Litkicks Message Board Archive

War On Iraq !!!

Posted to Poetry and Politics

Some very vary interesting stuff in this article ....

On December 19-20, 1983, Reagan dispatched his Middle East envoy - none other than DONALD RUMSFELD - to Baghdad with a hand-written offer of a resumption of diplomatic relations, which had been severed during the 1967 Arab-Israel war. On March 24, 1984, RUMSFELD was again in Baghdad.

On that same day, the UPI wire service reported from the UN: "Mustard gas laced with a nerve agent has been used on Iranian soldiers....a team of UN experts has concluded......Meanwhile, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, US presidential envoy DONALD RUMSFELD held talks with foreign minister Tariq Aziz."

The day before, Iran had accused Iraq of poisoning 600 of its soldiers with mustard gas and Tabun nerve gas.

There is no doubt that the US government knew Iraq was using chemical weapons. On March 5, 1984, the State Department had stated that "available evidence indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons". The March 30, 1984, NYT reported that US intelligence officials has "what they believe to be incontrovertible evidence that Iraq has used nerve gas in its war with Iran and has almost finished extensive sites for mass producing the lethal chemical warfare agent".

However, consistent with the pattern throughout the Iran-Iraq war and after, the use of these internationally outlawed weapons was not considered important enough by RUMSFELD and his political superiors to halt Washington's blossoming love affair with Hussein.

The March 29, 1984, NYT, reporting on the aftermath of RUMSFELD'S talks in Baghdad, stated that US officials had pronounced "themselves satisfied with relations between Iraq and the US and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been restored in all but name". In November 1984, the US and Iraq officially restored diplomatic relations.

According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, in a December 15, 1986 article, the CIA began to secretly supply Iraq with intelligence in 1984 that was used to "calibrate" mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. Beginning in early 1985, the CIA provided Iraq with "data from sensitive US satellite reconnaissance assist Iraqi bombing raids". Iraqi chemical attacks on Iranian troops - and US assistance to Iraq - continued throughout the Iran-Iraq war. In a parallel program, the US defence department also provided intelligence and battle-planning assistance to Iraq.

The August 17, 2002 NYT reported that, according to "senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program", even though "senior officials of the Reagan administration publicly condemned Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents.... President Reagan, vice president George Bush [senior] and senior national security aides never withdrew their support for the highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq."

Conventional military sales resumed in December 1982. In 1983, the Reagan administration approved the sale of 60 Hughes helicopters to Iraq in 1983 "for civilian use". However, as Phythian pointed out, these aircraft could be "weaponised" within hours of delivery. Then US Secretary of State George Schultz and commerce secretary George Baldridge also lobbied for the delivery of Bell helicopters equipped for "crop spraying". It is believed that US-supplied choppers were used in the 1988 chemical attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja, which killed 5000 people.

Retired DIA officer Rick Francona told the NYT that Iraq's chemical weapons were used in the war's final battle in early 1988, in which Iraqi forces retook the Fao Peninsula from the Iranian army. Another retired DIA officer, Walter Lang, told the NYT that "the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern".

(Looks like they weren't too concerned about the Halabja massacre either.)

"Normal relations between the US and Iraq would serve our long-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East............We should pursue, and seek to facilitate, opportunities for US firms to participate in the reconstruction of the Iraqi economy."
National Security Decision 26, signed by President George Bush senior, October 2nd, 1989.

For full story