News Release

* Debunking Bush’s Speech * How Iraq Can Get Worse


Currently in the D.C. area, Sheehan is co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. Her son Casey was killed in Iraq. She said today: “Bush says his war in Iraq is ‘worth it.’ What’s worth it? People in the U.S. are not safer, Iraq lies in devastation, our troops are dying, Iraqis are suffering and who’s profiting? It might all be worth it for him, for Halliburton and Bechtel — but not for us.”
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Co-Director of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of 9-11 victims’ relatives, Kelly said today: “9-11 and Iraq were not related. No weapons of mass destruction were found. When you invade and occupy a sovereign nation, you become responsible for its civilian population. In this sense, the war in Iraq is already a war ‘at home.'”
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A professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes has just written the article “Bush Iraq Speech Reveals Administration’s Ongoing Deceptions on Iraq.”
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Bonifaz and Swanson are two of the co-founders of the coalition. Bonifaz is a constitutional attorney and author of the book Warrior King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush. Swanson has written the new article “Bush’s Speech: Let’s Count the Lies.”
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While Bush speaks of a more positive direction for Iraq, the UN Compensation Commission is now holding its final meeting in Geneva. This commission may attempt to force Iraq to pay billions more dollars in compensation to various corporations and governments because of Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, Kelly is with nine other activists on day 14 of a 15-day fast in Geneva protesting the prospect of the UN Compensation Commission demanding Iraq pay more compensation. She said today: “If Iraq is required to pay billions more — in addition to the $52 billion the Commission has already approved — to largely wealthy countries and corporations, that will compel Iraq to cut back on subsidies to its people — predictably leading to greater violence. This could eventually put Iraq at the mercy of the IMF and World Bank, providing yet another lever of control. Iraq is afflicted by both military and economic violence. We believe the U.S. should pay reparations to Iraq for suffering and damage caused by 15 years of economic and military warfare. One way to reduce the violence in Iraq is to help rebuild it.” Kelly’s recently-released book is titled Other Lands Have Dreams.
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Author of the forthcoming book Iraq Autopsy, Von Sponeck was head of the oil-for-food program, resigning in protest in 2000. He was just in Istanbul at a world tribunal, which found the U.S. government guilty of crimes in Iraq. Von Sponeck said today: “What came out in Istanbul is you can fill a house with the wrongdoings of the U.S. government. It was particularly good to see a large Iraqi delegation. To now hear Bush talk about a victory, you have to ask victory for whom? The victory of the Iraqi people or the victory of a fundamentalist president?”

Von Sponeck added: “During the oil-for-food program about 30 percent of overall Iraqi oil earnings were deducted to pay compensation to others. This was while Iraqi children and adults were dying from the inadequacy of the oil-for-food program. Here were claims, some dubious claims, from governments and firms, particularly wealthy governments like the Kuwaiti government, that were getting paid while Iraqis were dying. The bottom line was that after six years of the oil-for-food program, $28 billion of humanitarian assistance was provided to the Iraqis — and $18 billion was provided for compensation to others. That $18 billion could have saved a lot of lives. The conduct of the Security Council itself during this period — and not just the Volcker Commission looking at UN staff — should be investigated.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167