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To Overthrow Saddam

JINSA Report #: 

October 2, 1998

Identical bipartisan bills introduced in the House and Senate on Tuesday contain the following language:

"It should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime."

We only wish they had used the word "overthrow" outright. JINSA has long believed that the U.S. has an obligation either to make Saddam adhere to the terms of the 1991 UN Resolution ending the Gulf War, or to support the democratic opposition in establishing an alternative to the regime. This is neither a call for covert CIA activity, nor for using American troops in Iraq - neither is likely to work anyhow. But it surely is appropriate for the U.S. to help resistance groups who are willing to put their lives on the line to liberate their own country from a man who has squandered his national resources (human and otherwise) in pursuit of regional hegemony and the acquisition of WMD and ballistic missiles.

In 1991, President Bush encouraged an uprising of southern Iraqi Shi'ites against Saddam, but the U.S. failed to support the nascent rebellion. Saddam's retaliation included the use of chemical weapons. If there are Iraqis today willing to trust us, we should support them.

The House/Senate bill requires the President to designate one or more Iraqi opposition groups to receive overt assistance. The groups must "include abroad spectrum of Iraqi individuals and groups opposed to the Saddam Hussein regime," and must be "committed to democratic values, to respect for human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors, to maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, and to fostering cooperation among democratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein regime." The Iraq National Congress comes quickly to mind.

The bill includes grants for radio and television broadcasts into Iraq and a draw down of defense articles from the stocks of DOD, plus defense services, military education and training. It also includes humanitarian aid in areas controlled by the opposition, and permits the aggregate assistance to total nearly $100,000,000. It urges the President to call on the UN to establish a war crimes tribunal. And it notes the "sense of Congress" that after Saddam, the U.S. should "support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian assistance... and by convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam."

In sum, this bill provides a far-reaching, coordinated package of aid to brave men and women willing to fight a regime that has committed crimes of unspeakable horror against its own citizens and against others. Almost as importantly, it should give the people of Iraq reason to believe that the U.S. will not abandon them again if they rise in support of their own liberation.

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