The US once opposed sanctions against use of WMDs by a brutal dictator
By MIKE EVANS
In the early 1990s I went to Iraq with Doctors without Borders, a humanitarian organization. We distributed blankets, food, and medical assistance to the Kurdish people who had been terrorized by Saddam Hussein’s WMD assault.
In 2006 President Barzani of Kurdistan issued a state invitation to me to visit his region. I was told then that Iranian agents were infiltrating Iraq and that Iranian businesses were “on every corner.” Kurdish Secretary of State Karim Sanjari said, “While we outwardly threaten Iran for their interference in Iraq, we close our eyes to the fact that there are Iranian agents behind virtually every rock. The embassy and consulates of Iran are nothing more than war rooms to fund and plan the battles against US troops in our country.”
While in the country, not only was I given a briefing on events surrounding Iran’s role in the second Persian Gulf War, I was presented with in-depth information regarding the massacre of the Kurds by Saddam’s regime. Hussein’s first cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali,” was largely responsible for carrying out the dictator’s horrific attacks against the Kurdish people. I heard the horror stories directly from those on the receiving end of Saddam’s vicious genocide campaign—the targets of cluster bombs and canisters of deadly chemicals.
I was also told of how the Kurds appealed to the United States following the attack and received no support for United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Rather than stand with the Kurds and demand that Saddam Hussein be punished for his heinous crimes, Secretary of State George Schultz and his British counterpart, Sir Geoffrey Howe, said there was no “conclusive proof” that Saddam had been the perpetrator. Schultz further softened US rhetoric by adding, “If conclusive evidence is obtained, then punitive measures against Iraq have not been ruled out.” The bottom line was that Baghdad suffered no consequences for the assault.
“Chemical Ali” al-Majid was the poster boy for weapons of mass destruction, which liberals used as the rationale for why Americans should not be in Iraq. Yet, when I asked the families of the Kurds who were eye-witnesses to the attacks and who lost mothers and fathers, sons, daughters, and husbands as a result of the WMDs, I was told, “We hear the American media asking, ‘Where are Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction?’ Tell them to come here; we will show them. These weapons of mass destruction are in our blood and in our souls. We will take you to the mass graves of our families.”
How could the United States have opposed the demand for sanctions against the use of WMDs by a brutal dictator? It hinged on the fact that support in the form of arms and money was being poured into the region in an attempt to halt the Ayatollah Khomeini’s march toward Baghdad and the West. Yet, how could the Kurds, long-time US allies have to endure such treatment?
Now that President Obama has observed the deaths of some 1,300 innocent civilians by a chemical attack and a death toll of as many as 100,000 Syrians massacred since the war began two years ago, it seems that military help from the United States will be forthcoming. There is something terribly wrong with this picture. It appears to be pure hypocrisy. Is a Syrian who has been gassed more dead than one who has been shot in the head?
If the US is so self-righteous about being willing to launch a military strike that could precipitate enormous destabilization in the region and draw countries such as Russia, China, and Iran more deeply in the conflict, why in the world would that same country not at least apologize for the cowardly act of turning its back on the Kurds?
Dr. Michael Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest novel, The Locket, based on the pursuit, arrest, trial, and execution of Adolf Eichmann, debuted at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in June 2013.