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Joint Letter: Arm the INC and Remove S. Hussein

Please note the editorial inclusion of Urls for the Congressmen's Website.
The Urls were not in the original letter.


Dear Mr. President:

The events of September 11 have highlighted the vulnerability of the United
States to determined terrorists.  As we work to clean up Afghanistan and
destroy al Qaeda, it is imperative that we plan to eliminate the threat from

This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last
visited Iraq.  There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has
reinvigorated his weapons programs.  Reports indicate that biological,
chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war
status.   In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is
doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range
missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.

For much of the last year, the Administration has struggled to plug
loopholes in the international sanctions against Iraq.  Unfortunately,
efforts to coopt Saddam’s illegal trading partners – particularly Syria –
have failed.  In the meantime, the illegal oil trade from Iraq has
flourished, and Saddam now earns an estimated $2 billion annually, much of
which he has devoted to his military and his illegal weapons programs.

If we have learned one thing from the ongoing battle in Afghanistan, it is
that working effectively in coordination with locals on the ground can
significantly leverage our own use of military force.  While we have no
doubt that in the long run, the United States will always prevail in battle
with the likes of the Taliban (not to speak of Saddam Hussein), we also know
that we can minimize casualties and shorten conflict by cooperating with
opposition forces.  That has been a key element of US strategy for several

Since the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act three years ago, we have fought
to provide support for Iraqis inside Iraq.  The Iraqi National Congress
(INC), an umbrella group of all the significant anti-Saddam forces inside
Iraq, has consistently requested Administration assistance for operations on
the ground in Iraq ranging from the delivery of humanitarian assistance and
information-gathering to military and technical training and lethal military

Despite the express wishes of the Congress, the INC has been denied U.S.
assistance for any operations inside any part of Iraq, including liberated
Kurdish areas.  Instead, successive Administrations have funded conferences,
offices and other intellectual exercises that have done little more than
expose the INC to accusations of being “limousine insurgents” and “armchair
guerillas”.  We note the troubling similarity of these accusation to charges
made against the Afghan guerillas now helping us win the war against the

The threat from Iraq is real, and it cannot be permanently contained.  For
as long as Saddam Hussein is in power in Baghdad, he will seek to acquire
weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.  We have no doubt
that these deadly weapons are intended for use against the United States and
its allies.  Consequently, we believe we must directly confront Saddam,
sooner rather than later.  Without allies on the ground inside Iraq, we will
be handicapping our own efforts.  Each day that passes costs us an
opportunity to unite and professionalize the Iraqi opposition, thus ensuring
it will be less capable when the conflict begins.

Again, we can learn from our experience in Afghanistan. We cannot be drawn
into the ethnic politics of any particular nation, but should find a way to
work with all the opposition in a unified framework.  The Iraqi National
Congress is the only umbrella organization comprising all elements of the
Iraqi opposition.   No one group is excluded, no one group is favored.

Mr. President, all indications are that in the interest of our own national
security, Saddam Hussein must be removed from power.  Let us maximize the
likelihood of a rapid victory by beginning immediately to assist the Iraqi
opposition on the ground inside Iraq by providing them money and assistance
already authorized and appropriated.

We look forward to working with you on this most important matter.

Sam Brownback: and
Jesse Helms:
Joe Lieberman:
Trent Lott:
John McCain: and
Richard Shelby: and
Henry Hyde:
Ben Gilman: and
Harold Ford, Jr.: and


Nathaniel Hurd
Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
162 Montague Street, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel.: 718-237-9145, x 21
Fax: 718-237-9147
Mobile: 917-407-3389
Personal E-Fax: 707-221-7449
Afghanistan Factsheets:

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