The crises in recent months between the United States and Iraq, which twice nearly led to heavy American air strikes against that Arab country, have underscored the serious problems in U.S. policy towards the entire region. The Gulf War coalition built by the Bush administration is in tatters; U.S. credibility has been further compromised in the international community in general and in the Arab world in particular; and Saddam Hussein's standing in Iraq and throughout the region has been enhanced. Meanwhile, problems that threaten the stability of the region far more than the Iraqi dictator stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, uneven economic development, and the militarization of the region - continue to grow, in part due to Clinton administration policies.
In November, the Iraqi banning of American participants from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) inspection teams led the United States to mobilize forces for a major bombing campaign, which was suspended when the Russians were able to negotiate an agreement under which the Iraqis rescinded the ban. A number of analysts noted that the disappointment among some Clinton administration officials, who were actually looking forward to a military confrontation, was palpable. Soon thereafter, the administration began to raise concerns about Iraq's refusal to allow UNSCOM inspectors to visit so-called "presidential sites," a liberally defined series of buildings and grounds across the country which Iraq claimed were used by government officials. The United States and some UNSCOM officials believed that the reason for the Iraqi restrictions was that anthrax and other biological warfare agents might be being produced at some of those sites.
The Iraqis, by contrast, saw granting unfettered access by inspectors as yet another intrusion on their sovereign rights. Given that many prominent American political leaders from both parties have openly called for killing Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader's reluctance to allow Americans into presidential palaces may have also been a result of concerns that such access would make him and other top officials personally vulnerable. Indeed, there have been complaints that, despite a stated policy of avoiding staffing UNSCOM with experts from "intelligence providing states," there have been disproportionate numbers of Americans involved in the inspections. Iraqis have periodically complained that they have deliberately prolonged the process and potentially provided information to the U.S. military.1
Even those in the West dubious of Iraq's alleged concerns were also suspicious of American motivations. Though Iraqi restrictions on these "presidential sites" had existed since the beginning of the sanctions regime nearly seven years earlier, the United States announced only in January 1998 that it had become an intolerable violation of the cease-fire resolution which might necessitate a sustained bombing campaign against the country. With much of Iraq's armed forces destroyed in the 1991 war and a strict arms embargo making it impossible to rebuild or even maintain them, U.S. air strikes would have been virtually unopposed and would therefore have inflicted considerable damage. By February, war seemed likely, until U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was able to broker a deal that met the United Nations’ insistence that the sites be open to U.N. inspectors, but with an additional diplomatic presence in recognition of the sites' special status.
The United States initially rationalized its threat to attack on the grounds that Iraq was in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 687. This imposed cease-fire agreement at the close of the 1991 Gulf War, among other things, provided for the destruction, removal or rendering harmless all Iraqi nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capability, including both the weapons themselves and facilities for research, development and manufacturing, as well as the elimination of ballistic missiles with a range of over 100 miles. In order to follow through on such a disarmament program, U.N. inspectors were to be allowed free access to inspect and destroy such weaponry.
Many American analysts seem to fail to understand that the conflict regarding access for U.N. inspectors was between the Iraqi government and the United Nations, not between Iraq and the United States. Though U.N. resolution 687 was the most detailed in the world body's history, there were no enforcement mechanisms specified. It was therefore assumed that, should enforcement be necessary, it would be brought before the Security Council as a whole –normal procedure when governments violate all or parts of such resolutions. According to articles 41 and 42 of the U.N. Charter, unless the Security Council determines there has been a material breach of its resolution, determines that all non-military means of enforcement have been exhausted, and specifically authorizes the use of military force - as it did in November 1990 with resolution 678 in response to Iraq's ongoing occupation of Kuwait - no member state has the right to enforce any resolution militarily. Therefore, the proposed unilateral U.S. attack would have been illegal. Indeed, it would have set a very dangerous precedent. For example, Russia could then have claimed the right to attack Israel for its ongoing violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Indeed, the U.S. insistence on the right to attack unilaterally has effectively undermined the principle of collective security and the authority of the United Nations.
International law is quite clear as to when military force is allowed. In addition to the aforementioned case of U.N. Security Council authorization, the only other time any member state is allowed to use armed force is described in Article 51, which states it is permissible for "individual or collective self-defense" against "armed attack ... until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary . to maintain international peace and security." If Iraq's neighbors or the United States had felt threatened by Saddam Hussein's armed forces, any of these countries could have approached the Security Council to make their case as to why their security was threatened. Iraq's neighbors did not do so because they apparently did not feel threatened. The United States did not do so because it knew such a claim would be seen as ludicrous, and, as a result, had virtually no support in the Security Council. Despite the fact that the U.N. Charter was ratified by the United States and thus, according to the U.S. Constitution, has the force of law, the Clinton administration was apparently ready to use armed force unilaterally against Iraq anyway, as it did in April 1993 and September 1996.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright callously dismissed the lack of international support by saying that the United States would act against Iraq "multilaterally if we can and unilaterally if we must" because, "We recognize this area as vital to U.S. national interests." She again emphasized American repudiation of any external restraints when Kofi Annan left on his diplomatic mission, saying, "We wish him well, and when he comes back we will see what he has brought and how it fits with our national interest." When the first word of the agreement in Baghdad came out, she reiterated, "It is possible that he will come with something we don't like, in which case we will pursue our national interest." President Clinton similarly declared that if Iraq did not capitulate under American terms, "everyone would understand that then the United States and hopefully all of our allies would have the unilateral right to respond at a time, place and manner of our own choosing.2
When the Security Council unanimously endorsed Annan's agreement on March 2, they rejected American insistence that they authorize the use of force in the case of future non-compliance. While warning Iraq of "severest consequences," the Council, in the resolution's final paragraph, declared that it alone had the authority to "ensure implementation of this resolution and peace and security in the area." This point was reiterated by a number of ambassadors as well as in most analyses by the media which followed. Despite this, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson declared that the agreement "did not preclude the unilateral use of force." State Department spokesman James Rubin insisted, "We've made clear that we don't see the need to return to the Security Council if there is a violation of the agreement." President Clinton claimed, despite the wording of the final paragraph, that the resolution "provides authority to act" if the United States is not satisfied with the level of Iraqi compliance.3
With antipathy towards Iraq so strong as to lead the United States to be willing to violate international law, it is perhaps surprising that the United States tolerated the abuses of Saddam Hussein's regime for as long as it did. Most of us familiar with the Middle East did not have to wait until Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Iraq to know that Saddam Hussein was a vicious dictator. Many of the crimes committed by the Iraqi ruler now cited by U.S. officials as examples of the heinous nature of his regime were actually committed in the 1980s when the United States was quietly supporting Saddam in his war with Iran.
It is ironic that it was President George Bush who first emphasized how Saddam Hussein had "used chemical weapons against his own people." The March 1988 massacre at Halabja, where Saddam's forces murdered 5000 civilians in that Kurdish town with chemical weapons, was downplayed by the Reagan administration, even to the point of claiming that Iran, then the preferred enemy of the United States, was actually responsible. When ABC television correspondent Charles Glass revealed sites of Saddam's biological warfare programs in early 1989, the State Department denied the facts presented, and the story essentially died. Glass recently observed that the State Department "now issues briefings on the same sites."
When a 1988 Senate Foreign Relations committee staff report brought to light Saddam's policy of widespread extermination in Iraqi Kurdistan, Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) introduced the Prevention of Genocide Act to put pressure on the Iraqi regime, but the Bush administration successfully moved to have the measure killed. Indeed, even before the Halabja tragedy, U.N. reports in 1986 and 1987 documented Iraq's use of chemical weapons, which were confirmed both by investigations from the CIA and from U.S. embassy staff who had visited Iraqi Kurdish refugees in Turkey. However, not only was the United States not particularly concerned about the ongoing repression, the use of chemical weapons and the potential use of biological weapons, Washington was actually supporting the Iraqi government's effort to procure· materials necessary for the development of weapons of mass destruction.
During the 1980s, American companies, with U.S. government backing, supplied Saddam with much of the raw material for Iraq's chemical and biological weapons program as well as $1 billion worth of components necessary for the development of missiles and nuclear weapons. A Senate committee reported in 1994 that American companies licensed by the U.S. Commerce Department had shipped large quantities of biological materials usable in weapons production in Iraq, some of which were later destroyed by U.N. inspectors. This report noted that such trade continued at least until the end of the decade, despite evidence of Iraqi biological and chemical warfare against Iranians and Iraqi Kurds.4 Much of this trade was possible because the Reagan administration took Iraq off of its 1982 list of countries supporting terrorism, making them eligible to receive such items, despite Iraq's ongoing support of Abu Nidal and other terrorist groups.5
As late as December 1989, the Bush administration pushed through new loans to the Iraqi government in order to facilitate U.S.-Iraqi trade.6 Meanwhile, according to a 1992 Senate investigation, the Commerce Department repeatedly deleted and altered information on export licenses for trade with Iraq in order to hide potential military uses of American exports.7
Such policies raise serious questions as to why, if Iraq has really been such a danger to American security, the United States helped facilitate the development of its military capability and its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.
THE WEAK STRATEGIC CASE
The sudden reversal in perceptions regarding Iraq's potential threat is all the more ironic given that Iraq's military, including its potential and existing weapons of mass destruction, was significantly stronger in the late 1980s. Saddam then had his full complement of medium-range missiles, a functioning air force and a massive stockpile of chemical and biological weaponry and material. Yet successive U.S. administrations dismissed any potential strategic threat to the point of coddling Saddam's regime with overt economic subsidies and covert military support. Since then, the 1991 Gulf War and the subsequent inspections regime have destroyed virtually any aggressive military potential by Iraq. UNSCOM has reported destroying 38,000 chemical weapons, 480,000 liters of live chemical weapons agents, 48 missiles, six missile launchers, 30 missile warheads modified to carry chemical or biological agents and hundreds of related equipment with the capability to produce chemical weapons. In late 1997, UNSCOM director Richard Butler reported that they had made "significant progress" in tracking Iraq's chemical-weapons program and that 817 of the 819 Soviet-supplied long-range missiles had been accounted for. There were also believed to be a couple of dozen Iraqi-made ballistic missiles, but these were of questionable caliber.8
Iraq's armed forces are barely one-third their pre-war strength. Even though they have not been required to reduce their conventional forces, the destruction of their weapons and their economic difficulties have led to a substantial reduction in men under arms. The navy is virtually nonexistent, and the air force is just a fraction of what is was before the war. Why then, in early 1998, when Iraq had only a tiny percentage of its once-formidable military capability, was the United States suddenly portraying Iraq as an intolerable threat? It is no surprise, under these circumstances, that so many Americans, rightly or wrongly, suspected President Clinton of manufacturing the crisis to distract the American public from the sex scandal surrounding his office.
The Clinton administration has never publicly presented any credible evidence that Iraq currently has biological weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, though in the past Iraq has certainly produced both chemical and biological agents and probably continues to do so, albeit at a greatly reduced capacity. UNSCOM inspections have revealed evidence of the production of large amounts of biological agents, including anthrax, and has charged that Iraq had ''vastly understated" the amount of biological warfare agents they had manufactured. In response, UNSCOM has set up sophisticated monitoring devices to detect chemical or biological weapons, but these are not foolproof.9 However, the mass production or deployment of such weapons would almost certainly be detected and the weapons destroyed in the unlikely event that Iraq was able and willing to advance production to a level that could be a major threat to neighboring countries.
More important, there are serious questions as to whether the alleged biological agents could be successfully dispersed in a manner which could harm the civilian population, given the rather complicated technology required. For example, a vial of biological weapons on the tip of a missile would almost certainly be destroyed on impact or dispersed harmlessly. Frightening scenarios regarding mass fatalities (rom a small amount of anthrax assumes that the Iraqis have successfully cultivated the rare strain lethal to human beings (an anthrax bacillus is usually fatal to animals but rarely to hum ) and have developed the highly sophisticated means of distributing them by missile or aircraft. To become a lethal weapon, highly concentrated amounts of the spores must be inhaled and then left untreated by antibiotics. Similarly, the winds would have to be just right, no rain would fall, the spray nozzles would not clog, the population would not be vaccinated and everyone would stay around the area targeted to be attacked.
It is also hard to imagine that an Iraqi aircraft, presumably some kind of drone, would somehow be able to penetrate the air space of neighboring countries, much less far-off Israel, without being shot down. Most of Iraq's neighbors, and particularly Israel, have sophisticated antiaircraft capability. Similarly, as mentioned above there is no evidence that Iraq's Scud missiles and launchers survived the Gulf War. Indeed, UNSCOM reported in 1992 that Iraq had no launchers for their missiles or even any engines. Israeli military analyst Meir Stieglitz, writing in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, noted that
there is no such thing as a long-range Iraqi missile with an effective biological warhead. No one has found an Iraqi biological warhead. The chances of Iraq having succeeded in developing operative warheads without tests are zero.10
Some Security Council members have protested that, unlike his predecessor, current UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler has not been impartial and seems to be pushing a political agenda. Indeed, largely as a result of U.S. influence, U.N. weapons monitoring has at times appeared more humiliating, indeterminate and punitive than necessary for meeting the goal of monitoring and destroying weapons of mass destruction. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine has sharply criticized Butler for making accusations against Iraq which went beyond any evidence provided by UNSCOM to the Security Council.11 While the scarier scenarios played out by Butler should not be totally discounted, Saddam's harassment of U.N. personnel is far more likely a desperate power play by a weakened tyrant than indication that Iraq is hiding anything potentially threatening to its neighbors. Indeed, UNSCOM has been unable to come up with any evidence that Iraq has been concealing prohibited weapons since October 1995.12
A THREAT TO WHOM?
In accusing either an individual or a nation of a crime, or even of the potential for committing a crime, the accuser should be willing to make a plausible case about what would motivate the criminal. The Clinton administration was never able to make a plausible case about what Iraq would gain by attacking its neighbors with biological weapons and what risks it would take in doing so. Indeed, the Israeli government has been quite explicit that it would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iraq in retaliation. The fact remains that Saddam has far more to gain by creating a crisis with the United States - and thereby increasing his popularity with the Arab masses - than engaging in a suicidal attack with biological weapons against another country. Despite a great deal of evidence documenting Iraq's intention to produce anthrax bacillus, there has been no plausible scenario as to how or why the Iraqis would deliver these to other countries. Indeed, during the Gulf War, Saddam still had a large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons as well as scores of ground-to-ground missiles and aircraft. In the course of that conflict, with his nation being attacked in the heaviest bombing raids in history by the largest multinational armed force ever assembled, a situation where a leader would be most tempted to use such weaponry, he did not do so. The Clinton administration has been unable to make a convincing case as to why Saddam would suddenly be motivated to make such an attack now, when not even provoked.
This raises another question regarding who would be the potential victims of such an Iraqi biological weapons attack. Even if we were to assume that Iraq had the motivation and capability to launch such an attack by air, these weapons would certainly be no threat to the United States. In addition, virtually none of Iraq's neighbors within range of Iraqi missiles believed that military action was the most appropriate response. The only real exception was Israel, which has a nuclear deterrent against such potential attacks as well as substantial conventional weapons capability with which to launch massive preemptive strikes against Iraq if they felt it was necessary. Many Americans started to question why the Clinton administration was so willing to place American lives at risk and spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to protect countries that did not feel they needed protection or could easily protect themselves.
A far more likely scenario for an Iraqi distribution of such biological agents would be through terrorists smuggling them clandestinely into targeted countries. Such a possibility requires aggressive counterintelligence efforts by the United States and other potentially targeted nations, but they are not the sort of contingency that a heavy bombing campaign would prevent. Indeed, such a disproportionate preemptive military strike would more likely encourage rogue elements of Iraqi intelligence or an allied terrorist group to engage in such an attack as an act of revenge for the heavy Arab casualties resulting from American air strikes.
THE UTILITY OF BOMBING
Unlike previous post-Gulf-War attacks against Iraq, which were relatively smallscale, the planned U.S. bombing campaign was to have been sustained and massive. However, the chance of such a bombing campaign destroying all of Iraq's laboratories or storage facilities - for biological weapons was remote. Unlike chemical or nuclear weapons production, there are no large, visible and stationary processing facilities. An entire operation could take place in a facility the size of a kitchen and could be packed up and moved at will. Furthermore, if the raw materials are in hand, some biological weapons can be produced as easily as fermenting beer, so any stockpiles destroyed could have been replaced virtually overnight.
More seriously, military strikes would have likely destroyed the ongoing inspection efforts. Even when the Iraqi government was banning inspectors from so-called "presidential sites," most of the weapons inspection program was continuing despite the Iraqi government's limitations and harassment. Military action would almost certainly have led to the expulsion of all U.N. inspectors. Essentially, the United Nations would have gone from a 95 percent compliance rate to a 0 percent compliance rate, which was a major reason why most UNSCOM officials opposed such a military response. The British Foreign Office warned that if UNSCOM halted its monitoring, Iraq could resume its production of weapons immediately, with chemical and biological weapons developed within weeks.13
General Charles Horner, who commanded U.S. air forces in the 1991 Gulf War, stated, "Using force could have negative consequences - and it probably would not solve our major problem: Destroying nuclear, biological and chemical weapons." He added, "Ultimately, neither an air nor a ground invasion would solve the conflict over weapons of mass destruction. We will still need trained inspection teams to look for biological and chemical weapons."14
Since the 1991 Gulf War and the subsequent inspections regime destroyed essentially every capability the Iraqi government had to produce or deploy weapons of mass destruction, the only implements remaining were those that could not easily be removed or hidden - laboratory samples, scientific instruments and computerware - which cannot be destroyed through an aerial bombing campaign. Good intelligence capability, not firepower, is the most effective means of countering whatever threat such laboratories might harbor. Indeed, even during the Gulf War - the heaviest bombing in world history - allied bombers were unable to destroy a single Scud missile on the ground because they did not know where these mobile weapons were at a given time. A 1996 report by the General Accounting Office charged the Pentagon with grossly exaggerating the effectiveness of its most expensive high tech aircraft, missiles and "smart bombs."15 As late as November 1997, a senior intelligence official acknowledged, in reference to anthrax production facilities, "If we knew where they were and how much there were, we'd go and get them," but that there was no way to do so.1 ' Fortunately, the United Nations has the ultimate intelligence network available to them in the form of UNSCOM, which would have almost certainly been expelled in the event of a U.S. bombing.
Support for U.S. military action began to unravel when many mainstream to conservative analysts began to raise questions about whether such military action made sense. The three major and several minor U.S. air strikes against Iraq since the Gulf War appear to have done little except to demonstrate some vague concept of American "resolve." It became increasingly apparent that the proposed massive air strikes would do little more.
THE LACK OF INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
The major reason the United States did not go through the Security Council in order to get the formal support required under the U.N. Charter for military action was that there was virtually no support for the U.S. position. Part of this lack of support came from anger at the American refusal to pay its $1.6 billion in dues owed to the United Nations. However, most of the opposition came from the failure of the United States to make a credible case as to why military action was necessary. As the legal grounds weakened, American officials moved from speaking in terms of upholding U.N. Security Council resolutions to equally dubious claims of American "national interest." As world opposition increased, so did the perceived arrogance of American leaders. Secretary of State Albright went as far as to proclaim, "If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."17
Of U.S. Western allies, only Britain unreservedly backed the administration, with some qualified additional support from Canada, Portugal, Australia and Germany.· Virtually every other country, while firm in their insistence that Iraq cease its interference with U.N. inspection teams, opposed military action. Albright claimed that her tour of world leaders in early February was "successful," though she acknowledged that she was "not asking for support" but only "explaining to our allies what the U.S. was going to do."18 Secretary of Defense William Cohen had his own tour soon thereafter, but found similarly little support. Meanwhile, world leaders, including Pope John Paul II, were speaking out with increased intensity against an American bombing campaign.
Unlike the case of the 1991 Gulf War, there was virtually no support from Arab governments. The Clinton administration claimed, in remarks widely repeated by the American media, that there was actually far more support for U.S. air strikes by Arab governments than they could admit publicly. However, my contacts in Arab governments, including high-ranking diplomats, were unanimous in their assertion that not only was there no such quiet backing of U.S. policy, but that the willingness of Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait to serve as bases for a military operation came at considerable reluctance and only after enormous American pressure.19 Indeed, Bahrain later withdrew its offer.20
There was some concern in Washington about reaction to U.S. air strikes in Russia, where nationalist sentiments would be inflamed and the anti-American stance of communists and rightist hardliners would be enhanced, perhaps jeopardizing arms-control efforts and giving a boost to anti-Western candidates in upcoming Russian elections. State Department officials began to express private concerns about how the greatest risk to American credibility would come not in backing down from the threat of military strikes but from going ahead in the face of such widespread global condemnation.
U.S. double standards have greatly harmed American credibility in the region. Most Arabs question why the Clinton administration insists that it is okay for Israel to have weapons of mass destruction and for the United States to bring weapons of mass destruction into the region but not for Iraq to procure weapons of mass destruction. This is particularly true since U.N. Security Council resolution 687, which the Clinton administration claimed it would be enforcing through its threatened bombing campaign, also calls for “establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery....” 21 This, of course, would include Israel. The United States has already lost any credibility around nonproliferation through its toleration, and, at times, support of the Israeli procurement of a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery systems.
It also begs the question as to why the United States protects allied regimes like Israel, Turkey, Morocco and Indonesia from having to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions while insisting on strict compliance, under threat of military strikes, by Iraq. The Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia was responsible for far more civilian deaths than that of Saddam Hussein. Not only was the invasion of East Timor far more brutal than Iraq's invasion of Kuwait,22 but - despite two Security Council resolutions calling for Indonesia's immediate withdrawal - the occupation still stands after more than 22 years. The use of the United Nations to advance its own foreign policy agenda comes across as all the more audacious given the huge U.S. financial debt to the world body.
In securing the support of a number of key Arab states for Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the United States implicitly agreed to support a just Israeli-Arab peace settlement. Yet, under the Clinton administration, the United States has continued to arm and subsidize Israeli occupation forces and settlement drives, has repeatedly threatened and utilized its veto in the U.N. Security Council to shield the Israeli government from its international legal obligations and continues to oppose Palestinian statehood even as most Israelis now accept the idea. Most salient is that the United States refuses to enforce already-existing U.N. Security Council resolutions directed at Israel, even declaring them "anachronistic" and "no longer relevant."
Arab concerns about double standards are not new, but they have been given new impetus by the Israeli government's successful efforts over the past two years to sabotage the peace process with hardly any public protest from the Clinton administration. Given the widespread opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq in the Arab world, American air strikes would greatly damage U.S. credibility in the region, increasing anti-American attitudes. Eventually this could threaten pro-Western regimes and strengthen the influence of extremist groups, including terrorists. According to Egypt's semi-official alAhram,
Current tensions in the region should be blamed on Israel, not Iraq. Each time the United States toughens its line on Iraq and overlooks the nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal of Israel, which occupies Arab lands, it exposes its double standards. America will lose whatever remains of its credibility in the region if it launches aggression against Iraq.23
In Jordan, King Hussein called out army tanks and helicopters to suppress angry demonstrations in Amman and other cities throughout the country. Many analysts felt his pro-Western regime could have been threatened had the United States actually launched the air strikes. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak warned that extremists were preparing to take advantage of popular anger over an American bombing campaign against Iraq, saying, "We are going to face a hell of a problem. I cannot stand against the whole weight of public opinion."24 At the urging of the United States and Israel, who have found free expression in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority potentially dangerous, President Yasir Arafat banned all street demonstrations. His edict was nevertheless ignored, resulting in Israeli attacks on demonstrators in the areas demarcating Palestinian and Israeli control. A revealing poll taken by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center in mid-February showed that less than 5 percent of the Palestinian public actually supported Saddam Hussein, but a full 94 percent backed the Iraqis in their showdown with the United States. 25
Not only did staunchly pro-Western regimes like Morocco and Egypt come out against the U.S. plan; Saudi Arabia, which normally restricts its disagreements with U.S. policy to quiet diplomatic channels, was quite public in its protests this time around. It was striking that General Norman Schwarzkopf and other leaders of Operation Desert Storm opposed the proposed aerial bombing campaign, arguing that it would toughen Saddam's resolve to resist the United States. Similarly, General Horner argued that "a ground or aerial assault could backfire" politically and militarily, "turn[ing] our friends, especially in the Arab world, against us. In one swift assault, Mr. Hussein would be transformed from outlaw to Arab martyr."26
DOMESTIC POLITICAL REACTION
In the initial stages of the crisis over inspections, it appeared that there would not be much of a role for American public opinion, or even Congress, in determining administration policies. President Clinton was quite ready to proceed with military action without invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution. While stating that the administration would "welcome" congressional support, they did not think it was necessary. Both Republican Senate leader Trent Lott (MS) and Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle (SD) cosponsored a resolution granting the administration broad authority to take whatever means it deemed necessary to respond to its perceived threat from Iraq. However, the language was so similar to the infamous 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which gave the Johnson administration a blank check to escalate the Vietnam War, that members on both sides of the aisle balked, resulting in a postponement of the vote.
The vote never took place. Nor was there a concerted effort to force the administration to respond to bipartisan concerns about the proposed attacks, despite promises by the leadership of both parties that members of Congress would have the opportunity to raise questions and have them answered. A few selected senators and House members were "briefed" by top-ranking administration officials, but there never were opportunities for a cross-examination of these officials by any of the four House and Senate committees responsible for defense and foreign affairs.
There was, however, widespread opposition from the grassroots. A surprising number of critics were conservatives, who, either on neo-isolationist or utilitarian grounds, questioned the wisdom of the proposed bombing campaigns. The bulk of the antiwar movement, though, did come from the liberal to left end of the political spectrum. The antiwar movement frequently brought up some of the concerns raised in this article, yet most of the dissent seemed to spring from a strong moral opposition to the projected high Iraqi casualty rates among unwilling conscripts and innocent civilians.27 Even General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated a minimum of 1,500 Iraqi civilians would die outright in the proposed bombing campaign,28 in addition to thousands more who would likely die as a consequence of the further destruction to Iraq's already heavily damaged civilian infrastructure. While virtually every American outside of committed pacifists is willing to accept U.S. forces both inflicting casualties and becoming casualties if the cause is just and there is a clear winnable goal, the projected bombing campaign against Iraq simply did not seem worth the blood that would be shed.
Thanks to ambitious efforts by the Clinton administration and a largely sympathetic media to bolster support for U.S. military action, a full 85 percent of the public, according to an ABC poll, supported air strikes against Iraq in late January. A Gallup poll in the second week of February done for CNN and USA Today showed that those supporting such a policy had dropped to 50 percent. Within two weeks, support had dropped to 41 percent with opposition having risen to 54 percent.29 This decline in support may have been a reflection of the fact that, as public opinion polls for some years have also demonstrated, the public is much more concerned about how U.S. foreign policy is perceived by world opinion and the United Nations than American policy makers are.30 Some credit should also be given to the antiwar movement, largely ignored by the media. Placed on the defensive, Albright felt compelled to declare that "this is not about public opinion, but about national security."
Apparently underestimating the growing public opposition to military action, the Clinton administration, in conjunction with the CNN, arranged a "town meeting" at Ohio State University in Columbus as a demonstration to the international community of American resolve. Planners organized the event in such a way as to minimize the risk of officials getting any critical questions. Those in the bleachers were not allowed to ask questions; that privilege was restricted to those with floor seating. Floor tickets were reserved for veterans, ROTC cadets, active-duty military personnel, local politicians, Ohio State University (OSU) faculty and members of College Republicans and Young Democrats. In addition, all questions had to be pre-approved by CNN officials. Writer Rick Theis, a former OSU student-body president, who was scheduled to ask the first question, was denied the right to speak when he refused to allow CNN to pre-screen his question; he was expelled from the auditorium when he protested this act of censorship.31 CNN moderator Bernard Shaw insisted that the only statements made that afternoon would be from Clinton administration officials and that all spoken words from the audience be restricted to short questions.
However, 200-300 protesters made their way into the auditorium, periodically engaging in noisy chanting and other disruptions at what they considered misleading statements by the Clinton administration officials. Seven protesters were expelled for heckling, and one student from a nearby Quaker college was arrested and roughed up by police for unfurling an anti-war banner. More significant, at least a half dozen hard questions from the floor challenging administration policies were placed before Clinton's foreign-policy team. None of the officials responded particularly well; it seemed as if they had never heard such challenges on U.S. policy towards Iraq before. Given the largely uncritical questioning which had been placed before them on the network talk shows during the crisis, this may actually have been the case. In an embarrassing act of McCarthyism, Albright even accused an elementary school teacher, a locally prominent human- rights activist who was a known critic of the Iraqi regime, as being pro Saddam because he questioned her about U.S. double-standards on human rights and international law.
The Columbus event was a public relations disaster for the administration, showing on live television before a global audience that, even in the conservative heartland of America, there was serious dissent over U.S. policy. As President Mubarak noted a few days later, if not even Ohio supports the bombing, why should Egypt?32
While some in the media expressed surprise at the events at the town meeting, a significant but largely underreported antiwar movement had been building for weeks. There was a less-publicized but similar protest which greeted Albright in Columbia, South Carolina, and Bill Richardson had to cancel a speaking engagement at the University of Minnesota due to disruptive protestors. Meanwhile, rallies consisting of thousands of people took place in New York, Washington, San Francisco and other cities across the country. This burgeoning movement was centered within the peace and human-rights community, the churches, various left-wing groups and among Arab-Americans and included large numbers of college students who were barely teenagers during the Gulf War.
It was in the midst of this plummeting public support and a growing antiwar movement that the Clinton administration, following initial reluctance, allowed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to seek a negotiated settlement.
KOFI ANNAN'S AGREEMENT
The United States tried initially to block the secretary general's mission, then to constrain him to the point of impotence. Annan, seeking advice and political support from the Security Council as a whole, went to Baghdad determined to get full Iraqi compliance with UNSCOM, yet with a flexible enough approach so as not to humiliate the government to the point of rejecting the U.N. demands. Ironically, the initial U.S. hostility to the mission may have enhanced the secretary general's credibility with the Iraqis. It was the ineptitude of U.S. diplomacy that enabled Saddam Hussein to capitulate to virtually every American demand yet still be able to declare victory.
Annan was able to accomplish through diplomacy what U.S. threats had failed to do: put Iraq into compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 so as to reduce whatever potential threat may exist from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Part of the problem was that the Clinton administration had backed itself into a comer. By threatening to launch air strikes if the Iraqi government did not comply with American demands, the United States could not back down, even if upon further reflection - the air strikes carried serious political risks. As a result, there was likely a bit of relief in some sectors of the U.S. government that Kofi Annan was able to pull off the agreement. In addition, such an explicit agreement, which came after many hours of hard negotiations, increased the likelihood that the United States will get greater .Security Council cooperation in forcing Iraqi compliance should it renege on the agreement.
When Saddam Hussein backed down in the face of the secretary general's demands, there was no relief, celebration and gratitude that the recalcitrant dictator had finally agreed to live up to his international obligations. Washington was skeptical and more threats were issued. It took a full 48 hours before the Clinton administration reluctantly accepted the agreement, having found itself more isolated in the international community than ever following the British endorsement of Annan's deal. However, Clinton ordered the U.S. force of two aircraft carriers, eighteen other warships, 350 aircraft and 35,000 troops to remain in the Gulf, a deployment which has cost American taxpayers well over $1 billion.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority leader Lott denounced the agreement as a "sellout," arguing that the United States "cannot afford peace at any price." Furthermore, Lott denounced President Clinton for trusting Annan, "someone devoted to building a 'human relationship' with a mass murderer."33 Lott refused to even meet with the secretary general when he visited Washington. Perhaps most ironically, Lott and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) complained that the Clinton administration had allowed the United Nations to make such an agreement, when just days earlier they were justifying U.S. strikes on the grounds of enforcing a U.N. resolution. What these Senate critics seemed to miss was that while Saddam indeed had no right to determine the make-. up of inspection teams, neither does the United States; such decisions are the exclusive prerogative of the United Nations. Meanwhile, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) declared, "We lost without firing a shot." Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) used the analogy of Chamberlain's capitulation to Hitler.34 Even liberal Democrats like John Kerry (D-MA) were arguing that, despite the agreement, it would be "legitimate" for the United States to invade Iraq outright and that such unilateral action would be "within the framework of international law."35
An analysis of U.S. policy towards Iraq cannot be complete without evaluating the impact of sanctions. While there is virtually no opposition to the strict U.N. weapons embargo against Iraq, the embargo against civilian trade has created great controversy due to its humanitarian consequences and questionable political effectiveness.
It was out of Iraq's middle class that could have come the forces capable of successfully challenging Saddam's regime. Having been reduced to penury, struggling to survive, they no longer can serve as an effective political opposition. Thousands have emigrated. Indeed, as more and more families become dependent on government rations for their very survival, they are forced to cooperate even more with the government, and the already high risks of challenging Saddam's rule become too much to reasonably expect of anyone. The lifting of non-military sanctions would allow for the country to be deluged with businesspeople and others, creating an environment far more likely to result in a political opening than the current sanctions regime, which places the country in impoverished isolation under Saddam's grip.
There has been some limited media coverage of the hardships the sanctions have inflicted on the once-prosperous Iraqi middle class, such as professors selling their valuable books, families selling their beloved pets and women selling their family jewelry in order to buy basic necessities, as food prices are now 12,000 times what they were in 1990. Yet it is Iraq's poor, particularly the children, who have suffered the most. Estimates of the total number of Iraqis killed as a result of malnutrition and preventable diseases as a direct consequence of the sanctions have ranged from a quarter million to over one million, the majority of whom have been children. UNICEF estimates that at least 4,500 Iraqi children are dying every month as a result of the sanctions.36 Indeed, perhaps there has been no other time in history when so many people have been condemned to starvation and deaths from preventable diseases due to political decisions made overseas.
While the repressive nature of Baathist rule under Saddam Hussein in the 1980s is legendary, the Iraqi regime maintained a comprehensive and generous welfare state, doing a respectable job of meeting the nutritional, housing and health-care needs of its population. Iraq had the highest per capita caloric intake in the Middle East. Most of the population had direct access to safe water and modern sanitation facilities; there was a wide network of well functioning and well-supplied hospitals and health-care centers.37 The overall economy was strong, with Iraq considered a "middle income" country, importing large numbers of foreign guest workers to fill empty spots in their growing economy. Now, it ranks as one of the most impoverished countries in the world.
According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO),
Four million people, one-fifth of the population, are currently starving to death in Iraq. Twenty-three percent of all children in Iraq have stunted growth, approximately twice the percentage before the war.... The child mortality level in Iraq has risen nearly fivefold since 1990. Alarming food shortages are causing irreparable damage to an entire generation of children.
The FAO further estimates that there has been a 72 percent rise in childhood malnourishment, affecting 32 percent of children under five.38
These deaths are a result of inadequate medical supplies, impure water and nutritional deficiencies. With water purification and sewage systems heavily damaged by American bombing raids in 1991, and with the Iraqis unable to repair these facilities since the embargo prohibits the importation of spare parts, there has been a dramatic increase in typhoid, cholera and other illnesses which had largely been eliminated prior to the 1991 Gulf War. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles, and even their spare parts, are among the items banned. Even materials such as food and medicines not covered by the ban have become difficult to purchase due to the lack of capital.
Iraq's primary source for foreign exchange, oil exportation, is also subject to the embargo, with the exception of a limited amount of petroleum that could be sold for food under strict U.N. monitoring. Until recently, Iraq was allowed to sell only $2 billion in oil for food, and about one-third of that was allocated to Kuwait for reparations and to the United Nations for administrative costs. Though the FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) have given Iraq high marks for their distribution of food and medicine, the United Nations estimates that about $4 billion is the minimum needed to meet basic needs for food and medicines.39 Over initial U.S. objections, the United Nations recently raised that amount to $5.2 billion (or $3.5 billion that actually could go to Iraq), though the lack of spare parts for its oil industry raises questions as to whether Iraq would even be able to produce that much oil.
A full quarter of the school-aged population is no longer in school in a country which previously had near universal primary education. For those who can attend school, books and other educational resources are in extremely short supply.40
The United States has blamed the suffering on the Iraqi regime for its failure to more fully cooperate with the United Nations. Furthermore, there has been some outcry over the Iraqi government's decision to use scarce resources in the construction of opulent mosques and additional palaces, though the Iraqis claim that these function as public-works projects using indigenous materials and paid for in Iraqi dinars, which are worthless outside Iraq. Albright has justified the sanctions in part as a test to prove if Saddam "really cares about his people." Most knowledgeable observers of Iraq recognize that no such test is necessary; Saddam's primary concern has always been his own power.
To add to the country's misery, there has been a dramatic increase of leukemia and stomach cancer in the southern part of the country. These have claimed the lives of thousands of Iraqis living downwind from areas of the 1991 tank battles, in which depleted uranium shells were used by U.S. forces.41 Surprisingly, there is little debate in the U.S. Congress regarding the lifting of sanctions. Indeed, there is some pressure to make it tougher. Senator Helms has called for a total blockade, including food.
With oil prices already quite low, there is some speculation that the British and American determination to keep the sanctions in place may be related to the desire to keep Iraqi oil out of the international market for the benefit of British and American. More likely, however, it is part of the overall punitive, reactive and short-sighted U.S. policy towards Iraq, which is neither as rational as its supporters believe nor as conspiratorial as its opponents charge. Whatever the reason, as word of the humanitarian crisis becomes increasingly disseminated in the United States and other countries, pressure has grown for a change in policy. Though the humanitarian imperative has failed to resonate with the Clinton administration or Congress, the fact that the sanctions have had absolutely no tangible benefit in altering Iraqi policy may be enough to persuade U.S. policy makers to liberalize the sanctions regime to ease the human suffering.
Given the nature of the Iraqi regime, it is much easier to criticize U.S. policy than to present credible alternatives. However, there are a number of non-military options still available to the United States to place pressure on Saddam Hussein's government should there be further non-compliance with its international obligations and perhaps even to force an end to Saddam's tyrannical rule.
Thus far, the United States has given Iraq little motivation to cooperate within its international obligations. For example, Madeleine Albright declared in March 1997 that the United States would veto any U.N. Security Council efforts to lift sanctions, even if Iraq finally came into full compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions; only if Saddam Hussein no longer ruled Iraq would the United States allow for the sanctions regime to end. President Clinton reiterated this position last November. This not only goes far beyond the original U.N. mandate, it gives the Iraqi government no incentive to cooperate: Saddam might be willing to make further compromises on issues of weapons production and inspector access if that would result in lifting the sanctions, but not if sanctions would remain intact anyway. Furthermore, no one expects that Saddam would give up power voluntarily. Indeed, Saddam's harassment of U.N. inspectors is based largely on the realization that he has nothing to lose as long as the United States will block the lifting of sanctions even if he complies fully.
For sanctions to work, one needs a carrot as well as a stick, something which the United States until recently has failed to recognize. Since the most recent crisis, however, there is some indication that the Clinton administration may be moving more towards the international consensus that could allow for sanctions to be lifted prior to the ouster of Saddam Hussein. What the United States, in consultation with other members of the Security Council, needs to do is to offer specific promises for lifting non-military sanctions in return for compliance with inspections and other outstanding issues of U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 and to be specific as to what positive responses could be expected for what specific improvements in behavior.
Furthermore, the United States must pledge to enforce other outstanding U.N. Security Council resolutions, and not simply single out Iraq (and other hostile Arab states like Libya and Sudan). As long as the United States allows allied regimes like Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco and Israel to flout U.N. Security Council resolutions, any sanctimonious calls for strict compliance by the Iraqi government will simply be dismissed as hypocritical and mean-spirited, whatever the merit of the actual complaints. This is particularly important since recent Iraqi violations have been largely of a technical nature. They also fall under a resolution unprecedented in its level of interference in areas traditionally considered a country's sovereign rights. The aforementioned cases of ongoing military occupations of neighboring countries are, in contrast, direct contraventions of the U.N. Charter.
In a similar vein, the United States must support a more comprehensive arms control regime for the region. This would mean the establishment of the Middle East as a zone where all weapons of mass destruction are banned. This would necessarily force the United States to end its practice of bringing nuclear weapons into the region on its planes and ships as well as force Israel to dismantle is sizable nuclear arsenal. A more holistic program of nonproliferation might also include, for example, a five-year program where not just Iraqi missiles, but Syrian, Israeli and other missiles would also be phased out. As with its highly-selective insistence on the enforcement of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the double standards in U.S. policy make even the most legitimate concerns about Iraqi weapons development virtually impossible to pursue successfully. As described above, U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, which was the basis of American complaints against Iraq, explicitly states that the disarmament of Iraq should be part of a longer-term program for the abolition of weapons of mass destruction throughout the region.
Finally, the United States remains one of the few governments in the world that rejects any linkage between Gulf-security issues and Israeli-Palestinian issues.. Few people familiar with the region, however, fail to recognize the importance of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would include the establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel with a shared Jerusalem, in order to weaken the appeal and power of demagogues like Saddam Hussein. There is also little question of the pivotal role the United States plays in the peace process; the Clinton administration's failure to force Israeli compromise is the major reason for the current impasse in the negotiations. More fundamentally, there needs to be a greater understanding by policy makers of Iraqi politics and society.
Despite rhetorical flourishes, it appears few Americans are actually willing to risk a ground assault on Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein. This would almost certainly result in heavy casualties on both sides and very possibly a chaotic and violent aftermath with which U.S. forces would have to contend. This is why there was such a strong consensus among U.S. military officials in 1991 opposing an assault into the heavily populated center of the country in order to remove Saddam's regime following the relatively easy expulsion of his troops from occupied Kuwait and the routing of his forces in the desert areas of southern Iraq. Then, as now, such a ground assault would be illegal under international law and would result in widespread global condemnation.
The unfortunate reality is that Saddam Hussein will likely remain in power until the Iraqi people are able to overthrow him themselves. Appreciating how this might best be done could be greatly improved if the United States would be more open to greater cooperation with Iraq's exiled opposition. In recent years, however, the United States has tended to dismiss the Iraqi opposition from consideration or inclusion in its decision making. The most notorious episode was when the United States allowed the Iraqi armed forces to use helicopter gunships to crush the anti-Saddam uprisings in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War in March 1991, despite having previously encouraged the opposition to rise up. There were other ways the United States has marginalized the opposition: From the latter part of the Reagan administration until after the Gulf War, the State Department barred any of its members from even meeting the Iraqi opposition. More recently, several Iraqi opposition leaders living in the United States have been jailed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on charges that have not been made public.42
Ahmad Chalabi, president of the exiled Iraqi National Congress, celebrated the agreement that Kofi Annan negotiated because it "stopped a futile bombing campaign that would have killed thousands of Iraqis." Indeed, many Iraqi exiles believed that Saddam Hussein actually wanted the United States to bomb his country, given that he and his immediate circle would be safe in their bunkers while the enormous destruction around them would be blamed on the United States, enhancing his standing still further. Chalabi testified this spring before the U.S. Senate that
For too long, U.S.-Iraq policy has been decided by a small group of so called experts who view the Iraqi people as incapable of self-government as a people who require a brutal dictatorship to live and work together. Such a view is racist. It runs counter to 7,000 years of Iraqi history.43
Unfortunately, the relevant perspectives of the Iraqi opposition have never been of particular concern to successive U.S. administrations.
The establishment of a Radio-Free Iraq, similar to the broadcast stations the United States currently is funding in support of right-wing Cuban exiles, and other efforts of supporting the Iraqi opposition needs to be considered as well. This could even go so far as the recognition of a provisional Iraqi government formed by a broad spectrum of the opposition, followed by the unfreezing of the hundreds of millions of dollars of Iraqi assets overseas to fund their efforts. Should it make sense to take a more activist role, the United States could extend the no-fly zone throughout the country or even establish no-drive zones for the military.
When it became apparent that the case for enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions was legally weak and that the bombing campaign would not destroy the country's biological weapons capability or drive Saddam from office, the United States lowered its goals to, in the words of President Clinton, “substantially reduce or delay Saddam Hussein's capacities to develop weapons of mass destruction and to deliver them on his neighbors."44 When even that more modest goal started looking increasingly dubious, the push for air strikes came down to simply an issue of enhancing U.S. "credibility," even though a White House official admitted, "We had a tough time seeing where this was going to take us." 45 Indeed, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger admitted that "we can't bomb him into submission."46 Some Congressional Democratic leaders privately acknowledged, after consultations with high administration officials, that there seemed to be little real strategic or political planning outside of just bombing the country extensively. 47
Indeed, there are reports that American officials regard the Iraqi government's current cooperation with inspection efforts as "a mixed blessing."48 State Department spokesman James Rubin went as far as to claim that "even if the inspections of the palaces went reasonably well, that is not the issue." 49 This has raised concerns that the Clinton administration may once again be willing to move the goalposts in order to provoke a confrontation with Iraq.
There may actually be credibility to critics' charges that the exaggerated view of Saddam's threat is largely a means to justify the ongoing U.S. military dominance in the region and to continue high American military expenditures difficult to otherwise justify in the post Cold War era.50 As long as the ongoing tensions remain with the Iraqi regime, the United States can maintain its base and pre-positioning rights in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, keeping a major military presence in this strategically and economically important region. It also sends a signal that any adversary regime that possesses even the potential for creating a credible military challenge to U.S. prerogatives in such strategic regions as the Middle East will be destroyed.
Strategic analyst Michael Klare has labeled this myopia as the "sole superpower syndrome," which he describes as "a sense of nearly godlike power derived from the absence of any balancing forces in the international system." Klare goes on, in reference to U.S. plans to attack Iraq, "With no curbs on American adventurism, U.S. leaders are undeterred from engaging in impetuous and ill-conceived actions..."'1 Had the United States gone ahead with the threatened attacks, it would have demonstrated a willingness and capability to engage in a massive military operation without regard for the concerns of its allies, international law, loss of human life, environmental damage or the sentiments of its own citizens.
The errors in U.S. policy towards Iraq in recent years and their political and humanitarian consequences are easy to document, and there is little evidence that the Clinton administration is any wiser now than previously. However, a war which many analysts, including Klare, assumed was almost inevitable, was indeed prevented by the combined opposition of the American public and the international community. Perhaps, then, the lesson from the recent series of crises is one of profound hope: that international norms, common sense and moral imperatives can ultimately prevail - even when it comes to U.S. policy in the Middle East.
1 Sheila Carapico, "Legalism and Realism in the Gulf" Middle East Report, Spring 1998, p. 5.
2 Cited in Noam Chomsky, "Rogue States," Zeta, May, 1998, p. 20.
4 William Blum, "Anthrax for Export: U.S. Companies Sold Iraq the Ingredients for a Witch's Brew," The Progressive, April 1998, p. 18.
5 It is noteworthy that both Syria and Cuba remain on the list of terrorist supporters despite the failure of successive administrations to demonstrate any backing of terrorist groups by these countries for more than a decade.
6 Chomsky, op. cit., p. 26.
7 Cited in Blum, op. cit., p. 20.
8 Institute for Policy Studies report, "Iraq's Current Military Capability," February 1998.
10 Cited by Rep. Cynthia McKinney, on PBS "Newshour," February 10, 1998.
11 Robert Swann, "France's Failed Mission," Middle East International, February 13, 1998, p. 5.
12 Barton Gellman, The Washington Post, March 20, 1998.
13 British Foreign Office Report to Parliament, February 4, 1998.
14 Charles A. Horner, "Military Force Has Its Limits," The New York Times, February 7, 1998.
15 Tim Wiener, "'Smart' Weapons Were Overrated, Study Concludes." The New York Times, July 9, 1996.
16 Institute for Policy Studies, op. cit..
17Cited in Andrew J. Bacevich and Lawrence F. Kaplan, "Battle Wary," The New Republjc. May 25, 1998, p.20.
18 Quoted by Stephen Lee Meyers in The New York Times, January 29, 1998.
19 Background briefings. January 30-February 8, 1998 in Washington, New York and various Arab capitals.
20 Middle East Report, op. cit., p. 2.
21 U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, paragraph 14.
22 Most estimates place the death toll of Kuwaitis and foreign residents during the Iraqi occupation at around 2,000, whereas more than 200,000 East Timorese have been killed under Indonesian occupation, literally one hundred times as many people.
23 Cited in Donald Neff, "Demanding Iraqi Submission," Middle East International, 13 February 1998, p. 5.
24Quoted by Douglas Jehl in The New York Times. January 18, 1998.
25 Quotes and polling figures cited in Rachelle Marshall, "The U.S. Ignores Links Between Iraq and the Collapse of the Peace Process," in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1998, p. 20-21.
26 Horner, op. cit.
27 Sec my article, "The Peace Movement and the Middle East," Arab Studies Quarterly, Spring 1998.
28 Cited in editorial, "The US-Iraq Crisis," Middle East Report, Spring 1998 (Vol. 28, No. I), p. I.
29 Cited in "Peaceniks Nix War?" The Nation, March 16, 1998, p. 7.
30 Eric Alterman, "Speaking Truth to Power," The Nation. March 16, 1998, citing polls by the Pew Foundation and the Program on International Policy Attitudes.
31 When the audience protested Theis's expulsion, he was eventually allowed to return and asked the final question of the session. Reported by Jon Strange on CNN.
32 Ironically, Lott was a strong supporter of Presidents Reagan and Bush, who developed human relationships with other mass murderers, such as Indonesian dictator Suharto.
33 This analogy is ludicrous on a number of grounds: it was Saddam who had given in, not the Allies; Saddam, unlike Hitler, was no longer demanding territorial concessions from neighboring countries; Saddam was the leader of a devastated and impoverished country whereas Hitler was in charge of the world's largest industrial and military power of the day.
34 Cited in Chomsky, p. 20. .
35 See ''The Health Conditions of the Population in Iraq Since the Gulf Crisis," Geneva: World Health Organization, March 1996; "Special Report: FAO/WFP Food Supply and Nutritional Assessment Mission to Iraq," Rome: FAO, 1997.
36 The Economist Intelligence Unit, Iraq Country Report, 1995-96, p. 6.
37 UNICEF, "Nearly One Million Children Malnourished in Iraq," November 16, 1997.
38 Center for Social and Economic Research, "UN Sanctioned Suffering: A Human Rights Assessment of United Nations Sanctions on Iraq" 1996.
39 UNICEF, op. cit.,
40 Robert Fisk, "Allies Blamed for Iraq Cancer Torment," The Independent, March 3, 1998. There is some speculation that the widespread use of depleted uranium might also be responsible for "Gulf War Syndrome" reported by U.S. veterans.
41 Cited in Christopher Hitchens, "Saddam's (Non-C.I.A.) Opposition," The Nation, April 13, 1998, p. 8.
43 Cited in Neff, op. cit., p. 4.
44 Cited in The Nation, March 16, 1998, p. 3.
45 ABC News, February 8, 1998.
46 Background briefings on Capitol Hill, mid-February.
47 Gellman, op. cit.
48 Quoted by Barbara Crossette in The New York Times, April 17, 1998.
49 See my article, "The Function of Rogue States in U.S. Middle East Policy,'' Middle East Policy, Vol. V No. 2, May 1997.
50 Michael Klare, "The Sole-Superpower Syndrome," In These Times, March 22, 1998.