Nice Iraq article

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1439789

Man, if a HS sophomore can crank out journalism like this, we need to fire the CNN staff.

And the article is marked for destruction. =]

A report on Bush’s push for war in Iraq, our role in arming Saddam, and other current political issues

By Ian Feldman, Sophomore, Lincoln Park H.S. Baccalaureate Program, Chicago

George W. Bush has taken it upon himself to declare that Iraq is not in compliance with United Nations resolutions, and has submitted a resolution to the Security Council setting the final date for compliance as 17 March. Bush claims that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and is intent on hiding information form UN/IAEA inspectors. There are several things, however, that Bush has not pointed out.

First, there is the issue of the origin of the WMDs that Bush complains Iraq and Saddam Hussein is in possession of. The WMDs in question existed in Iraq before the Gulf War of 1990. The chemical and biological weapons that Bush appears to be so afraid of were first used on the Iranians in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980. This war, which has been described as “a war of attrition” on the part of the Iraqis, cost more than 1,000,000 Iranian lives. It appears that the United States government, among others provided these weapons, which are banned under international law.

The US Department of Agriculture has a program called the Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC). This program, which was originally intended to help American farmers by expanding foreign markets, is used by presidents to advance their own private agendas, since the CCC does not have direct Congressional budget oversight. According to an article in the 18 May 1992 issue of US News and World Report, loans to Iraq were “badly abused”. Millions of dollars, and perhaps more, was diverted from excess money due to inflated loans. This money was used to enhance Iraqi Scud missiles, purchase G-5 howitzers, and develop “superguns”, the largest of which was capable of launching a satellite into space.

Iraq also used the Atlanta branch of an Italian government-run bank, BNL to get a loan to purchase nuclear weapons triggers. An October 1989 USDA memo notes that people inside the USDA had become aware that “CCC-guaranteed funds (were diverted to) military sales”. Despite the fact that the Iraqi government stopped paying loans after the Gulf War, the US State Department was able to increase the amount of money Iraq received from the CCC to “more than $1 billion per year 1988, 1989, and 1990”. This increase continued despite a August 1989 FBI raid on BNL’s Atlanta offices that revealed the fact that the loans were being used to purchase illegal weapons. In fact, according to a March 1993 Columbia Journalism Review article, “in February 1990, then Attorney General Dick Thornburgh blocked US investigators from traveling to Rome and Istanbul to pursue the case.” Commerce Department staffers were also altering Iraqi export licenses to hide from Congress the fact that military technology had been sent there.

Although that it would appear that from reading the previous information, Iraq was just taking advantage of the system as current President Bush has described, this was apparently not the case. An American intelligence worker who reviewed a lot of high-security documents at the time was quoted in the US News article as saying, “There was just about no other place for the money to come from.”

Most of what Iraq received at the time was not direct arms aid, but “dual-use technologies” - technology that could have both a peaceful civilian purpose as well as military applications. This funding by western companies continued until the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, according to the Columbia Journalism Review article. In 1984, under the Regan administration, then Vice President George H. W. Bush lobbied the Export-Import Bank for loans to fund, among other projects, an oil pipeline to Jordan, despite Iraq’s despicable credit rating.

Other things were directly militaristic. Through BNL, Iraq was able to fund the long-range nuclear-capable CONDOR 2 missile project, part of a joint Iraqi-Argentinean-Egyptian program, with backing from many major European countries, according to globalsecurity.org. All of this information was available before the [invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, and yet only one person in the US government was doing anything about it. The Chairman of the House Banking Committee, Rep. Henry Gonzalez (D-TX) took to getting related documents into the Congressional record via speeches to an empty chamber in the middle of the night. He was warned to stop by Atty. Gen. Thornburgh for reasons of “national security”, but Rep. Gonzalez refused. The media dismissed him as a crackpot.

This US policy made sense at the time. Shiite Iran was the Iraq of today, and therefore Iraq was used by its Middle-Eastern neighbors, as well as the United States as a sort of counterbalance. Washington was “officially neutral” in the Iran-Iraq conflict, however true neutrality is almost always an oxymoron, and in America’s case, usually a total lie. A prime example of this was Iraq’s removal from the State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism after Iraq’s invasion of Iran. The United State’s support of the Iraqi regime helped to protect its interests at the time, just as we support questionable governments today in order to advance our “national interests.”

This, though, does not excuse the Untied States government from its actions. The Village Voice reported on 18 December 1989 that “American troops could be killed or maimed because of a covert decision to arm Iraq.” Furthermore, this decision was called the article’s author, Murray Waas, “the most serious consequence of a US foreign policy formulated and executed in secret, without the advice and consent of the American public.” Waas later worked with the Los Angeles Times, which on 23 February 1992 reported that there was “a long-secret pattern of personal efforts by (George H. W.) Bush – both as President and as Vice-President – to support and placate the Iraqi dictator.”

Other allegations came up around that time. The man in charge of BNL/Atlanta, Christopher Drogoul, had been take into Federal custody and was charged with funding Iraq as a “lone-wolf” style operation. However, he was able to produce documents linking exports to Iraq for their howitzer program with a Virginia company, which was run by a man with connections to US intelligence. This connection may have been involved in 1989, when National Security Decision Directive 26 was signed by former President Bush. The directive states that, for its own interests, the United States should seek “improved relations” with Iraq. Bush apparently was ignoring not only Iraq’s loan defaults, but also issues with its cease-fire agreement with Iran and other problems.

Current President Bush has mentioned nothing about our cooperation with Saddam Hussein. Rather, he has emphasized the fact that “he tried to kill my dad.” Bush included Iraq in an “Axis of Evil.” According to a 21 October 2002 article in New American, on 11 September, 2001, even before fires had been put out at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, was preparing to attack Iraq. He sent a memo to staffers requesting information on whether it was possible to “hit S.H. (Saddam Hussein)” along with Osama bin Laden, asking for “things related and not.”

This is ironic, considering the fact that Rumsfeld helped give Saddam Hussein the supposed WMDs while an emissary for the Regan administration. On 17 December 1983, Rumsfeld had visited Baghdad with a handwritten note from President Regan, addressed to Saddam Hussein. The letter offered to renew diplomatic and military connections, according to Alan Friedman in an exposé of his.

Bush has also failed to mention the Commerce Department export records which show “numerous shipments of bacteria/fungi/protozoa … (which) could be used to make biological weapons, including anthrax.” He has also ignored the Soviet Union’s 1983 visit with Saddam that led to the development and use in Iran of the flesh-eating chemical T-2, or “Yellow Rain.” Other questionable and unmentioned facts: Henry Kissinger was a board member of BNL (the Italian bank the FBI raided), Brent Stowcroft handled BNL’s accounts, and Lawrence Eagleburger helped Iraq win some of its loans. All three of these men were part of the US government’s Council on Foreign Relations, which is responsible for shaping US foreign policy and helping to direct war moves. A week after the invasion of Kuwait, “President Bush (the elder) signed a federal conflict-of-interest waiver on behalf of 11 members of his administration - including Baker and Scowcroft.” This sounds strangely like obstruction of justice, especially considering the fact that Congress was investigating US government involvement in arming Iraq.

In the 1990s, UN teams went into Iraq and destroyed weapons sites, including chemical weapons plants and the site that built the CONDOR-2 missiles. US and British aircraft have regularly bombed suspected Iraqi weapons sites and military locations. One would think that all of this would have worked to disarm Iraq, or at least significantly reduce its threat.

Fast-forward to today. Current President Bush accuses Iraq of possession of WMDs, the intent to develop more of them, and an intent to use them. Secretary of State Collin Powell, here in the United States, claims to have seen solid proof of Iraq’s non-compliance. And yet, the UN/IAEA inspectors, who are actually in Iraq, are providing reports of progress towards disarmament. There are definetly ways for Secretary Powell to contact the inspectors, and let them know where to look, and what questions to ask, and yet nothing appears to have been dug up - the inspectors have yet to find a smoking gun.

Chief Weapons Inspector, Hans Bilx “would rather have twice the amount of high-quality information about sites to inspect than twice the number of expert inspectors to send.” So why doesn’t the United States send Blix its intelligence? According to a report in the 8 March, 2003 edition of the Chicago Tribune, it did, sort of. UN/IAEA officials report that “a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated.” This report was provided to inspectors to the British government after having been reviewed by American intelligence officials. The intelligence was supposed to be a series of letters between Iraq and Niger on the purchase of Uranium two years ago. However, UN analysts discovered that names and titles do not match with the time when the documents were supposedly from. This is a striking parallel to the revealing that the British government’s dossier on Iraq was copied word-for-word from a graduate student’s paper. Bush accuses Saddam Hussein of lying to inspectors, but apparently that hasn’t stopped him from doing it too.

And that’s not all. There is the issue of the situation in North Korea. Why is the United States so eager to attack Iraq, where we have no knowledge of current weapons, and yet it wishes to enter into a diplomatic solution in North Korea, which has nuclear weapons, a missile that could strike anywhere inside the US, and has violated multiple UN resolutions. This can be explained by Bush’s stance on American WMDs: they are a deterrent. If this statement is true, though, then there is a failure of logic somewhere. Three situations present themselves:

WMDs are a deterrent, and this is the reason why we refuse to attack North Korea. Therefore, Bush is lying, and Iraq does not have WMDs, or lacks the capability to use them in a way that would threaten the United States.
WMDs are not a deterrent, meaning that Iraq may have the capability of attacking the United States. Therefore, Bush is lying by saying that our nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons stockpiles are necessary for our protection, which leads to the questions, “Why do we need our nukes?” and “Why are we not attacking North Korea?”.
Bush has gone crazy. Be it due to his previous drinking habits (something referred to as being a “dry drunk” - exhibiting the symptoms of drunkenness due to brain damage caused by past drinking, despite having not consumed alcohol), his former drug habits, or some other cause (that arsenic in our drinking water, maybe?).
All of these situations are alarming, for various reasons. The most likely one, however, is probably the first. Bush seems determined to not give up his weapons, whatever the cost. According to a 8 March, 2003 article in People’s Weekly World, a 12-person delegation, including some European members of parliament, was trying to inspect the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a US WMD plant in Edgewood, MD. They were turned away by Edgewood officials. In addition, in a 24 February 2003 press briefing, Ari Fleischer, the President’s Press Secretary said, on the topic of using small-scale nuclear weapons in an upcoming Iraq war, “We rule nothing out and nothing in.”

The author would like to close with the following remarks. First, there’s the question “What does all of this prove?”. If you were to ask someone inside the Bush Administration, they would tell you that it shows that since the US gave Saddam the weapons, then there is no doubt that he has them, thus justifying our case for war. This fails to take into account, however, the fact that Iraq’s nuclear work under the code-name Petrochemical-3 was a concern, and it was covered up in the 1980s. However, IAEA could do little to stop it, in part because of the Untied State’s support of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Furthermore, the majority of Iraqi weapons facilities were destroyed under UNSCOM supervision during the 1990s. What this evidence really points to is a plan by the government of the United States, through security directives, lies of omission, and outright forgeries to mislead the American people into believing a unilateral preemptive attack on Iraq is in the nation’s best interests. Unfortunately, due to a lack of productivity on both the parts of the American media and public, it is beginning to appear that it is too late. Let us hope that there is still in fact time to stop Bush’s mad dash towards war.

Secondly, the author does not dispute the fact that Saddam Hussein is a dangerous man. He is a totalitarian dictator who uses brutal force to see that his opinions are not contradicted. It is almost indisputable that Saddam Hussein needs to be removed; however Bush’s plan is not the way to do it. The majority of exiled Iraqi resistance leaders have expressed misgivings over Bush’s plan, as have many of Iraq’s neighbors, allies, and enemies. Attacking Iraq will not stop Saddam.

Finally, there is the issue of the inevitable criticisms that will result from this article. This author would like to emphasize the fact that he is opposed to the policies and actions of President Bush, and is not anti-American. The author does not mean to disrespect any former or current military officers, and apologizes if persons are offended. In addition, the author recognizes the fact that the United States was not the only nation responsible for arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980s; the documents discussed in this piece are a testament to that. The author would also like to quote former Republican president Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but morally treasonable to the American public.”

Bibliography:

Baker, Russ W. “Iraqgate: The big one that (almost) got away.” Columbia Journalism Review 31:6 (March 1993): 28-54. 8 March 2003 <http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org>

“Deception Activities - Iraq Special Weapons.” GlobalSecurity.org. Ed. John Pike. 13 December, 2002. 8 March 2003. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/deception.htm>

“Edgewood Chemical Activity (ECA) - Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland - United States Nuclear Forces.” GlobalSecurity.org. Ed. John Pike. 13 January, 2003. 8 March 2003. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/edgewood.htm>

Grigg, William Norman. “Building the Beast of Baghdad.” New American 18:21 (21 October 2002):17-19. 8 March 2003 <http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org>

Hedges, Stephen J; Duffy, Brian. “Iraqgate.” US News and World Report 112:19 (18 May, 1992): 42-51. 8 March 2003 <http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org>

Klare, Michael T. The Progressive 60 (September 1996): 32-33. 8 March 2003 <http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org>

Manning, Rob, Rev. Dr. “Looking back at the Gulf War.” Quincy Unitarian Church. 10 November, 2002. 8 March 2003. <http://user.ksni.net/~uuquincy/talks/gulfwar.htm>

“Taj al Marik - Iraq Special Weapons Facilities.” GlobalSecurity.org. Ed. John Pike. 14 December, 2002. 8 March 2003. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/taj_al_marik.htm>

Wheeler, Tim. “Inspectors say: Open U.S. weapons sites, too.” The People’s Weekly World 1 March 2003: 3+.

“U.S. evidence called forged.” The Washington Post. In The Chicago Tribune 8 March 2003, sec. 1: 6.

Any other information that was credited to a source not listed on this bibliography was cited in the text of one of the articles in this bibliography. All works cited are the property of their respective owners, and any plagiarism, omissions, or errors are unintentional.

This article is Copyright © 2003 by Ian Feldman, All Rights Reserved. Feel free to redistrubute this article in a non-comercial manner, so long as credit remains with the article. Thanks!

The author can be contacted at [email protected] with the phrase “Iraq Article” in the subject line.

Wow, things that happened a decades ago so very much should bar us from correcting the current situation.

I didn’t read much further than this:

George W. Bush has taken it upon himself to declare that Iraq is not in compliance with United Nations resolutions

Wow, just him? I was under the impression that at least Blair also declares Iraq to be in non compliance. Actually, the fact that Iraq is in material breach of UN resolutions is not something up for debate. Everyone knows this.

Attacking Iraq will not stop Saddam.

Since you think this kid’s a genius - you want to bet on this?

Earth to anti-war people: while that we gave him the weapons is annoying, it’s not a good argument against the war.

Yeah, the French supported us against the British, that they don’t support us now smacks of hypocrasy! Someone tell those frogs they’re not allowed to change their minds!!!

I’m just saying that anyone sufficiently motivated to do so can play a lovely game of “connect the dots” to see how we got from the early 80’s to today. It makes it doubly fun that many of the same “people of power” are still in the mix right now, as they were back then. They’re just 180 deg. from their previous stances.

America has this bad habit of setting up tin-horn dictators in remote countries and expecting them to be good little puppets - and then having to invade and remove them later when they go rogue. Anybody remember Noriega? Same deal - a self-made issue that we had to go clean up.

We attempted to empower Hussein as pivot-man in the middle of several hostile factions over there. Little did we know he’d turn out the biggest problem.

Erik, I’m not claiming he’s a genius… I’m saying that a HS sophomore is more capable of connecting those dots than the people who report it professionally? Nah, it’s just not in their interests to do so.

Yeah, US installed dictators haven’t worked out too well.

It seems to me that he is focusing mainly on how the Iraqis acquired some of their WMDs. Can’t say anything for certain without checking his sources, of course, but it seems like pretty solid work. While it is no argument against the war (and I cannot see him using it as such), he does show that the current administration might be perceived as somewhat dishonest.

That the current U.S. administration completely ignores their pre-Gulf War history with Iraq does little to help their case overseas. However, I guess they can’t really say much about it either, as could quickly make a worse impression.

Oh, he’s entirely accurate, but it’s a rather annoying tendency of both sides to try to find shortcut “smoking guns”:

We sold them WMD.
The project for the new american century, a bigwig conservative think tank with half the administration as members, was writing a “US as empire” policy statement back in 1998 that called for invading Iraq.
Various oil & gas pipeline things.

The first two are true; no idea on the last. None of these change anything, however; the costs and benefits of a war aren’t really changed.