grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

Self-Censorship in the US Media

September 28, 2002

To the Op-Ed Page Editor:(NY TIMES)

Would we be naive to believe Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's claim of Iraqi links to Al Qaeda? Mr. Rumsfeld talks in legal terms about proof. We may also may consult both history and Mr. Rumsfeld's own comments to address this question and consider the "proof" that Mr. Rumsfeld claims to exist.

It is a given, is it not, that the Bush Administration intends (an understatement) to invade Iraq. Their goal of regime change, the rush for a Congressional resolution before inspectors reenter Iraq, the substantial buildup of combat forces in the Gulf, the expanded rules of engagement in the so-called "no-fly" zones imposed on Iraq by the US and UK (without UN approval), the bombing of air defense facilities and the broad resolution submitted to Congress that would give the President the authority to go to war in the region without any further Congressional approval all demonstrate the magnitude of this intention. If Iraq really collaborating with Al Qaeda, the US would surely attack Iraq and completely sidestep the weapons inspection issue.

While the intention to invade and the type of allegations made could cause one to wonder if the Administration were lying, we need more to cast serious doubt on Mr. Rumsfeld's statements.

Let's consider history. The inner circle in this administration includes the same people advising the first Bush administration during the Gulf War. At that time, public sentiment was uneasy about going to war, as was Congress. Remember the young woman who came forward during this period of unease and gave emotional testimony before Congress that Iraqi soldiers were turning babies out of incubators so they could take the incubators back to Iraq? The public was aghast and Congress supported a war resolution. Later we find out it was all a big lie. (Didn't Goebbels say that the public would believe the big lie easier than the little lie?) The Coalition easily won the war so Americans were not particularly upset about the lie. Is this new allegation a big lie?

Let's consider the alleged "bulletproof evidence" of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. According to a Newsday article published on September 27, "much of the new information, according to one intelligence source, is coming from Abu Zubaydah, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden now in U.S. custody. Zubaydah has provided some valid intelligence, this source said, but often has lied or provided deliberately misleading information." Indeed, Mr. Rumsfeld offered no details whatsoever to back up his allegations. Are we to trust Abu Zubaydah? Are we to go to war against Iraq based on unsubstantiated, uncorroborated evidence that relies significantly on statements by a known liar who no doubts hates the US?

What would Al Qaeda gain if the US attacked Iraq? Would we harm Al Qaeda in any significant way by doing so? Hardly. Would we stir up a caldron of hatred against the US and create sympathy and recruits for Al Qaeda? Certainly. May Saddam Hussein, who has no track record of collaborating with Al Qaeda, have a motivation to share any chemical or biological weapons with Al Qaeda if he was in his last days and facing defeat?

And what of the circumstances surrounding the release of these allegations? Certainly, this type of allegation is the most serious, as evidence of collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda could enable the US to sidestep the UN and it bothersome weapons inspections altogether. If there were indeed "bulletproof" evidence, as Rumsfeld states, why has the Bush administration allowed this debate to go on for so long? And why would it save the most damaging allegations until late in the debate? Doesn't one usually lead with the strongest argument? Could the timing indicate that they know their allegations are really as weak as the cited intelligence sources suggest? If the allegations are weak, then why is Mr. Rumsfeld calling them bulletproof? Is this mere hyperbole or a build-up to another big lie, as with the incubator babies?

Finally, what are we to make about suspected ties and links in any case? When one thinks about it, didn't the terrorists of 9/11 have ties to the US? How many received flight training here? It's also true, isn't it, that two of the terrorists lived with an FBI informant and that the FBI contact person knew that they were living with the informant? Newspaper accounts report that he did not inquire about these people. The US government had concerns about these people, as they were known to have attended an Al Qaeda summit in Asia. I am not suggesting a conspiracy. I am merely pointing out that the allegation of a "link" does not, in itself, mean much at all.

Thank you for reporting Senator Hagel's reaction to Colin Powell's refusal to back up any of the allegations. The Senator's comment that the lack of candor does not give "the American public a heck of a lot of faith that, in fact, what anyone saying is true" may be the most sensible comment I've heard on this topic.