Monday | December 30, 2002
US helped build the Saddam monster
This is not really news, since it has been previously reported. But, recently declassified documents are providing a more complete picture of Donald Rumsfeld and the US's previous assistance to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
In principle, Washington was strongly opposed to chemical warfare, a practice outlawed by the 1925 Geneva Protocol. In practice, U.S. condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons ranked relatively low on the scale of administration priorities, particularly compared with the all-important goal of preventing an Iranian victory.
[...] intelligence reports showed that Iraqi troops were resorting to "almost daily use of CW" against the Iranians. But the Reagan administration had already committed itself to a large-scale diplomatic and political overture to Baghdad, culminating in several visits by the president's recently appointed special envoy to the Middle East, Donald H. Rumsfeld.
[T]he United States "actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure Iraq had the military weaponry required
Although U.S. arms manufacturers were not as deeply involved as German or British companies in selling weaponry to Iraq, the Reagan administration effectively turned a blind eye to the export of "dual use" items such as chemical precursors and steel tubes that can have military and civilian applications.
When United Nations weapons inspectors were allowed into Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, they compiled long lists of chemicals, missile components, and computers from American suppliers, including such household names as Union Carbide and Honeywell, which were being used for military purposes.
To be sure, this information neither bolsters or refutes the administration's arguments for a new Iraq war. It is merely an example of the foreign policy messes sown by myopic Republican Administrations. And the root problem? Simple:
Support of repressive authoritarian regimes to protect narrow national interests.
Can anyone doubt that in 20 years we won't be facing down threats from current "allies" Pakistan, or Yemen, or Saudi Arabia? Until American policy is firmly rooted in the advancement of human rights above corporate rights, we will continue spawning new threats.
Posted December 30, 2002 07:58 AM | Comments (13)