Sunday, April 30, 2006


On December 20, 1983, President Reagan's "special envoy" Donald Rumsfeld cements the ties of the Reagan Administration to Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein with a handshake

For the parents and spouses of American servicemen and women currently serving in Iraq- or, more accurately for too many, serving once again in Iraq- the homecoming of Georgia’s 48th Brigade of the Army National Guard is bittersweet. Sweet because anytime we get to welcome home those who endured danger and hardship, there’s a feeling of both gratitude and relief. Bitter because 130,000 plus American military and their future replacements will be in harm’s way for the foreseeable future. The yellow ribbons, parades, and tearful homecomings are wonderful for those fortunate enough to have returned. But we are- all of us- honor bound to remember the Americans in uniform who are still there, those whose lives were forever altered by the experience, and those who paid the ultimate price.

It’s been more than three years since the Fall of 2002 when President George Walker Bush ordered a buildup of hundreds of thousands of troops on Iraq’s border. On March 20, 2003, he ordered a preemptive invasion of Iraq, allegedly to prevent Saddam Hussein’s imminent use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and biological weapons. To date President Bush’s decision has cost America $300 billion dollars, 2,400 dead soldiers and Marines, over 17,000 wounded and maimed, the loss of our credibility and goodwill throughout the world, and skyrocketing gasoline prices due to the instability in the region.

How did we end up invading Iraq? Why are Americans still there?

Here are some highlights of the history and context of America’s involvement with Iraq. If any of the following information is news to you, then you have some appreciation as to how our educational institutions and the media have failed.

PART I: The years leading up to the George H. W. Bush presidency

1953, IRAN: After the Iranian parliament voted to nationalize Iran's oil industry and seize control of the British-owned and operated Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Britain asked the U.S. for help in overthrowing pro-nationalization Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. On April 4, 1953, with the appoval of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, CIA Director Allen W. Dulles approved $1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mossadegh." On August 19, 1953, the CIA engineered the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh through Iran’s young Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. More than 300 Iranians died. Over the next 25 years, a pro-Western Shah allowed the U.S. to use Iran as a listening post, as a base for spy flights, and as a host for U.S. nuclear weapons aimed at the Soviet Union, Iran’s northern neighbor.

1979 AFGHANISTAN: On July 3, 1979, President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, Afghanistan. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser, predicted the aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. On December 24, 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, beginning eight years of the Soviet “Vietnam” and eventual U.S. support for mujahadeen, the Islamic fundamentalists. The mujahadeen were the forerunners of the Taliban, which emerged and took political power in the 1990’s after the Cold War ended and America ended its direct involvement in Afghan affairs. The anti-Soviet Afghan insurgency drew in Saudi Arabian Osama Bin Laden, who remained connected to Afghanistan after the Soviets departed. After the Taliban took power, Bin Laden set up terror camps with the overt participation of the Taliban government. Under Presidents Bush and Clinton, America ignored the Taliban’s soccer stadium executions, subjugation of its women, and hostility to all things non-Muslim, including historical treasures such as giant Buddha statues which were dynamited.

1979 IRAN: Iranians revolted against Shah Pahlavi, still in power after 25 years, and replaced the monarchy with a parliamentary theocracy led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the rule of “Sharia,” Islamic law. On November 4, 1979, “student” members of Iran’s “Revolutionary Guard” seized American embassy and held American diplomats and Marines hostage over 14 months. All of the hostages were released on Inauguration Day, January 20, 1981, when Republican Ronald Reagan took office.

1980 IRAQ-IRAN WAR: On September 22, 1980, Saddam Hussein ordered an invasion across Iraq’s southern border with Iran in attempt to seize Iranian oil fields on Persian Gulf. This began an eight year long Iraq-Iran war during which Hussein violated the Geneva Convention and committed crimes against humanity when he used mustard gas on Iranian soldiers and nerve gas against Iraqi Kurds and other Iraqi civilians.

1981 OSIRIK, IRAQ: Israel launched a raid with six American build F-15’s and F-16’s against a 40 Mega Watt light water nuclear materials testing reactor in Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Centre in Osirik, 12 miles southeast of Baghdad, being built by the French. Saddam Hussein was about to take the plant on line and start building nuclear bombs. President Ronald Reagan was furious with Israel for violating terms of U.S. sale of warplanes which are only permitted for “defensive purposes” and suspended arms shipments to Israel. Iraq suspected U.S. complicity in the attack and relations soured. The Osirik facility was later completely destroyed by American aircraft during the 1991 Gulf War.

1983 BAGHDAD, IRAQ: On December 20, 1983, President Reagan’s special envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, met with Saddam Hussein in effort to repair the relationship damaged by Osirik raid. Rumsfeld was photographed shaking hands with Hussein as he pledged support for Iraq in its conflict with Iran. U.S. began its policy of supplying covert spy satellite photographs to Iraq, some of which Iraq used to wage war against its own citizens

1982-1988 IRAQ: During Reagan presidency, U.S. companies with strong Republican ties provide essential war materials to Iraq, including chemicals used in illegal weapons of mass destruction. In 1988, just after Saddam Hussein had earned international condemnation for using poisonous gas against thousands of Kurds, the Bechtel Corporation signed contracts with Iraq to build a dual-use chemical plant in Baghdad.

1986 IRAN-CONTRA, WASHINGTON, IRAN, NICARAGUA, LEBANON: The Iran-Contra political scandal involved members of the Reagan inner circle who orchestrated illegal arms sales to Iran in exchange for cash and hostages seized in Lebanon by Iranian backed terrorist groups. In violation of a Congressional ban and despite Reagan’s avowed policy of not negotiating with terrorists and hostage takers, the Iranian cash was funneled to right wing Nicaraguan rebels who fought against a democratically elected Communist government led by Daniel Ortega. The Communist government later left office peacefully in 1990 after losing the election to opposition candidate Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. Former Middle East CIA case officer Robert Baer revealed in his 2002 memoire, “See No Evil,” that the Iranians had orchestrated the April 18, 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy (America’s rebuilt and relocated Beirut embassy was blown up again on September 20, 1984) and the October 23, 1983, Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, the latter killing 241 American servicemen. In response, President Reagan ordered the battleship New Jersey to fire 16 inch shells into unoccupied areas of the Lebanese Shouf mountains, and he ordered the invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada on October 25, 1983.

During the Iran-Contra scandal, President Reagan appeared on television and told the American people that the United States had not sold weapons to Iran. In a later televised address he admitted that his administration had, in fact, done so.


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