Mr. Speaker, how did the 20-year war get started? It had been long assumed that the United States Government, shortly before Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, gave Saddam Hussein a green light to attack. A State Department cable recently published by WikiLeaks confirmed that U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie did indeed have a conversation with Saddam Hussein one week prior to Iraq's August 1, 1990, invasion of Kuwait. Amazingly, the released cable was entitled, ``Saddam's Message of Friendship to President Bush.'' In it, Ambassador Glaspie affirmed to Saddam that ``the President had instructed her to broaden and deepen our relations with Iraq.'' As Saddam Hussein outlined Iraq's ongoing border dispute with Kuwait, Ambassador Glaspie was quite clear that, ``we took no position on these Arab affairs.''
There would have been no reason for Saddam Hussein not to take this assurance at face value. The U.S. was quite supportive of his invasion and war of aggression against Iran in the 1980s. With this approval from the U.S. Government, it wasn't surprising that the invasion occurred. The shock and surprise was how quickly the tables were turned and our friend, Saddam Hussein, all of a sudden became Hitler personified.
The document was classified, supposedly to protect national security, yet this information in no way jeopardized our security. Instead, it served to keep the truth from the American people about an event leading up to our initial military involvement in Iraq and the region that continues to today.
The secrecy of the memo was designed to hide the truth from the American people and keep our government from being embarrassed.
This was the initial event that had led to so much death and destruction--not to mention the financial costs--these past 20 years. Our response and persistent militarism toward Iraq was directly related to 9/11, as our presence on the Arabian Peninsula--and in particular Saudi Arabia--was listed by al Qaeda as a major grievance that outraged the radicals who carried out the heinous attacks against New York and Washington on that fateful day.
Today, the conflict has spread through the Middle East and Central Asia with no end in sight.
The reason this information is so important is that if Congress and the American people had known about this green light incident 20 years ago, they would have been a lot more reluctant to give a green light to our government to pursue the current war--a war that is ongoing and expanding to this very day.
The tough question that remains is was this done deliberately to create the justification to redesign the Middle East, as many neo-conservatives desired, and to secure oil supplies for the West; or was it just a diplomatic blunder followed up by many more strategic military blunders? Regardless, we have blundered into a war that no one seems willing to end.
Julian Assange, the publisher of the WikiLeaks memo, is now considered an enemy of the state. Politicians are calling for drastic punishment and even assassination; and, sadly, the majority of the American people seem to support such moves.
But why should we so fear the truth? Why should our government's lies and mistakes be hidden from the American people in the name of patriotism? Once it becomes acceptable to equate truth with treason, we can no longer call ourselves a free society.