March 03, 2006

“The Head of the Snake”

SULEIMANIYA, IRAQ – Suleimaniya is the most liberal city in Iraqi Kurdistan, partly because of its long-standing and deep ties to nearby Iran, one of the most culturally liberal countries in the Middle East. The Iraqi Kurds I met who have been to Iran wanted me to know – and they want you to know, as well – that the distance between the Iranian people and their hideous regime is galactic. I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”

All the way back in 1973 Moula Mustafa Barzani, the famous and beloved leader of the anti-Baathist Kurdish resistance, said he wanted Iraqi Kurdistan to become the 51st American state. Nowhere did Barzani’s fierce campaign resonate more deeply than it did in Suleimaniya. Suli isn’t only the cultural capital of the region – its New York, if you will. It also is the capital of Kurdish nationalism. Saddam Hussein called it “The Head of the Snake.”

He answered with genocide. No one in Iraq experienced the full wrath of Saddam’s Black Arabism more than the Kurds. If the Kurds refused to morph themselves into loyal little Baathists, he would erase them from the face of the earth.

The old headquarters of the mukhabarat, the secret police, still stands in one of Suli’s quiet neighborhoods, gutted and pock-marked with bullet holes.

Mukhabarat Headquarters.jpg

On March 7th, 1991, the Peshmerga battled it out here with the locally-based agents of Saddam’s regime. The Baathists fought hard. Surrender was not an option. They knew if they lost that every one of them would be killed. And they were right. After two days the compound was overrun. Those not killed in the fire fight were torn apart in the streets by local citizens.

Bullet holes show the fight was two-directional. You can still see, on the inside of the gate, where the regime’s bullets smacked into the concrete and the bricks while they fired at the Peshmerga beyond. Residential homes still stand in good condition across the street from the gate. These are still known as the Security Houses. The mukhabarat lived there and everyone knew it. No one wanted to walk or drive down through the neighborhood.

Security Houses.jpg

The Kurds left the first shattered building in the compound intact as a memorial. The insides are blackened and strewn with rubble. Only pigeons live in there now.

The second building in the compound was a torture chamber and prison. It has since been turned into a genocide museum. Soviet-built tanks and anti-aircraft guns captured from Saddam’s defeated army are lined up outside.

Tanks in Suli.jpg

Next to the anti-aircraft guns is a white sculpture made by a Suleimaniya artist who happened to be on the grounds when I showed up. It memorializes six Kurdish children who were senselessly gunned down in the streets by the Baath.

Sculpture of Dead Children.jpg

The entrance to the genocide museum is in the back of the building. To get there from the front you have to walk past one of the rape rooms. Women’s underwear and contraceptives were found in that room when the prison was liberated by the Peshmerga.

Rape Room.jpg

When you enter the museum you will walk through a long and winding hallway. The walls are covered with mirror shards. Each represents one of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Kurds murdered in the genocidal Anfal campaign. A river of twinkling lights lines the ceiling. Each represents one of the five thousand villages destroyed by Saddam Hussein.

Shards of Glass.jpg

Past the hallway of mirrors and light is a small room made up to look like a traditional Kurdish home. Houses like these barely exist in the countryside anymore. Saddam Hussein destroyed most of them. The rural part of the country is now eerily empty of people.

Traditional Kurdish Home.jpg

Then the museum begins in earnest. Pictures of Kurdish dead line the walls of the hallways and the old torture chambers and prison cells. I do not believe in ghosts or in lingering negative energy. But if I have ever been in a place that is haunted, this is it.

Pictures of the Kurdish Dead.jpg

Did you know? During the Kurdish uprising after the 1991 Gulf War, almost every last person fled to the mountains. The cities were almost completely emptied of people. Imagine living your life like that. Everyone over the age of 20 remembers it vividly.

Kurdish Exodus.jpg

The Peshmerga fled to the mountains as well. They used those mountains as bases for their military operations against the Saddam regime.

Peshmerga in Mountains.jpg

One picture stood out in particular for me. Below you can see a man who was shot dead while crossing one of the main streets. As it happens, the man is lying directly in front of my hotel.

Dead in Front of Suli Palace.jpg

Some rooms in the museum don’t have pictures at all. Instead they show the instruments and the methods of torture. In one room, the so-called “Washington Room,” men and women had hot electric irons pressed into their skin.

Hanging Rope in Museum.jpg

Electrocution.jpg

Shackled.jpg

Dozens of people were packed into single caged cells. This one, pictured below, needed to have blood scrubbed off the walls before it could be opened to visitors.

Blood on the Walls.jpg

The hardest thing to see was the cell used to hold children before they were murdered. My translator Alan read some of the messages carved into the wall.

“I was ten years old. But they changed my age to 18 for execution.”

Where is my sister.jpg

“Dear Mom and Dad. I am going to be executed by the Baath. I will not see you again.”

Girl Behind Barbed Wire.jpg

10,725 people were killed in this one building alone. All died during torture. Formal execution actually took place in Abu Ghraib.

Postscript: Please hit my tip jar and help make non-corporate writing financially viable. Thanks in advance, and thanks for all your donations so far.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 3, 2006 05:28 AM
Comments

Yes, mistakes galore were made--in planning and during the occupation.

But it's an unalloyed good that this insect was deposed and is on trial for his life.

Posted by: Grumpy Old Man at March 3, 2006 06:38 AM

When we first got to Abu Ghraib, the MPs had been at work for a month and a half making the place habitable for human beings. After 45 days, they hadn't even touched the execution building. I can't even describe it. Rumsfeld showed about about two weeks later to inspect the prison as a whole, and make sure it was up to our standards for a detention facility... He walked in to the execution building, came back out 30 seconds later, and ordered the place walled off until engineers could arrive to demolish it.

Posted by: cyfir at March 3, 2006 07:04 AM

I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”

I call this the fallacy of familiarity. This often happens when people travel to a new place - instinctively we seek out people like us, people who we can communicate with. There are a lot of secular, educated liberal pro-Western people in Iran, certainly far more than most Americans would guess. But that is far from the whole story. Ahmadinejad was elected in a relatively free election. Yes, he was elected more for his social program than his foreign policy. But there are a lot of poor uneducated Iranians who, while maybe not anti-American, are fiercely patriotic and will still listen to the mullahs. These people strongly resent the educated Westernized elites and to this day tend to side with the religious fanatics against the Westernizers. Ahmadinejad has been a genius at tapping into this resentment. As long as he can keep the Iranian working classes and professional classes at each others' throats the mullahs will be safe.

Posted by: Vanya at March 3, 2006 07:09 AM

Vanya,

Every Iranian candidate who wasn't a deragned nutcase was banned by the Guardian Council from running for president. Don't get suckered into thinking that was a free election. It wasn't anything of the sort.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 3, 2006 07:16 AM

Every time I see an article like this, and I have seen several, I think of how ludicrous it is to call making a man wear women's underwear "torture"

I have concluded that those, including the many who sit in the senate and house, who make such comparisons are quite frankly on the side of our enemies.

Posted by: Redman at March 3, 2006 07:19 AM

I would echo most of the comments by previous posters.

Scenes like these make a mockery of the daily comparisons between Bush and Saddam.

Posted by: SirGlubb at March 3, 2006 07:24 AM

Vanya,

Ahmadinejad was "freely elected" about like Saddam was "freely elected." The bulk of Iranians, seeing the election was rigged, boycotted them to the point that it became embarassing for the regime to be elected with such a tiny percentage of the electorate. They had to run in ringers to get their numbers up a little.

The "election" of Ahmadinejad was political theater by the mullahs to give some democratic cover to their tyrannical regime to the gullible. I see by your remarks that it worked.

Tantor

Posted by: Tantor at March 3, 2006 07:25 AM

I think Vanya's point, though perhaps overstated, is that there is a constituency for the Iranian regime and to say otherwise is wishful thinking whether on our part or that of the Kurds. No, the election was not "fair" certainly not free but the mullahs are not paper tigers merely. And they will use all powers at their disposal to resist overthrow whether by domestic or external forces.

Posted by: megapotamus at March 3, 2006 07:36 AM

Hi Michael.

Two years ago, I produced the documentary film VOICES OF IRAQ, where we sent 150 DV cameras across Iraq and allowed Iraqis to film their own lives. The cameras got into the prison you visted and others. I viewed several hours of video and testimony detailing the horrors of Saddam's torture. One woman recalled tearfully how her newborn baby was fed to dogs infront of her eyes. Another video shows floors stained with blood and fat that liquified off torture victoms and poured onto the tiles below them.

What transpired in those chambers is beyond belief. It takes a strong stomach to go through the tours you're experiencing.

Martin Kunert

Posted by: martin kunert at March 3, 2006 07:38 AM

MJT, please give us whatever contact info there is for this museum.

Posted by: Solomon2 at March 3, 2006 07:41 AM

Thanks again, Michael -- moving, powerful work.
Sparse; strong fotos.

I get so angry at the injustice; and so angry at those who, in opposition to Bush, think Saddam was "better for the Iraqi people."

Martin Kunert -- where can we see more of your testimony? Such torture is NOT beyond belief; but the lack of showing it makes US illegal abuse at Abu be declared the "moral equivalent."

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at March 3, 2006 07:48 AM

If you read the book "See No Evil" Barzani was heavily involved in the oil smuggeling trade out of Iraq and into Turkey. According to this book, it is true that he was a leader of the Iraqi Kurds in 91' but, he also helped perpetuate Saddham's regeime by facilitating smuggeling.
I recall seeing on the news the Kurds up in the mountains in the cold and starving to death. The Americans covered the skies to prevent another genocide by the Baath. I recall being ashamed that Bush 1st did so little to help these people. I am sure that many Kurds died in the mountains over the winter. It is interesting to me that the Kurds still respect the U.S. I guess that any help in preventing complete genocide of a people is better than none.
I won't even go into what went on during the Clinton admin. This book is a must read...

Posted by: Babs at March 3, 2006 08:00 AM

Yes, Saddam's rape rooms. But the Americans make their prisoners wear fruit of the Looms on their head.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 08:05 AM

You are bearing witness, Michael. Great work.

Martin, I loved your documentary, Voices of Iraq.

I would also recommend Turtles Can Fly, a film about the Kurdish genocide, and Crimson Gold, a film about the despair of today's Iran.

These are the films of today that merit an Oscar for bravery, not the ones the feckless academy has nominated.

Posted by: Patricia at March 3, 2006 08:06 AM

Martin,
I have also heard of your project but don't know where to see it. I would appreciate a link.

Posted by: Babs at March 3, 2006 08:09 AM

Redman,

You are correct about America's most bitter enemies in Congress. They have names like Boxer,
Durbin, Reid, Pelosi, Kennedy and other Liberal haters.

Posted by: leaddog2 at March 3, 2006 08:20 AM

Michael,

We as the US may have made (and are continuing to make mistakes in Iraq), but how can we say that we have done no good here? I am a relatively new mom and the notes from the children just break my heart. The man and the regime were evil incarnate.

Posted by: Olga at March 3, 2006 08:22 AM

Ahmadinejad was indeed freely elected, but by whom? Like most of the 3rd world countries, majority of Iranians are uneducated peasants. Still a long way to go before democracy reaches Middle East.
Thank you Michael for the great work.

Posted by: Rebaz at March 3, 2006 08:26 AM

What is not mentioned here is that for years the crimes committed against the Kurds by the Iraqi government were carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation (and instruction) of the United States government and other 'Western' powers, which sold the Iraq government the weapons, nerve gas components, etc, used against the Kurds.

Saddam Hussein was created by the U.S., after all.

Posted by: Lawrence at March 3, 2006 08:32 AM

Lawrence,

Those are Soviet tanks in the photo above.

It's true that Saddam was a Western ally for a while during the Iran-Iraq war. But the vast majority of his weapons came from Russia and Germany.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 3, 2006 08:36 AM

Everyone should remember that Saddam was an ally of the USA during this time and the US government knew everything Saddam was doing.

Posted by: Andrew Kunian at March 3, 2006 08:38 AM

Andrew: Everyone should remember that Saddam was an ally of the USA during this time and the US government knew everything Saddam was doing.

I agree.

Everyone should also remember who got rid of the bastard when most people wanted to leave him in place.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 3, 2006 08:41 AM

Thank you megapotamus. MJT and Tantor are both sadly indulging in wishful thinking. Naive American liberalism seems to be alive and well on this blog. I wish it were true that Iran was 90% pro-American secular liberals who somehow are held in thrall by a tiny group of fanatics. The reality is more like 10% pro-Amerian secularists opposed to the regime, 10% fanatics and 80% ordinary Iranians who may love Western consumer goods, may grumble about how corrupt the Mullahs are but figure they'll get screwed under any government. And the bad news is that that 80% is very proud of Iran's nuclear programme, even if they hate the Mullahs. (Hell, I have American Iranian friends whose fathers were jailed and killed by the Mullahs - even they are proud of Iran's nuclear programme.) Iranians are usually patriots first and ideologues second. Saddam found that out in 1980 when he expected the Iranian minority populations and anti-Mullah opposition to flock to his side after Iraq invaded. It never happened. That first 10% tends to speak English and know how to communicate with Westerners so foreigners tend to overestimate their influence.

As far as the electins, "Relatively free" is overstating it, but Iranians did have a choice, even if a bad choice. Comparing Iran's elections to Saddam is pure ignorance. The fact remains that the working class and the poor preferred Ahmidinejad over Rafsanjani. Iran is a country very much like Russia - it has a layer of beautiful intelligent people, some of the greatest people you'd ever want to meet. But it also has a large number of very resentful, bitter people who don't like change, don't like seeing their neighbors do better than them, and who will not shy away from violence. It's not an accident that the Mullahs have managed to hold on for 20 years despite delivering on none of their promises.

Posted by: Vanya at March 3, 2006 08:41 AM

Oh how the MSM is manipulating the information we receive on all things "middle east". I find it very curious that in a region where literacy in well under 30%, every "demonstration" covered on the MSM newscasts are full of protest banners in perfect English. These people can't read or write in their own language yet know flawless English? And where to they keep coming up with those giant uncle Sam effigies? Is there a “protest store” in every Arab city? Do you think we’re being had by the MSM? Duh!

Posted by: JeffB at March 3, 2006 08:55 AM

Lawrence, .46% of saddam's weapons came from america and .17% came from england. The vast majority came from France and Russia. It was a germany that created the plant for Saddam to make the gas. As far as America instructing genocide and creating Saddam, do you have any proof at all? Or are you just assuming that since something horrible happened the U.S. must be responsible.

Posted by: Mike#3o4 at March 3, 2006 08:55 AM

Andrew and Lawrence, check your timelines and sources. Although the US provided some assistance to Iraq during the early 80's against Iran and had diplomatic relations with them up to 1991 that does not mean that the US was cooperating or instructing the Iraqis on the eradication of the Kurds. Anthrax (if that is what you are referring to) is often 'sold' to labs for use in developing farm programs for reasons including the development of control practices.

And stop with the all knowing all seeing US (or Western) government-plex. We often can't get out of our own way because we are so big and have so many different groups acting independently that we have little idea what all of them are doing.
As for leaving them starving in the mountains we flew in supplies as often as was manageable, we even accidently shot down 2 of our own helicopters that were delivering supplies because we mistook them for Iraqi Hinds. I know, I was there. We are from all knowing (and all deceiving...)

Posted by: Mark S at March 3, 2006 09:03 AM

Andrew and Lawrence, check your timelines and sources. Although the US provided some assistance to Iraq during the early 80's against Iran and had diplomatic relations with them up to 1991 that does not mean that the US was cooperating or instructing the Iraqis on the eradication of the Kurds. Anthrax (if that is what you are referring to) is often 'sold' to labs for use in developing farm programs for reasons including the development of control practices.

And stop with the all knowing all seeing US (or Western) government-plex. We often can't get out of our own way because we are so big and have so many different groups acting independently that we have little idea what all of them are doing.
As for leaving them starving in the mountains we flew in supplies as often as was manageable, we even accidently shot down 2 of our own helicopters that were delivering supplies because we mistook them for Iraqi Hinds. I know, I was there. We are from all knowing (and all deceiving...)

Posted by: Mark S at March 3, 2006 09:04 AM

This was a very moving entry, particularly the photos of the artwork and the last notes from the children. Thank you for bringing this experience to me in my safe, comfortable home.

Posted by: DodgerGirl at March 3, 2006 09:10 AM

DVD Voices of Iraq purchase
https://www.mavgear.com/detail.aspx?ID=957
Turtles Can Fly and Crimson Gold you can get at amazon.

Posted by: lonely_soul at March 3, 2006 09:12 AM

"Saddam Hussein was created by the U.S., after all."

God, how I hate that feeble retort.

This is my country now. I can't help it that the last generation F'd some things up or had to make some tough choices based on the political reality of the times (i.e, soviet expansion).

Should I live in shame and never try to make things right because some sanctimonious prick is always ready to whine "but you did it tooooooo.."

Thank you Michael for the sacrifices you've made to bring us this info, or more properly, enligntenment.

Posted by: Lawrence S. at March 3, 2006 09:17 AM

To Andrew and Lawrence:

I recommend you two need to read Timmerman's book "The French Betrayal of America". His other work as ajournalist in France also reveals much about what we knew and did not know. More importantly, Timmerman details which Western countries did supply Saddam with weapons and technology, and you might see which countries had economic incentive to keep him in power despite decades of the Baathist minority tyrrany and human rights nightmares. Thank you for a great site.

Posted by: B. Jones at March 3, 2006 09:20 AM

Michael, kol ha kavod for bearing witness. It reminds me of my own thoughts and feelings when visiting the similarly-presented museum at the former Tuol Sleng/S-21 prison facility in Phnom Penh, Cambodia...

The images and stories that you present here serve the critical function of reminding us that any past or ongoing mistakes notwithstanding, the regime that was toppled was a truly ruthless one.

Posted by: Josh at March 3, 2006 09:33 AM

i do not care about the fact that the us had helped sadam or tolerated him
but i strongly disagree with the notion that 47% of the weapons came from the us
it is not true
what they got were a few surveillance aircrafts
the rest were german ( 80% of all wmd ressources were provided by the germans ) and the normal weaponery was russian
iraq used 10.000 russian armored vehicles .5000 russian made artillery pieces
ak-47. rgp s russian planes
with some french ibn the inventory and they cooperated with brazil
the us-helped us in the end and they are still there
that is the most important thing

Posted by: kurdo at March 3, 2006 10:10 AM

Kurdo,

Mike claimed that 0.46 percent came from the U.S. That's less than half of one percent. I'm not sure if that's correct, but I know it's close from having studied this earlier.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 3, 2006 10:15 AM

Michael- Thank you!

That was so moving. Thank you for this reminder of the absolute evil of the Saddam regime.

Posted by: Jim Hoft at March 3, 2006 10:17 AM

Ignorant people and liars gloss over the fact that all major Iraqi weapons systems, including the precursers to Chemical Weapons used against Iran, came from either the Soviet Union, France and Germany. Check out the Stockholm Peace Institute website (http://www.sipri.org) for a complete breakdown of Iraqi Weapons purchases by country by year.

Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator who seized power after years of internal battles, and then retained power through the murder and intimidation of his enemies using his secret police and Baathist security apparatus. To say that he was a creation of the US is false. Why not say the murderers Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung and Idi Amin are US creations? You can say it, but that still won't make it true.

Posted by: James C. at March 3, 2006 10:23 AM

Totten, I got the numbers from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The Institute does sound dubious, but I had heard similar numbers before so I am guessing they are close or accurate. Don't forget Chirac and the nuclear plants.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at March 3, 2006 10:28 AM

Federation of American Scientist website details the Germans' lead role in building Iraq's Chemical Weapons infrastructure. Look here: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/cw/az120103.html

Also check out the Center for Non-Prolif. Studies website for excellent cross-checks on European sourcing for Iraqi chemical and biological weapons here: http://cns.miis.edu/research/iraq/index.htm

Notably, Iraq's anthrax came from an agricultural lab at Iowa State University via Center for Disease Control and Dept. of Commerce!.

Posted by: James C. at March 3, 2006 10:33 AM

Kurdo

Look closely, it is .47%.

Vanya
Castro regularly receives 99% of the vote. There are stories about changing the ballot results to keep Stalin from exceeding 100%. Please don't believe all you read. The mullahs got exactly the guy they wanted.

Thanks, Michael, be nice if these stories ran in the MSM. Regards

Posted by: Ed Poinsett at March 3, 2006 10:33 AM

Thank you for bearing witness, Michael.

Without such witness the deniers have won. In fact, even with witnesses and photos and video, they still battle the truth ... vigilance against the liars may seem wearisome, but it's the necessary price.

Posted by: Charles at March 3, 2006 10:35 AM

No amount of monday-morning-quarterbacking or finger pointing is going to change the horror that took place here and at many other torture chambers that Saddam & his sons had set up. I wish more stories like this would circulate to remind people of what a despicable human being Saddam was. I am not a republican nor did I vote for Bush, but it makes my blood boil when I hear people accuse Bush of being worse than Saddam or Hitler...Grow Up! American troops may be guilty of 'humiliating' prisoners and, while I do not condone it, I certainly do not equate humiliation with rape, torture, beheading, or the cold blooded murder of innocent children! Maybe I'm in the minority....

Posted by: D Haynes at March 3, 2006 10:37 AM

Thank you.

I enjoyed your Blog. God Bless America and Kurdistan

Posted by: Hozan Kapri at March 3, 2006 10:45 AM

Iranians are NOT just like us.

If they were, they would not have "elected" Almadinnerjacket, nor allowed him to be "elected" for them.

Happy Talk

Posted by: Randall at March 3, 2006 10:50 AM

Babs,
You can rent Voices from Iraq, Turtles, from Netflix. Perhaps a lot of requests will move them to stock Jiyan as well.

Posted by: Patricia at March 3, 2006 11:00 AM

I am kurd from Suli and live in the land of the vikings (Sweden)since 1982,I went back July 1991 after the first upprising and took my videocamera and went directly to that house , in 1989 My uncle was a english teacher and an active PUK member he was arrested and tortured for 9 month but never confesed and they relase him ,he was 48 year but weighted 37 kilos when they relased him.
Many of rape and torture actions was photoed and filmed by the arab bathist and most of that materilas is in USA.
What depresed me most when i was at that house was the cloths and underwear of the chilldrens and still have the video which remind me of that the arbs are not trustworthy and if the shia got the chance they will do the same thing as saddam,Its in the arab culture to kill innocent defenseless people look at south sudan,Israel,Kurdistan..Etc.
Thak you Mr Micheal for a good job.
Sorry for any grammatic mistakes,My english is not so well.

Posted by: Alan at March 3, 2006 11:03 AM

>>>46% of saddam's weapons came from america

A perfect example of the Big Lie. And it's repeated over and over and over again until it becomes a Leftist truth. Simply orwellian.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 11:21 AM

It's amusing to watch the America haters like Lawrence blame Hussein on the US.

No, he was not created by the US. He was created by the culture he lived in. Proof of that is the continued existence of fanatics in places we have nothing to do with...Syria, Sudan, Iran. We may have taken advantage of the situation but we did not 'create' them.

Such an idea is an impediment to reform, and it's racist. The racists, like Lawrence, think Middle Easterners are too stupid to invent genocidal ideologies and can only react to what is done to them by westerners.

Lawrence is part of the problem. Until Arab and Muslim haters like he is give up their bizzare cult beliefs, genuine reform will be impossible in both the west and in the Middle East.

Posted by: bob at March 3, 2006 11:27 AM

So... are you thinking of collecting all of your Middle East articles into a book? Because it's all a perspective few, if any, have seen, and even if it ends up in the travel writing section people will seek it out.

Posted by: B. Durbin at March 3, 2006 11:29 AM

Guyes if you are interested you could see more video and documents about this place in more than one university in USA! I heard that when peshmarga libirated North of Iraq ( Kurdistan ) from the Saddam army they siezed so many of them and then they transfered it into USA! I heard they weight " tons of Documents!
thank you very much Michael for your time and I do not know how to hit your tip jar otherwise i would be happy to hit!
god bless America and Kurdistan.

Posted by: hiwa mahmmud at March 3, 2006 11:44 AM

Suli was called by Saddam the TEL AVIV OF KURDISTAN so much did he hate the center of nationalism and progessive librty Sulaimani.

by the way Suli has the highest alcohol consumption in whole middle east, something for considerations by alcohol suppliers.

Posted by: Diyako the Mede at March 3, 2006 12:16 PM

Terrific post, Michael. I'm always amused when antiwar commenters say "But we supported/created Saddam". Even if that were true, wouldn't that create an even greater obligation for us to remove him from power? It's like they can't help indulging their knee-jerk anti-Americanism even when it doesn't help their case.

Posted by: Pat Curley at March 3, 2006 12:24 PM

The big myth (US was Saddam's ally).

-Iraq was a Soviet client state after the removal of the British supported monarchy. (Remember the cold war? Iran was on the US side until the fall of the Shah-and Iraq was hostile to Iran.)

The US considered the Iran-Iraq war a RED-ON-RED situation and did everything to balance it in order to wear both down (Remember Iran-Contra? Iraq was getting too strong at that point.)

Ground equipment under Saddam came from (in order of precedence) Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and South Africa (and some UK/US equipment captured from Iran and Kuwait).

Air Force came from Soviet Union, France, China and Italy.

Navy came from Soviet Union and (never delivered) Italy.

One item the US did provide in 1980 was from the Dept of Agriculture: A pesticide plant to improve farming. Do you know what the difference between bug spray and nerve gas is? Why do you think you should stay out of your apt after setting off a bug bomb?

PS: 22 years as an Intel Spec in USN, spent a third of my career in the region.

Posted by: DJ Elliott at March 3, 2006 12:25 PM

Just as I cringe to hear the "Yeah, but the US supplied Sadam weapons toooo....", I also cringe when I hear the post-facto spin of liberation moti vation by the Admin. Yes, it was an the evil dictator that we liberated the Iraqi (and Kurdish) people from, but that was not the reason US forces were deployed.

My opinion is that the citizens of the US would never, repeat NEVER, supported an invasion of Iraq to overthrow an evil dictator. Just look at Dafur, Sudan or any number of other genocidal wars, that public opinion... well ignores along with the Administration.

We were lied to by an Administration that cherry picked suspect intel, cooked up a preconcieved plan with propagandic lies relating it all to 9/11 and mushroom clouds over the US.

Let's be honest on all levels. And let us demand honesty, and real leadership, from our government .. and most importantly the Commander in Chief! Without the truth, our much vaulted democracy is a sham, a betrayal.

The role of the US as liberating angel was a post-facto spin when the truth about WMD's came home to roost.

Posted by: Tom at March 3, 2006 12:32 PM

Before we went into Iraq, the MSM told us that as much as the Iraqis hated Saddam, they would fight like maniacs to defend their country because they were patriots. Then when the war started, we saw video of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers simply walking away from the fighting.

Now the MSM is telling us that even though the Iranians hate the mullahs, they'll fight us like maniacs because they're patriots.

In other words, the MSM wants us to believe that Arabs and Persians are too stupid to know what's in their best interests, hate freedom, and will throw their lives away in the name of misplaced pride.

Baloney.

Posted by: Tom W. at March 3, 2006 12:42 PM

>>>The role of the US as liberating angel was a post-facto spin when the truth about WMD's came home to roost.

How can it be "post-facto spin" if Bush spoke of liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam BEFORE the actual invasion?

"And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation."

~~George W. Bush, January 29, 2003

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 12:59 PM

and ps., love live the people of Iraq, love live the Iraqi Kurds! God bless America!

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 01:06 PM

"And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation."

~~George W. Bush, January 29, 2003
Posted by: Carlos

***

Silly me, I guess all along it was about liberating the Iraqi people. Guess I need to catch up on my history...
could of sworn it had something to do with WMD's!

Honestly, I love the historical revisionist. They keep my blood pressure up and my heart pumping.

By the way, it seems that in the quote Bush was addressing his remarks to Iraqi's. This is very similar what all leaders say as an invasion take places. In effect its an effort to get the subject populace to yield without a fight.. typical stuff and you can find it throughout the historical record.

Such proclamations are not policy.
Talk about 'cherry picking' again!!

Posted by: Tom at March 3, 2006 01:07 PM

Tom,

Was it the sole or primary policy motivation? No. It wasn't. But you said it was post-facto spin, I proved you wrong.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 01:11 PM

Lawrence, are you intentionally mistating the facts or are you just ignorant? If it's the latter, perhaps you need to pick up a history book.
-Saddam was not "created" by the US, he achieved power in a military coup in the late 70's.
-He was never an agent of the US and the grand total of assistance we gave to him during the Iran/Iraq war was satellite photos of Iranian troop positions. Nothing more except a small amount of conventional weapons as noted above.
-The US NEVER, under any circumstances, provided chemical weapons or WMD components to Iraq. That's simply false and proveably so if you can get past your own idiocy and actually do some research.
-The rape rooms/torture rooms and evenst cited in Mr. Totten's fine article took place in 1991 when Lawrence implies the Saddam was a US ally. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here...but Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, we booted him out in January 1991 which would make Saddam a most curious "ally" of the US. This ridiculous claim is right up there with John Kerry's claim that he went into Cambodia in 1968 under secret order of President Nixon...when Nixon didn't take office until 1969.

Posted by: Bosco at March 3, 2006 01:12 PM

Very passionate site, you obviously feel strongly about the role of the United States in regards to the Bush doctrine which intends to "end tyranny" everywhere.

George Bush has no concern for the people of Iraq or the United States or he would do a better job of managing both. Due to his criminal negligence along with Rumsfeld he will leave a good portion of Iraq in chaos.

Why must we be guilted into justifying the invasion of Iraq?

Posted by: greg wirth at March 3, 2006 01:13 PM

Thank you for this blessing of a report. And some people wonder why we go where freedom is wanted? I echo the sentiments of President Ronald Reagan as we are fighting for the cause of freedom. The Granite Ridge is large enough and strong enough for all those who "must have freedom."

God Bless Our Soldiers!
God Bless The Cause of Freedom!
God Bless America!

Posted by: Mark Reutzel at March 3, 2006 01:20 PM

Well Tom, the Administration expected that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms - and that turned to be just as untrue as the "Iraq=American bloodbath" scenario. The truth ended up somewhere in between. I agree that most Iraqis like America or at least tolerate us, but there are more than enough Iraqis who hate us, and that is causing real problems which we did not adequately prepare for.
I assume the point of your post is that the US should invade Iran. But how do you claim to know what is in a given Iranian's best interest? If you're, say, a medical doctor and a woman, clearly you might welcome a US invasion. But let's say you're a mid-level Iranian manager in a state-owned business who got his job because the Mullahs chased out the competition. You may not be well educated but now you have an apartment and a car and you get to boss people around. Is democracy or privatization in your best interest? There are thousands and thousands of people like this in Iran.
Or let's say you're a small farmer - for the most part the Mullahs don't bother you in day to day life. Yes, taxation and corruption and petty officials stealing from you may make your life miserable, but those have been facts of life under every Iranian government for hundreds of years. You see everyday on the news that Iraq is a mess. It doesn't matter if that news is exagerrated, you don't know better. Do you think that Iranian farmer is going to be excited about the prospect of Iran becoming a second Iraq under US occupation? I agree that we need to do all we can to help the Iranian democracy movement, but we do ourselves no favors if we pretend Iran is a seething mass of pro-democracy activists under the thumb of a few crazy fanatics. Even in Russia TODAY 40% of the population think Stalin was a good guy. You think Iranians are that much more democratic than Russians? And honestly, life in Iran is a picnic compared to life under Saddam or Stalin.
I may be coming across too negatively, which is not how I feel at all. I'm actually very optimistic about the prospects for democracy in Iran over the medium term, and led by Iranians, not foreigners. I'm not convinced an American invasion at this point will help matters, I think it will only inspire our enemies and push the noncommitted to wrong side.

Posted by: Vanya at March 3, 2006 01:25 PM

"Honestly, I love the historical revisionist. They keep my blood pressure up and my heart pumping."

Guess that’s why you folks love the “US sold weapons to Saddam” canard. Walk with me, back to 1987…

May 17, 1987, the Iraqis "accidentally" fired two Exocet missiles from French supplied Mirage F-1's into the guided-missile frigate USS Stark. The first missile penetrated the Stark's hull on the port side approximately 35 degrees off the bow and traveled 80 feet and exited the ship on the starboard side. Although this Exocet's warhead failed to detonate, the missile still did great damage. It spewed deadly burning propellant and ruptured the main system carrying water for firefighting crews.

The second Exocet struck eight feet from its sister missile and detonated three to five feet inside the hull, ripping a gaping hole in the side of the ship. Thirty-seven sailors were killed.

Americans killed by Iraqis flying French planes firing French missiles? Mon dieu! Obviously they didn’t look of the Made in the USA label while shopping for arms.

Posted by: Lawrence S. at March 3, 2006 01:32 PM

Vanya, trying to communicate with true believers is hopeless.

Saddam was a crazy old man in control of a rump of his backward, broke country, groaning under sanctions. He was no threat to the US.

Removing him benefited the people of Iraq for a short time at a terrible cost to both the Iraqi people and to the US.

In the long run, the US will have succeeded in facilitating the creation of another Islamic dictatorship because, duh, in the Middle East, democracy = Islam. Women will be veiled, screwed and shut up, and after a short while, the Sunnis & Shia will get around to killing each other. Oops, I think they already have. Fifteen hundred dead in the rest of Iraq in the last week, which Michael may not have heard of. Or perhaps up in Kurdistan they are laughing their guts out about it.

I once had a conversation with Vera Saeedpour who runs The Kurdish Library here in NYC. I asked her if it was true that the Kurds are pro-Israeli. This was during the high-water mark of open Israeli involvement in Iraqi Kurdistan, before the two fell out.

She looked at me the way an adult looks at a slightly addled kid and said, "The Kurds are fanatic Muslims. There is no way they could ever be pro-Israel." In other words, business is business.

People are just telling Michael what he wants to hear, or perhaps, what they want to hear themselves say because it's expedient and feels good.

Last but not least, I look forward to the day when Michael goes a-travelin' in China and reports from their prisons after the US has waged a war to free them.

Not likely in the near future, or ever.

Posted by: diana at March 3, 2006 01:38 PM

Lawrence,

interesting also how all their choppers and jets are Russian, and they fire AK-47s, and used Russian T-72 tanks and Swedish artillery and French missiles. But America MADE Saddam!!!

And most funny of all is how they claim America provided Saddam with WMDs, but then they deny Saddam had any WMDs!!! Their logic boggles the mind.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 01:40 PM

I guess Rumsfeldt finally realized who it was he shook hands with back in 1983.

It's sad that we are reduced to arguing that our leaders are "not as bad" as Saddam.

Posted by: chris at March 3, 2006 01:44 PM

Diana,

I don't care what some lady in NYC says, the Kurds are pro-Israel. Ask them yourself. Several of them are posting comments on my Web site right now.

If you think they're just telling me/us what I/we want to hear, show me the evidence. The fact that they're Muslims isn't evidence of anything all by itself. History, politics, and experience matter as well.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 3, 2006 01:47 PM

>>>I guess Rumsfeldt finally realized who it was he shook hands with back in 1983.

And Jimmy Carter gave Stingers to the mujahedin. Why? Because at the time, doing so was in our nation's best interest, and so was shaking Saddam's hand.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 01:47 PM

Bush(2nd term) and Amhadinejad were both elected by a citizenry awash in an ultra-nationalistic/religious zeal. Think about it. I am referning to MOST of the people who voted for these two. They both capitalized on a nations fear of being attacked (Bush used 9-11, Ahmad used US invasion of Iraq) and a religious fundamentalism.
Both sought out the low ground in appealing to their constituents. Fear and god.
It's striking how different we and the Muslim worlds seem to be, but in the end we are all humans, victims of a shared physchology.

Posted by: dave at March 3, 2006 01:58 PM

>>>victims of a shared physchology.

Except religious people in the States don't chop your head off for drawing a picture of Jesus.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 02:03 PM

Methinks that "Andrew" and "Lawrence" is the same liberal buffoon.

As others have pointed out, Saddam was principally a client of the Soviets, with France and Germany a distant second and third place. Saddam's army used Soviet tanks, Soviet AK-47s, Soviet RPGs, and just about everything else Soviet (and don't forget the first Gulf War -- SCUD Missiles, anyone?). So this talk of the U.S. arming Saddam is absolute nonsense. If Saddam had any military technology from the U.S., he surely would have used it against us in both wars.

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that America "created" Saddam. Wouldn't that make our obligation to get rid of him an absolute moral imperative?

Posted by: SWLiP at March 3, 2006 02:12 PM

"dave" doesn't know what "ultra-nationalistic/religious zeal" really is.

Here's a clue, dave. I am college-educated, with a master's degree and a professional degree. I never go to church, never served in the military (Dad talked me out of the Navy - my loss), married a foreign lady, and lived happily abroad for several years. I voted for George Bush in 2004.

Does that make me an ultra-nationalist, religious zealot?

Let me offer you the benefit of my experience, dave: Everything you learned in college is b.s.; half of what you read in a newspaper isn't true; and co-eds won't sleep with you just because you took a class in gender studies.

Posted by: SWLiP at March 3, 2006 02:17 PM

To all who argue there is no comparison between Bush's waterboarding and killing children by Saddam think about what you're saying.

You're explicitly comparing your country to the "worst tyrant" as your own dear leader has called him numerous times. So in essence what you're saying is that our torture doesn't come even close to Saddam's. If that's the measure of your moral qualities as a country than nothing else needs to be said. You're torturers but admitedly not as bad as Saddam.

Posted by: Russ at March 3, 2006 02:28 PM

SW...i guess my capitalizing the word "MOST" still wasn't clear enough for you. If you're the typical Bush voter then continue on with you're mini-me Dennis Miller rant, otherwise chill out.
You never said why you voted for Bush. If it wasn't for my stated reasons...then what was it? I'm genuinely curious.

Posted by: dave at March 3, 2006 02:42 PM

A little pic to help those who are concret thinkers. A graph to show how the big bad USA armed Saddam. Data taken from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

http://www.mediaright.ca/pics/armssales.jpg

Posted by: Debris Trail at March 3, 2006 02:52 PM

dave:

My reasons were complex, and often nuanced, but here are the top few reasons:

- The Islamists would have taken a Bush defeat as a sign that Americans don't have the stomach for a fight. See bin Laden's comments on Mogadish for why that would have been a bad thing.

- My experience abroad taught me that people really do count on the U.S.A. to support the aspirations of those who are struggling against tyranny. I used to think that Reagan was evil, blah-blah-blah, until I met a number of folks in post-communist Eastern Europe who credited him for their newfound freedom.

- Kerry was a patent serial fabulist. See Christmas in Cambodia.

- Kerry had no idea what he stood for. Bush did.

- The people in the fight are overwhelmingly pro-Bush.

- I believe in free trade.

- I think that 9/11 was, in part, blowback for our failures to follow through in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 90s, and that we have a moral obligation to make the sacrifices to set things right if we can.

- Apologizing for who we are is not going to bring peace with the Islamists. See Munich, 1938.

Posted by: SWLiP at March 3, 2006 02:54 PM

It's funny how, in the liberal mindset, taking national security seriously is equivalent to "succumbing to fear." I can only suppose that these same liberals never lock their doors at night.

Posted by: SWLiP at March 3, 2006 03:00 PM

This shows every reason why wee need to be there. If we leave, the torture will come back, then it will be at our doorstep once again. We must continue this until it is finished.

We must also educate our people so they know about the evil that seemingly ordinary men can possess.

Just because they dress in nice suits and pat little kids on the head does not make them any more the better.

Posted by: Tim at March 3, 2006 03:31 PM

>>>It's funny how, in the liberal mindset, taking national security seriously is equivalent to "succumbing to fear." I can only suppose that these same liberals never lock their doors at night.

What does a "liberal mindset" have to do with anything?
Surely you're not denying that Bush played the fear card during the election...just like dems like to play it with SSecurity, etc etc.

Posted by: dave at March 3, 2006 04:05 PM

Thank you for this reminder. How easy it is to forget the stark reality that was Saddam Hussein. A Museum of Memories entombed. thanks for sharing it with the world!

Posted by: Dean Jorge Bocobo at March 3, 2006 04:15 PM

With all due respect to the opinions of Diana and other anti-Bush posters here, why don't you listen and honor the words of the Kurds themselves? They are posting their comments here!

Or is it because you think you know better than they do.

Posted by: Patricia at March 3, 2006 04:19 PM

SW...

i see your points, but still have questions. How does 9-11 come about out of not following through in iraq and afgh in the early 90s? Are you saying if we had invaded iraq and afghanistan after GWar I 9-11 would not have happened? That would have given al queda 100 more reasons to blow us up, instead of the 50 they already had(I'm not legitimizing the reasons). They reason that they didn't liuke our bases in Saudi Arabia(bs or not). We would have had bases alll throughout the Middle east if we would have followed through, as you say.
All this is pointless, though becasue they give political reasons why they do terrorosts acts, when as much of it is out of religious whackiness.

Also, so what if the Islamists would have taken a Kerry election as a retreat. That doesn't make it so. Tactics may have changed but Kerry would in no way have "backed down" from these people.
Keep in mind...Kerry was about the 5th guy i would have voted for out of all the Dems in the primaries, fwiw.

"The people in the Fight" are also being told that Saddam played part 9-11 and had LEGITIMATE connections to al-queda. See the Zogby poll that just came out.

Kerry knows what he stands for...he just didn't want the american people to know what he stood for, becasue he's far-left and, (i'll use your words, so don't roll your eyes ;)) he was more nuanced in his appraoch than Bush, whose Rah Rah Fight Fight Evildoer Evildoer soundbites worked well in the political sphere of an election.

I was relunctantly supported the invasion, but i always said...if you are going to invade an Islamic country for stated reasons you better damn well find teh WMDs and you better damn well have your sh** together before you do. Bush was so eager to go...so he could use it as a politcal tool in the '02 midterms and for other reason, that no alternate plans seemingly were discussed. And Rumsfeld...good lord, Rumsfeld.

Posted by: dave at March 3, 2006 04:30 PM

I am just reading through this blog for the first time, and I like it very much. I got here from the ITM blog. Thanks for some good content. I do take it with a grain of salt though.

The way that some of you have demonized the liberal side of Americans and US congressmen and women -- and written them off as evil -- ON A SITE ABOUT IRAQ, not the US, speaks volumes about your own fear. You live for fear.

I'm a patriot just as much as you. I'm American, and I am proud of my country. However, I would not EVER want to associate myself with such ignorance and name calling and misinformation.

I live in a country that can send a space probe to Pluto and can map the entire universe, microwave background noise leftover from the Big Bang. Of course we should know better by now, how to be a better world-wide super power. I and other liberals (including elected congressmen and women) are not saying Bush is Saddam. That would be silly and ignorant, IMO.

Ignorance/uninformed is not the trait known to be rampant in the liberal world. ;)

Posted by: my_own_mind at March 3, 2006 04:37 PM

"Except religious people in the States don't chop your head off for drawing a picture of Jesus."

No, they won't...but they'll pass laws making Christianity the "official state religion", recognizing it and protecting it as such. See teh story out of Missouri...sign up required.

http://www.kmov.com/sharedcontent/registration/register.jsp?fw=http://www.kmov.com/topstories/stories/030206ccklrKmovreligionbill.7d361c3f.html

Posted by: dave at March 3, 2006 04:38 PM

Luke 12:48 -- "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded."

I am not particularily religious (agnostic deist), but this quote came to mind while reading these comments. Much has been given to those of us who live in US. (Our forefathers may have sacrificed to give us what we have, but, honestly, most of us did nothing other than being born here.) Perhaps we should be grateful and willing to sacrifice a little (many of our brave soldiers have sacrificed much, but, again, most of us have not sacrified a thing) to help others in the world obtain a better life, freedom & hope for the future - which, by the way (if you believe in only helping yourself and not others) will make the world a better and safer place for us and our children in the long run.

Even if we "created" Saddam, which I don't think we did, is that a reason not to help the poeple of Iraq get rid of him? And if we did "create" Saddam, would we not have an obligation to subsequently destroy the monster we created?

Posted by: DCM at March 3, 2006 04:43 PM

"Ignorance/uninformed is not the trait known to be rampant in the liberal world. ;)"

Excuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor at this doozy.

Anyhoo...As usual, a moving and incredible post, Michael. Tears come to my eyes at the pain and suffering of the children, women, and men who were tortured and murdered by Saddam...and by all those being oppressed and killed today in Darfur and other places in the world. I wish we could save them all.

Posted by: Megs at March 3, 2006 05:07 PM

You're torturers but admitedly not as bad as Saddam.

Perhaps. But we torture (waterboard) islamic fascists jihadis, while Saddam tortured regular folks. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 05:12 PM

they'll pass laws making Christianity the "official state religion",

No they won't. People have stopped paying attention to such Leftwing hyperbole. And if people want to place restrictions on abortion, seems like it's their democratic right to do so. If you don't like it, move to a blue state. That's your democratic right too.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 05:19 PM

The words of the children are truly haunting. How anybody can follow that by parroting the Bushitler talking points is beyond my understanding. It's almost as if there is fear that if you acknowledge that stopping the horror was a good thing somebody might think you're a gun toting, warmongering Bushie.

Posted by: Sweetie at March 3, 2006 05:19 PM

Carlos, you crazy nut you - let's all point out one more time....

He said POINT 46%, not 46%. DECIMAL 46%. Less than one half of a percent.

You're fighting with a guy who said the US supplied Saddam Hussein with .46%, not 46%, of his arms.

Posted by: Jason at March 3, 2006 05:49 PM

"Ignorance/uninformed is not the trait known to be rampant in the liberal world.

And yet you Lib braniacs really believe we "made" Saddam. Interesting!

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 05:55 PM

Mike#3or4: SIPRI is a well respected organization -- certainly was when I was in the military, and has been around for many years. Their figures would probably be about as accurate as anyone could get from an open source.

Posted by: DrD at March 3, 2006 06:23 PM

The reality is more like 10% pro-Amerian secularists opposed to the regime, 10% fanatics and 80% ordinary Iranians who may love Western consumer goods, may grumble about how corrupt the Mullahs are but figure they'll get screwed under any government.

Well put. I think the percentage of secularists might be a bit higher than that, but my guess is that it's still below 20%. Most Iranians, as you note, are religious and nationalistic, and care more about economic issues than anything else. As long as the mullahs can buy their support with oil money, they don't have much to worry about in the short-term (15-20 years from now may be a different story). A Islamic populist and war veteran like Ahmedinejad is right up their alley. And with regards to the elections, there was a reformist in the Khatami mold (Mostafa Moin) who was allowed to run, but he didn't even make it to the final runoff.

I think part of the reason why Kurds identify with Persians is that they're both Indo-European peoples, and have a history of looking down on the Semitic Arabs as culturally backwards. Also, Iran has a long history of supporting the Kurds against Saddam.

Posted by: Eric at March 3, 2006 06:37 PM

I have a problem with the tone of some of the posts in response to the pictures Michael has at some risk brought back to us.

Whether "Bush lied and people died" or "No WMD, thus it was all a stupid waste of time" or any of the other talking points from the Left, is beside the point to me. I am proud of of warriors for stopping what is pictured in this photo essay. I am proud of our warriors for building schools and roads. I am proud of our warriors for crying when an Iraqi child is murdered by an IED meant for them. I am proud of our warriors for crying when they kill someone they should not have.

Throughout the Cold War, I was ashamed that we supported evil bastards like Saddam. I was ashamed that we left the Kurds high and dry multiple times over the years. When the Wall fell, I prayed that we could start living our morals instead of mouthing them. When I realized what Saddam was doing to his people, I wanted him gone. I do not care what the reason Bush gave for going there. I am proud that the musuem that Michael showed us is just that, a musuem. This killing factory and hundreds like it were in full swing throughout Saddam's rule. They are now museums or scrubbed from the face of the Earth. Saying that containing evil like this is a good idea is insane to me.

I am now absolutely convinced that the Iraqi War was a good idea.

I am convinced of that because of... Georgia.

Yeah, Georgia. The Civil War. Sherman's March to the Sea. The South had to surrender when Confederacy was split. Liberating Iraq was a strategic neccessity to separate Iran and Syria. We can talk all night about what might have been. The facts remain that Iran, Iraq and Syria WANTED weapons of mass destruction. They cannot easily get them now with us on their doorstep.

We are stuck with what IS. Lebanon is relatively free. Syria is in so much turmoil that they cannot use whatever Saddam gave them in the waning days of his rule. Iran looks like it can do some major damage, but I doubt it. The Middle East has been a cesspool for 60 years. Are things better now than before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? If you say they are worse, I doubt your sanity.

Leftists in this country seem to be saying, "I am kinda proud that we might have closed down a small number of killing factories like the one in these picture, BUT blah, blah, blah." Why does the pride in what we have accomplished have to be so lukewarm, so tentative? Why must Leftists when confronted with the evil shown in these pictures struggle to find some reason not to say, "America did a good thing. I proud of my country for doing this."? When I hear quibbling like the posts in this thread, I want to scream, "Have you lost your mind? How can anyone look at these pictures and try to find a reason for not stopping a killing factory like this?"

The biggest threat to our country right now is nation states willing to create WMD to give to terrorists. Al Quaeda and all its evil siblings can do some damage, but it takes a willing nation state to create biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. By destroying Afghanistan and Iraq, we have served notice to every nation state on Earth that they could be on our list of targets, if they produce a WMD that takes out a huge number of our citizens. The Left, like the disarmament movement of the 1930's, is filled with True Belivers. They honestly believe that men like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden can be appeased. Appeasement is not an option.

We are in a war that will span 30-50 years. The pictures that have appeared in this post define what we are fighting. How can anyone attempt to say that we should not have stopped the actions that they describe from happening to anyone?

Posted by: aRandomTexan at March 3, 2006 06:57 PM

I was relunctantly supported the invasion, but i always said...if you are going to invade an Islamic country for stated reasons you better damn well find teh WMDs and you better damn well have your sh** together before you do.

Boy, if I didn't know better, I'd think this was written by one of them there ignant red state Jesuslanders what don't much cotton to that fancy book learnin'.

Posted by: zetetic at March 3, 2006 08:06 PM

True. A "leader" as committed to using violence as Bush/Cheney cannot realistically be appeased, especially since they believe themselves to be invulnerable. It will be a long and hard campaign by the nations of the World to reduce the Axis of Evil to its senses. I wish them luck!

Posted by: Chris at March 3, 2006 08:16 PM

Wow, a very moving posting, Michael. Thank you for getting these pictures out where more can see them. It's also been extremely interesting reading all the comments, and I have to add my three cents (inflation, you know). So many people have claimed various things about Iraq that are demonstrably wrong, and while I can't counter everything, I do want to make a few points. First, a quote from financier Bernard M. Baruch: "Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts." Much of what we see from the media, just like many of the talking points of the Democratic politicians, have been said so often and so loudly that people who should know better have started to believe them. It's the same "big lie" technique the Soviets used so often and so well.

I can't count how many times I've heard people say that Pres. Bush said Iraq was an imminent threat to America. What he said, in the January 2003 State of the Union address, was: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come to late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option."

The next lie is people saying Pres. Bush claimed that Saddam Hussein collaborated with Osama bin Laden in the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Pres. Bush never claimed that Saddam collaborated in the Sept. 11 attacks. However, the evidence is clear that there were continuing interactions between al Qaeda and Saddam's Iraq. A few examples: Malaysian intelligence photographed Iraqi intelligence agent Ahmed Hikmat Shakir at meetings with al Qaeda members as they planned the USS Cole and Sept. 11 attacks. Sudanese intelligence observed several meetings between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden starting in 1994, when bin Laden lived in Khartoum. In an November 21, 2004 article in the Weekly Standard, not exactly a right-wing Bush supporter, Stephen Hayes wrote "In Sudan, bin Laden decided to acquire and, when possible, use chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons against Islam's enemies. Bin Laden's first moves in this direction were made in cooperation with NIF (Sudan's National Islamic Front), Iraq's intelligence service, and Iraqi CBRN scientists and technicians. He made contact with Baghdad with its intelligence officers in Sudan and by a (Hassan al-)Turabi-brokered June 1994 wisit by Iraq's then intelligence chief Faruq al-Hijazi responsible for 'nurturing Iraq's ties to (Islamic) fundamentalists warriors. Turabi had plans to formulate a 'common strategy' with bin Laden and Iraq for subverting pro-U. S. Arab regimes, but the meeting was a get-acquainted session where al-Hijazi and bin Laden developed a good rapport that would flourish in the late 1990s." Le Monde reported on July 9, 2005, that Ansar al-Islam "was founded in 2001 with the joint help of Saddam Hussein--who intended to us it against moderate Durds--and al Qaeda, which hoped to find in Kurdistan a new location that would receive its members." An Iraqi defector to Turkey told Gwynne Roberts of the Sunday Times of London that he saw al Qaeda fighters training in camps in Iraq in 1997. In the training camp at Salman Pak they had a complete Boeing 707 airliner and practiced hijacking planes with knives. The camp manager told him "You'll have nothing to do with these people. They are Osama bin Laden's group and the PKK (a Muslim terror group active in Turkey) and Mojahedin-e Khalq (a Muslim terror group active in Pakistan).

As for WMDs, they WERE found in Iraq, and more than once roadside bombs (IED) containing chemical weapon artillery shells were detonated when U. S. troops were near enough to require the troops be decontaminated. In the zone of Iraq that was under Polish military control the Poles found out about (and purchased on the black market for $5,000 each) seventeen chemical weapon warheads. Chemical analysis found cyclosarin, a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin. U. S. troops took control of a warehouse in Mosul, Iraq on August 8, 2005 and found 1,500 gallons of chemical agents.

I could go on, but there is no need. The facts bear out that almost all of the reasons Pres. Bush gave for invading Iraq were true, demonstrably true. Not "spin," nor "propaganda," but factual truth. Of course we'll never hear the liberals, Democratic politicians and news media report these facts, because they conflict with the carefully constructed body of lies they use against Pres. Bush and the invasion of Iraq. Go back to the top of my comment and read again what Bernard Baruch said, then think about who is telling the truth and who lied.

Posted by: Walter M. Clark at March 3, 2006 08:39 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To all of you on this post saying that the U.S. was not supporting the Iraqis in the 1980's, its fact the that U.S. was supporting Iraq with its war with Iran not only financially, but also training some Iraqi special forces and providing them with a variety of different weapons. The Kurds were back by Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, this opened up a new front in the war against Iraq. The U.S was supporting Iraq during this time and this same support is what killed thousands of Kurds. I know it because I was there, I served in the Iraqi army during that war, well I was drafted in. I am Iraq I speak Arabic, where do you think I learned this English from? I was there and we were trained by the U.S, and it was with there support that Iraq finally got some control on the Kurds in the north.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted by: Habibi at March 3, 2006 09:03 PM

Habibi,

nobody has said the U.S. never supported Saddam. We most certainly used him against the Iranians. What we have said is that U.S. support of Saddam was MINISCULE (that means small and inconsequential) compared to the support provided him by nations such as Russia, France, Germany. Not surprisingly, it is those nations who were against ousting Saddam! He was their biggest customer. It was THEY who "made" Saddam.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2006 09:19 PM

I am a Kurd, I am pro-Israeli. I admire there struggle for independence from these Arabs. Look at the Middle East, look at North Africa. What happened, were all these people Arabs. No what Arabs did to the middle east, and north Africa is the reason that that region of the world is like that today. They forced there language, religion and there culture on everyone they could. Look at North Africa and countries in the Middle East they all fell to this disease arabazation. They only people that stood there grounds were Israelis and Kurds. I lost more than 15 members of my family, because they would not say that there Arabs. There is a saying in Kurdistan; before they put me to the firing squad I will yell that I am Kurdish and Kurdish and Kurdish and Kurdish to the marrow of my bones. With the spread of Islam, lands that were not Arab became arabanized by force. Arabs came from the desert the land of camels and sand and arabanized the whole region. And now to the question if Kurds are pro-Israeli, we are 200% pro-Israel and you know why, because they are standing for there rights. There are 21 Arab nations, but it’s a crime for one nation to be Israeli.

God bless Kurdistan!
God bless Israel!
God bless America!

Posted by: Blind at March 3, 2006 09:58 PM

Totten, your comments are out of control (what up lebanon:)

Carlos, fuck you. Go back to my comment take a good hard look at what I said. point 4-6 you fucking moron. fuck you. Have you ever even read anything by Orwell?

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at March 3, 2006 10:08 PM

This is a blog swarm, eh? (what up canada:)

Aaaarrgggghhhhhh?!?!?

P.S.: fuck you Carlos.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at March 3, 2006 10:12 PM

If only it had been typed correctly in the first place: 0.46%

Lesson for the day: Always, always place a "0" before the decimal if the number is less 1.

Class dismissed.

Posted by: numbers at March 3, 2006 11:12 PM

Clark, regarding your points...I'm curious why our eloquent statesmen GW doesn't enunciate said facts. Maybe becasue they are hogwash?
Making an IED out of a 20 yr old, dug up chemical warhead that is .05% it's initial toxicity doesn't qualify as "reconstituted chemical weapons" in my book. Maybe it does in yours.

Blind, you make good characterizations about the Arab culture.

And Carlos...i guess you didn't read the article. That's unfortunate. Maybe you should try this one...
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060303/NEWS0101/603030397/1008/NEWS01

Posted by: dave at March 3, 2006 11:28 PM

To Habibi
So you were one of the many iraqi army cowards who killed thousnads of innocent women and children,you and your army could not fighet like a gentelmen and when the americans came your army fledd ,But i dont blame you your education and belive is coming from your prohpet and Quran,the culture of decive and hepocrasy,Your mohammed using gods name for his political ambitions, he was a lier,maskiller and pedophile and that is why the arabs can not live togethers among nations.

Posted by: Alan at March 4, 2006 04:22 AM

>>>Carlos, fuck you. Go back to my comment take a good hard look at what I said.

I already did last night, and I realized you put a point before the 46. So go ahead and keep cursing me over and over again if it makes you feel better.

Posted by: Carlos at March 4, 2006 07:32 AM

Notably, Iraq's anthrax came from an agricultural lab at Iowa State University via Center for Disease Control and Dept. of Commerce!.

Yes - athat lab was a major source of anthrax spores for people worldwide, who could purchase them for research purposes with few questions asked as long as they were from recognized institutions (like an agricultural university).

Anthrax is, after all, a not-unknown livestock disease and there are (unlike, say, smallpox) legitimate active research uses for it.

The naivete seems stunning when we look back on it, but was largely unremarked at the time.

Posted by: Joe Katzman at March 4, 2006 09:06 AM

Thank you for this story! It needs the light of day - for those who believe the truth will set you free. I agree: God bless Kurdistan, God bless Israel, God bless America, God bless the Danish and God bless all believers and fighters for truth and freedom from tyranny.

Posted by: Child of the Iroquois at March 4, 2006 12:47 PM

i drive a cab in the winter in Ann Arbor Michigan home of the University of Michigan. Its where Juan Cole (not a doctor to me) "earns" his money.

the kids that go nhere are usually too rich or drunk to be concerned with any little mud people from whereverstan. They have been inculcated to believe that since "white people" exist an control everything, that their sole purpose in life is to move their own tribe (hindi, black, jewish,korean, chinese,japanese,muslim etc..)forward and f the rest.

the night clubs are completely selfsegregated, but its okay because whitey makes them do it.

I, of course, have to explain to them that more "white" blood has been shed in the defense of their freedom than their own.

maybe that's not the nicest way to put it, but you get tired real fast wioth the crass "youre a loser!!" jock culture that underpins so much of their "reasoning".

its amazing too, that the most f'd over ethnic groups are the most racist. everheards a vanload of jewish soros going on about "the others"? Its very sad but I have to shut up and fight poverty (mine!)first.

things are changing though and kids are finally standing up to the hacks and there's a new boatload of swasia vets showing up that give them hell.

stay strong lightbearers!!

Posted by: playertwo at March 4, 2006 01:22 PM

US Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990

http://www.casi.org.uk/info/usdocs/usiraq80s90s.html

Posted by: Luther at March 4, 2006 03:17 PM

--------------- Thanks for the surprising mausoleum
|Proxy memo for | tour.
|PayPal Donate |
|Thing Above |
--------------
I'd think that it would be too much of a period Soviet thing, or a little too reflexive, but it's real and like 26,000 square feet of repurposed immoral hygiene outlet, with impossibly neat commercial framed pictures and art in hard-won clean lime.

Gonna make a little javascript one to help me quit the vile imperfections I get hit with every morning. (Plus, it rains where I live and it's spring 3 months early for various reasons, so it can't help but see good outcomes at first.) Eventually, I might not have to truck the bodies out to the desert anymore (heh heh. Not even need the mass transit I gotta set up, not for corpses.)

Happy gardening and coping with the heat and desert, getting us US-style flamers to know how all that goes; the better to advertise a decent outcome and worry less about who billed for hardware.

Posted by: Steve No_ at March 4, 2006 07:32 PM

The Kurds suffered terribly under Saddam Hussein. No question.

However, I shed no tears.

I am Aramean/Armenian. The Kurds are butchers. They tore foetuses out of pregnant Christian Aramean/Armenian women as they forceably removed us from our homes. They were ruthless.

The Kurdish people have never had a nation. They have always been a nomadic people. The principles of pillage and loot they learnt to a tea from their prophet.

Right now, they are milking the West for sympathy knowing full well Western ignorance of their brutality.

Torture? I find it hard to empathise with the Kurds. Sorry. I shed no tears.

Posted by: Manny C at March 4, 2006 11:40 PM

The Kurds suffered terribly under Saddam Hussein. No question.

However, I shed no tears.

I am Aramean/Armenian. The Kurds are butchers. They tore foetuses out of pregnant Christian Aramean/Armenian women as they forceably removed us from our homes. They were ruthless.

The Kurdish people have never had a nation. They have always been a nomadic people. The principles of pillage and loot they learnt to a tea from their prophet.

Right now, they are milking the West for sympathy knowing full well Western ignorance of their brutality.

Torture? I find it hard to empathise with the Kurds. Sorry. I shed no tears.

Posted by: Manny C at March 4, 2006 11:41 PM

The Kurds suffered terribly under Saddam Hussein. No question.

However, I shed no tears.

I am Aramean/Armenian. The Kurds are butchers. They tore foetuses out of pregnant Christian Aramean/Armenian women as they forceably removed us from our homes. They were ruthless.

The Kurdish people have never had a nation. They have always been a nomadic people. The principles of pillage and loot they learnt to a tea from their prophet.

Right now, they are milking the West for sympathy knowing full well Western ignorance of their brutality.

Torture? I find it hard to empathise with the Kurds. Sorry. I shed no tears.

Posted by: Manny C at March 4, 2006 11:41 PM

Sorry I posted my comment thrice. :(

Posted by: Manny C at March 4, 2006 11:44 PM

Carlos, I am not going to swear at you, but if you read my last two posts it is pretty clear that I was full of booze.

Manny C, are you in C.A.? If you are, why don't you have sympathy for Kurds today, not the 30's, but today? I would expect someone (or someone they were related to at one point) who had suffered through the forgotten genocide [lets add asia at the mercy of japan to that list also] to have some sympathy for people who are being killed in the present.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at March 5, 2006 12:23 AM

Manny C,

If Russia decided to commit genocide in Germany tomorrow, should Jews feel bad? I would think so.

The Kurds of 80 years ago are dead, as are people from 80 years ago anywhere in the world.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 5, 2006 01:12 AM

Dear Manny C,
I am a Kurdish guy and read the agression in you words. It was not Kurdish act what happend to Armenien. It was a genosid thought, planned, supported and executed by Turks. As a Kurd I am ashame for every Kurd participating in that brutal act. But Dear Manny we Kurds are proud of our quiet and long history that teached us one thing:
living in our home and celebrate the life in peace, with love as Jesus says.

We Kurds are NOT you enemies.

Best regards

Posted by: diaqo at March 5, 2006 01:58 AM

However, I shed no tears.

Manny or what ever your armenian name is,Why dont tell the truth about the armenian genocide?or the the armenian are still afraid of the turks,You know damn well that your people togehter with the russian army began to slaughter kurdish villagers in north kurdistan before the TURKISH ARMY began to revenge from your people and genocide them.
Regarding the kurds as nation i urge you to read about the greek historian who wrote about the greek army leader XENOPHON who was in the kurdish mountaines 700BC.
What happend to the armenianes was genocide ,but if the kurds were responsible for that then i belive the turks will be glad to open the archive and let the whole world to konw about that.But you know the turks do not want to open the archive becuase they are responsible and it will be demand for compensation from the armenian.
I dont belive the jews today call all germans for butchers and blame them what the others did for 60 years ago,wake up.

Posted by: Alan at March 5, 2006 01:59 AM

Dear Manny C,
I am a Kurdish guy and read the agression in you words. It was not Kurdish act what happend to Armenien. It was a genosid thought, planned, supported and executed by Turks. As a Kurd I am ashame for every Kurd participating in that brutal act. But Dear Manny we Kurds are proud of our quiet and long history that teached us one thing:
living in our home and celebrate the life in peace, with love as Jesus says.

We Kurds are NOT you enemies.

Best regards

Posted by: diaqo at March 5, 2006 02:03 AM

dave:

How does 9-11 come about out of not following through in iraq and afgh in the early 90s?

In part, our failure to follow through in Iraq - by leaving Saddam wounded but in power -- fed the general Arab conspiracy theory that the United States was not interested in freedom for the Arabs, but only in propping up corrupt dictators. Bin Laden predicted that the U.S. would never leave Saudi once allowed to establish bases, there, and our failure to finish the job in '91 fed into this view and gave bin Laden credibility that he didn't deserve.

The connection between our failure to follow through in Afghanistan and 9/11 should be obvious to anyone, but since you asked I'll spell it out: Afghanistan became the worst nightmare of a failed state, creating a safe haven and providing base of strategic planning, training, and tactical operations for al Qaida.

Your reference to the Zogby poll is unpersuasive. Everyone connected with the military in Iraq says that it's results are bogus, and the overwhelming majority of soldiers, Marines, and officers who have served in Iraq say that we have to stay in the country as long as it takes. Reenlistments are at least six percent above projections for personnel who have served in Iraq. You wouldn't expect such high figures if the people serving there thought that the enterprise was worthless.

Posted by: SWLiP at March 5, 2006 09:09 AM

It appears that some posters have lost site of the issue: THE TORTURE OF INNOCENT PEOPLE!
As mentioned in my previous post, no amount of finger pointing or partisan politics is going to change what has happened in Iraq. Why don't you channel that energy into making sure that this never happens again in Iraq or elsewhere! I am sure the people of Sudan would thank you considering that Democrats nor Republicans in the US seem to give a DAMN about it. You are so wrapped up in partisan politics that you do not care about what is important, only pointing the finger at the other side!
Also, to the posters that are pointing the finger at Islam being a brutal religion...gee I seem to recall the brutality of all religions throughout history-ESPECIALLY Christianity-so don't try to play that card, either!

Posted by: D Haynes at March 5, 2006 09:19 AM

At least, there is someone who thinks in the same way as I do... D Haynes is right, we have to think about people who are suffering while we speak unsuccessfuly, of course about who is guilty.
We can say that Saddam commited torture and even genocide, and that was a good thing to stop him. But was it done in the right way. Since the US army invaded Irak nobody can say they are free in this country people are killed in bomb attacks, or taken as hostages... and prisoners who are not judged would it do any difference if they were are supposed to be tortured by American soldiers.

And what about the situation in Nepal, Tibet, Colombia, and all the countries where torture is an everyday thing? Why nobody cares about the poor people who have to live I should say 'die' under the law of dictators? Is it because their country does not have any oil or gold? Or may the dictators are too powerful?

Posted by: Serge at March 5, 2006 12:36 PM

What follows is an accurate chronology of United States involvement in the arming of Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war 1980-88. It is a powerful indictment of the president Bush administration attempt to sell war as a component of his war on terrorism. It reveals US ambitions in Iraq to be just another chapter in the attempt to regain a foothold in the Mideast following the fall of the Shah of Iran.

From
Arming Iraq: A Chronology of U.S. Involvement

Whatever his complexes, Khomeini had no qualms about sending his followers, including young boys, off to their deaths for his greater glory. This callous disregard for human life was no less characteristic of Saddam Hussein. And, for that matter, it was also no less characteristic of much of the world community, which not only couldn't be bothered by a few hundred thousand Third World corpses, but tried to profit from the conflict.

From:
The United States and Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988

Posted by: NeoHaven at March 5, 2006 03:37 PM

Michael --

Thank you for your courage and effort in exposing the truth.

Posted by: Mark Nicodemo at March 5, 2006 10:13 PM

Serge,

because liberating Tibet is not in America's best interest-- and our foreign policy is dictated by our own national interests. I can say that a million times though, and you still won't get it and you'll be spinning the "no blood for oil" platitudes tommorow as well just like a broken record.

Posted by: Carlos at March 5, 2006 10:35 PM

NeoHaven, what? Is this spam? Are you aware that F.P. changes? WTF?

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at March 5, 2006 11:00 PM

I am also from Kurdistan.

About the pro-Israel's question that brought up on this board. I don't care what that lady told you in NYC but most kurds do not HATE everything Jewish like Arabs do.

We have lived with Arabs for many years and we, Kurds, know exactly how they operate. What they say is the final word and if there is anything or anybody that say's no, they are met with violence.

Arabs are not a patriot people, in fact, Arabs are the most closed minded, old school retards who blame America and West in general for all their problems. They're nationalists. They are the most ruthless people you'll meet on the planet. Whatever idea they have in their head is "their truth". Nothing can change their minds.

To this day, there are people in Baghdad who does not believe Saddam used Chemical weapons against the Kurds in Halabja and elsewhere in Kurdistan while it's a proven FACT that Iraqi Army DID USE THE GAS on it's people. They refuse to believe it. Kinda like "If I ignore it it will go away" and "If I don't look it's not there" mentality that has the Arab people stuck in 17th century.

To quote my dad, who was a Peshmarga By the way and was in Abu Ghraib and the stories he have told me would have anyone crying, but when the subject of "Arab" comes up. All he has to say is this:

"As long as there are Arabs in this world, there will always be terrorism".

Call me racist and whatever And I don't give a rats ass but I honestly think the world will be a much better place if every Arab was lined up and excuted one by one. They will never learn how to ADAPT to today's world and todays ways of thinking. They still follows rules and stupid traditional rules that were created centuries ago.

The world has passed those close minded fucks by and whoever is living close to them is paying for it. We, the Kurds, are just one of the victims.

Phuck all you Arab pigs out there, especially you Habibi. You call yourself a soldier and you joined an "army". An army of pu$$ies that had no balls, just like every arab. Kurds fought against Tanks, Airplanes, Chemical and WMD's, faced your pu$$ified army and fought you still. When that "army" of yours faced a true military like that of the great U.S.A the only thing they could do is where to run.

Whether Arabs like or not,

Kurds love America
Kurds understands Israelis, therefore love them too
We don't like Arabs, never have, never will and you can go screw your sister like most of you pigs do, and i'm not kidding, I'll swear on whatever you believe in that some arabs actually RAPED THEIR OWN SISTER who then was killed because of "honor killing". Go figure....what a bunch of animals.

Posted by: Ako Shwani at March 6, 2006 12:21 AM

For another perspective on Kurdistan, it is worth checking out the series that has been running at Kevin Drum's site - washingtonmonthly.com. An American med student named Jonathan Dworkin has been sending regular posts from Kurdistan. It's a liberal site, but his take on Kurdistan is not that different from Michael's - he appears to agree with MJT that Kurds have "the core qualities necessary for liberalism to take root," and that Kurds are not nationalist fanatics or Islamic fanatics. I liked this quote:
There is an argument pursued by some in the United States that Iraq consists only of factions, not citizens. This is true enough for much of the country, but in this argument the Kurds are inevitably presented as no more than the faction obsessed with seizing Kirkuk. The fact that they have built a university system, allowed a free press, begun to embrace feminism, and held successful elections makes no impression on proponents of this thinking. The Kurds' eagerness to work with UN agencies, NGOs, and private investors also leaves them cold. And the fact that the Kurds have done all of this while upholding minority rights and inviting displaced Arabs to settle in their territory, even after suffering a genocide conducted by an Arab government, produces only an icy shrug.

Maybe if there's one area that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it is that America should be doing everything it can to support Kurdistan.

Posted by: Vanya at March 6, 2006 06:32 AM

Wow. Now I'm a bigger supporter of this war then I was previously. Killing innocent children. I hope they all rot in hell.

Thank you for posting this.

Posted by: Jen at March 6, 2006 07:31 AM

Michael,

What has happened to this comment line is very interesting.

I'm not going to re-fight this war. What happened, happened. We have to deal with the consequences.

But I'd like to clarify a few things, based on misinterpretations of what I wrote.

"I don't care what that lady told you in NYC but most kurds do not HATE everything Jewish like Arabs do."

That's not what she said. She only said that Kurds, being (in her words) "fanatic Muslims" would never agree to Muslim land being sovereign to another people.

Temporary truces, sure. A "lease" arrangement...why not? But in the final analysis, to any believing Muslim, Israel is Palestine, and Palestine is Muslim. It's quite possible to be neutral on the subject of Israel NOW and reserve the right to destroy it later.

I only brought it up because the Israel card seems to be the one folks like to brandish when they want to prove that their pet Middle Eastern tribe is liberal.

Ako goes on to say:

"Call me racist and whatever And I don't give a rats ass but I honestly think the world will be a much better place if every Arab was lined up and excuted one by one."

Now, compare and contrast with Vanya's observation:

"he appears to agree with MJT that Kurds have "the core qualities necessary for liberalism to take root," and that Kurds are not nationalist fanatics or Islamic fanatics."

How does that compare with "line 'em up and shoot 'em?"

Unfair Diana! That's only one Kurd, only one angry person! Don't generalize!

My point exactly.

Don't generalize from a few English-speaking Kurds. There are millions of them you haven't met. We have no idea what they think.

But I doubt they are Jeffersonian democrats.

Posted by: diana at March 6, 2006 08:16 AM

Thank God that the USA is willing and able to free the people of the world and make us all as happy and successful and generally wonderful as US citizens are. It brings tears to my eyes when I think how ungrateful people from other, lesser countries behave.
And thankyou so much for telling us about the great triumphs of American foreign policy in such primitive countries and how the poor wretches who live in those countries can finally pull themselves out of the middle ages purely through teh selfless actions of American citizens who happily assist others without a thought for themselves.
God Bless America.

Posted by: peter at March 6, 2006 09:52 AM

Hey Jen. Wow indeed. Hey, how many Iraqi children have been killed by American troops? I wish you people would think a little.

Posted by: tim at March 6, 2006 09:57 AM

The point being, Tim, is that the US troops did not intentionally target Iraqi children, or gather them up and commit them to torture chambers.

My friend, you need to stop the irrational hatred of all things American and get a life, a REAL life.

.

Posted by: Burly at March 6, 2006 11:44 AM

Alan,

Yeah I probably deserve what you said, but I had no choice I was drafted into the Iraqi army at 17. During that war almost everyone had to serve and get training in the Iraqi army. It was not my choice to join. And regarding your comments on my education, I did finally finish collage and I am not a Muslim. I never ever was a Muslim, I used to consider myself a Muslim, but I never prayed or ever read the Quran. But I guess what I am trying to say is that, it’s true that the reason the Middle East is in the shape it is now is partly because of Islam. And probably because of hard head Arabs.

Posted by: Habibi at March 6, 2006 12:03 PM

It doesn't matter to the children whether they were killed intentionally or not.

I do not understand your second sentence.

For a start, why do you assume I hate America? Is it because I recognise that US troops have killed an awful lot of civilian Iraqis including children. Does this mean that I hate America? Is this 'you are either with us or against us'?

Why do you call this an irrational hatred? If I did hate all things American, which I don't, why would this be irrational?

How do you mean 'get a life'? Do you think that daring to critise the USA means that I don't have a life and that I should support without question your governments decisions?

Posted by: tim at March 6, 2006 12:08 PM

Hey, how many Iraqi children have been killed by American troops?

tim,

How many French and German and Belgian and Dutch children were killed when we liberated them from the Nazis? Think about that.

Posted by: Carlos at March 6, 2006 12:12 PM

Ako Shwani,
We need more people like you in Kurdistan to replace those corrupt leaders of our in Kurdistan. The Barzani and Talabani tribes have been at each others throat for generations. All they care about is self enrichment, the clan superiority, and so on. But we the new generation need to rise up and bring our beloved homeland onto the map. Because if we leave it to the people in charger in Kurdistan today, it will be a faint dream that will never come true.

God bless you.
God bless Kurdistan.
God bless Israel.
God bless America.

Posted by: Dyako at March 6, 2006 12:20 PM

Ako Shwani,
We need more people like you in Kurdistan to replace those corrupt leaders of our in Kurdistan. The Barzani and Talabani tribes have been at each others throat for generations. All they care about is self enrichment, the clan superiority, and so on. But we the new generation need to rise up and bring our beloved homeland onto the map. Because if we leave it to the people in charger in Kurdistan today, it will be a faint dream that will never come true.

God bless you.
God bless Kurdistan.
God bless Israel.
God bless America.

Posted by: Dyako at March 6, 2006 12:20 PM

That's enough Tim, back to canada.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at March 6, 2006 12:24 PM

Nobody in the whole world believes for one minute that the us ruling elite gives a fuck about iraqi, kurds or any other people for that matter.

Now people on this site are "pretending" that the power brokers are suddenly interested in human rights and other peoples like the kurds.
The only reason for doing this is:
1. Denial: this makes sense in most cases. The reality is hard to face. Its a typical human response to indigestable information.
2. Money: They are being paid to do this or they benefit some other way for this supportive behaviour.
It doesn't hav eto be lincoln group money, but hey, who says its not?

Posted by: kevser at March 7, 2006 03:10 AM

Nobody in the whole world believes for one minute that the us ruling elite gives a fuck about iraqi, kurds or any other people for that matter.

If "caring" is your main concern, then I can understand your frustration. But some people-- especially those Iraqis liberated-- are more interested in results.

Amnesty International gets no results-- but at least they "care"! (that should be their slogan-- "Zippo results, but we care!"). George Bush (even though he doesn't give a fuck) liberated more people in a few days than Amnesty will liberate in 10,000 years.

Posted by: Carlos at March 7, 2006 07:25 AM

Amnesty does get results. Ask Natan Sharansky and many other Soviet dissidents. Amnesty was also one of the loudest voices in the 1980s decrying Saddam's massacre of the Kurds.

Posted by: Vanya at March 7, 2006 08:19 AM

>>>"loudest voices"

That's about all they've ever done.

Posted by: dcb at March 7, 2006 09:15 AM

Please enlighten us as to how you have done more. Maybe some of the Kurds on this list would like to add their thoughts as to whether Amnesty was a positive or negative influence for Kurdistan.

Posted by: Vanya at March 7, 2006 10:11 AM

Americans will use any excuse to kill millions of foreigners. One day they kill for Jesus Christ and Christianizing darkies, another day it’s for oil and a good economy, another day they kill to spread political theories concerning better government, another day its 9-11 and revenge,…they kill to fight communists then they kill to protect communist.

Americans sure enjoy killing…they act like the terrorists they claim to hate. (Until those terrorists become allies again).

Posted by: Billy at March 7, 2006 11:35 AM

Billy,

you're a moonbat.

Posted by: Carlos at March 7, 2006 12:30 PM

"Maybe some of the Kurds on this list would like to add their thoughts as to whether Amnesty was a positive or negative influence for Kurdistan." -Vanya

Saddam's amnesty was garbage to say the least. He would grand Amnesty to those who have fought against him and wait for them to comeback. Once those who did came back because of Saddam's amnesty, his Mukhabarat (secret police) would pick 'em in middle of the night and most likely were either killed or died because of torture.

Saddam, though a criminal, is a very smart dude. He would grand amnesty then his police agents would go door to door during the night and seek out those came back and well you know the rest.

Isn't it ironic that if it weren't for the Kurds, Iraq would be in a more chaotic state than it is right now. Kurds are becoming arbitrators between the Sunni's and Shia's.

They can't even get along themselves, this carpet huggers don't know nor do they understand the concept of Democracy. Most likely never will either it's not in their genes.

Dyako,

I assume you're kurdish? welcome aboard brother! I think the KRG should definetly pay Michael for his work. No other media in the U.S. is covering some of the stuff he has covered on his website.

You're right our two governments are very corrupt. My dad talks with his brothers and other family members in Hewler, and Suli and they all say if you're not part of PUK or KDP you can't do anything.

I'll give KDP and PUK all the credit for what they have done and without them we wouldn't be anything today BUT it seems like they can't truely put their differences to the side and start working for the people. That will change someday hopefully.

And to quote you...
God Bless you too
God Bless the U.S.A
God Bless Israel
God Bless whoever is anti-Arab!

Posted by: Ako Shwani at March 7, 2006 12:47 PM

"to any believing Muslim, Israel is Palestine, and Palestine is Muslim." -diana

I am a believing Muslim (Though I don't pray 5 times a day or read the Koran) I'll tell you right now Israel is not Palestine. Palestine wasn't even a nation.

You're making it sound like every muslim adores Palestine which is not true. Nobody is questioning the rights of the Palestinian people, it's not their goal people in the west are fed up with, it's their methods to gain those goals. Killing innocent people, blowing themselves up in a crowdy street is barberic.

I said every Arab should be excuted one by one because is my "personal" hatred towards arabs. Out of 5 brothers and one sister, only me and my sister are left. Four of my brothers got killed.

Democracy has spread to many of the worlds continents except the Middle East, does it EVER make you wonder WHY? I'll tell you why, because Arabs don't believe in democracy. They have to be in charge and no one else.

Fanatic Muslims are not real muslims, they just manupilate people and use the religion to accomplish their personal agenda's. They hate America so they try make the people believe America is evil and they're anti-Allah.

All you have to do is live in the U.S. for one day to realize that it's false. I'm a muslim, there are tons of muslims live in this country if America was anti-muslim or Allah, none of us would be here.

Posted by: Ako Shwani at March 7, 2006 01:02 PM

Please enlighten us as to how you have done more.

Now that you ask, I used to write letters for Amnesty back in my Lib days. Total waste of time.

Posted by: Carlos at March 7, 2006 04:47 PM

Care to know a little more about respected author Steven Vincent who lived in and wrote about Basra? Steven who had a blogsite called RedzoneBlog and was suddenly whisked away by police in a white Toyota, then found later by the roadside dead? Basra, a safe place?

The two paragraphs that led to his demise, [you decide], and the Iran connection named
Moqtada al-Sadr, a name now becoming more familiar, are at::
http://TonyGuitar.blogspot.com
TG

Everyone, it seems, except the religious parties themselves, which always seem to know what to think, do, and say, especially compared to the city's frightened intellectual class. Consider, for example, Professor M. and his run-in with renegade Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. An expert in radical Shiite movements, Professor M. wrote a well-researched, politically neutral history of the Sadrist phenomenon, which ran on the front page of a daily newspaper. Unfortunately, the periodical accompanied the piece with a photograph of a Basran crowd that included women who were not wearing hejab!

Reaction was swift. Sadrists claimed that M. and the newspaper had conspired to defame them — a charge, of course, both parties vehemently denied. No matter. M. began receiving increasingly disturbing death threats, which climaxed when someone fired a bullet through his front window. Despite his innocence, he published an open-letter apology to the Sadrists in the newspaper, which, to mollify the populist thugs, reprinted the article with a more acceptable photo of women bundled in their Islamic-sanctioned fabric prisons.
============================
You can read more of Steven’s eye opening copy here:
http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/vincent200506210821.asp
TG

Posted by: TonyGuitar at March 7, 2006 10:26 PM

What amnesty are you talking about, Saddam never gave Kurds amnesty. If amnesty is tricking your opponents to come into your death trap then Saddam gave Kurd's amnesty.

Saddam was not stupid; he did not control Iraq for over 30 years with his stupidity. He ruled with an iron fist, the first thing he did when he came to power was get ride of anyone that would or eventually pose a threat to him. His road to power was lined with the bodies of his opponents, he didn't care who it was that was in his way. So anyone that posed a threat to him or his grip on power was to be taken out of the picture. What really pisses me off is what happened to Saddam’s men when he was toppled.

I mean what you think Saddam committed all these crimes by himself. God knows how many Bathists are in Iraq walking the streets as freemen. When in fact if they were tried some of them would really face some serious charges of crimes against humanity. There are many more Saddam’s out there that need to pay their debt to society.

Posted by: Dyako at March 7, 2006 10:43 PM

What amnesty are you talking about, Saddam never gave Kurds amnesty. If amnesty is tricking your opponents to come into your death trap then Saddam gave Kurd's amnesty.

Saddam was not stupid; he did not control Iraq for over 30 years with his stupidity. He ruled with an iron fist, the first thing he did when he came to power was get ride of anyone that would or eventually pose a threat to him. His road to power was lined with the bodies of his opponents, he didn't care who it was that was in his way. So anyone that posed a threat to him or his grip on power was to be taken out of the picture. What really pisses me off is what happened to Saddam’s men when he was toppled.

I mean what you think Saddam committed all these crimes by himself. God knows how many Bathists are in Iraq walking the streets as freemen. When in fact if they were tried some of them would really face some serious charges of crimes against humanity. There are many more Saddam’s out there that need to pay their debt to society.

Posted by: Dyako at March 7, 2006 10:43 PM

What amnesty are you talking about, Saddam never gave Kurds amnesty. If amnesty is tricking your opponents to come into your death trap then Saddam gave Kurd's amnesty.

Saddam was not stupid; he did not control Iraq for over 30 years with his stupidity. He ruled with an iron fist, the first thing he did when he came to power was get ride of anyone that would or eventually pose a threat to him. His road to power was lined with the bodies of his opponents, he didn't care who it was that was in his way. So anyone that posed a threat to him or his grip on power was to be taken out of the picture. What really pisses me off is what happened to Saddam’s men when he was toppled.

I mean what you think Saddam committed all these crimes by himself. God knows how many Bathists are in Iraq walking the streets as freemen. When in fact if they were tried some of them would really face some serious charges of crimes against humanity. There are many more Saddam’s out there that need to pay their debt to society.

Posted by: Dyako at March 7, 2006 10:43 PM

Arabs by far are the most hard headed, stupidest, most racist people on the planet I have ever met. I am not saying this just because I am Kurdish or that I have grudge against them.

Its fact, look at those cartoons publish by the Danish newspaper, it was crazy there were riots in many Muslim countries. I don’t get it, I looked at the cartoons and I consider myself a Muslim I was not offend by these cartoons at all. I don’t think many of the demonstrators ever saw the cartoons and yet they went out and rioted in the streets. Look at the cartoons, look at them and read what was said, and the see what happened. And this should tell you that Arab Muslims hate democracy. I don't think the cartoons were attacking Islam, and it was not what was said it was who said it. I bet you that most of the demonstrators just heard that some Danish paper published cartoons about Islam and everyone started to riot in the streets. They did not care what was said, they only cared about who was saying this. Ask any Muslim what do you think is offensive in those cartoons and they have nothing. They were not attacking Islam, I wish they had though. They were attacking people who use religion to there ends or for there purpose.

http://www.humaneventsonline.com/sarticle.php?id=12146

If at all I found them amusing, the rest of the world doesn’t know what Arabs and newspapers in Arab countries say about other religions. You would be surprised by the shit they say, and here they are rioting over some cartoons that is nothing compared to what they say. I am angry at the American media for not publishing those cartoons in the newspapers here in the U.S. This should tell you what Arabs are really like, how they were towards the Kurdish people and anyone that were not Arab.

Oh yeah
God bless the Danish people too!!!

Posted by: Dyako at March 7, 2006 11:24 PM

Michael,

Another great and moving piece. It's amazing that after all the clear evidence of that blood-stained butcher's crimes, that are actually people seriously considering putting him back in power, for some phony facade of stability.

Posted by: Rafique Tucker at March 7, 2006 11:53 PM

carlos,
thanks for the reply.
Was Amnesty more effective in advancing american foreign policy, establishing client regiemes, leveraging sectarian conflict to secure oil deposits, rendering prisoners, waterboarding, sexually humiliating defenseless (most probably innocent) iraqi prisoners? No, they werent.
I do not share your assumption that amnesty and the us government share the same goals.
That is my point.

My point is that anyone who writes favorably about the current chauvanism, amaturism, greed, manipulation, corruption, powerbroking, torturing of the current cabal in washington is either lying to himself or being paid to do so.

Posted by: kevser at March 8, 2006 01:26 AM

Very very well put kevser. I completely agree

Posted by: tim at March 8, 2006 07:20 AM

Dyako,

Pakistanis are not Arabs, despite what President Bush may think. And Pakistan has been the scene of some of the worst riots. Turks are not Arabs, and they basically got this whole cartoonfada started. It's not just Arab Muslims who riot, it's any Muslims who have been infected with Wahabi thought. Keeping the Wahabis out of Kurdistan is vitally important.

Posted by: Vanya at March 8, 2006 07:41 AM

Dyako,

when we mention "Amnesty", we are referring to the human rights organization Ammnesty International (it's more or less an insider joke). Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Carlos at March 8, 2006 08:14 AM

I do not share your assumption that amnesty and the us government share the same goals.

kevser

Actually, I don't either. Our government's goals are both economic and strategic. But when there is a confluence of those goals with that of Amnesty's, I don't bitch and moan about it. I applaud it.

Posted by: Carlos at March 8, 2006 08:19 AM

Carlos,

Is it true, that whores for war like it hard?

Kill, Kill, Kill.

(all in the name of liberty and democracy, of course)

Posted by: NeoDude at March 8, 2006 11:34 AM

Neodude,

Forget me, forget "Bush". Are the pictures you see here, and their stories, just neocon slogans about "democracy" to you?

Posted by: Carlos at March 8, 2006 02:54 PM

I know all Muslims are not Arabs, but look at the Middle East. See how many countries in the Middle East are Arab. Where all these countries Arab before the spread of Islam. No they were not, they gave up there own language and became Arab. But what the fuck is the difference between Turks, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Iranians and Arabs. They are all the same stupid shits. They are very close to becoming Arabs. All of the Middle East is pro-Arab except the Kurd's and Israelis and probably some other groups that I don’t know about. Look at Iran, why the fuck are they standing up for Palestinians? When the Iran-Iraq war started Saddam Hussein invited most of the Arab leaders to celebrate there war with Iran and to ask for there backing in the war. And every leader there back and supported Iraq. Yasser Arafat thank god that bitch is dead, was one of them. He even fired some artillery shells at the Iranian front lines. And here we are the Iranian president telling the world how Arabs screwed him and his people and he is supporting them now.

Now back to your question, I don't see any difference between them Iranians, Arabs, Pakistanis, Turks and even Afghanis. They are all Arab bitches and will always be.

Posted by: Dyako at March 8, 2006 03:05 PM

So what happened to the Kurds when they showed up in DC to discuss Saddam gassing them with the US govenment? They were shown the door and the US blamed the Iranians.

Posted by: drydock at March 8, 2006 03:40 PM

drydock,

if America had any responsibility for what Saddam did to the Kurds, then it was America's responsibility to remove him and make amends.

Posted by: Carlos at March 8, 2006 06:35 PM

cARLOS,

It looks like you Americans will use any excuse to kill...next, you will massacre Shia for all the horrible death squads they used against the Sunni...and then turn on the Kurds for killing thousands of Armenian and Arab Christians a generation ago....really you Americans will use any excuse to kill.

Israel better be careful, because eventually you Americans will begin killing Jews for all the pain they cause Arabs.

You Americans are worse than a cheap whore...but a whore with dangerous weapons.

Yankee, go home!

Posted by: Ali Al-Smith at March 8, 2006 09:28 PM

>>>really you Americans will use any excuse to kill.

Ali,

Last I heard it wasn't the Americans bombing shia mosques, and beheading people, and suicide bombing innocent people at weddings. I bet you think that's real hero freedom fighter shit. You're vile.

Posted by: Carlos at March 8, 2006 10:39 PM

Diana: In the long run, the US will have succeeded in facilitating the creation of another Islamic dictatorship because, duh, in the Middle East, democracy = Islam. Women will be veiled, screwed and shut up, and after a short while, the Sunnis & Shia will get around to killing each other. Oops, I think they already have. Fifteen hundred dead in the rest of Iraq in the last week, which Michael may not have heard of. Or perhaps up in Kurdistan they are laughing their guts out about it.

So, in short, the Kurds, being Muslims, deserved nothing better than the genocide that Saddam unleashed on them - after all, they're "laughing" at the deaths in the rest of Iraq...

Diana, you sound completely insane. I think bitterness has pushed you over the edge.

As for what you said about Muslim attitudes toward Israel, that rings true for the most part... But if Michael is seeing that the Kurds have a different attitude - well that's conceivable, too. They have every reason to consider Arabs to be their enemy and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at March 9, 2006 01:14 AM

"Actually, I don't either. Our government's goals are both economic and strategic. But when there is a confluence of those goals with that of Amnesty's, I don't bitch and moan about it. I applaud it"

Carlos,

How do you feel about these issues (civil liberties, rule of law, laws against torture, the geneva convention etc) when they dont coincide with the interests of american hegemony?

Posted by: kevser at March 9, 2006 06:23 AM

geneva convention

kevser,

let me reverse the question. How do you feel about those issues when they dont coincide with the interests of national security? Do you believe the Constitution is a suicide pact?

Strange that you would wish to commit suicide over an outdated piece of paper that allowed slavery and was written hundreds of years ago by white male sexist imperialist slaveowners.

Posted by: Carlos at March 9, 2006 07:23 AM

Ali Al-Smith,

Kurd's did not kill Armenians. Turks killed Armenians and blamed them on Kurds. I will say it right now I as a Kurd have nothing against Armenians, I actually like Armenians and have many Armenian friends here in the U.S.

And what pain is Israel causing Arabs? By not being Arab? Well its understandable coming for an Arab like you. Israel is not causing Arabs any pain, there are 21 Arab nations, and Israel is the only non Muslim Country in the Middle East. And if they are causing Arabs pain, I say good for them, because you deserve it. All of you Shiites or Sunni are fucking Bathists. And don’t tell me Shiites are not Bathists, because Ibrahim Al-Jaffri was one and still is one like many Shiites.

Posted by: Dyako at March 9, 2006 07:20 PM

Hi Carlos,
This is a thread where Michael recounts tales of torture, extra judicial killing and abuse against the kurdish people of n. iraq. including children.

You maintain that "national security" has precedence over human rights/the rule of law/international agreements.
So, by your reasoning, crimes such as these are also a valid option for anyone whenever "national security" is the overriding principle at work.

Or is there some other limiting factor which i am unaware of?

Posted by: kevser at March 10, 2006 12:01 AM

Or is there some other limiting factor which i am unaware of?

Yes, there is. And here's where your much vaunted abilities for "nuance" and subtlety and discrimination factor in.

Are you able to distinguish between coercive interrogation, vs torture and woodchipping and throwing people off buildings? or do they all meld into one in your mind.

Is the torture and woodchipping of political dissidents and children the same in your mind as the coercive interrogation of known terrorists? Or have they too melded into one in your mind.

If you can see no difference, and all is lumped into one, then where is your claim to subtlety and nuance? Where is your ability to discriminate? Or has the Left of the political spectrum truly become as black or white in their thinking as they sound.

Posted by: Carlos at March 10, 2006 07:40 AM

carlos,

So you say i should just trust america. No need for oversight and rules and regulations. These are all stand up guys.
Why should I? Why should you? Because americans are inherently different than others? They are more noble and less savage?

Thats not a good enough arguement. Its predicated on an assumption of racial superiority, which of course is the vital ingredient in believing the "good" torture against "bad" torture arguement.
(I mean, do you know what really goes on in secret CIA detention centres? do you really? or does it suit you, perhaps, not to know?)

I reject this assumption of cultural superiority.

In any case, there is more than enough evidence proving the complicity of the US in extra judicial killings, torture (camps of the americas anyone?),selling weapons to very bad people etc. The record is there for anyone to see.

Carlos, why did the US government try to block the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos and videos? They are afraid that people like you, who sincerely want to believe in the intrinsic goodness of americans and american activities, will see the truth.
It your support for these people that ensures their success.

Did the US, with all its soldiers and money and atomic weapons, all its wealth and riches, have to brutalise and torture defenseless iraqis in Saddam Hussains old torture chambers? Was that really necessary for "national security"? Or was that just an "anomoly". Some play acting? Where did all the fucking blood come from on the prison floor? Did someone slip? Oh how unfortunate.
Was it perhaps a case of someone getting outta line? Did they not bow down and respect the superior american man?
Did they not show enough admiration for the shock and awe of the american air force?
And remember, these are only the photos that were taken and got leaked.
A sober reading of the situation will tell you, that the chances of this being the worst thing that was going on in the secret prisons, are very slim indeed.

Posted by: kevser at March 11, 2006 04:53 AM

So you say i should just trust america. No need for oversight and rules and regulations.

kevser,

I've never said that. On the contrary, I do not believe in the inherent goodness of men. We're as likely to screw up as not. And I also believe people are basically the same wherever you go. If there are differences between people of different cultures, those differences can be ascribed either to the culture itself (no, they are not all equal), or to the political framework these individuals operate under. Yes, I do believe in the American system. That system includes oversight rules and regulations. It is one of the best systems in the world. I make no bones about that. I'm proud of my country and what our people have built. Abu Graib proved that our system works-- even if some individuals caught up in it tried to cover their asses by trying to minimize public exposure. The system worked. The military was investigating it months before the NYTimes "broke" the story, and indictments had already been handed down months before you had even heard the name Abu Graib. Regardless, the abuse that did occur in Abu Graib does not compare to the torture and murder that occurred under Saddam. Any attempt to equate the two only betrays your black or white thinking.

Posted by: Carlos at March 11, 2006 10:15 AM

Great post, Michael. I have tipped you before but need to do so again.

It appears poor old Carlos is being swarmed. Tim and Kevser, did you even read Michael's post? Have you read the posts here from our Kurdish friends? I can only conclude that you didn't read the original post for this thread, that you just don't care or that you are so entrenched in your hateful ideology that no facts will stand in the way of your hatred.

I think that is about as sad as what happened to the brave Kurds. How you guys can get up every day and look yourselves in the mirror I will never understand. You have chosen to take up the side of tyranny and that is, very simply, evil.

Posted by: Kathy from Austin at March 11, 2006 11:27 AM

Carlos- "I believe in America"

Well I'm afraid that isn't going to cut it as a moral defense of a politically motivated invasion and occupation resulting in at least 40,000 deaths and torture.

Kathy:

I'm sorry. I didn't realise that its ok to kill and torture if white people are doing it. my bad.

have you seen the rape videos from Abu Ghraib yet?
Strange that the US government wont release those.
What are they afraid of?

Posted by: kevser at March 12, 2006 02:36 AM

All invasions are politically motivated. Most of those "40,000" have been killed by your buddy jihadists and insurgents. And it ignores how many innocents have been saved by Saddam's ousting.

Posted by: Carlos at March 12, 2006 10:58 AM

Re 'known terrorists'

I presume that most of the people who read this are from the USA. I wonder then how much chance there is that American television will show 'A Road to Guantanamo'? Very low I imagine. I think it would be very instructive for people who are not in the UK (where it was shown on Channel4) to take a look.

http://www.channel4.com/film/newsfeatures/microsites/G/guantanamo/

I honestly don't know what it is going to take to convince many Americans that the US government is not in fact telling the truth.

Posted by: Tim at March 13, 2006 12:28 PM

Prisoners in Guantanamo are being held as enemy combatants. Meaning they were captured on the battlefield. Some prisoners that have been released have returned to their violent ways. From the AP:

Seven ex-prisoners return to terrorism

Despite gaining their freedom by signing pledges to renounce violence, at least seven former prisoners of the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have returned to terrorism, at times with deadly consequences.

http://www.macombdaily.com/stories/101804/sta_gitmo001.shtml

(I wonder if they thought to include that in your Channel 4 documentary)

Posted by: Carlos at March 13, 2006 12:39 PM

People...
They are what no money nor possesions can buy. Any who think this war is a waste simply needs to be asked one question. How much is a human soul worth? How much should we pay in money for one human to not be raped and beaten, to be cut when pregnant like the terror Saddam said?
Yes, many have died in iraq. But is it worth the lives of thousands, could be hundreds of thousands? Stopping that monster from his satanic acts was the greatest decision of our lives. People remember the Holocost where Jews were slaughtered and tortured and experimented on. Everyone said it was what we needed to do, to stop Hitler. I simply ask what is the diffrence between Hitler and Saddam except Time. More time= Saddam adding numbers growing closer and even now as horrible as Hitler was.
Everytime someone tells me if what we are doing in iraq is a waste I simply have this to say:
"If the war is a waste, then imagine your children in those picture above. Are you willing to watch or know that someone will take your child and rape it, slaughter it, torture it. Are YOU willing to be another victim and endure what the people in iraq have. Can you go to Iraq and see the chambers and see documents and then walk away thinking the war is still a waste. This is our planet and we must make it livable. And events like this going unstopped means we are just as bad as Saddam himself because that means we watch it happen and do nothing. Thank God for you people who show it to the world what eyes don't want to see.
What people don't want to see, they close their eyes to. But it still is there, regardless how tight you shut them. Hopefully you have not gone so far into hatred and ignorance that you can not look at the facts of what that man did and what he allowed and still say we should not have gone.
"How much is a human soul? How much will it cost for a human to live without fear? How much for the innocent blood of thousands? How much are you willing to pay for your freedom. But more importantly, the true amount is How much are you willing to pay for your children and loved ones? That is how much we will pay to free iraq!

Posted by: David Peyree at March 13, 2006 01:58 PM

Carlos, you would be surprised what people will sign if tortured long enough. Of the 500 people in that place, 10 have been charged and none have been found guilty.

David, how terribly moving. Problem is that Iraq was invaded because of the WMD's. Remember that? And because the idiot of a US president was convinced that Sadamm had something to do with 911. And because there is a lot of oil there. Not at any point has anyone mentioned anything about human souls and saving children.
And if America is so concerned about children why have they been responsible for killing so many of them? It is actually very interesting how facts can get adjusted. Have you read 1984?

Posted by: tim at March 14, 2006 12:05 AM

And because the idiot of a US president was convinced that Sadamm had something to do with 911.

With one single moronic statement you discredit everything else you say.

Posted by: Carlos at March 14, 2006 11:23 AM

Oh sorry, I thought it was common knowledge.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3816699.stm

I mean there were plans well before 911 to invade Iraq.

This is from the Washington Post
http://www.president-bush.com/bombiraq.html

Posted by: Tim at March 15, 2006 03:12 AM

Did you even read the article?

From your BBC article:

"Mr Bush said his administration never claimed Iraq helped co-ordinate the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US, only that it had had contacts with al-Qaeda."

In other words, Bush never claimed Iraq helped Al-Qaida with the 9/11. I expect this will go in one ear out the other though. You have your moronic narrative, and you're sticking to it.

Posted by: Carlos at March 15, 2006 07:02 AM

Iraq must be a pretty swell place to be, now that we kicked out Saddam. So swell, it makes me wonder why people like you aren't there with the Army right now, fighting the good fight.

Posted by: V at March 20, 2006 10:10 PM

Vee, Saddam developed tyrant madness disease. He had to be removed. No argument there.

The above leaves a power vacuum where gang leaders go at each other to win over turf and followers.

Be realistic. No one can expect Iraq to morph suddenly into a swell place. TG
Comox100.ca

Posted by: TonyGuitar at March 21, 2006 11:47 AM

Here's the end of the argument for me; that a literate human being could look at the pictures above, make no credible claim that they or the stories attached are falsified, and then just ramble off into anti-American slogan chanting.

Everything but this is irrelevant- yes, even that REALLY CLEVER THING you were about to say- : that place is shut down. No, you know that other thing, that really telling morally absolute argument you were thinking of retorting with? It's irrelevant too. Not only that, but it's a logical fallacy. Try red herring, ad hominem attack, straw man, false dichotomy, argument from nature, and pick any two that match.

Posted by: Sam at March 29, 2006 06:15 AM

Of course Saddam was evil. Unfortunately, the US invasion has not put a stop to such heartbreaking stories of torture rooms, death squads, and genocide. Bush’s illegal invasion, sold on a pack of lies, has replaced a secular dictator who persecuted his enemies with Islamic theocracy aligned with Iran and civil war, plus the continued stories of torture rooms, death squads, and genocide.

Saying, “…but Saddam was evil–look at these pictures,” to justify the invasion is disingenuous or naive. Removing Saddam from power is not enough to justify all that has happened in the past 3 years. Bush invaded a sovereign nation, made the situation in the country worse, and harmed American security, credibility, and our national interests in the process. Pardon me for not cheering.

Posted by: frightwig at March 29, 2006 06:59 PM

Gotta call BS Frightwig. It isn't illegal because Congress passed a resolution saying it was ok. You are pardoned, but I am blown away by the fact that you wanted Saddam to be left in power to continue this...

Posted by: Scott at April 9, 2006 08:46 PM

I well remember the early 1990s and the Kurds, men, women, children, barefoot in the snow, babies dying and wrapped in little bundles and buried in the snow. It was heartbreaking and finally the US stepped in and started flying those endless missions to keep that insane animal in Baghdad and out of the Kurdish area. That was before Kosovo and the Serbs and the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia. We knew so little then about what we were facing and the nature of the 'Black Arab' heart of Saddam and the Islamists. The Kurds were the canary in the coal mine but we didn't know it. America, though, always stepped up and did the right thing and they did this time too, with the rest of the world, my own country Canada, lagging far behind but admonishing how it 'should' be done, nevertheless. Now....here we are. We can see clearer now what a different attitude the Kurds have, Muslim though they may be. They haven't allowed the easy anger and cynicism of the Islamists (both flavors, Wahhabist and Salafist) to cloud their minds and judgment. That's a big start right there. The Kurds have not allowed this version of Islam to pollute their outlook. I blame the imams and whichever state is directing them, for most of the problems based on a bad attitude toward cooperation with the US and the allies, for the failures that have been encountered in Iraq.

Posted by: foreign devil at April 26, 2006 02:30 AM
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