HIRC Hearing: U.S. Policy Towards Iraq
September 19, 2002
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
U.S. Policy Toward Iraq
House International Relations Committee Hearing
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Once again the world now waits with fear and trepidation regarding the threat
of a US attack on Iraq.
The President provides as justification for this impending attack the Iraqi
refusal to comply with UN resolutions regarding weapons inspections, the
alleged Iraqi threat to its neighbors and the Iraqi government's mistreatment
of its own citizens.
The American people are being called upon to send their young sons and
daughters to go and kill young Iraqi sons and daughters. This war, like all
wars, will be brutal and will leave many American and Iraqi families mourning
the loss of their children.
We're not allowed to publicly question the Bush Administration for fear of
being called unpatriotic.
Aren't we entitled to really know why we're being urged to go to war? Aren't
we entitled to be confident that the Administration is telling the truth?
We know that this Administration has some trouble with telling the truth.
You might recall that the White House had a kind of amnesia a few months ago
and didn't tell the truth about September 11 until I asked some pretty
straightforward questions. In so doing, it seems I helped them remember that
they had in fact received a whole raft of reports warning of terrorist
attacks against this country.
And this is the same Administration, which stole the 2000 election in Florida
and then lied about it.
There have been so many times I wished our country could use its massive
military resources for such noble goals as protecting civilians and enforcing
UN Security Council Resolutions. I'd be their greatest supporter. But I've
sat upon this committee for 10 years and I have seen our country repeatedly
refuse to use to its military to save civilians from slaughter.
I need only remind you of our country's shameful failure to intervene in
Rwanda in 1994 and in so doing we allowed 1,000,000 Rwandan men, women and
children to be butchered with axes and machetes in 100 days.
And, yes, we are the same country that abandoned the people of Afghanistan to
the Taliban, that abandoned the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to
the invading Rwandans and the Ugandans, that abandoned the people of East
Timor to the invading Indonesians, that abandoned the people of Sierra Leone
to the brutal hand chopping killers of the RUF, that abandoned the people of
Chechnya to the brutal Russian Army, that abandoned the people of the
Philippines to brutalities of Ferdinand Marcos, that abandoned the people of
Chile to monstrous crimes of General Pinochet and so on and so on.
But the President would have us believe that this time things are different -
for once, he says, we're going to war to save people's lives.
However, just last Sunday, September 15, 2002, the Washington Post's lead
story carried the banner headline "In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil is the Key
Issue." The article then went on to describe how US oil companies were
looking forward to taking advantage of the oil bonanza, which would follow
Saddam Hussein's removal from office. Apparently, so the article says, CIA
Director James Woolsey, indicated that non-US oil companies who sided with
Hussein would most likely be excluded from sharing in Iraq's massive oil
reserves - reserves said to be second only to Saudi Arabia.
And I find the current Bush fervor and alleged urgent justifications for
attacking Iraq startling because I recall reading an article from the London
Guardian on December 2, 2001 last year, which had a banner headline "Secret
US Plan for Iraq War." The article, almost a year old now, is interesting be
cause it reports that the President had already ordered the CIA and his
senior military commanders to draw up detailed plans for a military operation
against Iraq. The operational commander was General Tommy Franks working out
of the US Central Command at McDill air force base in Florida. Apparently,
other key players were, low and behold, the CIA Director James Woolsey and
the Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz.
What I found most incredible about the article, especially after reading this
week's Washington Post article, was the last sentence which said:
"The most adventurous ingredient in the anti-Iraqi proposal is the use of US
ground troops . . . significant numbers of [US] troops could also be called
on in the early stages of any rebellion to guard oil fields around the Shia
port of Basra in southern Iraq."
Isn't it amazing the London Times didn't refer to US troops guarding the new
parliament, or the schools or hospitals full of ravaged civilians, or saving
the men, women and children brutalized under years of Hussein's rule.
I wonder why the President hasn't talked about these plans, which were being
cooked up nearly a year ago.
I learned this week from the Times of London that Bush Administration plans
to spend some $200m on convincing a skeptical American and world public that
the war on Iraq is justified. I didn't realize that telling the truth would
be so expensive.
And surely if we were really interested today in the truth about whether Iraq
has weapons of mass destruction wouldn't this Committee want to hear from
Scott Ritter. I just cannot believe that he's not here today.
Before we send our young men and women off to war, we need to really make
sure that we're not sacrificing them so that rich and powerful men can
prosecute a war for oil.
I love this country too much to see it abused this way and I implore other
Members of Congress to join me in denouncing this war of aggression.