The following is adapted from a speech I gave Saturday at Southern Oregon University to a group largely made up of anti-war students and professional activists. No one threw anything at me, but I stood behind the podium just to be safe.
There were, however, some colorful outbursts from the audience. One person, when I referred to “a clever psychopath leader like Saddam,” shouted out “or George Bush!” When asked whether he thought America should even be hunting down Osama bin Laden for the Sept. 11 attacks, he replied that “maybe we could get some sort of dialogue going with him.” Another fellow, who identified himself as a Native American, referred angrily to “broken treaties with the white man” and said the U.S. government hasn’t changed ever since.
I think you get the picture.
My speech didn’t go over too well with that crowd, so I thought I’d try it out on WorldNetDaily’s readers.
Since our purpose today is to try to shed some light on America’s imminent invasion of Iraq, let’s look at the situation together – honestly – and try to separate reality from fantasy and foolishness.
The first and biggest reality we need to face is that, barring a truly dramatic and unexpected turn of events – such as Saddam Hussein dropping dead or going into exile and voluntarily relinquishing the reins of power in Iraq – there is going to be a massive military invasion. Count on it.
As one of the most-read news sources in the world, WorldNetDaily has access to intelligence sources all over the globe. And our sources in the military, in the intelligence services, in government, in the Persian Gulf, in the Mideast and elsewhere virtually unanimously predict an invasion of Iraq very soon. And, as a matter of fact, that’s pretty much what the Bush administration is saying or indicating as well.
So, we can debate and argue all we want about the war today, but that’s point No. 1: It’s going to happen.
Why is it going to happen?
Let’s talk about 9-11 for a minute. On that truly dreadful day, the U.S. was thrust into a new world. We suffered a national trauma of indescribable magnitude. We’d never seen anything like it before. Demonically inspired Islamic terrorists commandeered four American passenger jets and turned them into gigantic, fuel-laden missiles, flying three of them into giant buildings containing thousands of innocent Americans. Some 3,000 people perished in those attacks.
As with Pearl Harbor a half-century before, America had been attacked on her own soil, and was thus catapulted into a war not of her own choosing.
Nine days later, President Bush addressed a nation in intense and profound grief:
“Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated,” he said. “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. … From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” And he added, pointedly, “The only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it and destroy it where it grows.”
One place where terror grows big-time is in Iraq.
The imminent liberation of Iraq, like the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban, is a continuation of the war on terror. And pretty much everyone is on board with the war on terror.
Afghanistan had no weapons of mass destruction – only terrorists. That was enough to justify invasion, and very few of us had any problem with that military campaign. Now, finally, we are capturing some of the big al-Qaida operatives – and hopefully Osama bin Laden’s days are numbered.
We all know Osama is a terrorist, but what about Saddam? Let’s consult one of the world’s most respected experts on terrorism, and particularly on Osama bin Laden. Yossef Bodansky was director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the author of eight books on the subject, and has been the U.S. Congress’ foremost expert on terrorism. In his book, “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America,” Bodansky shows in great detail how Saddam has supported al-Qaida for over a decade. Bodansky names names, dates, times and places for that support.
What kind of support?
On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 hijackers commandeered four planes without guns – using only box cutters. Those carefully choreographed terror attacks required a lot of training and practice. Well guess what, it’s been widely reported now that Saddam Hussein provided terrorists a Boeing 707 fuselage in which to practice airline hijackings. Commercial satellite photos show the body of a Boeing 707 at Salman Pak, where the Iraqis maintain terrorist training camps. Iraqi defector Sabah Khalifa Alami says Iraqi intelligence trained groups at Salman Pak on how to hijack planes without weapons.
Am I saying Saddam trained the 9-11 hijackers? Not necessarily. But I am saying he’s training other terrorists to do the same thing – and perhaps worse.
It seems Saddam just loves suicide bombers. He boasts about supporting Palestinian suicide bombers, giving $25,000 to each family of a “martyr” who manages successfully to vaporize himself while murdering dozens of Israeli men, women and children in pizza parlors, or on board buses like the one in Haifa last week. Then there are the dozens – sometimes hundreds – of wounded in these horrific attacks. Those who don’t die are frequently filled with dozens of pieces of shrapnel, and recovery for them is long, difficult and painful. Saddam supports these mass murderers financially, and brags about it.
Didn’t President Bush say we would treat countries that harbor and support terrorists just the same as we do the terrorists themselves? And didn’t you cheer? Saddam Hussein supports terrorists, and is proud of it.
Remember Abu Nidal, the most notorious terrorist of the 1980s? He made his home in Iraq until a few months ago, when Hussein had him murdered.
And, did you know this, you who still insist Saddam has never attacked the United States in any way? As the Boston Globe reported last Tuesday: “The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center … a decade ago had several Iraqi fingerprints on it.”
Referring to the recent capture in Pakistan of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the No. 3 man in al-Qaida, sometimes referred to as al-Qaida’s “CEO,” the Globe reported: “U.S. intelligence sources associate Mohammed with the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the killing of French naval technicians in Karachi, the bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia, and the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.”
Mohammed is the uncle of Ramzi Yousef, the acknowledged mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and of plots to plant explosives on 11 U.S. airliners in Asia and to fly a plane into CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
“There are unnerving similarities between Mohammed’s interest in using cyanide derivatives in terrorist attacks and his nephew [Ramzi Yousef’s] attempt to vaporize cyanide in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center,” reported the Globe. “That operation a decade ago had several Iraqi fingerprints on it. Yousef entered this country on an Iraqi passport. His No. 2 man then, Abdul Rahman Yasin, is an Iraqi who returned to live in Baghdad after the operation. And it is likely that the false identity papers Yousef used to obtain a Pakistani passport in New York in the name of Abdul Karim Basit – the passport he used to flee after the bombing – were falsified in Kuwait during Saddam Hussein’s occupation of that country.”
Maybe some readers are a little hazy on the first World Trade Center attack 10 years ago. It killed six people and injured about 1,000. An expert on the Iraq-terror connection, Laurie Mylroie, wrote the book, “Study of Revenge: The First World Trade Center Attack and Saddam Hussein’s War against America.” In it, Mylroie says the bomb was designed to topple the North Tower into the South Tower and envelop the scene in a cloud of cyanide gas. It failed – but had it succeeded, the destruction to the twin towers would have been total, resulting in much greater loss of life than even Sept. 11’s catastrophe, since there would have been no time to exit the towers, and the cyanide gas would have wreaked who knows how much more destruction.
Hussein is complicit, says Mylroie. And he is harboring a wanted terrorist, Abdul Yasin, one of several suspects who got away. Recently, Hussein offered to give up Yassin to the U.S. – the man the FBI wants most in connection with that attack.
Do you get it? For all these years, Saddam Hussein has been protecting Yasin – the man who actually mixed the bomb that exploded in the basement of New York City’s World Trade Center in 1993.
By the way, how did we respond to the first World Trade Center attack? We didn’t. We treated it like just one more crime. That shows how much good is accomplished by a weak response to terrorism – eight years later they came back and finished the job. So much for looking the other way and burying your head in the sand.
The evidence continues to pile up that Saddam Hussein’s regime is tied to al-Qaida. Citing Pentagon officials, reporter David Rose wrote in both Vanity Fair and the United Kingdom’s Evening Standard recently that CIA reports of Iraqi-al-Qaida cooperation number nearly 100 and extend back to 1992.
These are the hard realities we need to face. But instead, we are preoccupied with illusions and pleasant distractions, chief among them the United Nations.
Let’s see, we’re supposed to convince Security Council members France, Germany, Russia, China, Syria and others to agree that we can defend ourselves against a maniacal terrorist leader with doomsday weapons.
Is this real, or surreal? Think about it. We’re being asked to get the approval of Security Council members like China – a communist totalitarian nation with one of the worst human-rights records in the world, and which claims to have ICBMs targeting U.S. cities. And Russia – a long-time friend and weapons-trading partner of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
France also has long-standing, lucrative business dealings with Iraq, which will go bye-bye when Saddam is toppled. And Germany, whose anti-American leader Gerhard Schroeder shamelessly played the hate-America card during the last election just to stay in office.
Here’s one of my favorites: Syria – a prime sponsor of the largest terror organization in the world, Hezbollah. Did you watch Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara at the U.N. Friday, speaking so piously and nobly about the good of the international community? Syria is a major supporter of Saddam’s regime. And as I said, it’s a major sponsor, along with Iran, of what is arguably the world’s most dangerous terrorist group – Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has about 10,000 short-range missiles and rockets that can strike much of Israel. It is also equipped with tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft guns and missiles. That’s not just a terror group – that’s a terror army – brought to you by Syria.
And then there’s Guinea, Angola, Cameroon. Excuse me – and meaning no offense to these nations – but how many people could even find Cameroon on a map? I wish Cameroon well, but what does Cameroon have to do with the U.S. fighting its terror war?
The anti-war crowd says we’re supposed to act only under U.N. authority. But France wasn’t attacked by terrorists. Germany wasn’t attacked. And I’m sure Syria wasn’t attacked – it was too busy harboring, funding and training the largest terror army in the world.
Why do we have to get other nations’ permission to act in our own self-defense? Especially when many of those nations are known to be in cahoots with the enemies of peace?
It’s a farce.
Now let’s talk about inspections.
Is there anyone who’s not dead from the neck up that can’t see that this is an idiotic cat-and-mouse game?
Question: If you were a clever psychopath leader like Saddam, with months and even years to prepare, could you hide objects – some of them the size of a washing machine, but some, particularly in the biological weapons area, that could be tiny – could you hide these things from a couple hundred inspectors, in a nation the size of France? Especially if the inspectors were known occasionally to tip off inspection sites up to two days before the inspection team arrived. Especially if the leader of the inspection team was a weak European diplomat notoriously soft and accommodating toward Saddam Hussein?
Iraq is supposedly destroying missiles right now, right? Well, sort of.
On Wednesday, Colin Powell told the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.: “From recent intelligence, we know that the Iraqi regime intends to declare and destroy only a portion of its banned Al Samoud inventory and that it has, in fact, ordered the continued production of the missiles that you see being destroyed.” He added, “Iraq has brought its machinery that produces such missiles out into the daylight for all to see. But we have intelligence that says, at the very same time, it has also begun to hide machinery it can use to convert other kinds of engines to power Al Samouds.”
Now guess what? There’s more to the story. It is now being reported that U.S. intelligence has concluded that Iraq deceived the United Nations by destroying stockpiled Al Samoud missiles with old engines.
U.S. officials now say Saddam Hussein has not destroyed any Al Samoud missiles deployed in forward bases in southern Iraq. Instead, they said, Iraq has brought out missiles from military warehouses and replaced the engines with those from the Soviet-origin SA-2 surface-to-air missiles, developed in the 1950s.
Also, U.S. officials said U.N. inspectors have not been allowed to actually inspect most of the missiles. As one U.S. official put it: “It is one big deception and the U.N. knows it. The entire Al Samoud episode is being stage-managed by the Iraqis. They find the missiles and they destroy them.”
Inspections. They’re not real. Get over it.
Enough fantasy. This is too important an issue to live in la-la land. Let’s get back to reality:
There was a lot of talk Friday in the U.N. about avoiding military force by allowing Saddam Hussein to stay in power by keeping his weapons of mass destruction program in check by having hordes of international inspectors rummaging throughout this large country for a generation. Are we all brain-dead? Even if “the international community” were to commit to this massive and long-term occupation of Iraq to try to keep mad-dog Saddam from destroying this or that neighbor, what about life in Iraq?
Do you know what life is like in Iraq?
Here’s what Amnesty International says about life in Iraq.
“The systematic torture and climate of fear that have prevailed in Iraq for so many years must be brought to an end. The continuing scale and severity of human suffering must not be allowed to continue.”
Can Blix fix that?
Forgive me if I take just a few minutes to give you a taste of what life is really like within Iraq today. This is from a recent report (December 2002) from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor:
“In 1979, immediately upon coming to power, Saddam Hussein silenced all political opposition in Iraq and converted his one-party state into a cult of personality. Over the more than 20 years since then, his regime has systematically executed, tortured, imprisoned, raped, terrorized and repressed Iraqi people. Iraq is a nation rich in culture with a long history of intellectual and scientific achievement. Yet Saddam Hussein has silenced its scholars and doctors, as well as its women and children.
“Iraqi dissidents are tortured, killed or disappear in order to deter other Iraqi citizens from speaking out against the government or demanding change. A system of collective punishment tortures entire families or ethnic groups for the acts of one dissident. Women are raped and often videotaped during rape to blackmail their families. Citizens are publicly beheaded, and their families are required to display the heads of the deceased as a warning to others who might question the politics of this regime.
“Saddam Hussein was also the first leader to use chemical weapons against his own population, silencing more than 60 villages and 30,000 citizens with poisonous gas. Between 1983 and 1988 alone, he murdered more than 30,000 Iraqi citizens with mustard gas and nerve agents. Several international organizations claim that he killed more than 60,000 Iraqi citizens with chemicals, including large numbers of women and children.”
We hear from many anti-war spokesmen that there’s no evidence Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Let me paint a brief picture of one Iraqi town on March 16, 1988. It was 6:20 p.m. when a smell of apples descended on the town of Halabja. This Iraqi Kurdish town of 80,000 was instantly engulfed in a thick cloud of gas, as chemicals soaked into the clothes, mouths, lungs, eyes and skin of innocent civilians. For three days, Iraqi Air Force planes dropped mustard gas and nerve agents, including sarin and VX.
These chemicals murdered at least 5,000 civilians within hours of the initial attack, and killed and maimed thousands more over the next several years. Halabja has experienced staggering rates of aggressive cancer, genetic mutation, neurological damage and psychiatric disorders since 1988. If you walk through the streets today, you will still see many diseased and disfigured citizens.
Was this an isolated event? Iraqi exiles claim Saddam has used chemical weapons 281 different times.
We learn two important lessons from this story: 1) Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, and 2) he is willing to use them, even on his own people.
Back to everyday life in Iraq. What about basic freedoms?
“The Iraqi people are not allowed to vote to remove the government.” (In the last election, there was one candidate. The ballot said “Saddam Hussein: Yes or No?” Each ballot was numbered so any no votes could be traced to the unfortunate voter, who would disappear forever. Big surprise – Saddam got 100 percent of the vote.
“Freedom of expression, association and movement do not exist in Iraq. The media is tightly controlled – Saddam Hussein’s son owns the daily Iraqi newspaper. Iraqi citizens cannot assemble except in support of the government. Iraqi citizens cannot freely leave Iraq.”
Here’s a quote from Safia Al Souhail, an Iraqi citizen, and advocacy director of the International Alliance for Justice:
“Iraq under Saddam’s regime has become a land of hopelessness, sadness and fear. A country where people are ethnically cleansed; prisoners are tortured in more than 300 prisons in Iraq. Rape is systematic … congenital malformation, birth defects, infertility, cancer and various disorders are the results of Saddam’s gassing of his own people … the killing and torturing of husbands in front of their wives and children … Iraq under Saddam has become a hell and a museum of crimes.”
I apologize for the graphic nature of what follows. I actually deleted the worst descriptions, but left enough in to give you a sense of why the Iraqi people are hoping and praying we will liberate them from the current Baghdad terror regime.
The official State Department report continues: “Under Saddam Hussein’s orders, the security apparatus in Iraq routinely and systematically tortures its citizens. Beatings, rape, breaking of limbs and denial of food and water are commonplace in Iraqi detention centers. Saddam Hussein’s regime has also invented unique and horrific methods of torture including electric shocks to a male’s genitals, pulling out fingernails, suspending individuals from rotating ceiling fans, dripping acid on a victim’s skin, gouging out eyes, and burning victims with a hot iron or blowtorch.”
Why don’t more Iraqis complain? I wonder if it could be because of Saddam’s decree in 2000 authorizing the government to amputate the tongues of citizens who criticize him or his government.
The following are routine in Iraq today:
- Medical experimentation
- Hammering nails into the fingers and hands
- Amputating sex organs or breasts with an electric carving knife
- Spraying insecticides into a victim’s eyes
- Branding with a hot iron
- Committing rape while the victim’s spouse is forced to watch
- Pouring boiling water into the victim’s rectum
- Nailing the tongue to a wooden board
- Extracting teeth with pliers
- Using bees and scorpions to sting naked children in front of their parents
Does this sound familiar to you? Medical experimentation? Routine torture for the fun of it? It reminds me of Nazi Germany. We went in for Hitler – who didn’t attack the United States, by the way – and we are going in for Saddam.
Saddam does not deny the fact that his regime tortures and brutally murders women. The daily newspaper “Babel,” owned by Uday, Hussein’s eldest son, contained a public admission on Feb. 13, 2001 of beheading women who are suspected of prostitution.
The Iraqi Women’s League in Damascus, Syria, describes this practice as follows: “Under the pretext of fighting prostitution, units of ‘Feda’iyee Saddam,’ the paramilitary organization led by Uday, have beheaded in public more than 200 women all over the country, dumping their severed heads at their families’ doorsteps. Many of the victims were innocent professional women, including some who were suspected of being dissidents.” (March 3, 2001).
So much for treatment of women. What about the children?
“Since the Gulf War alone, Saddam Hussein has built 48 lavish palaces for himself,” says the U.S. State Department. “Meanwhile, pharmaceutical supplies intended for sick children are being exported for resale overseas. Medicine and medical supplies that are desperately needed by children are frequently delayed because regime members demand bribes from suppliers. The lack of health care in Iraq has led to the re-emergence of diseases that had been exterminated years ago, including cholera and polio.”
By the way, Saddam’s regime also forces children between the ages of 10 and 15 to attend 3-week training courses in weapons’ use, hand-to-hand fighting, rappelling from helicopters and infantry tactics so they can be part of Saddam’s army. These children endure 14 hours of physical training and psychological pressure each day. Families that do not want their children to attend this rigorous training course are threatened with the loss of their food-ration cards.
Let’s add it all up. Torture, murder and extreme cruelty are a way of life in Iraq. Saddam is involved in international terrorism. He was complicit in the first World Trade Center attack. He has for years supported al-Qaida, which killed 3,000 Americans on our own soil. He has weapons of mass destruction – not is trying to develop – but has weapons of mass destruction and has already used them for the attempted genocide of the Kurds.
If we send our troops home and leave Saddam’s regime in power – and even if we deploy a few hundred or a few thousand inspectors and troops to roam hither and yon in that large country – will the U.N. presence stop Saddam’s daily torture? No.
Will they stop his support of terrorists? No.
Will they stop his clandestine program to continue developing more and more fearsome weapons of mass destruction? No.
Eventually, as happened in 1991, we will leave, and Saddam Hussein will rise again. If we let him, he will – very shortly – put his weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorists.
And if you didn’t like what terrorists did to us with four stolen jets and box cutters, you’ll really dislike what they can do with weapons of mass destruction.
Ask yourself this question: Is it right to let this man stay in power?