death. It will be too late to take up the cause of the oppressed, the downtrodden, the helpless, the defeated. And to you, the "evangelical Christian" - How do you propose to convince God (as if that were possible) that your motives were truly to demonstrate His love working through you to reach the Iraqi people for Jesus Christ? Looks more like you were reaching for their oil, with their blood all over your hands. You will indeed have a difficult case to present.
Evangelical Christian leader, how will you answer regarding the great commission referenced in Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:16? You should have been preaching and teaching and actively sharing the love of Christ (James 1:27, James 2:15-18), not by a thoughtless and mindless support for the secular leaders who are bombing and killing and sending cruise missiles.
Jesus clearly told us the day will come when he will say to many, "I never knew you. Depart from me" (Matthew 7:21-23). God knows all things, who does he have in mind?
Rick Blumhorst Paola, KS
Sources of Mr. Blumhorst's statements are primarily US government publications including the Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, the World Almanac, and the Bible. Some of his references are to the rhetoric circulated by George Bush, James Baker and Dick Cheney. We believe his references are generally accurate, and statistically conservative.