Eight Facts About Iraq

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The
Bush administration, its accomplices in the news media, and the
conservative talk show hacks who do the bidding of the Republican
party have sold America a bill of goods. The invasion of Iraq was
justified, we have been led to believe, because Saddam Hussein was
the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, Iraq was in the position of
Germany on the eve of World War II, and the “elite” Republican
Guard was the equivalent of the German Wehrmacht. According to the
president himself: “We will end a brutal regime, whose aggression
and weapons of mass destruction make it a unique threat to the world.”

Right
wing Christians too, who ought to know better, have also been duped
because of their misplaced trust in the state just because it is
currently controlled by the Republican party (the same Republican
party that is expanding government at a rate not seen since the
Democratic administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt).

Located
at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf, and encompassing the land
of ancient Mesopotamia, as well as the biblical Tigris and Euphrates
rivers, the country of Iraq, which until recently could not be located
on a map by most Americans, is now the focus of all Americans. But
because most Americans are woefully ignorant of history, and especially
the history of U.S. intervention into other countries; and because
most Christians are just as ignorant of history, and especially
Christians who spend all their time believing what they read in
the newspaper, hear on the radio, and see on television, some facts
about Iraq are in order.

Fact
Number 1: There was no country of Iraq until it was created by
the British in 1920. In 1534 the Ottoman Turks conquered the
area of what is now Iraq. Here the Ottoman empire ruled until its
defeat in World War I because Turkey sided with the Central powers.
After World War I, the French and British divided up the formerly
Ottoman-controlled lands in the Middle East. France was given a
League of Nations mandate over Syria and Lebanon; Great Britain
was given the same over Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq. The modern
state of Iraq was created out of the three Ottoman provinces of
Basra, Mosul, and Baghdad. The defeat of the Turks may have brought
to an end the Ottoman empire, but it began a century of Western
imperialism.

Fact
Number 2: The United States already sponsored two previous regime
changes in Iraq. Under their League of Nations mandate, the
British installed King Faisal as the ruler of Iraq. But even after
its independence, Iraq was still controlled by Britain. Faisal’s
dynasty lasted until his grandson Faisal II was executed in a 1958
coup. The Hitler in Iraq in the early 1960s was Abd al-Karim Qasim.
After deposing the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy in 1958, Qasim
was seen by the U.S. as a counter to Gamal Abdel Nassar of Egypt.
But after he was perceived as too much of a threat to Western oil
interests, Qasim was killed in February 1963 in a CIA-sponsored
coup by the anti-Communist Baath party. American firms soon began
doing business with Baghdad. All was not well, however, in the Baath
party, for in 1968 an internal coup brought to power General Ahmad
Hassan al-Bakr, who was succeeded by Saddam Hussein in 1979. These
regime changes in Iraq were both accompanied by bloody reprisals.

Fact
Number 3: Saddam Hussein was an ally of the United States until
the first Persian Gulf War. The U.S.-Hussein connection actually
goes all the way back to the late 1950s. Hussein was part of a group
that tried to assassinate Abd al-Karim Qasim after he seized power
in 1958. Fleeing Iraq, he eventually settled in Cairo, Egypt, where
he was courted by the CIA. During the 1980s, when Iraq was at war
with Iran, military intelligence was provided to Iraq because the
United States sought to do whatever was necessary to prevent Iraq
from losing its war with Iran. The U.S. problem with Iran stemmed
from decades of American intervention that backfired when radical
Shiite Muslims overthrew the Shah and installed the Ayatollah Khomeini.
The United States has a bad habit of collaborating with tyrants
who later come back to bite us. Who can forget that Joseph Stalin,
one of the bloodiest killers who ever lived, was our “ally”
in World War II?

Fact
Number 4: Iraq got its “weapons of mass destruction”
from the United States. This started after the Baath party coup
of 1963, when the U.S. sent arms to the new regime. But during the
Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, when, under the successive administrations
of Reagan and Bush I, Saddam Hussein was our ally against Iran,
it was not just arms that were provided to Iraq. According to the
1992 U.S. Senate committee report on U.S. Chemical and Biological
Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq, “the United States
provided the government of Iraq with u2018dual use’ licensed materials
which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological
and missile-system programs.” This included anthrax, VX nerve
gas, West Nile fever germs, botulism, salmonella, and E coli.

Fact
Number 5: Iraq was a liberal Muslim state. Iraq is made up
of three major groups: the Kurds, the Shiites, and the Sunnis. The
Shiites, which are in the majority, are the more radical Muslims.
The ruling Baath party was more closely associated with the more
moderate Sunnis, which make up about 35 percent of the population.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran, and most other Muslim states, Iraq was
not controlled by a fundamentalist Muslim government, something
that is now a possibility. One could even purchase a drink in Baghdad.
The Baath government tolerated both Jews and Christians, something
not to be seen in Muslim countries like Indonesia, Turkey, and Iran.

Fact
Number 6: Iraq was not responsible for the 9-11 attacks on the
United States. Many Americans who supported the war with Iraq
did so because they were led to believe that the U.S. was retaliating
for the terrorist attacks on September 11. Yet, none of the hijackers
of the airplanes on September 11 were from Iraq (or Afghanistan).
They were mainly from Saudi Arabia, our supposed Muslim ally in
the Middle East. No connection has ever been proved between Iraq
and al-Qaeda or Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. There is even
evidence that the invasion of Iraq was planned before the September
11 attacks. A September 2000 document issued by the Project for
the New American Century (PNAC) entitled “Rebuilding America’s
Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources For A New Century,”
drawn up by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, shows
that Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Persian
Gulf region regardless of whether Saddam Hussein was in power.

Fact
Number 7: Iraq was not a threat to the United States. Although
Bush’s initial justification for war was that Iraq was a “threat
to the United Nations” (certainly no reason for the U.S. to
go to war), this was soon shifted to Iraq being a threat to the
United States. But even though Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
insisted that “no terrorist state poses a greater and more
immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability
of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq,” the
condition of Iraq said otherwise. Not only was Iraq’s army considerably
weaker than it was during the first Persian Gulf War – a war in which
Iraq only managed to kill 148 Americans – but Iraq had no navy or
air force. Iraq’s economy was in ruin after a decade of sanctions – sanctions
that destroyed its water supplies. The GNP of Iraq was not even
15 percent of that of the state of Washington. The only time in
history when Iraq did actually attack the United States – an Iraqi
warplane attacked a U.S. ship in the Persian Gulf in 1987 resulting
in the killing of dozens of U.S. sailors – we did nothing because
Iraq apologized for its “mistake.” No, the greatest threat
to freedoms of the American people is not Iraq. The greatest threat
to the freedoms of the American people is not some country six thousand
miles away; it is our own government. How is it that in a country
with such a heritage of individual liberty like the United States,
one can smoke in a restaurant in Baghdad, but not in Manhattan?
How is it that in a country with a Christian heritage like the United
States, one can buy a gun in Baghdad, but not in Washington D. C.?
If Iraq’s neighboring countries did not feel the need to send troops
to Baghdad, then why did we?

Fact
Number 8: Iraq is the Mideast’s second largest oil producer.
Although this is a fact that everyone knows, it is downplayed by
all proponents of the war with Iraq. But if oil has nothing to do
with the U.S. intervening in Iraq, then why hasn’t the U.S. intervened
in Sudan, where 2 million Christians have been killed during the
past decade? What about the persecution of Christians in Indonesia?
Why hasn’t the U.S. intervened in Zimbabwe, where the Marxist tyrant
Robert Mugabe has been confiscating the country’s farmland? Why
has Fidel Castro – 90 miles away from our shores – been untouched for
40 years? Why didn’t the U.S. instigate a “regime change”
when Idi Amin was killing thousands of his own black people in Uganda
in the 1970s? Why didn’t the U.S. instigate a “regime change”
when the Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutu government of Rwanda
in 1994? Would things have been different if Sudan, Indonesia, Zimbabwe,
Cuba, Uganda, and Rwanda had significant oil reserves?

These
sobering facts, unknown to Americans who get all their news from
ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, and CNBC, should cause every citizen, and
especially every Christian, to question the motives of the state
the next time it is insisted that we should invade another country.
They should also cause all Americans to question the necessity of
the United States maintaining 184 military bases in over 100 countries
around the world. God never appointed the United States to be the
world’s policeman.

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