“The Congress shall have Power… to declare War.” – The Constitution of the United States, 1787-present. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” – James Madison, 1795
When I campaigned as an independent for US Congress in PA-15, I published this plank on October 14, 2009. Similar to the Afghanistan-Pakistan War, the United States military presence and civil unrest continues to this day in Iraq. This plank documents the lies the Bush II regime fed the American people, and lesser-known facts such as the secret US/UK joint bombings that occurred well before Bush and Cheney told the American people that the military was attacking and invading Iraq.
Summary: As Congressman, I will drive for a rapid immediate and orderly withdrawal from Iraq. Under no circumstances will I approve spending to extend this unconstitutional, preemptive war of aggression.
Besides the creating new dollars to debase the currency and spending taxpayer funds to fund war during adverse economic times, my justification for the position is the following:
First and foremost, without a declaration of war, the Iraq War is an unconstitutional and illegal war as it conflicts with the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. In dereliction of their duty and oaths of office, the House voted down by unanimous vote a motion in committee to follow the Constitution and declare war in H.R.J. 114, the bill that authorized Bush II to invade with attack in March 2003. (1) (2) (2B)
Second, we must realize that the Iraq War is a grinding, continuous, 19-year long war. While I condemn Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, one must remember that as recently as 1984 the United States backed the regime and funded both Iraq and Iran (the infamous Iran-Contra Affair, see Donald Rumsfeld shaking Hussein’s hand at left) during the blood-soaked Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988, which saw wide use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas and the nerve agent tabun. In 1994, Senator Riegle’s report revealed that America armed Iraq with anthrax, botulinum and many other chemical weapons that were “not attenuated or weakened” and “capable of reproduction.” (3) (4) (5) (6A) (6B) (7)
Phase 1: The attack to remove the Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait took place with broad international support and United Nations approval from 1990-1991. Osama bin Laden, our former-ally-turned-terrorist who disapproved of Hussein’s secular (non-religious) rule, even offered to invade with his mujahideen. (9)
Phase 2: From 1992-2002, the Iraqi people suffered under isolating economic sanctions, loss of its airspace to a militarized “no-fly” zone (which never had UN approval and was called “illegal” by the head of the UN), and was repeatedly bombed by the US Air Force. Under Clinton, these instances include the launch of 23 Tomahawk missiles to demolish Intelligence Headquarters in Baghdad in 1993 and a major bombing mission in 1998. Under Bush II and before H.R.J. 114 was even passed, a joint US-UK airstrike involving 100 warplanes was carried out in September 2002 with next-to-no media coverage. Britain’s Ministry of Defense alone reported dropping well over 300,000 pounds of ordnance during 2002. (10) (11) (12) (13) (14)
While the bombs dropped, the harsh economic sanctions led by the United States led to starving among the Iraqi people, as the US State Department demonstrated in their 2002 report. (15)
Phase 3: In March 2003, America and a coalition of nations invaded Iraq in violation of their UN charters and the US Constitution without any acts of aggression committed by Iraq. As of October 2009, 4,348 American servicemen and women have died so far in the occupation. The minimal number of Iraqi civilian deaths lies between 93,000 to 102,000 per Iraq Body Count. Extrapolations from the study by the medical journal Lancet give estimates of 1.2 to 1.3 million civilian deaths from a 2003 population of roughly 25 million. On a percentage basis, this is the rough equivalent of 13 million deaths if the war had took place in America. (16) (17) (18) (19) (20)
The Bush II regime gave the following two excuses for invading Iraq and occupying it from 2003 to present. First, they said that Iraq supported Al-Qaeda. Second, they said Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction.” These claims were not only false; they were lies.
“We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks.”
– President George Bush to US Congress, September 2003 (21)
“I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true.”
– former Vice President, Halliburton CEO and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, June 2009 (22)
In 2008, a study concluded that the Bush II regime publicly made 935 false claims concerning Al-Qaeda’s ties to Iraq and weapons of mass destruction with Bush II uttering 260 falsehoods, Secretary Colin Powell 254, and Vice President Dick Cheney 48. Furthermore, while Bush II was terrifying the American people of being attacked by Hussein and Bin Laden on a daily basis throughout 2002, in September of 2002 the CIA sheepishly reported that they had not updated the National Intelligence Estimate since 2000 with an assessment of Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capacities. (23) (24)
This lack of intelligence did not stop Colin Powell from lying to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003 stating he had “solid sources” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that his testimony was “not assertions” but instead “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” Powell terrorized the UN, falsely claiming that Hussein was still armed with anthrax (which, remember, America exported to Iraq in the 1980s) and was intent on committing acts of terrorism. His chief of staff later testified Powell was not speaking the truth. [Powell also ‘whitewashed’ the truth about infamous My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War.] (25) (26) (26B)
We should not have the temerity to fool ourselves into believing that garrisons and “police actions” in Iraq are helpful in any way. Think about how many Americans would revolt if a foreign nation were to have garrisons in our country! Iraq belongs to the Iraqis, not to us. Instead of more bombs, bullets, and sanctions, America should offer Iraq peace, honest friendship, and peaceful trade. These can best be obtained by a rapid, immediate, and orderly withdrawal from Iraq.
American troops should JUST COME HOME. Even if the annual $1+ trillion military empire was economically sustainable, there is no rational reason to continue America’s style of gunboat diplomacy. WWII and the Korean War ended 60 years ago. Leave Germany to the Germans. Leave Japan to the Japanese. Leave Korea to the Koreans. Congress should immediately bring home the 113,242 troops stationed in these three countries along with all others. (27) (28)
Concerning foreign policy, we must face facts. There has been no real change since Barack Obama took office except for an escalation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan War. Obama will shortly sign in existence the largest war budget in the history of the world, $680 billion dollars. This bill will increase the size of active-duty combat troops by 40,200 next year, inline with Obama’s campaign promise to add 92,000 troops in his first term. (29) (30) (Photo courtesy Leon Kuhn. Used with permission.)
America today faces a time of maximum danger where continued warring will bleed us dry and bankrupt our treasury. The freedoms our founding fathers died protecting are heavily eroded. But the dire threat to liberty comes not from cowards living in caves in Pakistan. The dinosaur career politicians in office today represent the true threat. They are dragging We the People along a path not unlike that of the USSR during the 1980s. The Soviet Union collapsed for two basic reasons an unsustainable economy ruled by central planners and imperial overstretch.
Conceived in liberty, America is yet a wealthy nation in comparison to the rest of the world, but time runs thin. We must restore the constitutional Republic before it is too late. Wars rarely result in more freedoms, and the Revolution of 1776 was one of these few. If we are to have a free and open society, our last & only resort must be to ruthlessly wage peace and love.
Let the peaceful rEVOLution of 2010 begin.
For the Republic!
October 14, 2009
Note: Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense during the Gulf War, was CEO of Halliburton from 1995-2000. While bombs were still dropping on Iraq, Halliburton assisted with putting out the oil fires. The Washington Post reported “Halliburton held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer.” (31)
Note: Even if a claim that a nation possesses “weapons of mass destruction” is true, this is not grounds enough to invade it. Likewise, by no means is preemptive war excusable on the pretext of a mere possibility of aggression. The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights life, liberty, and justly acquired property against aggression. Many nation-states seek to arm themselves because they wish to defend themselves. Obviously, the United States and most developed nations themselves possess “weapons of mass destruction.”
- The Constitution of the United States. 1787-present. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html
- House Joint Resolution 114, Authorization of Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hj107-114 2B. Ron Paul’s Speech Against the Iraq War. October 8, 2002. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ron_Paul%27s_Iraq_Speech
- Iran-Iraq War. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War
- Iran-Contra Affair. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_Affair
- Senator Riegle’s Report. 1994. “FORWARD DEPLOYMENT OF IRAQI CHEMICAL AGENTS DURING THE PERSIAN GULF WAR.” http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?r103:1:./temp/~r103jEfsjZ::
- Senator Riegle’s Report. 1994. Main page. http://www.gulfweb.org/report/riegle1.html Section with list of chemicals exported to Iraq from America, including anthrax and botulinum. http://www.gulfweb.org/report/r_1_2.html
- Ali, Javel. 2001. “Chemical Weapons and the Iran-Iraq: A Study in Non-Compliance.” Tabun and mustard gas, page 6/16. http://cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/81ali.pdf
- King, John. Photo of Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. Late 2003. http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php
- 9/11 Commission Report. p. 74/585. http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf
- Iraqi No-Fly Zones. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_no-fly_zones
- 9/11 Commission Report. p. 115/585. http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf
- Ibid. p. 137/585. http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf
- Scahill, Jeremy. 2005. “The Other Bomb Drops.” The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/other-bomb-drops/
- Smith, Michael. 2005. “The War Before the War.” The New Statesman. https://www.newstatesman.com/node/195307
- US State Department. 2002. “Iraq: A Population Silenced.” p. 12/15. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/16059.pdf The State Department appears to have deleted the PDF but the text can be found at https://2001-2009.state.gov/g/drl/rls/15996.htm
- Antiwar.com. USSoldier Deaths Count. http://antiwar.com/casualties/
- Iraq Body Count. http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
- Lancet. 2006. Mortality in Iraq. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2807%2960062-2/fulltext
- Thieren, Michel. 2008. “Deaths in Iraq: How Many and Why It Matters.” http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-iraq/iraq_deaths_4011.jsp
- Just Foreign Policy. Iraq Deaths. http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq
- BBC. 2003. “Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3118262.stm
- CNN. 2009. “Cheney: No Link Between Saddam Hussein, 9/11.” http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/01/cheney.speech/
- CNN. 2008. “Study: Bush, aides made 935 false statements in run-up to war.” http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/23/bush.iraq/
- Schmitt, Eric and Alison Mitchell. 2002. “USLacks Up-to-Date Review of Iraqi Arms.” http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/11/international/middleeast/11IRAQ.html
- Towne, Jake. 2008. “My Father’s Vietnam is My Iraq – Disturbing Parallels.” https://www.nolanchart.com/article3436-my-fathers-vietnam-is-my-iraq–disturbing-parallels.html
- Youtube. Wilkerson, Lawrence. 2007. Testimony about Colin Powell’s presentation on Iraq from his former Chief of Staff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwdsm-Oux4o 26B. Youtube. Colin Powell’s Full Remarks to the UN. February 5, 2003. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErlDSJHRVMA
- Higgs, Robert. 2007. “The Trillion Dollar Defense Budget is Already Here.” http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1941
- Towne, Jake. 2009. “America’s Military Empire.” https://www.nolanchart.com/article6916-americas-military-empire-updated-html
- House Resolution 2647. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2647
- Towne, Jake. 2009. “Barack Obama, Elinor Ostrom, and the Nobel Prize, Part 1/2.” https://www.nolanchart.com/article6952-barack-obama-elinor-ostrom-and-the-nobel-prize-part-12-html
- Drutman, Lee and Cray, Charlie. 2003. “Cheney, Halliburton, and the Spoils of War.” http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=6288
For those wishing to learn more about a foreign policy of non-intervention to decide for themselves, I heartily recommend Blowback by Chalmers Johnson which was originally written just months before the 9/11 attack in 2001. The Council on Foreign Relations called it a “comic book” prior to 9/11 but the research presented by Chalmers is true.