War College

67 things you might want to know before the bombs drop

See also FRIENDLY FIRE and X-RAYS. Secretary of State Colin Powell pointed to a Feb. 11 recording with a voice he claims is Osama bin Laden's as proof of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida. The supposed bin Laden message expresses solidarity with the Iraqi people and advises them to defend their country against the coming American invasion. But what Powell forgot to mention to the American public is that the same tape declares Saddam Hussein's blood to be "haram"—a specific use of the Islamic terminology for immoral deeds that deems Hussein open for assassination. Allies do not kill one another.Among the many casualties of war is privacy. Shortly after Sept. 11, the public began to hear of Total Information Awareness (TIA)—a Pentagon program run by ARPA, who also invented the Arpanet, which eventually became the Internet. Currently under the supervision of John Poindexter, a Reagan administration official convicted of lying to Congress during Iran-contra (and reversed by a Reagan-appointed judge), TIA is the use of "data-mining" technologies that will record every electronic transaction, legal document, e-mail and phone call of every citizen in the country. Proposals would link this data collection with facial-recognition technology and security cameras to track the movements of every individual. The ostensible use is to "catch terrorists." The Senate's 100-0 vote to shelve TIA was ignored by the Pentagon, where officials responded that Congress had no oversight authority on TIA. In all the discussions about whether Iraq is tied to terrorists, the name Abu Amneh is never mentioned.

The U.S. government has irrefutable proof that Abu Amneh is active in Iraq but never mentions him. That's because Abu Amneh was on the CIA's payroll when he committed terrorist acts against the civilian population of Baghdad. In 1994 and 1995, Abu Amneh took part in a campaign designed to destabilize Hussein's regime, but he succeeded in killing more than a hundred innocent people with bombs planted at a café, a movie theater and a mosque. The terror-bombing career of Abu Amneh and many other illuminating details about Iraq's relationship with the West can be found in Andrew and Patrick Cockburn's excellent 1999 book, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein. There are numerous GAO reports detailing the flaws and general uselessness of our troops' chemical-warfare suits—that they tend to cause heat stroke is only the mildest problem. See also WATER. Six members of Congress, including Democratic representatives John Conyers of Michigan and James McDermott of Washington and six parents of U.S. troops sued President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld Feb. 13 to prevent the United States from invading Iraq without obtaining a Congressional declaration of war. They claim the October resolution passed by Congress backing the possible use of force against Baghdad is unconstitutional. The U.S. has fought wars in Iraq, Vietnam and Korea without a formal Congressional declaration of war, even though the Constitution requires it. Among the least democratic countries on the planet, Saudi Arabia is ruled as the privately owned fiefdom of the Saud family. Women can't vote, go out alone or drive a car here. It's home to Osama bin Laden, who declared war on the Saud family after it allowed American troops to be stationed here in preparation for the Persian Gulf War.

The Saudi government recently announced that it opposes a unilateral U.S. plan to invade Iraq. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11 came from Saudi Arabia. None were from Afghanistan or Iraq. See also WAHHABISM.Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops were exposed to this nerve gas during the Persian Gulf War after combat engineers clumsily blew up Iraqi weapons bunkers, and many medical professionals believe it's the likeliest cause of the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome. Twelve years after the war, the U.S. Veteran's Administration has logged more than 170,000 Persian Gulf War vets on disability from the syndrome. Some 5,000 infected vets have died since the 1991 war. Australian-born Rupert Murdoch owns 175 newspapers and magazines on three continents, as well as such television channels as Fox and Fox News Channel. He enthusiastically supports a war against Iraq, telling the Australian magazine The Bulletin that he thinks a war would result in "$20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country." Every one of his 175 publications is in favor of war, and, of course, there is no more pro-war cable channel than Fox News.

Murdoch maintains that his media outlets are editorially independent and offers no explanation of why none of his papers disagree with him.Currently Secretary of Defense and one of the leading war hawks, Rumsfeld was also a special presidential envoy to Baghdad during the Reagan administration. On Dec. 20, 1983—while special Iraqi chemical-warfare units were gassing Iranian troops in open defiance of international law—Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein and helped normalize relations between the dictator's Ba'ath regime and Washington, according to a Dec. 30, 2002, story in the Washington Post. Notes from the meeting, obtained by the Post, show Rumsfeld only mentioned Hussein's chemical warfare "in passing as one of several matters that 'inhibited' U.S. efforts to assist Iraq." The Pentagon's favorite euphemism for assassinating a foreign leader such as Saddam Hussein. We've achieved regime change before, of course, but back then, we called it "promoting democracy." That's what we called regime change when the CIA fomented a 1954 coup against democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz, which ushered in decades of military dictatorship and bloody civil war. We did the same thing a year earlier, when the CIA ousted democratically elected Iranian nationalist Mohamed Mossadegh, replacing him with the Shah—whose dictatorial rule put Iran on the road to the 1979 fundamentalist revolution. Another great example of regime change was the CIA-backed 1973 coup against democratically elected Chilean president Salvador Allende, which installed dictator Augusto Pinochet and led to the torture, death and disappearance of thousands of people. The CIA also helped Hussein's Ba'ath Party consolidate its power in Iraq as a counterweight to the Communist Party. See also NATION BUILDING and RUMSFIELD, DONALD H.

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