General Waves White Flag After Ron’s Grilling
By the Staff of American Free Press
Both the electronic and print media made certain that the world knew that Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain had questioned Gen. David Petraeus before the Armed Services Committee but totally ignored the blistering by Rep. Ron Paul before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“Reviewing the presentations by our panel, I have noted with some concern that they seem more focused on justifying a future attack on Iran than reporting on progress in Iraq,” Paul said.
Paul expressed concern about claims that “new enemies” were emerging in Iraq with ties to Iran: “First we were told that the enemy was Saddam Hussein and his Baathist Party. Then we were told the enemy was the ‘bitter-enders’ from Saddam’s former government. Then the prime enemy became al Qaeda in Iraq, a prime focus of the presentation by Amb. Crocker and Gen. Petraeus last September.
Now the two were saying that the new enemies are mysterious ‘Special Groups’ that are said to have spun off from Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
“If this phenomenon of constantly emerging enemies bent on destabilizing Iraq is accurate and our presence in Iraq keeps generating new enemies,” he said, “perhaps the problem is the occupation itself. If this is the case, doesn’t it make sense that our departure from Iraq may actually have a stabilizing effect?”
Paul said he suspects that these Iranian-supported “Special Groups” are not the prime enemy. He suggested they are being used to provide an excuse for a U.S. attack on Iran or are meant as justification for a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq.
“It makes little sense to assert that Iran is funding militias to undermine the Iraqi government.
“The leading political parties of Iraq, the Islamic Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, have close ties to Iran. Leaders of these parties were in exile in Iran until the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iranian President [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is warmly welcomed in Baghdad by Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. Why would Iran set up militias in the south to destabilize a government with such strong Iranian ties? I find the allegation that Iran just cannot tolerate an elected government next door to be unsatisfying.”
Paul then challenged them to produce “any hard proof ” that the Iranian government is arming groups in Iraq.
Paul: “Why should the American people continue to support a war that was justified by false information, since Saddam Hussein never aggressed against the United States, Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, and Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction?
“It is said that we must continue the war because we have already sacrificed so much. But what is moral about demanding even more needless sacrifice of human lives merely to save face for the mistakes of invading and occupying Iraq? Doesn’t it seem awfully strange that the Iraqi government we support is an ally of the Iranians who are our declared enemies? Are we not now supporting the Iranians by propping up their allies in Iraq? If (Iraqi Prime Minister) Maliki is our ally and he has ‘diplomatic relations’ with (Iranian President) Ahmadinejad, why can’t we? Why must we continue to provoke Iran, just looking for an excuse to bomb that country? Does our policy in Iraq not guarantee chaos for years to come?
“It is estimated that up to 2,000 Iraqi soldiers refused to fight against al-Sadr’s militia. Why should we not expect many of the 80,000 Sunnis we
have recently armed to someday turn their weapons against us, since they as well as the Mahdi Army detest any and all foreign occupation?
“Is it not true that with the recent surge in violence in March, attacks are now back at the same levels as they were in 2005? Does Iran not have a greater justification to be involved in neighboring Iraq than we do, since it is 6,000 miles from our shores? If China and Russia were occupying Mexico, how would we react? Since no one can define ‘winning the war,’ just who do we expect to surrender? Does this not mean that this war will be endless since the political leaders will not end it—until we go broke?”
Paul said, “I do have one question that there is enough time to answer: In your estimation, does the administration have the authority to bomb Iran without further congressional approval?”
Petraeus: “Uh, congressman, I, uh, I’m the commander for Iraq, and I do not know the answer to that question, and it’s not within my purview.”
Crocker: Er, uhh, congressman, nor is it in mine, er, ahh, uh, I, uhh you know, my job is Iraq, and I’m just not competent to pronounce on, uh, an issue like that.”
Paul: (who must have been wondering if either had ever read the Constitution) “It disturbs me to no end that we cannot get a flat-out “no” on this question.”
(Issue # 18, May 5, 2008)