Skip to comments.Answers to Ron Paul's Questions on Iraq From an Opponent of the War
Posted on 09/14/2002 5:32:18 AM PDT by Boonie Rat
Answers to Ron Paul's Questions on Iraq From an Opponent of the War
by Jacob G. Hornberger
In the House of Representatives, September 10, 2002
From Representative Ron Paul, Texas.
Soon we hope to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there are some questions that won't be asked and maybe will not even be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered by those who are urging us to start this war.
1. Is it not true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?
2. Is it not also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it cannot retaliate which just confirms that there is no real threat?
3. Is it not true that those who argue that even with inspections we cannot be sure that Hussein might be hiding weapons, at the same time imply that we can be more sure that weapons exist in the absence of inspections?
4. Is it not true that the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency was able to complete its yearly verification mission to Iraq just this year with Iraqi cooperation?
Hornberger: Yes. Also, former Marine and former UN Inspector Scott Ritter is openly challenging the administration's thesis that Iraq is a threat to the United States.
5. Is it not true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks on the United States last year?
Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that none came from Iraq?
Hornberger: That fact doesn't support an attack on Iraq, making it easy for U.S. officials to forget it.
6. Was former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq's links to terrorism?
Hornberger: Neither the president nor Tony Blair have produced any evidence to contradict that conclusion.
7. Is it not true that the CIA has concluded there is no evidence that a Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence took place?
8. Is it not true that northern Iraq, where the administration claimed al-Qaeda were hiding out, is in the control of our "allies," the Kurds?
9. Is it not true that the vast majority of al-Qaeda leaders who escaped appear to have safely made their way to Pakistan, another of our so-called allies?
Hornberger: Yes, but U.S. officials don't criticize their allies, even when they are headed by non-democratic, brutal military thugs.
10. Has anyone noticed that Afghanistan is rapidly sinking into total chaos, with bombings and assassinations becoming daily occurrences; and that according to a recent UN report the al-Qaeda "is, by all accounts, alive and well and poised to strike again, how, when, and where it chooses"?
Hornberger: What better way to divert people's attention away from the chaos in Afghanistan and the failure to capture Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar (remember him? He was the leader of the Taliban and a prime suspect in the 9-11 attacks) than to attack Iraq? And you can't deny it's a brilliant political strategy to galvanize wartime "support-the-government-and-the-troops" patriotism right around election time.
11. Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States and who may again attack the United States and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?
Hornberger: Good question. Here's another one: Why was the FBI spending so much time and resources spying on bordellos in New Orleans and harassing drug users prior to 9-11 rather than pursuing the strong leads that pointed toward the 9-11 attacks?
12. Would an attack on Iraq not just confirm the Arab world's worst suspicions about the US and isn't this what bin Laden wanted?
Hornberger: Yes. The U.S. government's attack will engender even more hatred and anger against Americans, which will engender more attacks against Americans, which will engender more U.S. government assaults on the civil liberties of the American people. As Virginian James Madison pointed out, people who live under a regime committed to perpetual war will never be free, because with war comes armies, taxes, spending, and assaults on the rights and freedoms of the people.
13. How can Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force, and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even then proved totally inept at defending the country?
Hornberger: It's convenient to compare any target of the U.S. government to Hitler in order to make people emotionally negative toward the target. That's why federal officials called David Koresch Hitler before they attacked the Branch Davidians, including (innocent) children, with deadly, flammable gas at Waco. Remember that Hitler took over Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia and then had the military might to fight on two fronts against the Soviet Union, France, Britain, and the U.S. Iraq, on the other hand, has invaded no one in more than 10 years and, in fact, invaded Kuwait only after U.S. officials failed to give Saddam (their buddy and ally at that time) the red light on invading Kuwait. By the way, notice how they never refer to their targets as a "Joseph Stalin" even though Stalin was no better and possibly much worse than Hitler. The reason they don't is that Stalin was a friend and ally of Franklin Roosevelt and the U.S. government.
14. Is it not true that the constitutional power to declare war is exclusively that of the Congress?
Hornberger: Yes, but since the Congress abrogated its constitutional duty in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Granada, Panama, and other invasions, interventions, and wars, the president and most members of Congress believe that the declaration of war requirement has effectively been nullified, which is similar to Pakistan President Masharraf's unilaterally amending his country's Constitution to give himself more power.
Should presidents, contrary to the Constitution, allow Congress to concur only when pressured by public opinion?
Hornberger: No. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and must be obeyed regardless of public opinion. In fact, the Bill of Rights expressly protects the people from the visisitudes of public opinion. The Consitution prohibits the president from waging war without an express declaration of war by Congress. That's why both Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt could not intervene in World Wars I and II without a congressional declaration of war.
Are presidents permitted to rely on the UN for permission to go to war?
Hornberger: No. The supreme law of the land the law that the American people have imposed on their federal officials is the U.S. Constitution. We the people are the ultimate sovereign in our country, not the United Nations.
15. Are you aware of a Pentagon report studying charges that thousands of Kurds in one village were gassed by the Iraqis, which found no conclusive evidence that Iraq was responsible, that Iran occupied the very city involved, and that evidence indicated the type of gas used was more likely controlled by Iran not Iraq?
Hornberger: I have not seen it, but it would not surprise me. As history has repeatedly shown, public officials in every nation consider it proper and useful to lie as a way to galvanize public support in favor of the war that they're determined to wage. Decades later, when people are finally permitted to view the files, the records inevitably reveal the falsehoods that led the people to support the wars. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which Congress enacted on the request of President Lyndon Johnson, comes to mind since it cost the lives of 60,000 men of my generation in the Vietnam War, including some of my schoolmates at Virginia Military Institute.
16. Is it not true that anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 US soldiers have suffered from Persian Gulf War syndrome from the first Gulf War, and that thousands may have died?
Hornberger: I didn't know that but it wouldn't surprise me. But when was the last time you saw high public officials worry about the welfare of American GIs? Vietnam? Somalia? VA Hospitals?
17. Are we prepared for possibly thousands of American casualties in a war against a country that does not have the capacity to attack the United States?
Hornberger: It's impossible to know how many American casualties there will be, and you could be right about thousands of American casualties, given the urban fighting that will have to take place. On the other hand, American casualties could be light given the U.S. government's overwhelming military might and tremendous domestic dissatisfaction in Iraq against Saddam Hussein (many Iraqis will undoubtedly view American forces as liberators, given Hussein's brutal, dictatorial regime). From a moral standpoint, we should not only ask about American GI casualties but also Iraqi people casualties. After the Allied Powers delivered the people of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East Germany to Stalin and the Soviet communists after World War II, those people suffered under communism for five decades, which most of us would oppose, but who's to say that they would have been better off with liberation by U.S. bombs and embargoes, especially those who would have been killed by them? I believe that despite the horrible suffering of the Eastern Europeans and East Germans, Americans were right to refrain from liberating them with bombs and embargoes. It's up to the Iraqi people to deal with the tyranny under which they suffer it is not a legitimate function of the U.S. government to liberate them from their tyranny with an attack upon their nation.
18. Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a $100 billion war against Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky American economy? How about an estimated 30 years occupation of Iraq that some have deemed necessary to "build democracy" there?
Hornberger: Federal spending is now out of control, which means that taxes are now out of control because the only place that government gets its money is taxation, either directly through the IRS or indirectly through the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. My prediction is that they'll let the Fed do it, so that President Bush avoids blame for raising taxes and so that U.S. officials can blame inflation on big, bad, greedy businessmen who are "price-gouging." When you add the costs of the war and foreign policy in general, including foreign aid and bailouts to corrupt foreign governments, to the federal "charity" and pork that the members of Congress send back to their districts in an attempt to buy votes to get reelected, it doesn't portend well for the future economic well-being of the American people. After all, let's not forget how Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviet Empire he made it spend itself into bankruptcy.
19. Iraq's alleged violations of UN resolutions are given as reason to initiate an attack, yet is it not true that hundreds of UN Resolutions have been ignored by various countries without penalty?
Hornberger: Yes. And since these are UN resolutions, doesn't that mean that only the UN, not a specific member of the UN, has the legal authority to enforce them?
20. Did former President Bush not cite the UN Resolution of 1990 as the reason he could not march into Baghdad, while supporters of a new attack assert that it is the very reason we can march into Baghdad?
Hornberger: I have no reason to doubt that this is true.
21. Is it not true that, contrary to current claims, the no-fly zones were set up by Britain and the United States without specific approval from the United Nations?
Hornberger: I didn't know this but nothing surprises me anymore.
22. If we claim membership in the international community and conform to its rules only when it pleases us, does this not serve to undermine our position, directing animosity toward us by both friend and foe?
Hornberger: Absolutely, and what does it say about the U.S. government's commitment to the rule of law?
23. How can our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military tyrants like Musharraf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected president?
Hornberger: The U.S. government's commitment to democracy is a sham, evidenced not only through its support of brutal non-elected dictators who follow its orders but also through its support of ousting democratically elected leaders who refuse to follow its orders, such as Chavez in Venezuela or Allende in Chile.
24. Are you familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and as late as 1992 including after the alleged Iraqi gas attack on a Kurdish village?
Hornberger: I read a New York Times article on this just the other day. At the risk of modifying my statement above about not being surprised by anything anymore, I was stunned to learn that U.S. officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, were supporting Iraq when it was using chemical weapons against Iranians. From a moral standpoint, how low can they go? And how hypocritical can they be?
25. Did we not assist Saddam Hussein's rise to power by supporting and encouraging his invasion of Iran?
Hornberger: This is during the time that Saddam was a buddy of the U.S. government. I wonder why they're not just offering him money again to re-become a buddy, as they do with other dictators, such as Masharraf, the brutal army dictator who took over Pakistan in a coup and who was a strong supporter and close friends of the Taliban.
Is it honest to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time we actively supported?
Hornberger: No, it's highly hypocritical but it's effective with respect to those who refuse to believe that their federal government has engaged in wrongdoing overseas.
26. Is it not true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression, and has never been considered a moral or legitimate US policy?
Hornberger: Yes, and wasn't that the preferred pretext of the Soviet Union when it committed acts of aggression during the Cold War?
27. Why do the oil company executives strongly support this war if oil is not the real reason we plan to take over Iraq?
Hornberger: Good question.
28. Why is it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they won't have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this war than our generals?
Hornberger: I suggest that we form a "Suicide Brigade" for all men over 40 who support sending American GI's into foreign wars. Their mission would be to blow themselves up on enemy targets, thereby bringing the war to a quicker conclusion. They've already lived their lives anyway, and their suicides would be helping to save the lives of younger American soldiers. My prediction: Not one single "hard-charger" will volunteer, but I would oppose drafting them into "service."
29. What is the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated aggression against us, and could not if it wanted?
Hornberger: There is no moral argument. And here's one back at you: At what point does an unprovoked attack against a weak nation that kills innocent people go from being "war" to becoming murder?
30. Where does the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason other than self-defense?
Hornberger: It doesn't, but we are now experiencing the consequences of permitting U.S. officials to ignore the Constitution for decades, especially with respect to the declaration of war requirement. Question back to you: Did you ever think you would live in a nation in which one man has the omnipotent power to send an entire nation into war on his own initiative and the omnipotent power to jail any American citizen in an Army brig for the rest of his life without the benefit of trial or habeas corpus?
31. Is it not true that a war against Iraq rejects the sentiments of the time-honored Treaty of Westphalia, nearly 400 years ago, that countries should never go into another for the purpose of regime change?
32. Is it not true that the more civilized a society is, the less likely disagreements will be settled by war?
Hornberger: Absolutely. We are learning that our Founders were right that an unrestrained federal government is highly dangerous to the best interests of the American people. That's the reason they required a Constitution as a condition of bringing the federal government into existence they didn't trust unrestrained government and intended the Constitution to protect us from unrestrained government officials.
33. Is it not true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and not coincidentally we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?
Hornberger: Absolutely true, and such false and fake resolutions as the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" are shams that have prematurely snuffed out the lives of tens of thousands of American GIs.
34. Is it not true that Pakistan, especially through its intelligence services, was an active supporter and key organizer of the Taliban?
Hornberger: Yes, but the brutal Army general who took over in a coup and who recently unilaterally amended his country's Constitution without the consent of the people or the Parliament, is now doing what Washington tells him to do, and that's the difference.
35. Why don't those who want war bring a formal declaration of war resolution to the floor of Congress?
Hornberger: Because they're afraid to take individual responsibility, both politically and morally, for their actions. This way, they can straddle this fence if the war goes well, they can claim credit and if it goes bad, they can blame the president. It's called political and moral cowardice, a malady that unfortunately has pervaded the U.S. Congress for many, many years.
September 14, 2002
MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66
Those who can't the premise of an article,other than attack the website, the source I was referring to, do not contribute much to the discussion, IMHO.
MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66
How come "they" only use Ritter's opinion, and only his recent opinions at that, when there are more than one former UN Inspector voicing opinions on the Iraqi threat? Maybe because he's the only ONE "challenging the administration's thesis that Iraq is a threat to the United States" and the rest support the "administration's thesis"?
Sorry, not enough coffee.
Those who can't rebutt the premise of an article,other than attack the website, the source I was referring to, do not contribute much to the discussion, IMHO.
MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66
I make it a practice of not attacking the messenger, attack the message, dispute what the messenger puts before you. What is it that was said that you do not agree with ?
I don't care if anyone on this forum disagrees but it is my view, and I happen to be right, that W is doing more to take apart our country and our nation than 5 consecutive terms of Clinton could have done. Not that Clinton wouldn't have tried to do what W is about to attempt now. It's only that there would have been more dissent if Clinton tried it.
Since this is number 1 on the hit parade, I'll start here. Paul and Hornberger are both incorrect. The answer to number 1 is absolutely NO. The reason we didn't launch on the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war was because we did not have enough provocation to do so. The reason the Soviets didn't launch on America is because they knew we would retaliate.
And this in a nutshell is my problem with Ron Paul and Hornberger, they are not even astute enough to recognise the difference between their own country and the Stalinist USSR.
The threat to the United States (and the western world) is the entire middle east. Afghaistan was step one. Iraq is step two. If the other countries in the region do not get the message, then one of them will be step three.
We are at war.
During WWII, our troops had to fight in a lot of differnt countries before reaching Germany. That is going to be the case now.
So the entire argument as presented makes as much sense as if someone would have written an argument against landing in France during D Day, after all we were not at war with France.
Ron Paul's questions need answers and, if anyone disagrees with the answers provided, then they should address the answers, one by one and prove that W is not trying to insult America by assuming we are a bunch of morons, like he did when he announced that illegal immigrants are nothing but an expression of 'family values'.
Presently, the Congress has authorized both the preparations for warfare, as well as warfare, for a variety of military situations in which is, or may be, the United States.
The United States has been at war against Iraq since the beginning of the Gulf War; Great Britain and the United States have shouldered the burden to enforce the conditional 1991 cease-fire.
Because the World of Fascist Islam "from Malaysia to Morocco," has formally attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, and did so with prior knowledge of such attacks by several of the Islamic States (and some socialist states), the United States will for some time be at war against the ever-changing conspirators of those states among themselves and with the powers of world socialism, because that axis of a terrorism needs to be killed as matter of defending ourselves from such killers of life and liberty.
The present front lines in Iraq, held by the allies, Great Britain and the United States, are expected to change, according to Tony Blair and George Bush in their recent announcements; the immediate reasons for this, can be found in such announcements.
The present front lines against the axis of terrorism may also be expected to change.
The United States is not yet prepared for these challenges.
This is a world war against the Axis of terrorism, and the tasks will require both clever and conventional methods of warfare; and the United States has not yet the conventional strength.