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Invading Iraq Is Artificially Justified and Will Exacerbate Terrorist Threat

by Lloyd Jansen

October 17, 2002

The artificiality of the supposed need to invade Iraq can be exposed in many ways. One good way is to comparatively examine our relationships with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iraq is our stated enemy while we praise Saudi Arabia as a steady friend. There is no clarion call to invade Saudi Arabia, but it is far more the threat to the United States. If there is no imperative need to invade Saudi Arabia (and there isn't -- alternatives are available), then there is certainly no need to invade Iraq.

How many know that NATO authorities raided a Saudi government aid agency last October in Sarajevo, Bosnia, discovering maps of Washington, D.C. with government buildings marked as targets for terrorist attacks? They also found an instructional computer program for the use of crop dusters and materials for manufacturing fake credit cards and even State Department identification badges. The media gave virtually no notice to this raid, but then there was no government reaction to report about. No, the President was remarkably quiet. The news seemingly was kept from the press, only being published four months after the fact. (See A.P. articles, 2/22/02). Does anyone doubt that if this had been an Iraqi office, that this would be Exhibit A in the case against Iraq and that we would have been told about it repeatedly by the Administration?

None of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Iraqi, but 15 were Saudis. Osama bin Laden is Saudi and Saudis fund Al Qaida. The Saudis have obstructed our investigation of these Saudi terrorists. Who supported the Taliban? Not Iraq, which viewed the mullahs as religious extremists. But Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries in the world that officially recognized (and funded) the government, even as it harbored Osama bin Laden.

Why was Saudi Arabia so friendly with the Taliban? Why were so many of the hijackers from Saudi Arabia? Perhaps it was only natural. The Saudi royal family embraces, sponsors, and promotes the Saudi sect of Islam called Wahhabism (even as the royal family personally lives a lifestyle outside the Wahhabist requirements). The Wahhabists, like the Taliban, reject modernism and its perceived representatives, such as the United States. The Saudi Government continues to fund the schools in which religious leaders teach hatred of the United States. And Iraq? While Hussein ruthlessly oppresses the Shiite majority, his state is secular. He opposes the religious extremism of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and the Saudis that fed the terrorists responsible for September 11. That is one reason that bin Laden asked the Saudis to let him lead a Saudi army of mujahideen against Hussein during the Gulf War.

While Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records around, Iraq's is indeed worse still. But why was Hussein's record of no concern before his invasion of Kuwait when the Bush Senior administration had warm relations with Iraq? And why, now, does the current Administration have no problems with the Saudi's record? Read the 2001 Amnesty International report on the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia and you might think you are reading about the former Taliban government in Afghanistan: " Women continued to face severe discrimination, and suspected political or religious activists continued to suffer arbitrary arrest and detention or punishment under secretive criminal judicial procedures which deny the most basic rights, such as the right to be defended by a lawyer." The government employs torture and dismemberment. It bans political parties and unions.

Of the 25 nationalities represented among the Guantánamo Bay "terrorist" detainees, a large number are Saudi. None are Iraqi.

We actually never stopped our war with Iraq. U.S. and British jets regularly bomb Iraq, sometimes killing civilians. Our embargo produces the equivalent of the World Trade Center/Pentagon murders every two to four weeks. Yes, Hussein is responsible for this. But would we flush out a murderer, barricaded in his house, by starving his hostages? For this slaughter of innocent civilians, mostly children, we are reviled throughout the Islamic world. This feeds terrorists. A bloody war in the streets of Iraq will feed more terrorism. It may lead to uprisings against governments of our allies. Hussein, under attack, might actually unleash biological weapons if we corner him. Bush's cause is not only immoral; it is reckless. Pre-emptive war will set a new very destabilizing standard for the world. Can China can preemptively invade Taiwan? Can India preemptively invade Pakistan?

Why are we so friendly with Saudi Arabia? Why must we go to war in Iraq? The Administrationís reasons donít wash. Saudi Arabia has the largest known oil reserves in the world and we have a deal with Saudi Arabia dating to 1945. We protect the corrupt dictatorship and it sells us cheap oil. We had a similar deal with Hussein right up until he invaded Kuwait. Whatís our goal now? We want another compliant oil partner. Iraq has the second largest known oil reserves. Exploration could reveal two or three times the now known amount. For this, we are about to go to war. For this we kill and immiserate more innocent Iraqis, shed the blood of our own good young soldiers, and increase the terrorist threat against the United States and our allies.

Speak out, America.

Lloyd Jansen holds a Ph.D. in political science and is a faculty member at Green River Community College in Auburn WA. He also gives public lectures on the ideological roots of Al Qaida and the U.S. response.

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Last updated: November 8, 2002