Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bastards or Liars--You Decide

If you hadn't seen this one (and I guess I shouldn't assume all of you are as poorly read as I am), you really need to go take a look. Acclaimed journalist Kevin McKiernan, director of the award-winning doc Good Kurds, Bad Kurds (so he should know Kurds), claims that the Kurds were promised gas masks and other self-defense supplies from the U.S. by an eminence no less than Donald Rumsfeld prior to the war.

That's right, prior to the war, when the U.S. was sure not only that Hussein had WMDs, but that he would use him on his own people. After all, that's one of President Bush's favorite lines when he has to be sure everyone agrees Hussein is a monster, "He gassed his own people."

So, you'd think we'd want to keep him from doing just that again. But then the story gets intriguing:

In December 2002, Senators Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel visited northern Iraq on a fact-finding trip for the Foreign Relations Committee. The senators expressed concern that the Kurds still had no protection, stating in separate interviews they would try to convince the administration to expedite the promised shipment.

In February 2003, with the US attack now imminent, Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani published an impassioned letter to President Bush, complaining they ''have yet to receive any of the protective equipment promised by your officials to deal with the very real risk of chemical and biological weapons attacks on the cities of Iraqi Kurdistan."

When the Bush appeal was made public, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, the wife of Jalal Talabani, who later became president of Iraq, told me that she had personally filmed victims of Hussein's earlier gas attacks in 1987-1988. ''No one was interested at that time in my videos," she lamented.

Not that I like to see the world in simplistic, dualistic ways, but that seems to say one of two things:

1) BushCo. just didn't give a rat's ass about the Kurds (perhaps wouldn't even mind for a bunch of them to be killed, as it would help prove their point about Saddam, and the fewer Kurds, the easier a coalition government might be),
2) BushCo. knew there were no WMDs, and so didn't need to protect the Kurds from non-existent weapons stockpiles.

They just get slimier and slimier.


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