Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PAUL: What have we accomplished in Iraq?

By RON PAUL, Cagle Cartoons Syndicated Columnist | 8/18/2014

We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a U.S. attack on Iraq. Some of us remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. and the story was false, but it was enough to turn U.S. opposition in favor of an attack.

This month, yet another U.S. president — the fifth in a row — began bombing Iraq. He is also placing US troops on the ground despite promising not to do so.

We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a U.S. attack on Iraq. Some of us remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. and the story was false, but it was enough to turn U.S. opposition in favor of an attack.

This month, yet another U.S. president — the fifth in a row — began bombing Iraq. He is also placing US troops on the ground despite promising not to do so.

The second Iraq war in 2003 cost the U.S. some two trillion dollars. According to estimates, more than one million deaths have occurred as a result of that war. Millions of tons of U.S. bombs have fallen in Iraq almost steadily since 1991.

What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq!

The U.S. overthrew Saddam Hussein in the second Iraq war and put into place a puppet, Nouri al-Maliki. But after eight years, last week the U.S. engineered a coup against Maliki to put in place yet another puppet. The U.S. accused Maliki of misrule and divisiveness, but what really irritated the U.S. government was his 2011 refusal to grant immunity to the thousands of U.S. troops that Obama wanted to keep in the country.

Early this year, a radical Islamist group, ISIS, began taking over territory in Iraq, starting with Fallujah. The organization had been operating in Syria, strengthened by U.S. support for the overthrow of the Syrian government. ISIS obtained a broad array of sophisticated U.S. weapons in Syria, very often capturing them from other U.S.-approved opposition groups. Some claim that lax screening criteria allowed some ISIS fighters to even participate in secret CIA training camps in Jordan and Turkey.

This month, ISIS became the target of a new U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq. The pretext for the latest U.S. attack was the plight of a religious minority in the Kurdish region currently under ISIS attack. The U.S. government and media warned that up to 100,000 from this group, including some 40,000 stranded on a mountain, could be slaughtered if the U.S. did not intervene at once. Americans unfortunately once again fell for this propaganda and U.S. bombs began to fall. Last week, however, it was determined that only about 2,000 were on the mountain and many of them had been living there for years. They didn’t want to be rescued.

This is not to say that the plight of many of these people is not tragic, but why is it that the U.S. government did not say a word when three out of four Christians were forced out of Iraq during the 10-year U.S. occupation? Why has the U.S. said nothing about the Christians slaughtered by its allies in Syria? What about all the Palestinians killed in Gaza or the ethnic Russians killed in east Ukraine?

The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration — and echoed by the U.S. media — to provide a reason for the president to attack Iraq again. This time it was about yet another regime change, breaking Kurdistan away from Iraq and protection of the rich oil reserves there, and acceptance of a new U.S. military presence on the ground in the country.

President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress is completely silent. No declaration, no authorization, not even a debate. After 24 years we are back where we started. Isn’t it about time to re-think this failed interventionist policy? Isn’t it time to stop trusting the government and its war propaganda? Isn’t it time to leave Iraq alone?

Ron Paul is a former U.S. congressman and presidential candidate, and now a syndicated columnist.

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