Guest Column: We've been had

I recently sent an e-mail to my congressman, Don Manzullo, giving my opinion opposing the plan to send more troops to Iraq, and then Iran. The response I got back was the status quo. A few paragraphs opposing my opinion, and finishing with “your input is important to my work here in Washington.” It’s what I get every single time. I did get one paragraph that I did not expect in the reply.

“My primary responsibility in Congress is the protection of the American people. There is conclusive and indisputable evidence that Saddam Hussein was preparing to restart his nuclear weapons program. Though it has been a difficult road in Iraq, our involvement has resulted in one less individual threatening the world with nuclear capability.”

REALLY!?! I thought my congressman’s primary responsibility was to defend and uphold the Constitution for the United States. At least that’s how his oath puts it. I don’t remember relegating my “safety” to any elected official. I pushed that aside, remembering from previous responses that Mr. Manzullo seems really disconnected from his constituents. I also found it interesting that Mr. Manzullo thinks that the only nation on the Earth that has ever used a nuclear bomb in aggression, thinks that they should dictate who else does, and does not, have a nuclear bomb.

I was really curious to know what could possibly be this new “conclusive and indisputable evidence that Saddam Hussein was preparing to restart his nuclear weapons program.” I knew I would have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get my answer.

I drove down to Manzullo’s office and requested a Freedom of Information Act blank request. The woman at the bulletproof glass window said she did not have one, doesn’t know what one is, and finished with a bewildered “what do you need?” I walked out, perplexed that my congressman’s office would not know what a FOIA request is. I called my friends at City Legal and got one without any trouble. Filled it out and submitted to Manzullo’s office.

The reply I got back was more disturbing than the reason I asked the question. Here is but a portion:

“This belief was addressed in the Iraq Survey Group’s report—also known as the Duelfer Report—which was issued in September 2004. In the report, Charles Duelfer wrote:

“From the evidence available through the actions and statements of a range of Iraqis, it seems clear that the guiding theme for WMD was to sustain the intellectual capacity achieved over so many years at such a great cost and to be in a position to produce again with as short a lead time as possible—within the vital constraint that no action should threaten the prime objective of ending international sanctions and constraints.

“Saddam continued to see the utility of WMD. He explained that he purposely gave an ambiguous impression about possession as a deterrent to Iran. He gave explicit direction to maintain the intellectual capabilities. As U.N. sanctions eroded, there was a concomitant expansion of activities that could support full WMD reactivation. He directed that ballistic missile work continue that would support long-range missile development. Virtually no senior Iraqi believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever. Evidence suggests that, as resources became available and the constraints of sanctions decayed, there was a direct expansion of activity that would have the effect of supporting future WMD reconstitution.”

“The full report is more than 1,000 pages long and can be read at”

Pure political babblespeak. Am I to believe that this eighth-term congressman is quoting three-year-old cooked intel that was proven wrong four years ago? See CBS News, July 8, 2003, where the White House admits their WMD claim error.

The penalty for paying attention, really paying attention, to current events is that you end up scratching your head a lot. After this (and every) letter from my congressman, I can reach only one conclusion: We’ve been had.

I’ve watched the numerous “official” reasons for going to war fall apart. I’ve been watching the 9/11 “official” story fall apart. I’m still scratching my head. If only half of what’s being alleged is true, we have, indeed, been had. My guess is that we’ve been had on a larger scale than any of us could have possibly imagined.

Rick Jones is a political activist and Rockford resident.

From the March 7-13, 2007, issue

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