Saddam's War, and Ours


This story in today's Washington Post pulls together some old news, but pretty thoroughly and with decent timing, regarding the United States's—and Donald Rumsfeld's—role in helping Saddam's Iraq during a period when he was well-known to be using chemical weapons.

Post writer Michael Dobbs reports:
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.

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.

As the story reports, the U.S. government barely blanched even when Saddam began using chemical weapons "against his own people"—part of the bill of particulars that, nearly 15 years later, makes the U.S. government see the further murdering of thousands (at least) of Iraqis a well-nigh-unavoidable policy decision. Does this hypocrisy prove that Saddam is not now a mortal threat to U.S. security? No. But it does remind us once again that U.S. intervention in the world's military affairs can often be careless, amoral, and ultimately harmful—something worth considering as we are forced to contemplate our role in the world, and the way the rest of the world might reasonably perceive that role.

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  1. That’s why it’s so important that we stay invested in Iraq after changing regimes. The Bush Administration has consistently suggested that the goal is not just removing Sadaam but replacing him with a Democracy. Granted, Afganistan hasn’t gone so well, but Iraq is in a much better position because they have something of a middle class.

  2. There’s a pic floating around out there of a younger Rummy meeting with Saddam and shaking his hand, on one of those visits I presume. Pretty funny if you haven’t seen it.

  3. me, do you know if Cheney, or any other cabinet member in the Bush administration cozied up with Saddam. If Cheney did cozy up and W. never, then that might be an indicater who’s really calling the shots in the Bush administration.

  4. So, because we made a mistake in supporting Saddam before, we should continue to make the same error and let him do whatever he wants? Check your logic.

  5. looks like someone didnt read the post. :p

  6. Sometimes, when you’ve made an argument a few hundred times in the past, you get into the habit of deploying it all the time, even if it’s obviously inappropriate to what you’re responding to. Such a fate appears to have befallen Mr. Speirs.

  7. As long as the american people don’t come together,and show a strong act of unity the war will go on as planned (planned well before sept 11th if you ask me), and i mean i would take something drastic to keep it from happening.
    But me, i don’t scream peace for the hell of it, of because i don’t want to see innocent people die, but because invading iraq will create more problems in the future. this open’s the door for other country’s and nations turing there back on us in the background. we are the tyrannt’s of this age and the people are braindwashed in to believe were just, because of all the propaganda on t.v. other nation that fell that they’ve falling out of favor with the u.s. will be pushed into the same corner as Saddamm. and some dogs react differntly than other’s when trapped. also we are asserting alot of musle into iraq, what if as soon as we make an all out move against iraq some other country comes in the back door and kicks the shit out of half the west coast. Such as N. Korea. I feel that if we go to war with iraq the world will have a had time trusting us, but how gives a shit right, the jews are on are side.

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