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Who is "we?"(19 posts)

Who is "we?"eyebob
Mar 17, 2003 12:54 PM
Recently our President remarked that is was 15 years ago that Hussein gassed his own people. Any one recall what type of media coverage there was of this event at that time? Who were in power that would have known of this? Why are we not putting their feet to the fire?

I ask for my "elders" to enlighten me. Those who were around and news saavy enough to remember what type of reporting there was on this, please inform me.

(What he recently said....)
On this very day 15 years ago, Saddam Hussein launched a chemical weapons attack on the Iraqi village of Halabja. With a single order the Iraqi regime killed thousands of men and women and children, without mercy or without shame. Saddam Hussein has proven he is capable of any crime. We must not permit his crimes to reach across the world.
The news ain't what it used to be...TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 1:09 PM
As recently as 1988 (when these events took place) worldwide communication was nothing like what it is now. Saddam gassed people in remote villages that barely existed in the minds of the outside community. I don't believe anybody [in the public] was aware of what was going on. In terms of feet-to-the-fire over the Iran-Iraq war strategy from the US perspective, the Iran-Contra Affair saw testimony before Congress, etc.; plenty of feet were at the fire. US doctrine at the time also didn't really support going on humanitarian missions to help ethnic minorities.
So that's an excuse?eyebob
Mar 18, 2003 10:31 AM
The fact that we "didn't really support going on humanitarian missions to help ehtnic minorities?" excuses us (at least the leadership wonks) of not publicizing this? Terrible.

The Government isn't in the news reporting business...TJeanloz
Mar 18, 2003 10:39 AM
Somebody is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe there was any newsmedia coverage of these events until well after the fact. I think the news sort of leaked out -- via Iran, which wasn't exactly considered a credible source. I'm not really sure to what degree anybody in the Western world had decent information about the attacks until much later.

But in any case, blame the New York Times and Washington Post for not reporting a newsworthy event.
The Government isn't in the news reporting business...eyebob
Mar 18, 2003 10:54 AM
I do blame the media for sitting on their asses. But I blame myself for not seeking out the stories on the alternative media airwaves too. I'm just constantly disgusted with what I see as "convenient" foreign policy supported by several administrations. I've also become very pessimistic that our mainstream media have become "whores" in the sense that they have become too close to those with whom they cover. I've been guilty in my life of giving a break or two to someone who didn't really deserve it just because I was close to them.

"Alternative Media" -- way off topic,TJeanloz
Mar 18, 2003 11:23 AM
I used to be a pretty big fan of the "Alternative Media", but once I got to know some of the stories they were reporting, it became clear that the hyperbole from many of those outlets is so excessive that it's difficult to know what to believe. I know of a couple of cases where the reporter quoted somebody, and later said: "well, I didn't hear him say it, but it sounds like something he would have said." The AM just seems too driven by another agenda (not that the "mainstream" media isn't) and is about as fair and balanced as Fox News.
Mar 17, 2003 1:17 PM
A Google search found these:

Testimony before the US Senate:

And a followup of what the world did:

The pictures and the text are disturbing.

These pictures help me remember...hycobob
Mar 17, 2003 8:20 PM
why we are sending troops in the first place. I remember the news accounts soon after 9/11 about "middle-eastern" men looking to rent and purchase crop-dusting type planes in the US. This could take place right here and no one would be the wiser until it was too late. Bombs aren't the only method of spreading these poisons.
Iraq wasn't a blip on the screenDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 1:57 PM
before it invaded Kuwait. Saddam screwed up, big time. He could have quietly gassed people for decades and gotten away with it.
Iraq screw-upContinental
Mar 17, 2003 2:10 PM
He also could have taken about 30 miles of oil rich land along the Kuwait-Iraq border instead of completely overunning Kuwait. He should have called it an historic border dispute, grabbed the land and oil, then built his weapons and military with French, German, and Russian assistance over the last decade. If he only would have had a little patience and self control....
total bsgtx
Mar 17, 2003 2:54 PM
and we let Saddam go after the Kurds again after the Gulf War, and Turkey uses our weapons to kill Kurds all the time. This isn't about the Kurds.
agree, "Made in USA" chem warfare against the Kurds. nmSpunout
Mar 18, 2003 6:42 AM
re: Who is "we?"Fredrico
Mar 17, 2003 3:07 PM
Iraq was made into one country by the British. It is populated by several ethnic groups, Shiites in the south, Kurds in the north, who have no particular like for each other.

There's no doubt the guy should be taken out. It's just a shame he has to take a few thousand innocent Iraqi's with him.

With regard to "putting their feet to the fire," American foreign policy, especially when justifying a war, is always full of moral outrage. That's what gets the politicians to give the money, and the soldiers to fight. After the smoke clears, the real reasons usually end up being more pragmatic, based on power and influence (security).

And in Vietnam, Iran-Contra, aiding Saddam in his war with Iran, the Taliban fighting Russia, the moral question turns around, and makes our leaders appear as if they've made a deal with the devil.
re: Who is "we?"Me Dot Org
Mar 17, 2003 4:29 PM
This week in Turkey, a major protest remembering the Iraqi gas attack was stopped before it began by the Turkish police. Turkey recently outlawed the major Kurdish political party. The Turks are extremely fearful as to the effect a semi-autonomous Kurdish Northern Iraq would have upon the Kurds in its own country. The U.S. relationship with Turkey has always colored our condemnation of oppression against the Kurds.

But as to the answer of your question: at first the Reagan administration was skeptical of the reports of gas attacks, many of which came from Iran. After well-documented evidence was shown, Marlin Fitzwater, Reagan's press secretary said:

"Everyone in the administration saw the same reports you saw last night. They were horrible, outrageous, disgusting and should serve as a reminder to all countries of why chemical warfare should be banned."

But the United States issued no public threats or demands against the Iraqis for its actions.

Remember, these attacks came at the end of years of bloody warfare with Iran, where Iranians were sending thousands of children to die in battle. There had already been gas attacks against Iran. Quite frankly, I think people were a bit desensitized to horrible news coming out of Iran and Iraq.

As far as the administration goes, I think a lot of people were not unhappy to see Iran and Iraq bleed each other in warfare. Remember, the Iran / Iraq War started after the fall of the Shah, while Americans were being held hostage in Iran. I think the feeling was "my enemy's enemy is my friend". Saddam Hussein was fighting the government that had held Americans hostage. If he was a dictator, his outlook was a little more Western than Islamic Fundamentalism.
Something tells me. . .czardonic
Mar 17, 2003 4:50 PM
. . .there would have been more outrage from the Reagan/Bush Administrations if Iran had done the gassing.
So why did we pick sides?Fredrico
Mar 18, 2003 9:49 AM
We should have left Saddam and Iran to duke it out. We weren't acting on moral impulse, any notion of helping a good guy fight a bad guy. We were protecting the Iraqi oil fields. It was in our "best interests" to contain Iran. If we had to give the man who fanied himself after Stalin the means to hold off Iran, well, too bad. Just look the other way. Our goody-too-shoes media was asleep at the wheel.
Iraq is secular. Iran is stridently Islamic. (nm)czardonic
Mar 18, 2003 10:31 AM
Iraq is secular. Iran is stridently Islamic. (nm)Fredrico
Mar 20, 2003 11:17 AM
Well, Bush and his conservative, fundamentalist Christian friends have more in common with those Iranian Muslim fundamentalists than with Saddam Hussein. They're equally zealous in their agendas. In fact, that's why Bush went to war, against the sanity of the rest of the world.
I tend to agree.czardonic
Mar 20, 2003 12:14 PM
Fundamentalism of any kind is a threat to freedom.