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Iran Is Blamed for Gassing of Kurds

March 13, 2003

Re Michael Ramirez's cartoon about the deaths of Kurds in Halabja, Iraq (Commentary, March 11): Ever since then-President George H.W. Bush decided he wanted to wage war on Iraq, government officials have referred to these tragic 1988 deaths from chemical weapons, saying that Saddam Hussein had "gassed his own people." Readers may be surprised to know that a Marine Corps report concluded in 1990 that those deaths resulted from Iranian weapons, not Iraqi weapons. The condition of the bodies indicated cyanide gas was the likely agent. Iran was well known for using cyanide agents, but Iraq was not.

The deaths occurred during the Iran-Iraq War in an area where battles were being waged. The 1990 report (U.S. Marine Corps historical document FMFRP 3-203, Appendix B) states, " ... we conclude that the Iranians perpetrated this attack."

David Holland

Northridge

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Ramirez made a chilling antiwar statement in his illustration of a dead Kurdish mother and child. I know he was trying to rally support for the war on Iraq, but does he really believe American bombs dropped on Iraq will not have the same result?

The killing of innocents, no matter what the cause, is never justifiable.

Judith Squires

Burbank

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Ramirez forgets that it was his beloved President Reagan who, in the face of Hussein's attack on his own people in 1988, did not attempt to force him to relinquish power but rather was still a cheerleader for him. Why? Because of the simple-mindedness that is displayed by conservatives who see the world as an "us versus them" playground.

It is this mentality that makes the world a more dangerous place, and not the protesters.

Dan Kolhoff

Santa Monica

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