Historian's past falsehoods discredit current opinions

July 10, 2014 

Why would the Bradenton Herald print a commentary on July 6 written by Joseph Ellis, notorious for fabricating stories about himself in the early part of this century?

During a post-9/11 interview Ellis, a so-called historian, claims to have been a platoon leader and paratrooper in the Vietnam War as well as serving on General Westmoreland's staff in Vietnam.

The truth? He had a graduate school deferment and was teaching history at West Point during the war.

In further public statements Ellis lied about his involvement in the anti-war movement at Yale and in civil rights campaigns in the South.

After the Boston Globe discredited him, he blamed his lying on growing up in a "dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father." How convenient.

But it's ancient history, right? We are expected to set aside Ellis' massive lies and believe him when he says in his column that George W. Bush concocted claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

I wonder what a Kurdish woman named Jino Hama thinks of that? Her children, Ara, 4, and Anna, 3, were born with microencephaly, a crippling brain disorder.

In 1988, when Saddam Hussein gassed 5,000 Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, to punish them for helping Iran in their war against Iraq, Hama, then a child, was exposed to the gas.

She and her children are not alone in their suffering from the devastating effect of the gases.

In a comprehensive article written in the March 2013 International Business Times, Hama Khan, director of the Halabja Monument Museum says, "It was a genocidal campaign ... in which Saddam Hussein killed a total of 180,000 Iraqi Kurds."

The residents of Halabja share the hope that the world never forgets the tragedy resulting from WMDs despite Joseph Ellis' claim that they never existed.

Kathleen Richardson


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