Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Jonah’s burial site in Mosul has a Mosque built over it, he noted, showing a photo. Bell showed photos of what he said news media identified as “components” of weapons. Several of the pictures looked more like intact missiles or warheads.

“Do these ‘components’ concern you?” he asked the audience.

Bell said he is frequently asked, “Did we do the right thing? Were we justified? The answer is yes,” he said, to considerable applause.

Bell said he believes it was better to find and destroy Husseins weapons “in their back yard than in ours.”

He also showed numerous pictures of mass graves, gravesites and remains. “How many sets of gravesites to you have to have before a country steps up” and does what the United Nations has said for years should be done, he asked.

Bell said he met several times with the governor of the Iraqi state of Erbil, and was told that officials there have studied how Alaska and Hawaii became states. He said the governor told him, “We want to be the 51st state.”

Particularly touching was Bell’s story of 6-year-old boy named Saddiq, who was convinced that Bell would get to report to President Bush upon his return, and wanted to send a message. He showed a picture of a bright-eyed boy with an optimistic expression.

Bell said he tried to tell the boy that such a meeting was not likely, but Saddiq insisted that he relate: “Thank you America, I love you, George W. Bush.”

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