IRAQ: Ex-Rep. Findley: `It`s time to exit Iraq!`
William Hughes

Washington, DC, December 6, 2005

On December 1, 2005, a public hearing, sponsored by the Council for the National Interest, (CNI), was held on Capitol Hill, in Room SC-4 of the Capitol Building. It dealt primarily with how the US should exit from the immoral and unjust Iraqi War, which was launched based on a pack of lies. The bloodstained conflict has already taken the lives of 2,110 American military personnel, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, and has cost the US taxpayers $223.4 billion, with no end in sight.

The featured speaker at the event was ex-Rep. Paul Findley (R-IL). He served in the US Congress for over 22 years, 1961 to 1983. Then, he made a career-ending mistake of advocating for the US a `fair and balanced Middle East policy`, particularly toward the Palestinians, who were languishing under the Israeli occupation. The Israeli Lobby took exception to Findley`s position and he soon joined the ranks of ex-Congressmen.

Mr. Findley said, at the forum, `We meet at a time of great peril to our nation, the most menacing I have known in my lifetime. I believe the invasion of Iraq is the worst US blunder in a century, certainly the most menacing to the well-being of the America that we have known and cherished in years past. If we fail to exit Iraq promptly, our nation and our world risk being engulfed in a wider, more grisly conflict that could suddenly degenerate into an enormous, costly clash of civilizations-Christendom versus Islam. I choose my words carefully. I do not exaggerate.`

Findley, now 84 years of age, wrote a best selling book a few years back about his very unpleasant experience with the Israeli Lobby, entitled, They Dare to Speak Out. Doesn`t his clash with that `special interest` sound a lot like what happened to the presidential ambitions of Vermont`s ex-Governor, Howard Dean, in 2003, after he suggested that the US should have an `evenhanded` policy in the Middle East?

As soon as Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), began growling about Dean`s remarks, Dean`s campaign, which also had taken a strong anti-Iraqi war position, faded quickly from the scene. Translation: You can mostly thank the hawkish Lieberman, and people who think like him, for the national Democratic Party not putting up an anti-Iraqi War candidate, in 2004, against the dysfunctional George W. Bush.

Recently, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) came out against the Iraqi War. Mr. Findley praised Murtha`s conduct, along with the anti-Iraqi War statements of Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA). He labeled the trio as `great heroes` for demanding an `early and complete exit from Iraq ... We must face grim reality. Our massive combat assaults in Iraq are unavailing. They have increased, not diminished, the insurgency.`

Findley lamented the fact that `Iraq is now a killing field and [that] our government - our president and our Congress - are held responsible for the slaughter`. The former senior member of the House Middle East Committee didn`t think much either of President Bush`s Annapolis speech, of November 30, and his future schemes for the war. Mr. Findley said that the president `admits no error and offers no change in doctrine or tactics ... Iraqi distrust remains our forces` greatest handicap. Many, if not most, of the Iraqis who fight back see our forces as an occupying power, not a liberating one.`

As Chairman Emeritus of the CNI, Mr. Findley has kept busy over the years lecturing around the country on Middle East issues. He has also been an ardent champion for the cause of the USS Liberty and the long quest of the survivors of that Israeli attack of June 8, 1967, for justice and closure.

Mr. Findley strongly urged President Bush to quickly make `a clear announcement of precise plans for a total US exit by a date certain ... If crystal clear, it will, I believe, inspire an immediate reduction in anti-American insurgency and go far in dismissing the widely-held belief that US forces invaded Iraq mainly for Israel and oil, not to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people ... Ultimately, [the] Iraqis will have to solve their own internal conflicts. If civil strife is inevitable, the departure of US forces by a date certain should mercifully shorten the misery.`

Mr. Findley said that his suggestions to President Bush about a proposed announcement to end the war must also include:

First, an order for the `immediate cessation of combat initiatives`. Second, that the `total withdrawal of all US military, diplomatic and contractor personnel soon after the new directly-elected government takes power`. Third, that the president must `specify a procedure under which certain US units can be exempt from withdrawal`, but only with the approval of the `new Iraqi government` and the `UN`s Security Council`. And, fourth, that the president must pledge `generous US funds` to rebuild Iraq.

Mr. Findley closed his speech by underscoring that his greatest fear is that `President Bush does not yet grasp the enormity of the peril at hand and will persist in his quest for a military victory. Our best hope is that a rising tide of public and congressional protest will change his mind ... The suggested presidential announcement will also curb speculation about an emerging US empire, help refurbish America`s worldwide moral standing, and end the ugly US` role in Iraq`s killing field.`

Finally, if history is any precedent, do not expect to read any account of Mr. Findley`s compelling comments made today on Capitol Hill about his plan to end the Iraqi War, in any media organ or outlet controlled or under the influence of the Establishment.

William Hughes is a Baltimore attorney and the author of Saying `No` to the War Party. Acknowledgement to Media Monitors Network (MMN)