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Dr Musa A Keilani: Keeping people in the dark
October 10, 2012
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Exclusive to The Gulf Today

Dennis John Kucinich, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives representing Ohio since 1997, has written an opinion piece that is so pointed in content that it prompts major excerpts from it to be reprinted in whatever form.

Kucinich notes that 4,488 Americans were killed and more than 33,000 were injured in the US operations in Iraq since 2003. He acknowledges that as many as one million Iraqis were killed. “The monetary cost of the war to Iraq is incalculable. A sectarian civil war has ravaged Iraq for nearly a decade. Iraq has become home to Al Qaeda.”

He writes under the headline “Iraq: Ten Years, a Million Lives, and Trillions of Dollars Later”:

“The war in Iraq was sold to Congress and the American people with easily disproved lies. We must learn from this dark period in American history to ensure that we do not repeat the same mistakes. And we must hold accountable those who misled the American public.

“It was clear from information publicly available at the time that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), that Iraq had no connection “with the Sept.11 2011 attacks, and that “Iraq was not a threat to the United States.”

Kucinich quotes the then member of the Senate Hillary Clinton as saying in October 2002:

“I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people… Intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear programme. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.”

What a laugh! Saddam and Osama Bin Laden could have never seen eye-to-eye on anything although they had in-built hostility against the US but for different reasons. Of course, Saddam wanted to use Bin Laden in his game against the US, but the Al Qaeda leader would not have anything to do with the Iraqi leader farther than he could throw him.

Leader of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives Richard Gephardt followed up on Clinton in October 2002 by saying: “Sept.11 was the ultimate wake-up call. We must now do everything in our power to prevent further terrorist attacks and ensure that an attack with a weapon of mass destruction cannot happen… The first candidate we must worry about is Iraq… Saddam Hussein continues to develop weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices.”

The New York Times said on Oct.3, 2002: “No further debate is needed to establish that Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator whose continued effort to build unconventional weapons in defiance of clear United Nations prohibitions threatens the Middle East and beyond.”

Kucinich writes: “Notwithstanding the blizzard of disinformation, 133 members of Congress voted against the resolution that authorised the use of military force in Iraq, including nearly two-thirds of the Democratic Caucus in the House. Seven Republicans, including Ron Paul (R-Texas), also voted against the resolution. In the Senate, the vote was 77 to 23 in favour of a war of choice.

“Ten years ago Congress voted to wage war on a nation that did not attack us. That decision undermined our fiscal and national security. To this day we are suffering from the blowback. While most of the troops are home, the United States maintains a significant presence in Iraq through the State Department and its thousands of private security contractors.

“The war against Iraq was based on lies. Thousands of Americans and perhaps a million Iraqis were sacrificed for those lies. The war in Afghanistan continues. This mindset puts us at the edge of war against Iran. Ten years and trillions of dollars later, the American people by and large still do not know the truth. It is time to usher in a new period of truth and reconciliation.”

Kucinich is not telling us something we have not realised decades ago.

The question is how far the people of the United States, for whom the Arab peoples have great respect and friendship, will go on paying for the misguided policies of their political establishment.

The author, a former Jordanian ambassador, is the
chief editor of  Al Urdun weekly in Amman

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