Friday, September 19, 2003

Sorry to go on about this but I'm sick of Colin Powell's half-truths.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal about his visit to Iraq, Powell says that "Anyone who doubts the wisdom of President Bush's course in Iraq should stand, as I did, by the side of the mass grave in Halabja, in Iraq's north.

"That terrible site holds the remains of 5,000 innocent men, women and children who were gassed to death by Saddam Hussein's criminal regime. The Iraqi people must be empowered to prevent such mass murder from happening ever again."

Powell is right. The mass grave in Halabja is terrible. I visited it in March and wrote about it at the time.

Yet once again Powell fails to mention America's shameful response to the Halabja massacre, which was committed at a time when Iraq was receiving billions of dollars in loan guarantees and other credits from the US.

In an article published in the International Herald Tribune in January, author Joost R. Hiltermann explains that after the attack by Saddam's forces on Halabja:

"...the United States...accused Iran, Iraq's enemy in a fierce war, of being partly responsible for the attack. The State Department instructed its diplomats to say that Iran was partly to blame. The result of this stunning act of sophistry was that the international community failed to muster the will to condemn Iraq strongly for an act as heinous as the terrorist strike on the World Trade Center."


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