WASHINGTON, DC -- President Clinton, in launching the massive Dec. 16 attack on Iraq, used a manufactured crisis to deceive the American people, and to bypass Congress' power to declare war.
Warplanes aboard the USS Enterprise, combined with more than 200 cruise missiles from eight Navy warships, converged on Iraqi targets at 5:06 p.m. EST (1:06 a.m. Baghdad time). Over a four-day period, reports U.S. Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who oversaw the Iraq attack, 300 strike fighters, bombers and support aircraft flew 600 sorties, more than half of them at night. Another 40 ships took part in the attack, with 10 of them firing cruise missiles. More than 600 bombs were dropped, 90 cruise missiles fired from the air and another 300 from ships at sea.
The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) report Mr. Clinton used as cause for war, says syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak (Wag the Congress, The Washington Post, Dec. 21), contains six complaints cited by Richard Butler, executive chairman of UNSCOM. These complaints "reflect Saddam Hussein's obnoxious style but do not compare to more than 400 unimpeded inspections reported by Iraq since cooperation resumed Nov.14."
Mr. Novak provides an example of the type of incidents Mr. Clinton used to justify the attack on Iraq. "On Dec. 9 weapons inspectors from UNSCOM, acting on a tip, showed up without notification at the Baghdad headquarters of the ruling Baath Party to search for ballistic missile components. The Iraqi escorts, citing a 1996 agreement, said only four inspectors could enter."
The Butler report itself was a setup.
According to Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times (Did White House orchestrate a crisis? Dec. 18), Scott Ritter, a former U.N. inspector, said Mr. Butler conferred with the Clinton administration's national security staff on how to write his report of noncompliance before submitting it to the U.N. Security Council. The former inspector said the White House wanted to ensure the report contained sufficiently tough language on which to justify its decision to bomb Iraq. "I'm telling you this was a preordained conclusion. This inspection was a total setup by the United States," said Ritter. Mr. Ritter resigned from UNSCOM in August, accusing the Clinton administration of interfering in how and when inspections were carried out.
The decision to attack Iraq was made before the Bultler report was submitted to the U.N. Security Council.
Reports the MacLaughlin Group (NBC, Dec. 18), that while the president told the nation Wednesday night that the attack was triggered by this Butler report, the "time line into the bombing itself shows that the president ordered airstrikes 48 hours before he saw the report."
Mr. Clinton's reference to Iraq's nuclear weapons was completely at odds with the report of the agency charged with reporting on Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons capabilities.
Says the MacLaughlin Group, there is another report that was filed with the UNSCOM report: the International Atomic Energy Agency report. The IAEA worked hand in glove with UNSCOM. The agency is charged with determining any Iraqi clandestine nuclear weapons capabilities. This week the IAEA filed a companion separate report, accompanying the UNSCOM report, that went largely unnoticed. In it, the IAEA gives Iraq a clean nuclear bill of health, describing Iraq's level of cooperation as, "efficient and effective," reported the McLauglin Group.
President Clinton told another lie, says Howard Zinn, professor emeritus of history at Boston University, and author of the best-selling "A People's History of the United Sates."
Mr. Clinton said that other nations besides Iraq have weapons of mass destruction, but Iraq alone has used them. Says Prof. Zinn, "He could only say this to a population deprived of history. The United States has supplied Turkey, Israel, and Indonesia with such weapons and they have used them against civilian populations. But the nation most guilty is our own. No nation in the world possesses greater weapons of mass destruction than we do, and none has used them more often, or with greater loss of civilian life. In Hiroshima hundreds of thousands died, in Korea and Vietnam millions died as a result of our use of such weapons."
Mr. Zinn's words echo those of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. cited by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, in a Dec. 20 letter sent to each member of the Security Council. Said Rev. King, "The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own government."
Presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan (Failed President, Flawed Policy, Dec. 18) says, "It is time to ask how grave a threat Iraq is to America. In the Gulf War, Iraq did not attack us; we attacked Iraq. We launched the 'round-the-clock air strikes with 2,000 planes for six weeks; Iraq fired back a handful of Scuds. Iraq killed scores of Americans; we killed thousands of Iraqis. Yes, Saddam makes "war on his own people," but who inflicts the greater suffering -- Saddam or a U.S.-led embargo that has claimed the lives of 239,000 children, 5 years old and under, since 1990?"
Presidential candidate Jack Kemp, in a Dec. 18 letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said that "reports coming out of the Pentagon and from a former U.N. weapons inspector raise a number of serious and troubling questions that, in my opinion, vindicate your skepticism. These questions are so troubling that I believe they warrant immediate congressional inquiries."
Matthew Rothschild, Editor of the Progressive Magazine, writes (An Attack That Makes No Sense, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 17, 1998) , "The U.S. bombing campaign against Iraq is an act of war not sanctioned by international law or by the U.S. Constitution. Within 72 hours of his grand jury appearance in August, Clinton bombed Sudan and Afghanistan. Now, the day before he faced impeachment, he attacks Baghdad and other locations in Iraq. Our founders gave Congress the sole power to declare war. Congress has not issued such a declaration in this instance. According to international law, a country can take unilateral action against another country only for the purpose of self-defense. But this bombing attack can hardly be called an act of self-defense. Saddam has not attacked the United States and does not pose an imminent threat to us."
Two congressmen have broken ranks with the U.S. Congress to speak out against Mr. Clinton's attack on Iraq, and his usurpation of Congress' power.
Last Wednesday, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) called on President Clinton to resign for the good of the country and the safety of American soldiers. "Once again President Clinton is using American troops to deflect attention from his record of lies, distortions, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Just a couple months ago, the president launched an attack against the nation of Sudan in an attempt to cover over his personal problems; an attack which we know now had no basis whatsoever in protecting US interests."
In a little-noticed speech on the House floor last Thursday, Rep. David Skaggs (D-CO) said: "President Clinton acted in violation of the Constitution in ordering these attacks without authority of Congress."
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