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Gassed town has no doubts on US claims [of Iraqi WMD's] (modified title)
AFP ^ | 09/15/03 | AFP

Posted on 09/15/2003 7:00:16 PM PDT by spookycc

Gassed town has no doubts on US claims [of Iraqi WMD's] HALABJA, Iraq (AFP) - If sceptics doubt US claims that Saddam Hussein was a ticking bomb with weapons of mass destruction, this Kurdish town showed it had 5,000 reasons to believe.

Halabja gave a hero's welcome to US Secretary of State Colin Powell as he flew in trumpeting the US victory in ousting Saddam, accused by Washington of developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

No stocks have been found but Esmail Abdulrahim Saleh and others here needed no convincing: they remember the 5,000 Halabja residents gassed to death in 1988 by Saddam's troops suppressing a Kurdish revolt.

"We fled to the mountains to hide in caves," said Saleh, a schoolteacher who was 12 years old at the time. "It was the Iranians who came to find us to take us to the hospitals in Tehran.

"Today there are still people who have respiratory attacks and serious skin diseases," he said.

Kadhaz Hama-Amin has a 15-year-old daughter who was a baby at the time of the massacre and still suffers from breathing problems.

"I've seen a lot of doctors about my daughter, but no one is able to say how she will pull through," she told AFP.

Residents turned out in force Monday to welcome Powell, who helicoptered into this farming town on the second day of a trip aimed at bolstering support for the troubled five-month-old US occupation of Iraq.

They lined the route of his convoy, mixing the traditional Kurdish dress of puffed trousers and wide belt with the fatigues of peshmerga fighters. Women in black headscarves carried flowers or pictures of their loved ones.

Children issued smart military salutes while the crowd held aloft portraits of US President George W. Bush and banners emblazoned with: "Our liberators are welcome," "We love America" or "Thank you President Bush".

The chief US diplomat spent several emotionally wrenching hours here, visiting a small monument built to mark the tragedy surrounded by 1,000 gravestones on the edge of the town.

At a ceremony with hundreds of relatives of those who perished from the town of 40,000 people, Powell stood flanked by US civil administrator Paul Bremer and Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Massud Barzani.

Powell toured a memorial museum housing a vast collection of photographs, many of them showing children struck down dead in the street as the toxins engulfed the town. The walls were etched with the names of the 5,000 dead.

After a minute's silence, the American stopped to speak to a mother carrying photographs of her dead children, before lighting candles in the centre of the room with the other officials.

But nobody here required any reminding of the horror that hit the town on the afternoon and evening of March 16, 1988, a day after it was captured by Iraqi Kurds from the Tehran-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Iraqi planes exacted a fierce reprisal, swooping down for five hours and dropping dozens of chemical bombs in what experts said was the largest gas attack ever unleashed on civilians during combat.

The victims were essentially the elderly, women and children. The guerrillas and most of the men had earlier fled to the hills after the town was bombed by Saddam's men.

Experts say Iraq used a concoction of substances including concentrated tear gas, mustard gas and the nerve agent VX, shipped by the United States, France and Britain which backed Saddam in his eight-year war with Iran.

On Sunday Powell flew into Iraq preaching patience in a process of political and economic reform he said was threatened by "terrorists." On Monday, Halabja provided the perfect backdrop for his defense of the US-led invasion.

"This town is marked in history forever," Powell told the crowd. "The world should have acted sooner. What happened here in 1988 is never to happen again."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: army; colinpowell; halabja; iraq; kurds; marines; navy; usaf; wmd
Admin Moderator, please pull if a duplicate - I couldn't find anything on this article.
1 posted on 09/15/2003 7:00:18 PM PDT by spookycc
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To: spookycc; Jim Robinson; Congressman Billybob; hellinahandcart
Great article! Wonder if the major media will pick this one up?
2 posted on 09/15/2003 7:02:40 PM PDT by sauropod ("Oh Brian, Let's go to the stoning")
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
You may want to hit your ping list on this great article.
3 posted on 09/15/2003 7:04:19 PM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: sauropod
"Great article! Wonder if the major media will pick this one up?"

Only when pigs fly or people recieve ice water in hell!
4 posted on 09/15/2003 7:05:41 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: spookycc
The mass graves are really going to haunt our troops for years to come. I have had several converstaions about this with returning troops. One Seabee kept talking about a grave that had infants with the parents. The infants were still bound with thier hands behind thier backs. This had to have been done to toruture the parents before they were all killed.
5 posted on 09/15/2003 7:08:12 PM PDT by armymarinemom
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To: Arpege92
It was a rhetorical question :-).
6 posted on 09/15/2003 7:10:00 PM PDT by sauropod ("Oh Brian, Let's go to the stoning")
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To: sauropod
To which I answered with a smart a$$ remark! :-}
7 posted on 09/15/2003 7:14:58 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: spookycc
The media has minimized the mass gassing.

Months ago, they had one ex official state that the perpetrator was not Iraq, it was Iran.

They gave as much time to that theory as they did to the reality that Saddam did it. Even if opinion runs 1000 to 1 against a false position, the media frames the debate as one pro, one con.

The media spends much more time condemning their own country.
8 posted on 09/15/2003 7:25:56 PM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals (Post steak fry: I say it again...All Dems is PIMPS and HO'S)
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To: spookycc
Thank you for posting this poignant article -- and thanks again to President Bush and our COURAGEOUS military!
9 posted on 09/15/2003 7:33:43 PM PDT by DrDeb
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To: spookycc; Miss Marple; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; Coop; ...
Thank you, spooky! I was hoping someone would find a report on SOS Powell's visit to the mass grave. The world needs to know how much these people suffered under Saddam.

Thanks for the heads up, Miss Marple. Gen. Abizaid says that the members of the Iraqi council are some of the most courageous people he's ever met. I believe it.

8 If the press "cared" about the Iraqi people, they wouldn't attack their liberators daily

 
 Thanks, Tonkin!

If you want on or off my pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail me. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days (most days are good days).

10 posted on 09/15/2003 7:41:07 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("If you fear failure on your first attempt, don't take up skydiving." ~ Ollie North)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
11 posted on 09/15/2003 7:51:30 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: spookycc
What a moving article. Thanks for posting it.
12 posted on 09/15/2003 7:59:21 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Big Steve; deport; blackie; nickcarraway; Salvation
ping
13 posted on 09/15/2003 7:59:59 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
thanks
14 posted on 09/15/2003 8:01:11 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: sauropod
They want evidence! Except for this part...that doesn't count.
15 posted on 09/15/2003 8:05:39 PM PDT by maui_hawaii
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To: spookycc
"Experts say Iraq used a concoction of substances including concentrated tear gas, mustard gas and the nerve agent VX, shipped by the United States, France and Britain which backed Saddam in his eight-year war with Iran."

Bullsh*t alert. UN and other organizations who studied this concluded that during that period Iraq was largely using mustard gas and tabun to a lesser degree. There was no evidence of VX. Furthermore according to UN studies the mustard gas was produced by the Soviet method which is more advanced compared the the US and Britian methods. Apparently there were dual use chemicals that were shipped by US companies through European intermediaries but this was not sponsored by the U.S. government. The extreme bias of this sort of claim (that largely goes uncontested) is astounding. By looking at the hardware of the Iraqi military (SCUDs, MIGS, T55, Mirage, Exocet, etc.) it is perfectly clear who armed them...the Soviets and the French.
16 posted on 09/15/2003 8:14:12 PM PDT by Avenger
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To: Alamo-Girl
((Hugs))
17 posted on 09/15/2003 8:19:13 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ("If you fear failure on your first attempt, don't take up skydiving." ~ Ollie North)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Volley hugs!
18 posted on 09/15/2003 8:28:12 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: armymarinemom
Your comment about the babies with hands tied,buried with their mothers is horrifying.I'm sure it is the stuff of nightmares for our troops that saw this.It must be gratifying to them to know they have helped rid Iraq of this regime.
19 posted on 09/16/2003 12:02:29 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: sauropod; Miss Marple
Oh, this will be picked up by the press. Parts of it anyway.

It contains a tasty morsel of bullschnit which is all too often found in AFP articles, and this morsel is the poison seed which is designed to be gobbled up with the spoonful of honey that makes up the rest of the article:

Experts say Iraq used a concoction of substances including concentrated tear gas, mustard gas and the nerve agent VX, shipped by the United States, France and Britain which backed Saddam in his eight-year war with Iran.

Iraq manufactured its own chemical weapons. It didn't get ready-made chemical weapons from the US or UK and it's doubtful there would be a need to procure what they could easily make themselves from France, either.

20 posted on 09/16/2003 2:31:06 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Gas ~ Bump!
21 posted on 09/16/2003 9:14:36 AM PDT by blackie
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To: Avenger
That jumped out at me, also -- but this is the French press, they had to get their licks/lies in somewhere.
22 posted on 09/16/2003 9:25:29 AM PDT by browardchad
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
I thought you guyz would enjoy this article as much as I did. I love the articles that reinforce the real goings-on in Iraq - but they're hard to find.
23 posted on 09/16/2003 12:49:11 PM PDT by spookycc (NEVER forgive! NEVER forget!)
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