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Posted By: wtnf
Date: 11, March 03, at 1:51 p.m.


MARCH 11. Very little attention has been paid to Stephen Pelletiere's op ed piece in the New York Times (Jan. 31, "A War Crime or an Act of War").

Pelletiere was the CIA's senior political analyst on Iraq during the 1980s war between Iraq and Iran, and later served as a professor at the US Army War College (1988-2000).

His op ed piece attacks the theory that Saddam gassed the Kurds. You know, "Saddam gassed his own people." That oft-repeated charge that makes up a significant part of the administration's argument for war now.

Pelletiere had access to a lot of the classified data that was generated around the Kurd matter. He was in charge of the 1991 Army probe that investigated the question: How would Saddam fight a war against the US?

The major gassing incident occurred in March 1988 at a town called Halabja. "But the truth is," Pelletiere writes, "all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day." This occurred near the end of the Iraq-Iran war.

Pelletiere writes, "…immediately after the battle [at Halabja] the United States Defense Information Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas."

Obviously, this report has been intentionally ignored by several presidents and their major mouthpieces.

Pelletiere goes on to write that both the Iraqis and the Iranian troops used gas at Halabja. "The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated that they had been killed with a blood agent---that is, a cyanide-based gas---which Iran was known to have. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time."

If Bush were simply saying that Saddam deserves to die because he used mustard gas, then Bush might want to mention, as well, that the US employed tons and tons of Agent Orange (a chemical, the last time I looked) in Vietnam.

Then Pelletiere raises and answers a very interesting question. Why was the battle of Halabja fought?"... Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East... Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were seeking to take control of when they seized Halbja."

Pelletiere points out that a water pipeline through Iraq "could bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states, and by extension, Israel."

To date that pipeline has not been built. But after Gulf War 2? Would Israel become one of the prime beneficiaries in the aftermath?

Remember, the charge that has been leveled at Saddam is, he gassed his own civilians. Pelletiere is offering evidence collected by US intelligence and military analysts that refutes that charge.

Bush, Powell, Blair, and the rest of the crew are brushing all this off without a glance.

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wtnf -- 11, March 03, at 1:51 p.m.

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