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FW: We're In Iraq To Protect Kurds?

From: Rick Rozoff <>
Subject: We're In Iraq To Protect Kurds?
Date: Fri, Sep 7, 2001, 12:38 pm

Denver Post
September 6, 2001

We're in Iraq to Protect Kurds?
by Reggie Rivers

Imagine that Saddam Hussein had taken over the World
Trade Center in New York, and there were 10,000
Americans trapped inside with him. In an attempt to
force him out, we turned off the electricity so the
building boiled during the summer and froze during the
Without electricity, there were no lights and no way
to use any equipment that needed to be plugged in. We
cut off the water supply, so there was nothing to
drink, nothing to clean with and the toilets didn't
flush. The longer the standoff lasted, the more
unsanitary the situation became, leading to disease,
malnutrition and death.

Would we support this strategy if it were happening on
our soil to Americans? Of

course not. But since it's Iraqi citizens on the other
side of the globe, we'll applaud for a full decade
while children continue to die because of the embargo
that we instituted. We'll talk about the evils of
Hussein while people die in hospitals from relatively
minor injuries that went untreated because basic
medical supplies were unavailable.

I've read that more than 1 million people have died in
Iraq as a result of the decade-long embargo, and
nearly half of those have been children under the age
of 5.

We say that we're doing this because we want to hurt
Hussein, but he's living in a well-appointed penthouse
at the top of the Word Trade Center with a generator
that provides everything that he needs. It's the
people trapped in the floors below him who suffer.

But we don't care about this genocide against the
Iraqis because we've got to stand behind our
government no matter what it's doing.

Last week, I asked how long we'd sit by while our
government maintained no-fly zones in Iraq, and I've
been swarmed with e-mails from people who complain
that I don't understand the basic issue.

It's about the Kurds, they wrote. Saddam Hussein was
killing the Kurds and our no-fly zones are part of a
humanitarian effort to prevent further attacks.

There's no doubt the Kurds lead a tough life. They've
basically been told to assimilate or die. They don't
have political rights, freedom of speech or even the
right to speak their own language. Nearly 2,000
Kurdish villages have been destroyed, forcing more
than2 million Kurds to flee into the mountains.

Even there they are not safe, because the army pursues
them for miles and miles and weeks at a time. The
Kurds have been shot, bombed, gassed, raped, tortured,
burned and dismembered, and tens of thousands have
been killed.

And that's just what Turkey has done during the past

That's right. Turkey. Our ally. While we've maintained
the no-fly zone in the north to "protect" the Kurds,
Turkey has continued its open extermination policy
against the Kurds, routinely sending its army across
the border into Iraq to get a better shot at the

We haven't done anything to stop them because Turkey
is an ally. We launch our planes from Incirlik Air
Base in Turkey. So if the Turks want to kill a few
Kurds, we're not going to complain. In fact, we'll arm
them to the teeth so that they can do the job more

The Turkish army is using Lockheed-Martin F-16 fighter
planes, Textron-Bell Cobra and Super Cobra attack
helicopters, United Technologies/Sikorsky Black Hawk
troop transports and various U.S. tanks, armored
personnel carriers and artillery systems to attack
Kurdish villages. Seventy-five percent of Turkey's
arms came from the United States.

But we're in Iraq to protect the Kurds?

When it comes to foreign policy, we're a nation that
mostly accepts whatever the government tells us
without questioning, examining or debating. Even if
you agree with the no-fly zones, how can you agree
with an embargo that aims to unseat Hussein by killing
off the youngest, oldest and most infirm people in

Former Denver Broncos player Reggie Rivers
( writes Thursdays on
the Post op-ed page and is a talk host on KHOW Radio
(630 AM, weekdays from 3 to 5 p.m.).

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