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[casi] The philosophy of... Keanu Reeves?

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Introduction to Wonderland:  the story of Iraq

The story of Iraq is a great way to learn the truth, Neo.  It will show you which choice we made at 
the end of WW II.  The story, if studied carefully, may help you penetrate the Matrix.

Much of the story of Iraq is public, but not quite put together so people can understand it. It's 
also a great example because most of this story happened after the fall of the Soviet Union -- so 
we don't have to wonder whether our government's actions were meant to defend us from the 
"communist menace."
The Official Story
Let's start with the Official Story -- the things you hear all the time:

   We attacked Iraq (and have sanctions on Iraq) because Hussein is a murderous dictator who used 
chemical weapons against his own people
   The US defended the innocent country of Kuwait against aggression, because we will not let 
aggressors pick on small countries
   The US attacked Iraq's military with surgical precision.  The war and the sanctions which 
followed were carefully crafted to avoid civilian casualties.
   The US wanted, and still wants, the people of Iraq to overthrow Hussein
   The US works to promote democracy and human rights in the world


And here are some questions you might consider about the whole affair:

   Why did we leave Hussein, the latest Hitler, in power--when we were willing to take out Noriega, 
a minor thug, in Panama?
   Before our attack in 1991, we said repeatedly that we wanted the Iraqi people to overthrow 
Hussein--but when the Iraqis rebelled against Hussein immediately after our attack, we gave no help 
at all and allowed Hussein to crush them.  Why?
   Hussein is indeed a monster, having used chemical weapons against his own people in 1988.  Why 
did we do nothing when that happened, if we care about human rights?
   Likewise, the Turkish government has carried out vicious attacks against their Kurdish people.  
Why aren't we concerned about their human rights violations?  Shouldn't we use sanctions against 
Turkey too?
   If we are concerned about weapons of mass destruction held by countries that attack their 
neighbors, why aren't we concerned about Israel's nuclear weapons?

Now let's see if we can make sense of these "facts" and questions.
The Truth -- Iran 1951 to late 70's
To understand the Iraq story, we need to start with Iran. In 1951, Iran had a parliamentary 
government, a type of representative democracy like that of Britain and Canada. One of the 
ministers, Mossadegh, organized the parliament to take over the oil industry (primarily from the 
British). In other words, they decided it was not fair for their major natural resource to be 
controlled by foreigners. Now they didn't just take it.  They offered the British 25 percent of the 
profits and allowed the British employees to keep working there.

This wasn't good enough, so the CIA began working to overthrow the Iranian government, and in 1953 
Iran's parliamentary democracy was overthrown and replaced by a dictator, the Shah.  [For a brief, 
fascinating insight into the CIA, read Morpheus' interview with a former, disillusioned, US 
intelligence agent .]

You might think the "liberal media" would have a problem with this. Instead, one year later, on 
August 6, 1954, a New York Times editorial said: "Underdeveloped countries with rich resources now 
have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk 
with fanatical nationalism." And what is "fanatical nationalism"? Again, it's the crazy idea that a 
small country should have control of its own resources.

The Official Story, of course, was that the independent Mossadegh really planned to turn over the 
oil and power to the Soviet Union. The facts do not support this (see Blum, Killing Hope, pp 
64-72). But what if they did?   Did the Iranian people benefit from their "rescue" from the 
communist menace?  No--they got the Shah and his secret police, SAVAK, who ruled the country with 
terror, torture, and murder for the next quarter century--WITH OUR SUPPORT. As Blum explains:
Amnesty International summed up the situation in 1976 by noting that Iran had "the highest rate of 
death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is 
beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran." (Killing 
Hope, p 72)
Incidentally, the US got control of 40 percent of Iranian oil in the deal.

This situation persisted until the late 70's when a popular revolution overthrew the Shah and put 
the Ayatollah Khomeini in power. The Shah, our good friend, was given asylum. (I remember seeing 
him shaking hands with our leaders on TV)  The Ayatollah, for (now) obvious reasons, began calling 
the US the "Great Satan." Later, in 1979, Iranian students took over the US embassy there, taking 
the employees hostage for a year because they claimed that the US was attempting to overthrow their 
governmentagain , using the embassy to coordinate efforts.

The Iran-Contra affair showed that this effort continued into the 1980's. If you want to overthrow 
a government, what you do is identify people inside the military and offer them arms and support. 
That's why we were sending arms, through Israel, to Iran.

Many Americans remember the late 70s and early 80s when this was happening. I was one of them, Neo. 
 I never heard why the Iranians thought we were the "Great Satan" -- in fact it was suggested 
repeatedly that they were just crazy "Arab" extremists who hated us for no good reason. They never 
explained that we overthrew the Iranian government before and that we were trying to do it again. 
This was verified in the fascinating email of a former Iranian-American citizen in his mid-30s, who 
remembers this story clearly from his teenage years when his parents took him back to Iran, when he 
could only read English and the English news. So he watched one thing with his own eyes, but read 
another. Incredible.
The Truth -- Iraq
Once you understand the truth behind Iran, Iraq is easier to understand.
1970's to 1989
Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq in the late 1970s. Eventually, Hussein got into a war with 
Iran. The US supported Hussein because Iran had become our enemy (for having removed our dictator). 
Our support for Iraq was quite strong as can be shown by the fact that in May 1987, an Iraqi 
missile hit the USS Stark killing 37 sailors. They got a tap on the wrist for this -- which shows 
our government was really committed.

In 1988, the USS Vincennes was patrolling the Gulf and shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in a 
commercial flight corridor. 290 people died. This was an accident, according to The Official Story. 
 Although most of us believed it, Iran didn't and subsequently gave up.

Shortly afterwards, Hussein committed the worst atrocities of his career -- he used chemical 
weapons against his own people, the Kurdish citizens in the north. An estimated ten thousand Kurds 
died from the chemical weapons attack and another 40,000 died from conventional weapons used at the 
same time. Despite outcries in the international community, comparing Hussein's use of chemical 
weapons to Hitler, the United States did nothing to respond to these atrocities. In fact, in 1989, 
during our invasion of Panama, the US expedited loans to Iraq to "put us in a better position to 
deal with Iraq" on human rights violations. Notice that later, we had a different method, 
sanctions, that we used to deal with "human rights violations".
1990 to present
In 1990, Hussein complained of "slant drilling" by Kuwait. In other words he was saying that Kuwait 
was angling their oil drilling rigs to tap into oil that was actually underneath Iraq. [A young 
friend of mine was actually in the Persian Gulf. One of his fellow soldiers, who used to work oil 
rigs in the south, actually saw the Kuwaiti rigs and confirmed this.]

After much the saber-rattling, it appeared Iraq was about to invade. During congressional hearings, 
a Bush administration official was asked whether we had any treaties that would require us to 
intervene if Iraq attacked. He said "no" and the next day Iraq invaded--August 2, 1990.

President Bush (senior) and Margaret Thatcher (Great Britain) immediately compared Hussein to 
Hitler and expressed hope for a popular uprising to depose him. This hope was repeated several 
times in the next few months. In January 1991, our government launched Desert Storm, the attack in 
which one hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers were killed and along with some 100 US soldiers.

Immediately after we ended our attack, there were uprisings against Saddam. We were there in force, 
but we did nothing to stop the vicious Iraqi counterattack that crushed the rebellion with extreme 
violence and kept Saddam in power.

Interestingly, the media did notice this, and in July 1991, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times 
had this to say:

"Sooner or later, Mr. Bush argued, sanctions would force Mr. Hussein's generals to bring him down, 
and then Washington would have the best of all worlds: an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam 

Curiously, Mr. Friedman didn't seem to find this idea disturbing at all -- that the "best of all 
worlds" was not a democracy but an iron-fisted dictatorship. And later you can find reporters in 
the New York Times and in many other publications extolling our greatness and our commitment to 
human rights in the world. Interesting.

The sanctions against Iraq continued -- during which roughly one million people have died for lack 
of food, sanitation, and medicine. Most of these people are children. See this link for a detailed 
description of the state of the Iraqi people after several years of sanctions.

Was this intentional?  Yes.  Thomas Nagy published his findings in the September 2001 issue of The 
Progressive--describing declassified Defense Information Agency documents.  As he states:

Over the last two years, I've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving 
beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used 
sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States 
knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway.  The 
primary document, " Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities ," is dated January 22, 1991. It spells 
out how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens.

Don't trust Nagy--read it yourself.  If the Defense Department takes it offline, see this copy.

>From time the time we have increased our bombing attacks, such as in December 1998. An explanation 
>was needed for this, and we got one. In a New York Times article , then Secretary of State 
>Madeleine Albright made this remarkable statement:

" We have come to the determination that the Iraqi people would benefit if they had a government 
that really represented them."

Assuming she was telling the truth, I'll leave it to you to consider what it means that in December 
1998, the US finally decided that the most recent incarnation of Hitler was not the best ruler for 
the Iraqi people.
Now (December 2001)
Now, the US government wants to use 911 as an excuse to replace the Iraqi government by force. Of 
course, if they planned to replace it with a democratic government, that would be a welcome change. 
Recent history, unfortunately, assures us that this is not the plan.

Please read this important essay for an analysis of what's planned and why we should oppose it, by 
Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, former UN humanitarian coordinators for Iraq who both resigned 
in protest of the "genocidal" effects of the sanctions.
So, How Dangerous Was Iraq?
Saddam Hussein was painted as a great danger to the planet to encourage us to go to war. Now of 
course he was a danger, but the danger was greatest when we were supporting him the most during the 
late 80's. That's when he had the most power and when he committed his most atrocious crimes. He 
already had chemical weapons at


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