Answering Bush’s Big Myths About Iraq

Myth #1

Iraq is a military threat to the world

There is no record to support this claim. During the Gulf War of 1991, while the United States bombed Iraq with a barrage that included 110,000 sorties, Iraq did not destroy even one U.S. tank or plane.

Desert Storm destroyed, according to UN weapons inspectors, 80% of Iraq’s weaponry. As part of the inspections that followed, 90% of Iraq’s remaining military capability was destroyed.

Iraq has been paying indemnities to Kuwait and US oil corporations since 1991, and has not had the financial capacity to build another arsenal.

In addition, there has not been a threat by Iraq of any kind against any other country.

On CNN, Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector, said Iraq does “not pose a threat worthy of war at this time. . . All chemical agents produced by Iraq prior to 1990 would have degraded within five years. The same holds true for {any} biological agent. The Bush administration provides only speculation, failing to detail any factually based information to bolster its claims.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 10/3/02).

Myth #2

Iraq threw out the weapons inspectors

Iraq did not tell the inspectors to leave. The weapons inspectors withdrew because the United States told them to pull out so that the U.S. could launch a bombing campaign on Baghdad.

Peter Burleigh, U.S. ambassador to the UN, had advised Richard Butler — the chief officer of the weapons inspectors — to withdraw his staff from Iraq immediately in December 1998. The events are recounted in detail in Butler’s book, Saddam Defiant: “I received a telephone call from U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh inviting me for a private conversation at the U.S. mission. … Burleigh informed me that on instructions from Washington it would be ‘prudent to take measures to ensure the safety and security of UNSCOM staff presently in Iraq.’ I told him that I would act on his advice and remove my staff from Iraq.”

After the bombing campaign, a Washington Post report confirmed the assertons of Iraq that the inspections were intelligence-gathering exercises conducted on the orders of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon used the information collected from the so-called inspections to set up coordinates for its bombing operations. After this revelation, the Iraqi government quite understandably did not let the inspectors back in.

Myth #3

Sanctions are a kinder, gentler way to deal with Iraq

The plan for sanctions on Iraq came from the Pentagon, not the Department of Health and Human Services. It was a central part of the Pentagon’s war strategy against the Iraqi people.

Sanctions have been more devastating than the Gulf War itself.

“UNICEF confirms that five to six thousand Iraqi children are dying unnecessarily every month due to the impact of the sanctions, and that figure is probably modest,” Denis Halliday told a Congressional hearing in October 1998. Halliday, who had just resigned his post as UN Assistant Secretary General and head of the UN humanitarian mission in Iraq, spoke of the “tragic incompatibility of sanctions with the UN charter and the Convention on Human Rights.”

“The economic embargo was designed to induce depravation and poverty” testified nutrition expert Dr. Peter Pllett, who conducted several studies of conditions in Iraq for the UN Food and Agricultural organization (FAO). Dr. Pellet said that “The sanctions policy has already caused more devastation in Iraq than a civilized world should be willing to accept, and it is the ultimate irony that this is being done in the name of the United Nations.”

Myth #4

The UN allows U.S. and U.K. planes to bomb the “No Fly Zones”

The United States agreed to a cease-fire with Iraq in February 1991. The no-flight zones over two-thirds of Iraq were imposed by the U.S., Britain and France 18 months after the Gulf War. The United Nations has never sanctioned the no-flight zones.

France has since condemned them. The so-called no-flight zones are in violation of interational law.

Iraq has every right under interntional law and all known laws in the world to defend itself in these U.S.-declared no-flight zones. According to Article 51 of the UN Charter, Iraq has the right of self-defense in all of its country, including these “no-flight zones.”

Myth #5

The people support a war on Iraq

Not even opinion polls support this phony assertion. The polls confirm that there is wide opposition to a war. Normally there is wide support for a president who is about to launch a war. Instead, Congressional offices report overwhelming constituent opposition to a unilateral war on Iraq.

Worldwide, the opposition is even bigger. While British Prime Minister Tony Blair is a vocal acolyte of Bush, few in Britain support a war on Iraq. Already, a march against war of 400,000 {protesters} was held in London.

Similar demonstrations have been held in Rome and Madrid. The general sentiment in Europe was summed up by the Greek Development Minister who said, “We are totally opposed to any military conflict. . . even if there is a UN Resolution.”

Around the world, the sentiment is no different. New Zealand’s government opposes the war. No country in the Middle East supports a war on Iraq. Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all oppose a war. As do France, Russia and China.

Myth #6

This war will be quick and painless

War is rarely quick, never painless.

A new war will be neither. There are 4.8 million people in Baghdad facing an invasion by the most modern and lethally equipped military in the world. Iraq is a nation of 22 million people. They will bear the brunt of the pain and the deaths of any war.

But they will not lie down and die passively. They will defend themselves and their country. The U.S. casualties could be enormous.

It is little known in the United States that the U.S. casualties from the last Gulf War were enormous. According to U.S. Col. David Hackworth (www.hackworth.com):

“Within weeks after [the end of the Gulf War], dozens, then hundreds, of Gulf War vets became casualties. And as the years tick by, this figure has already grown to tens of thousands.

“It wasn’t bullets that took them down, but a casualty-producer the experts didn’t count on called Gulf War Illness.”

The causes included the depleted uranium munitions used by the U.S. military that expose
everyone—soldier and civilian, friend and foe—to radiation.

Myth #7

Gulf War Syndrome is a myth

The Veterans Benefits Administration Office noted that 36% of Desert Storm vets have filed claims for service-related disabilities. A primary reason is because the U.S. used Depleted Uranium. In July 1990, “The US Army Armaments Munitions and Chemical Command admitted DU posed long-term risks to natives and combat veterans. …Low doses have been linked to cancer.”

Gulf War vets have a 500% greater incidence of Lou Gehrig’s disease than the general population. Desert Storm female vets have a 300% greater incidence of bearing children with birth defects. For male vets the figure is 200%.


Myth #8

If the war comes, it will be Saddam’s fault

Is Saddam threatening to bomb Washington or New York? No.

It is the Bush administration, which is dominated by Big Oil gazillionaires that is threatening to bomb Iraq. No one disputes that the Bush family wants Iraq’s oil. Should anyone accept this as a reaosn to kill the people of Iraq and to sacrifice the lives of U.S. soldiers?


Myth #9

War will be good for the economy

It already costs U.S. taxpayers $50 billion per year to keep U.S. armed forces in the Persian Gulf. The estimated $200 billion for a war in Iraq will come straight out of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and welfare. The average working-class taxpayer will foot the bill. The upper classes have already had their taxes greatly reduced so that they pay only a small part of the bill.

Myth #10

No one can stop this war

History shows this isn’t true. The Viet Nam War ended, in part, because there was a massive anti-war movement that spread to every city and state in the United States. It may have started with small shows of opposition, beginning with demonstrations of only a few dozen. This eventually grew to thousands and then millions. In 2002, tens of thousands have already demonstrated against any war on Iraq.

International Action Center
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