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American leaders wrong in not supporting rebels

From the outset of the gulf crisis, President George Bush stated that it was not his intention to harm the Iraqi people. He assured the American public that it was the liberation of Kuwait and not the conquest of Iraq which he sought and that all necessary measures would be taken to prevent the suffering of innocent civilians.

Yet the situation in Iraq today seems to indicate that the civilian sector has been greatly affected by the war. The entire population of Iraq is now living without electricity and running water, and even food has become extremely scarce.

Sewage has begun to back up into homes, babies have been forced to drink unpurified water from one of the most polluted rivers in the world, and most importantly, the dictator who has been responsible for much of this has begun to slaughter his own civilians for attempting to rise against him.

Indeed to describe Saddam Hussein's activity in the rebel-held areas of Iraq as a slaughter is a gross understatement. Some reports maintain that orders have been given to kill all males between the ages 15 and 40 in the village of Najaf.

Sulfuric acid and napalm have been used in large quantities, and refugees claim that the road connecting two of Iraq's holiest cities is strewn with thousands of bodies.

Yet the American government refuses to even vocalize support for the rebels. Can a government which has ordered so many tons of bombs to be dropped on the state of Iraq and who presently occupies much of its land claim that this uprising is a completely internal affair?

Can a man once dubbed the modern-day Hitler be allowed to massacre his own civilians without so much as a protest from the American government? Is it truly just to deny visas to members of the Iraqi opposition who wish to speak before the United Nations about the atrocities taking place in their country?

Indeed the course of action taken by the United States to date has been extremely distressing to both myself and my fellow Iraqis.

For the United States to wreak so much destruction upon the state of Iraq, to prevent even basic food items such as baby milk from entering the country and then not to even consider helping us in removing Saddam and restoring basic services is absolutely criminal.

Those who believe that this problem will be solved through war reparations and continued sanctions should keep in mind exactly who will be suffering from such measures. I assure you not one penny will come from the pocket of the dictator of Iraq.

Furthermore, Saddam is not a man who tires of war. If he is allowed to remain, he may indeed develop another formidable army posed to invade yet another neighboring country.

The best way to prevent such a scenario is the creation of a democracy in the region, for it is the Iraqi people who are tired of war. We do not wish to begin another disastrous crusade against Persians or enemies of the Arab nation.

We only want to live peacefully among our Arab and Muslim brethren. Unfortunately, from the time of the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war in l979, this has become absolutely impossible for us.

In short, if the United States truly wishes to see stability in the region, then it must aid the Iraqi opposition groups in removing Saddam from power, for then and only then will Iraq be able to live at peace with her neighbors.

Haider Ala Hamoudi '93->

Board Member->

Iraqi-American Forum for Democracy and Human Rights->