Release Date: January 26, 1998
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: -- Press Contact: Enver Masud

Iraq Crisis A Sham, Israel Poses Bigger Threat

WASHINGTON, DC -- The so called crisis in Iraq is a sham created by Israel to divert attention from its long standing violations of U.N. resolutions, its blocking of the peace process, and its own weapons of mass destruction, and by the U.S. military, industrial, intelligence, congressional (MIIC) complex to justify the defense budget which could safely have been cut in half following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The "crisis" arose when Iraq refused U.N. inspectors access to palaces and other sites, and asked the U.N. for a freeze on inspections until the matter had been discussed further at the U.N. True Iraq has stalled U.N. inspectors, but the stalling is not totally without justification. U.S. led U.N. inspectors have turned what should have been an unbiased fact finding mission into a personal vendetta to unseat President Saddam Hussain. Mr. Hussain is no role model, but whether he remains in office or not is for the people of Iraq to decide. And, certainly, no country that professes democracy should be advocating his assassination.

As a direct consequence of this vendetta thousands have died, and are dying, in Iraq. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, in a May 1, 1996 letter to United Nations Ambassadors, wrote, "The entire population of Iraq has suffered. Millions will not overcome the effects of the sanctions in their lifetimes which have been shortened by years. The history of this violent century does not reveal a more deadly, cruel, inhumane and degrading torture of the whole population of an entire nation inflicted by foreign power for so long a period of time." "I have never seen such devastation," says Bishop Gumbleton of Detroit who, with more than 50 others, began a fast on January 20, 1998, and implored "the president and the leaders of the U.N. to end the sanctions."

U.N. inspectors have already concluded that Iran possesses no nuclear weapons, and its ability to produce them has been drastically set back. U.S. insistence that Iraq prove that no more weapons of mass destruction exist is an impossible task -- any competent student of science knows that the nonexistence of something cannot be proved.

As for chemical and biological weapons Alan P. Zelicoff, technical adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), states in The Washington Post, January 8, 1998, that inspections are "costly and probably self-deceptive" because "in just a few days or weeks, biological weapons can be manufactured in militarily significant quantities in a site no larger than a house." Furthermore, the U.S. itself has "advocated two useful measures for the BTWC: investigations if there are unusual outbreaks of disease (such as occurred in the Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak of 1979) and similar on-site inspections if a party to the convention alleges that biological weapons have been used." If this is what the U.S. has advocated at the BTWC, why not apply this to Iraq instead of declaring a crisis, and preparing for war.

Also, Iraq is not the only country that possesses and/or has used chemical and biological weapons. The U.S. used Agent Orange to deadly effect in Viet Nam, CS gas in Waco, and supported Iraq in its eight year war with Iran after Iraq had used poison gas on the Kurds. Israel has chemical and biological weapons, and used them just a few weeks ago in an assassination attempt in Jordan. To say that Iraq is more likely than others to use such weapons is either self serving propaganda, racism, or bigotry.

Israels weapons of mass destruction are seldom cause for concern either by the MIIC complex or the U.S. media. Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. aid, has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has built up a formidable arsenal that raises legitimate security concerns for other nations in the region. Israel has also shown that it will use its military might to strike first as it did in 1981 on Iraqs Osirak nuclear power plant, a legitimate facility under the NPT. It was this action against an NPT signatory, supported by the U.S., that radicalized Iraq.

Eric Margolis writing for The Toronto Sun reports, "Ever since the 1991 Gulf War, Syria, Iran, Egypt and Iraq have been struggling to build offensive missile capability in the face of Israel's growing nuclear arsenal. Israel is estimated to have as many as 400 atomic and hydrogen weapons. The Israeli Air Force has three squadrons equipped with Jericho nuclear-tipped missiles at the Sedot Mikha base, 45 km south of Tel-Aviv. The Jericho's can reach all major Arab cities, Iran, and Russia. Israel also has a large number of gravity nuclear weapons, possibly including neutron bombs. . . Further enhancing Israel's power, the US is supplying it with the long-ranged F-15F. This deadly strike aircraft, air refueled, can deliver nuclear weapons from Morocco to Pakistan."

If failure to abide by U.N. resolutions is the criteria, action against Israel is long overdue. U.N. Resolution 242 passed on November 22, 1967 underscores the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." All U.S. administration from President Johnsons time supported this position. President Bush was the first to back away from this position, and under President Clinton the U.S. foreign policy establishement capitulated to Israeli interests. One has only to look at the backgrounds of President Clintons closest advisors, the State Department, the National Security Council, and House and Senate Foreign Relations committees to see why Israeli transgressions receive little meaningful censure, and those of the Arabs are magnified.

Israel has found an ally in the MIIC complex which seeking to justify its bloated, and unnecessary spending for "defense" is on the offensive seeking enemies.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union former Defense Secretary McNamara, in his 1989 testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, stated that defense spending could safely be cut in half over five years. For the Pentagon it was a simple choice: either find new enemies, or cut defense spending.

Topping the list of potential new global bogeymen were the Yellow Peril, the alleged threat to American economic security emanating from East Asia, and the so-called Green Peril (green representing Islam). The Pentagon selected "Islamic fundamentalism" and "rogue states" as the new bogeymen (see The Green Peril: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat by Leon T. Hadar, and Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws by Michael Klare).

Unlike Christian fundamentalism, defined in The Fundamentals, a 12-volume collection of essays written in the period 1910-15 by British and American scholars, there is no doctrine of Islamic fundamentalism, and the six "rogue states" -- Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea -- have a combined annual military budget of $15 billion (current U.S. budget about $265 billion). Nevertheless, an extra $437 billion, the difference between what Mr. McNamara recommended and what will have been spent through 1996, was pumped into the Pentagon budget to defend the US from these bogeymen. With interest at seven percent this amounts to over $500 billion in unnecessary "defense" spending between 1990 and 1996.

To conclude there is no crisis in Iraq which requires military action. Legitimate security concerns may be resolved by U.N. inspectors using criteria that the U.S. advocated at the BTWC. It is long past time to end the sanctions on Iraq. And, if the U.S. is serious about the stability of the Middle East, serious attention to Israel's weapons of mass destruction is long overdue.

[At the June 5 Republican debate, co-sponsored by CNN, Romney defended George W. Bushs invasion of Iraq in March 2003 on the grounds that Saddam Hussein refused to let United Nations weapons inspectors in to search for WMD. . . .

But the reality is that Hussein did open up his country through the fall and winter of 2002-03, giving Hans Blix and his U.N. inspection team free rein to check out suspected WMD sites. It was President Bush who forced the U.N. inspectors out in March 2003 so his invasion could proceed.--Robert Parry, "GOP/Media Rewrite Iraq War History,", June 8, 2007]

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