Tuesday, September 16, 2003

POWELL'S REVISIONIST HISTORY: State Department Secretary Colin Powell visited a ceremony in remembrance of the gassing of 5,000 Kurds in the Iraqi Kurdistan town of Halabja in 1988. At the ceremony, he said the following:

What can I say to you? I cannot tell you that choking mothers died holding their choking babies to their chests. You know that. I cannot tell you that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant. You know that. I cannot tell you that the world should have acted sooner. You know that. I cannot tell you of the suffering of those who were poisoned but nevertheless lived. You know that.
In March of 1988, Tehran-backed Kurdish insurgents controlled Halabja. Around 5,000 men, women and children were gassed. What did the US government do about it then? Nothing. Worse, so strong was the hold of the pro-Iraq lobby on the Republican administration of President Ronald Reagan, it succeeded in getting the White House to frustrate the Senate's attempt to penalize Baghdad for violating the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons, which it had signed. This led Saddam to believe that Washington was firmly on his side--a conclusion that paved the way for his invasion of Kuwait and the 1991 Gulf War, the full consequences of which played out this March and April.

Powell misleadingly suggests (and so have other White House officials going back to Bush 41) that Iraqi forces were solely responsible for the incident. He may or may not be aware that shortly after Halabja, the Pentagon initiated a study into the alleged massacre. The three authors, Stephen Pelletiere, Lt. Col. Douglas Johnson, and Professor Leif Rosenberger, reported in their 1990 US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute’s paper, Lessons Learned: The Iran-Iraq War that there is no evidence that "Iraq perpetrated the attack." The document has been open source material for the past 12 years, yet it is always somehow overlooked or ignored, likely the latter. According to eyewitness accounts, the Kurdish victims’ mouths and extremities turned blue, a sign of the use of blood agents, i.e. cyanogen chloride. According to Pelletiere, the former senior CIA political analyst on Iraq throughout the entire Iran-Iraq War, Iraq has no history of using those two agents, and did not possess the technology to make them either- Iran did.

On top of that, the Washington Post and LA Times quoted U.S. intelligence sources who said that helicopters originally bought for crop dusting, were actually used in the Halabja massacre. Former NSC official Howard Teicher wrote a book titled Pillars to Desert Storm: America's Flawed Vision in the Middle East from Nixon to Bush. On page 275, Teicher acknowledges the sale and use of the choppers. Do American officials have Kurdish blood on their hands?

Furthermore, it was Powell himself, at the time national security adviser under Reagan, who continued to push for more support for Saddam Hussein.

Was Halabja the target of ethnic cleansing by Iraqi forces? Or were they the victim of attacks and counter-attacks by both Iran and Iraq in efforts to retake the strategically located village? Stephen Pelletiere maintains the position that it was likely Iranian gas that killed the Kurds. Powell tells us it was evil Saddam. Who was it? We may never know.


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