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Author Topic: Iraq (Was: England's Royal Family Converting)  (Read 3172 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 13, 2002, 07:21:09 PM »

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Supporting war on Iraq IS conservative if you want to "conserve" your life against chemical and biological attacks on us!

I'm no defence analyst but AFAIK Iraq has no missiles, surface navy, marines or air force capable of so attacking the United States. And Iraq isn't responsible for Sept. 11.

Iraq has a secular government - they aren't 'Islamic terrorists'.
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2002, 07:39:22 PM »

Serge,

Wars of the future won't be fought on battlefields as often.  Saddam himself claims to be secular but he shares the same goals with Islamic terrorists.  Give him a nuke and he'll get it into the USA via smuggling.  A nuke the size of a tennis ball could take out New York. I watched a program on ABC news where they sent radiocative material into the US from Turkey via a boat and no one caught it.  Any nation that is developing nukes needs to be stopped, for the sake of the world community.  If you saw someone being beaten up on the street, you'd step in and help; I don't see anything different about stepping in and stopping a madman from producing weapons of mass destruction.

As far as Iraq being a secular government, I used to think that until I realized that Saddam Hussein persecutes all non-Arab non-Sunni Muslims in his nation.  The Assyrians were almost wiped out because of him, and he forbade them from using their language.  Only our no fly zone has preserved them from total destruction.  The only reason that Tariq Aziz (a Chaldean Eastern Catholic) is deputy prime minister is that he does not "practice" Christianity any longer and is an avowed member of the anti-religious Ba'ath party. The kurds are another group that needs our help.  Now I find it offensive that the US didn't help them the last time that we promised them (we could have just said, "we're not going to help you", so I think we owe it to them this time.  Saddam's own people want him out, we can do it, let's be helpful and take him out for everyone's sake.  Should we then force our views of democracy and American culture on them? No. But the successful campaign in Afghanistan shows that we can do a quick and clean operation to force regime change.

Up until mid-June I was not in support of attacking Iraq until I stopped and thought about the fact that I was moving to NYC (and live there now) and watched the specials on how easy it would be to smuggle a bomb into the USA, and saw what Saddam is up to (i.e. I started to think, wow it would be easy for him to get us, and maybe even me or my family!). Plus his mistreatment of Christians in Iraq makes me incensed.  He is playing games with us now with these weapons inspectors.  We're giving him every chance.  If he doesn't have a weapons program, then fine, let him stay in office.  But if we find evidence of him doing the weapons production, he needs to be stopped.

As you know I am not a warhawk and was not in support of some of the other wars in which America engaged such as the Mexican-American war, the Spanish-American War, and the Vietnam War, and possibly WWI.  I hate war, the thought of war.  BUT I cannot let my idealism get in the way of protecting ourselves and our fellow humans.

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2002, 08:23:59 PM »

I'm a fence-sitter about the whole Iraq thing.  It gives me a really bad feeling but I was wrong about Gulf War I.  Plus I acknowledge that I was raised in the 1970's by parents whose consciences were formed on Vietnam.  "We were wrong about Vietnam" was a mantra of my childhood.  So I have pascifistic non-interventionalist tendencies but I have to acknowledge that sometimes it is appropriate to intervene.  I just don't know if this is one of those times.  

I'm unconvinced that Saddam poses a threat to the US.  I suspect he has some pretty nasty weapons and if I were a Kurd or a Kuwaiti I'd be concerned but I'm not convinced that he would use those weapons on us without being provoked.  He's not a Stalin/Hitler type who wants to run the world.  He has no designs on the US that I can see.  We pose a threat to him now because we've essentially declared war on him but if we left him alone I don't think he'd see us as a threat.  

Don't get me wrong.  I'm no pollyanna.  I lived in NYC last fall.  I was less than a mile from ground zero.  Like all peope who lived in NYC, I was profoundly impacted by 911.  People outside of NYC and DC were effected too but it was different being there.  The level of anxiety in the city was so high.  I'm still incredibly angry about what happened and I have probably become a bigot towards Muslims as a result of it.  I don't have any patience anymore for Islam.  I'm not a good multi-cultural understanding American anymore.  But with that said, I don't think Saddam poses a threat to us.  But I do think that going to war with him will inspire more terrorist attacks against us.  

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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2002, 01:20:31 AM »

I can respect people like Serge who think that war is wrong (and I agree with them), and who think that this specific war would be wrong (I don't agree with them, but if it turns out Saddam isn't doing the whole weapons of mass destruction thing, then I'd say leave him alone).

I don't normally support toppling regimes; for instance, I was against the 1993 toppling of Raul Cedras in Haiti, the 1973 intervention in Chile, etc.  I am not some typical guy who thinks the US can do no wrong.

I think both sides of the war issue are WRONG.  The pro-war types hype things up constantly--like Bush saying yesterday we were prepared to use nukes.  Excuse me, but that is just stupid to say; it's such an obvious threat.  But on the other hand, I don't like it when people put bumper stickers on their cars that read, "Attack Iraq? NO!" Because that polarizes the debate and makes it too black-and-white.  Attack Iraq for the heck of it? NO! Attack Iraq's military if it is proved they are doing weapons of mass destruction? YES! Take that to the next level and attack their civilians? NO!

We have to go about the whole issue carefully.  If we attack, we need to focus on the military installations, and not bomb in the city like in Serbia. But I'm no military expert, either.  Restraint, restraint.  That is the word.  But we can't turn back to isolationism. The world is too connected.

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2002, 01:42:41 AM »

I can respect people like Serge who think that war is wrong

But you can't respect people like me?Huh

Attack Iraq's military if it is proved they are doing weapons of mass destruction? YES!

Why?  North Korea has weapons of mass destruction.  Do you think we should attack them?  What about Israel or any other nation that might have "weapons of mass destruction?"  Ultimately I think that a country has the right to develop whatever weapons it thinks it needs to defend itself.  Why do we get to have nukes but not Saddam?  I say only attack if it's proven that they would use those weapons of mass destruction against us and there's little evidence of that.  Saddam, like most dictators, acquires these weapons to intimidate opposition within his own country and maybe to make him feel like he's a big man in the Middle East (thinking of 'big man on campus' ala Marsha Brady).  

Take that to the next level and attack their civilians? NO!

You can't separate the military from the civilians in modern warfare.  If we attack Iraq, we will kill many innocent civilians.  In fact, we would have to do that because if we attack, we'd better win and to win we'd have to do whatever is necessary.  That's an argument for avoiding being the initial aggressor (which we would be here).  

We have to go about the whole issue carefully.  If we attack, we need to focus on the military installations, and not bomb in the city like in Serbia. But I'm no military expert, either.  Restraint, restraint.  That is the word.  But we can't turn back to isolationism. The world is too connected.

Picking your battles carefully is not isolationism.  I support what we did in Afghanistan.  Unfortunately it was necessary IMO.  But I don't think that we should be the aggressor by attacking a nation that we've decided needs a "regime change."  Who are we to decide that?  I'm sorry for the people who suffer under him but the US isn't the world's policeman.  The purpose of our military is to protect us not the Kurds.  There is no evidence that Saddam poses a threat to the US before we attack him.  Just because he has these horrible weapons does not lead to an inference that he will use them against us.  

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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2002, 01:55:26 AM »

And what about Israel? and USA? and Britain?

don't they have weapons of Mass destruction?
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2002, 02:01:10 AM »

And what about Israel? and USA? and Britain?

don't they have weapons of Mass destruction?


Let's not forget Pakistan's and India's nuclear capabilities.  The list could go on and on and on and on and....

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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2002, 12:03:57 PM »

Then there is the possibility of the fracturing of Iraq, post Saddam.

This scenario could lead to the creation of a militant Shia sovereign state--on paper, but essentially a client state of Iran--led  by the currently exiled Shia Iraqi mullahs resident in Tehran.

Consequently, the US might well be--due to the toppling of the Saddamite regime--facing one more terroristic threat from one more terroristic state which--like Iran--could become a financier of terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, etc.

A real Pandora's box scenario, that.

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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2002, 01:49:20 PM »

Jennifer,

But you can't respect people like me?Huh

Sorry I did not name you by name. Of course I respect you. Please do not get carried away with an "argument from silence."  I was thinking of Serge because he is my friend and we have had many conversations about this before.

>>>Why?  North Korea has weapons of mass destruction.  Do you think we should attack them?  

Yes, because I think there is sufficient evidence that they might use them.

>>>What about Israel or any other nation that might have "weapons of mass destruction?"  

No.  The Israeli state is evil in my eyes but they are not threatening to go and use nukes on other nations, or release biological weapons.  Let's try and separate legitimate weapons of conventional war from nukes and biological weapons.  I do support the 100% stopping of funding to Israel, however (and Egypt too).

>>>Ultimately I think that a country has the right to develop whatever weapons it thinks it needs to defend itself.  

I don't.  I don't believe that countries should be allowed to develop weapons that have the express purpose of killing civilians of other countries such as nukes and biological weapons.  Other weapons that are aimed at conventional warfare, yes I agree every nation has a right to produce those.
Take that to the next level and attack their civilians? NO!

You can't separate the military from the civilians in modern warfare.  If we attack Iraq, we will kill many innocent civilians.  In fact, we would have to do that because if we attack, we'd better win and to win we'd have to do whatever is necessary.  That's an argument for avoiding being the initial aggressor (which we would be here).  

I don't agree with that assessment.  A just war is still possible.  There's also a difference between collatoral killing of civilians when a dictator builds a bomb factory next to a school, and intentional killing of civilians, such as nuking Hiroshima.

We have to go about the whole issue carefully.  If we attack, we need to focus on the military installations, and not bomb in the city like in Serbia. But I'm no military expert, either.  Restraint, restraint.  That is the word.  But we can't turn back to isolationism. The world is too connected.

Picking your battles carefully is not isolationism.  I support what we did in Afghanistan.  Unfortunately it was necessary IMO.  But I don't think that we should be the aggressor by attacking a nation that we've decided needs a "regime change."  Who are we to decide that?  I'm sorry for the people who suffer under him but the US isn't the world's policeman.  

Sorry, I think we are and have a responsiblility to be.  If we can help people that are suffering, we should.

>>>The purpose of our military is to protect us not the Kurds.  

I would agree if we had not already promised the Kurds that then lied to them. We owe them protection, especially after we pinned them against Saddam by giving them aid and letting them set up a quasi-government in the no-fly zone.  We created our problem in that instance.

>>>There is no evidence that Saddam poses a threat to the US before we attack him.  Just because he has these horrible weapons does not lead to an inference that he will use them against us.  

OK, how do you know what the evidence is? How do I?  We are not the goverment.  I do believe, however, from his own statements, that if he had/has those weapons, he will figure out how to use them.

Sincerely,

anastasios
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2002, 01:51:25 PM »

And what about Israel? and USA? and Britain?

don't they have weapons of Mass destruction?


Let's not forget Pakistan's and India's nuclear capabilities.  The list could go on and on and on and on and....

Hypo-Ortho

Did Pakistan and India threaten to use them against other countries except each other? NO.  We did try and stop them from developing them, btw.

I support the US gradually getting rid of ITS nukes (keeping a small reserve for self-defense if attacked by a country with nukes).  Do we have biological weapons, though? I don't know, honestly.

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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2002, 01:53:50 PM »

And what about Israel? and USA? and Britain?

don't they have weapons of Mass destruction?


They have nukes but they are not threatening to "destroy America, destory Israel" rah rah rah.  We are not letting off chemical gasses on our own people.

Having weapons and producing them rapidly in an obvious attempt to use them are different situations.  The US isn't starving its people so that it can produce enough weapons to attack Canada, Mexico, or Cuba!

Sincerely,

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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2002, 04:53:29 PM »


        But, Anastasios, I think we all must be fearful of our government proposing a return to "First Strike" thinking involving nuclear weapons  which had been abandoned since the 80's.  In addition, this policy of "preventive action" against  any nation "perceived" to be a threat to the US is a VERY dangerous road to go down and it will make the US appear very much as an "imperialist" nation or the Big Bully on the Block as well as the World's policeman.  I see these intentions behind our rush to attack Iraq instead of concentrating out efforts on  fighting "Al Queda" which is a much more pressing task at this time how much I might abhor Hussein's regime.
      I see some good points on both sides (reading Christopher HItchen's views especially) but i tend to come down against intervening in Iraq.  I respect your eloquently expressed views to the contrary as well.

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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2002, 04:57:04 PM »

I agree with Serge, that war with Iraq would be wrong.  I think it is going to happen, and then the nightmares will begin in earnest in the USA.  If we Americans are worried about terriorists, why have they not caught Osama Bin Ladin?  Where is Mr Evil?  
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2002, 06:49:18 PM »

No.  The Israeli state is evil in my eyes but they are not threatening to go and use nukes on other nations, or release biological weapons.  Let's try and separate legitimate weapons of conventional war from nukes and biological weapons.  I do support the 100% stopping of funding to Israel, however (and Egypt too).

I support Israel but I think if there's any country in the world that might use nuclear or biological, I'd say Israel at the top of the list.  I believe that they'll retaliate if they're attacked by Iraq this time even though they didn't retaliate during Gulf War I.  Plus Israel is typically in a state of war with most of its neighbors.  It's only made official peace with Egypt.  

I don't.  I don't believe that countries should be allowed to develop weapons that have the express purpose of killing civilians of other countries such as nukes and biological weapons.  Other weapons that are aimed at conventional warfare, yes I agree every nation has a right to produce those.

But we have those weapons. And remember that we're the only country to ever use nuclear weapons.  And how do you separate weapons that are used against the military versus those used against civilians.  Conventional weapons (bombs) were used to carry out the attack on Dresden, for example.  

Frankly, I don't think there's any "allowing" a country to do one thing or another.  There's not a police force in place to make countries "obey the law".  And any law that is developed to keep countries in line is illegitimate in my opinion.  There's no world government.  The people of the world have not agreed that they are subject to a set of laws.  That's what is needed to have a legitimate government that has a right to enforce laws.  

I don't agree with that assessment.  A just war is still possible.  There's also a difference between collatoral killing of civilians when a dictator builds a bomb factory next to a school, and intentional killing of civilians, such as nuking Hiroshima.

But the intentional killing of civilians saves the lives of soldiers.  I personally do not disagree with the US's decision to bomb use nuclear weapons against Japan.  My grandfather was in the Navy and his unit spent the entire war preparing to attack Japan.  The government estimated that if we had attacked Japan conventionally the casualties would have been very high.  Higher than the casualties from the rest of the war.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans would likely have been killed.  Many civilians would have been killed as well.  Look at the civilian casualty rates in places like Berlin and Stalingrad to estimate how many Japanese civilians would have been killed in a conventional attack against a heavily populated area.  

Besides in a war like this there are no civilians.  If we 'occupy' Iraq, it's likely that little children will strap bombs around themselves to blow up our soldiers just like in Palestine.  

Plus it's likely that Saddam will use his own people as shields.  There is absolutely no way to avoid the killing of civilians in modern warfare.  There is no modern war that hasn't avoided killing many civilians.  Look at how civilians have been killed in Afghanistan.  

If we go to war against Iraq, we will kill many innocent people and I'm not willing to take responsibility for that so I'm against being the initial aggressor.  

Sorry, I think we are and have a responsiblility to be.  If we can help people that are suffering, we should.

We elected us the world's policeman?  Why do we have the right to act in that way?  Frankly, I think that you're veering towards jingoism here, that the 'civilized' US should make everything better for everybody else by imposing our type of government and culture on those suffering 3rd world people.  

There's a huge difference between alleviating suffering and attacking a dictatorship.  I fully support sending food and medicine to people who need it.  But don't place me in the position of having to murder a 3 year old to save her from her big bad government.  

Besides, most of the suffering in Iraq has been caused by our boycott.  

I would agree if we had not already promised the Kurds that then lied to them. We owe them protection, especially after we pinned them against Saddam by giving them aid and letting them set up a quasi-government in the no-fly zone.  We created our problem in that instance.

Unfortunately being too interventionalist in the past always comes back to haunt us.  The US has no authority to promise one group that they will support them in overthrowing their government so we have moral obligation to keep that promise.  

OK, how do you know what the evidence is? How do I?  We are not the goverment.  I do believe, however, from his own statements, that if he had/has those weapons, he will figure out how to use them.

I voted for President Bush but I don't trust our government here.  Besides as far as I know Saddam has never actually threatened the United States.  Why would he?  It just doesn't make any sense.  He has nothing to gain by doing it.  I saw one expert on television talking about how he believed that Saddam will use his biological weapons as a last ditch defense.  He'll only use them when he has nothing to lose.  I totally agree with that.  Today he has nothing to gain by using them.  If we attack him last night he has nothing to use so he will use them and lots of Americans soldiers along with Middle Eastern civlians will be killed.  

One thing I find very interesting in the whole debate is that people who have been in the military are very cautious.  The most gung ho have never served in the military.  I trust veterans a lot more than Bush and his generation who got out of Vietnam.  

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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2002, 06:50:43 PM »

Did Pakistan and India threaten to use them against other countries except each other? NO.  We did try and stop them from developing them, btw.

I support the US gradually getting rid of ITS nukes (keeping a small reserve for self-defense if attacked by a country with nukes).  Do we have biological weapons, though? I don't know, honestly.

anastasios

I'm sure we have biological weapons.
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2002, 07:16:36 PM »

Let's not forget Pakistan's and India's nuclear capabilities.  The list could go on and on and on and on and....

Did Pakistan and India threaten to use them against other countries except each other? NO.  We did try and stop them from developing them, btw.

I support the US gradually getting rid of ITS nukes (keeping a small reserve for self-defense if attacked by a country with nukes).


Perhaps it is because I am biased in favour of my countrymen, but if I may lead this thread astray for just a moment, I think, precisely for the purposes of "self-defence if attacked by a country with nukes", it is right that India have a "small reserve" of nuclear weapons (and I am not all that up to date on the news, but I'm not even sure if we have actually made the weapons, or if we merely have the technology to do so).  

One must not forget that India's got Pakistan for a neighbour.  Pakistanis made up a good portion of Taliban forces, and Taliban warriors were often among the Pakistani forces that crossed (and still cross) into IOK and attacked our people, military and civilian, men, women, and children.  It was Pakistani forces (and probably the Taliban with them; some say ISI was behind it, but I'm not sure) who were responsible for the attack on our Parliament; one of the terrorists was shot by an Indian soldier and rather than just fall down he was blown up -- turns out he was a suicide bomber with explosives strapped to him in an attempt at taking out our government.  There are more instances I can name where Pakistan has demonstrated itself to be a violent neighbour; I cannot think of any instances where India has been violent toward its neighbours except in self-defence.  Pakistan, in some ways, is clearly a threat to us.  We hear about it all the time.  It is, for us, what the Israel/Palestine situation is for others.  India is no aggressor; it has not started any of the wars it has been in, but (with the exception of the Sino-India war) has won every war it has been involved in.  That's why I'm not as worried about India having nuclear weapons as I am about Pakistan having them.  Even though this quote from our defence minister

"We could take a strike, survive and then hit back. Pakistan would be finished. I do not really fear that the nuclear issue would figure in a conflict."  

sounds crazy, I am in support of it, since it presumes that India will not strike first, but will strike with nuclear weapons only if struck with nuclear weapons first (even though I'm pretty sure we could kick ass without them), and thus finish things quickly.  

In addition, China hasn't been the friendliest neighbour, helping out Pakistan (as has the United States...the world's most powerful democracy supporting an Islamic Republic over the world's largest democracy...how about that?), and we also have the LTTE to deal with in the South in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka (they were responsible, among other things, for blowing Rajiv Gandhi to bits).  

So, while I think nukes themselves are a dangerous thing to be playing around with, I think we must make the distinction between those who have them for legitimate, self-defence purposes and those who have them and could potentially use them against another country in a non-self-defence situation.
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2002, 08:05:19 PM »

I agree with you Mor Ephrem that Pakistan is just as dangerous as Iraq if not more so, and the irony is as you pointed out, the US is supporting them.  Which makes the reasons for going to war with Iraq insane.  The real reason for war with Iraq is oil, and nothing but oil.
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2002, 08:17:50 PM »

I agree with you Mor Ephrem that Pakistan is just as dangerous as Iraq if not more so, and the irony is as you pointed out, the US is supporting them.  Which makes the reasons for going to war with Iraq insane.  The real reason for war with Iraq is oil, and nothing but oil.
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I don't know if it's really about oil (not necessarily a terrible thing to fight a war over, btw).  We really don't need their oil.  We've done fine without it since Gulf War I.  I think it's a personal thing with Bush.  
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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2002, 07:47:12 PM »

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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2002, 04:26:12 AM »

In the final analysis, the most revealing information always comes from the mainstream press, you just have to read between the lines. But sometimes it is just so damaging that there are only a few lines that have to be read in-between. Here is one article from the Washington Post about the real U.S. role in Iraq and its history. I seriously cut out a lot of stuff from this article because it is so long. In particular I cut out rationalizations by CIA officers and State Department officials, if you want to read those just click and read the article in its entirety. I also cut out some things that are even more damaging to the state department.---Aklie

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52241-2002Dec29?language=printer
   
U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup
By Michael Dobbs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 30, 2002; Page A01

High on the Bush administration's list of justifications for war against Iraq are President Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons, nuclear and biological programs, and his contacts with international terrorists. What U.S. officials rarely acknowledge is that these offenses date back to a period when Hussein was seen in Washington as a valued ally.

Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an "almost daily" basis in defiance of international conventions.

The story of America's involvement with Saddam Hussein in the years before his 1990 attack on Kuwait -- which included large-scale intelligence sharing, supply of cluster bombs through a Chilean front company, and facilitating Iraq's acquisition of chemical and biological precursors -- is a topical example of the underside of U.S. foreign policy. It is a world in which deals can be struck with dictators, human rights violations sometimes overlooked, and accommodations made with arms proliferators, all on the principle that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Throughout the 1980s, Hussein's Iraq was the sworn enemy of Iran, then still in the throes of an Islamic revolution. U.S. officials saw Baghdad as a bulwark against militant Shiite extremism and the fall of pro-American states such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and even Jordan -- a Middle East version of the Communist "domino theory." That was enough to turn Hussein into a strategic partner and for U.S. diplomats in Baghdad to routinely refer to Iraqi forces as "the good guys," in contrast to the Iranians, who were depicted as "the bad guys."

A review of thousands of declassified government documents and interviews with former policymakers shows that U.S. intelligence and logistical support played a crucial role in shoring up Iraqi defenses against the "human wave" attacks by suicidal Iranian troops. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague.
 
                U.S. Shifts in Iran-Iraq War
When the Iran-Iraq war began in September 1980, with an Iraqi attack across the Shatt al Arab waterway that leads to the Persian Gulf, the United States was a bystander. The United States did not have diplomatic relations with either Baghdad or Tehran. U.S. officials had almost as little sympathy for Hussein's dictatorial brand of Arab nationalism as for the Islamic fundamentalism espoused by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. As long as the two countries fought their way to a stalemate, nobody in Washington was disposed to intervene.

To prevent an Iraqi collapse, the Reagan administration supplied battlefield intelligence on Iranian troop buildups to the Iraqis, sometimes through third parties such as Saudi Arabia. The U.S. tilt toward Iraq was enshrined in National Security Decision Directive 114 of Nov. 26, 1983, one of the few important Reagan era foreign policy decisions that still remains classified. According to former U.S. officials, the directive stated that the United States would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.

The presidential directive was issued amid a flurry of reports that Iraqi forces were using chemical weapons in their attempts to hold back the Iranians...

Thus, on Nov. 1, 1983, a senior State Department official, Jonathan T. Howe, told Secretary of State George P. Shultz that 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.

In a September interview with CNN, Rumsfeld said he "cautioned" Hussein about the use of chemical weapons, a claim at odds with declassified State Department notes of his 90-minute meeting with the Iraqi leader. A Pentagon spokesman, Brian Whitman, now says that Rumsfeld raised the issue not with Hussein, but with Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. The State Department notes show that he mentioned it largely in passing as one of several matters that "inhibited" U.S. efforts to assist Iraq.

Rumsfeld has also said he had "nothing to do" with helping Iraq in its war against Iran. Although former U.S. officials agree that Rumsfeld was not one of the architects of the Reagan administration's tilt toward Iraq -- he was a private citizen when he was appointed Middle East envoy -- the documents show that his visits to Baghdad led to closer U.S.-Iraqi cooperation on a wide variety of fronts. Washington was willing to resume diplomatic relations immediately, but Hussein insisted on delaying such a step until the following year.

                  Iraq Lobbies for Arms
GǪReagan administration was facilitating the supply of weapons and military components to Baghdad, it was attempting to cut off supplies to Iran under "Operation Staunch." Those efforts were largely successful, despite the glaring anomaly of the 1986 Iran-contra scandal when the White House publicly admitted trading arms for hostages, in violation of the policy that the United States was trying to impose on the rest of the world.

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.

A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee turned up dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the mid-'80s under license from the Commerce Department, including various strains of anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program. The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare.

                     Chemicals Kill Kurds
In late 1987, the Iraqi air force began using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq that had formed a loose alliance with Iran, according to State Department reports. The attacks, which were part of a "scorched earth" strategy to eliminate rebel-controlled villages, provoked outrage on Capitol Hill and renewed demands for sanctions against Iraq. The State Department and White House were also outraged -- but not to the point of doing anything that might seriously damage relations with Baghdad.

The U.S. policy of cultivating Hussein as a moderate and reasonable Arab leader continued right up until he invaded Kuwait in August 1990, documents show. When the then-U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie, met with Hussein on July 25, 1990, a week before the Iraqi attack on Kuwait, she assured him that Bush "wanted better and deeper relations," according to an Iraqi transcript of the conversation. "President Bush is an intelligent man," the ambassador told Hussein, referring to the father of the current president. "He is not going to declare an economic war against Iraq."

                 -¬ 2002 The Washington Post Company


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