Most of you are in support of President George W. Bush’s plan to bomb Iraq, are conservatives, or are assuming the Republican banner in the name of patriotism. Some will even empathise.
You have, for years, sent me anti-Clinton jokes ad nauseum, and that’s fine. I have a sense of humour, and sex always counts for a good laugh. You’ve sent me offensive “truths” about the Clinton administration, despite the fact that he was never found guilty of any of the charges you associate with “body counts”, murder, illegitimate children and all of the rest; he was found guilty of two charges: obstructing justice, and perjury. Over oral sex.
Your reactions to the Bush administrations total stranglehold over this country – the Patriot Act which destroys our freedom, the TIPS attempt, the Poindexter Pentagon tracking programme, the worst economy in 50 years and the worst unemployment since 1991, the secret addendum to the Patriot Act entitling the government to pull US citizenship from those who criticise the Bush administration, and of course the absolute conviction you have that the US administration is doing the right thing in going to war with Iraq – has left me unable to find any adjectives.
All sense of reason and rational has seemingly disappeared. All logic has escaped otherwise intelligent peoples’ minds. So many of you are absolutely convinced that you know that Iraq and Al Queda are linked, you know for a fact that Saddam Hussein is creating and hiding WMD, and you seriously think you know so much better than all the evidence out there from around the world put together. Why, 50% of Americans now believe that Iraqis slammed the planes in to the WTC and Pentagon.
Many of you whom have threatened me with the end of your friendship for speaking out against this impending attack upon Iraq. You have called me a liar and idiot for protesting this crisis. War does this to people, but should we put our heads in the sand?
Have you all forgotten recent history so quickly? Do you rely upon the cable television and neo conservative pundits to become “informed”? It appears so.
Yelling and ad hominems are the weapons of choice by Republicans and conservatives, as we so often see on television. Thinkers are just “bed wetting liberals” and “left wingers” who don’t actually do anything in life. Despite this entire nation becoming a superpower because of the industrial revolution and the academics,thinkers and inventors who created it all, that gives you the lifestyle that you now lead. No, thinkers are inconsequential and insignificant.
Recently at a cocktail party I was quite literally screamed at for not knowing what I was talking about when I spoke of the US attacks in the past upon Iraq, and if I didn’t stop I’d be “decked”, physically. I’m sure you thought that was amusing, but it was not. The diplomats present were not amused either.
Recently I have been told that if I don’t like the Bush administration plans, I can go back to England. Meaning: Freedom of speech does not exist for me – it exists only for those who agree with this President. Forget about those “idiots” who agreed with Bill Clinton; it’s only this President you must agree with.
So as I bring that up, I’d like to point out something I think has been forgotten:
You don’t like Clinton and blame him for everything. Fine, so be it.
You support Bush in “blowing away the towel headed $#&*(@#s” (and you who sent me those jokes – shame on you for such racist comments).
So I implore you to read this:
In 1991, David Kay was the leader of the IAEA. He demanded thousands of documents be removed from the Iraqis from their nuclear centre, and there was a standoff. Kay and his team sent the information to the US State Department, however. NOT the UN or IAEA, which was protocol and should have been done.
In 1993, after negotiations, Iraq agreed that the UN could monitor Iraq unconditionally and for the long term, as specified in Resolution 715. They were required to also list, every 6 months, a list of dual use weapons (things like pencil lead, paper making machines, chlorine bleach, you name it).
Unknown to the UN UNSCOM leader, the US had put intelligence agents in to the team, a violation of the UN rules. These technicians and agents built illegal apparatus to rely information back to the US government – NOT the UN or IAEA. The operation was called “Shake the Tree”.
Bear in mind that THIS WAS UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON.
Richard Butler and Rolf Ekeus were kept in the dark as to these spying operations, because Clinton’s state department knew it was illegal to use the UN and IAEA for this purpose.
In 1994 Scott Ritter secured intelligence help and information from the Mossad and Jordanian intelligence, using techniques undetectable to the Iraqis and standard CIA and NSA equipment. Ekeus agreed to this.
After three collection missions (spy operations for the Clinton government), the reports failed to deliver *anything*. No data helped prove Clinton’s case that Iraq still either had, or manufactured, WMD. This angered President Clinton.
Thus Clinton’s demands upon Iraq kept changing, as every time Iraq provided the data sought by the UN, the US demanded more. And more and more. Iraq kept trying to prove a negative; Madeliene Albright was now Secretary of State.
Iraq concluded that the UN team was pretty much working for Washington DC, not the UN. They demanded a fair and balanced team of experts from around the world. The US refused to comply, and in November 1997 the Iraqis stopped trying to co-operate with the team.
Richard Butler pulled out all of the UN team from Iraq, and then INSTEAD OF GOING TO THE UN FIRST, he went to the US media and announced what he’d done.
On January 27th 1998, Richard Butler gave an interview to the New York Times. He stated that Iraq had enough biological weapons to “blow away Tel Aviv”. The UN Security Council was furious, becuase there was no evidence of such ever having been provided to them, which was Butler’s mission. Koffi Annan demanded a retraction and apology from Butler. Butler gave it, thus admitting he was in error. This was now the 3rd time that Butler had bypassed his own agency instead giving information to the US first.
Again…this was under the Clinton administration. With me still?
Then the Lewinsky scandal broke, and US national attention was diverted.
There was a town hall meeting during this time, on CNN. (Anyone remember?) The big three: William Cohen (Defense Secretary), Sandy Berger (NSA), and Albright (Secretary fo State) tried to defend Clinton’s motives against Iraq, saying that a “regime change” was necessary because of supposed “unaccounted for WMD” and Saddam Hussein’s brutality.
No one bought it.
Cohen even went on television holding up a, wait for it, bag of sugar so as to demonstrate what a tiny amount of chemical/biological weapons could do. Sound familiar?
Newsweek then ran a poll asking the US public if they therefore, based on the above information from the Clinton administration, backed military action against Iraq.
18% said yes. One eight. Meaning 80% said no to Clinton’s plan to bomb Iraq.
Meanwhile the UN still had its work cut out, and was still negotiating to get back in to Iraq. Iraq asked for three conditions to be met:
1) A public statement that once the inspectors were satisfied with Iraq’s progress, the sanctions would be lifted;
2) Senior diplomats would accompany UN inspectors when they went to the presidential sites (yes, Iraq had certainly agreed to Presidential site inspections back then);
3) A balanced composition of UN inspectors, not weighted towards the US and UK.
This was called the Annan-Aziz agreement, also known as the Memo of Understanding (MOU).
Paragraph III stated that the UN would have “immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access” per Resolution 687. Paragraph IV stated that there would be absolute access to 8 Presidential sites by UN officials who would REPORT TO THE UN, not US government, via Butler. This agreement was adopted under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter by the Security Council.
The US & UK interpretted that any failure of the above agreement by Iraq would lead to the “severest consequences for Iraq”, meaning military action. The Pentagon was on high alert.
Remember folks: under Clinton. Where were you then? Why did you protest? Why did you not support bombing Iraq then?
On March 6, UNSCOM inspected the most secret facilities in Iraq: the Special Republican Guard premises (Saddam’s top military) and the Special Security Directorate. They had no problem with any access, as Iraq complied and let them inspect.
All the while those secret intelligence monitoring devices had been working, and all the while they’d picked up nothing.
Two days later there was a standoff with Iraq when Ritter brought 50 inspectors to the Defense Ministry to inspect the buildings. Iraq’s General Rashid said, “Mr. Ritter, we know that right now your government is kissing our feet to make a crisis…We have no intention of doing so.”
Ritter agreed to 8 inspectors, and after 11 hours scouring the Ministry, they came up empty handed. Nothing. Ditto the Presidential palaces. Butler in his UN report admitted that they’d found nothing but Iraq had shown “no progress in verifying disarmament”. In other words, proving a negative as the goal posts got moved.
All of Iraq’s co-operation was iignored. Tariq Aziz stated that the US was “determined to launch a military aggression against Iraq”. Where were you then, cheering and supporting Clinton’s efforts to do the exact same thing that Bush is doing now? Why did you protest it, calling it all a diversion and wag-the-dog scenario? Why did you blame it on Clinton trying to divert the nation from the impeachment scandal? If you know the facts, as you surely keep trying to impress upon us, why do you not cite the above, ever? Not once?
In 1998 on April 13th, the UN recieved a report from IAEA stating that Iraq had compiled a “full, final and complete account” of the nuclear programmes, and that there were no indications of “prohibited equipment or materials ” (i.e. any WMD).
Still not good enough. The US needed a reason (strike that…..Clinton needed a reason) to bomb Iraq. He pressured the UN to demand more. They demanded answers to the VX programme, and Iraq admitted that it had once had VX but that it had never been weaponised.
Still not good enough! The UN team went back to find something more, and Iraq was really getting angry that these demands were constantly changing. Under Clinton, remember.
Iraq said that they no longer wanted to participate in this farce, although they allowed the UN to keep the monitoring equipment in place (e.g. cameras). This constant spying from the UN team forced Scott Ritter to resign, as they kept reporting back to Washington DC and not the UN as they were supposed to do.
UN inspectors, once home, participated in a CNN documentary entitled “High Noon in Baghdad”, which was illegal according to the UN as it violated intelligence gathering proceedures. Butler, however, declined to admonish his own people, even though they’d spoken out illegally.
Iraq stated again that the US was using spies (which it was) against Iraq for their own domestic agenda (which it was). Saddam and Vice President Tariq Aziz sent a letter to the UN stating that they wanted the sanctions ended, and that they would resume co-operation with UNSCOM.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, had just sent the B52 bombers over to bomb Iraq. They were in the air. Clinton caught the co-operation letter just in time, and had to recall the bombers within one hour of dropping the bombs. He was furious that he wasn’t able to launch an attack.
So UNSCOM went back, this time headed by an Australian.
However, in December 1998 when Butler sent in his report on Iraq, he sent it to Clinton’s ambassadors at the UN as usual, instead of the Security Council as a whole. President Clinton thought it wasn’t harsh enough against Iraq, Israel agreed (Clinton was working with Israel on the bombing plan) and thus it was sent it back to be re-edited. Clinton then revised strike plans against Iraq, called Operation Desert Fox.
Did you rally your total support for Clinton at this point? After all, it was all about “regime change”, “WMD” and “unaccounted for weapons’ destruction”. Where were you at this time? Did I send you hateful messages when you stood against the Clinton administration and its efforts to bomb? Did I tell you never to contact me again unless you said something good about Clinton or America?
Butler was quietly told to get the inspectors out, and he did so without bothering to tell the UN Security Council. He prepared a report with Clinton, and sent it to the UN AFTER he had already alerted the news media.
On December 16th, the day after the above, the US bombed Iraq. Clinton addressed the nation.
Now, do you know where you were then? I do. You were telling me that Clinton had no proof vis a vis Iraq, and this this was a distraction to get the public and the Congress off of his back about impeachment and Monica Lewinsky. It was all for “no reason”. Remember?
Meanwhile, the US had used 90 more cruise missiles on Iraq in 100 hours than all of the Gulf War. They hit 75% of intended targets. This ended UNSCOM’s presence once and for all, obviously, and truly escalated anti-American sentiment.
And you know what you said to me then? “See, Clinton is making Americans hated around the world.” I say that now and you tell me I’m an anti-American, I should just go home, I should be grateful to Bush. I should have taken your word for it, I should have been on your side 100%.
As a matter of fact though, I was. I was completely opposed to the bombing then, as I am now. And for the exact same reasons. But that’s not good enough this time, is it?
But wait: there is icing on the cake: In 1999 after the bombing of Iraq by Clinton, the Republican leader of the Senate, Trent Lott, sponsored an open letter to Clinton demanding that he at least lift the sanctions against the Iraqi people as they were dying as a result of his bombing campaign, they were suffering when they were innocent, and it was morally wrong. Clinton refused.
Clinton left office, and Bush became President. Within weeks, BEFORE 9/11, he resumed the bombing of Iraq, killing more innocent civilians.
And that’s where we are now. You tell me that I am wrong to oppose what Bush is doing against Iraq, and you never ONCE said that Clinton was wrong when he tried to to the precise same thing.
Not ONCE did I demand that you shut up, accuse you were lying, state that you were abestting the enemy. Not ONCE did I challenge you, because the bombing was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. The reasons have not changed one iota.
And if, as a final thought, you tell me that now things have changed because of 9/11, then I suggest to you that it is your fault in part.
Why? Because had you supported Bill Clinton when he tried to bomb Iraq then, instead of begging him to stop for the sake of the people, Saddam Hussein might not be in power now. And then you’d not be able to try and link him to Al-Queda, as you are trying to do now.
I don’t expect any apologies for all the hate and nastiness of late. It says more about you than me.
But remember one other thing when you demand that if I don’t like it I should just go home: this country was founded on foreigners. That’s what you are at your roots, so perhaps you should recognise that I have every right, as a foreigner, to be here as you.
Saddened to see this New America.
Tanya C. Hsu is British, lives in the US, and is a writer of Middle Eastern politics. She is also a staff member of Palestine Media Watch. Currently she is working on two books on the people of Palestine. She contributed above article to Media Monitors Network.