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The U.S. Relationship With Saddam--Fantasy vs. Reality(Must read)
darrenkaplan.net ^ | 1/13/04 | Darren Kaplan

Posted on 01/13/2004 9:04:41 AM PST by finnman69

The U.S. Relationship With Saddam--Fantasy vs. Reality

It is an article of faith among certain members of the left that "we helped to create Saddam." What does this mean exactly? What is the U.S. being accused of and why are the alleged U.S. sins so great? Today, I review the lengthy and complicated history of the U.S. relationship with Saddam Hussein.

Did we help to arm Saddam? Not really, while some U.S. arms sales were made to Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, U.S. conventional arms sales pale in comparison to those of other countries, particularly those of the U.S.S.R., France and China. Did the U.S. aid Saddam in his unsuccessful attempts to develop nuclear weapons? No, that would be our faithful allies the French. (And, coincidently then-prime minister now French president Jaques Chirac.) Surely then the U.S. must have sold Saddam his chemical weapons right? Sorry, no. There's not much data to suggest that the U.S. knowingly sold any chemical weapons to Saddam although two U.S. companies (one Iraqi owned and both now defunct) apparently did so in violation of U.S. export controls. Indeed, the most recent evidence seems to point to Germany (both East and West) as the main source of Iraqi chemical weapons production and knowledge. Prior reports have tended to focus on the U.S.S.R. as the source of Iraq's chemical weapons.

Did the U.S. provide biological weapons to Saddam? Well, it would appear that U.S. research institutes and scientific supply companies did ship a number of bacteria samples to Iraq during the 1980s, but three caveats are important to remember when considering biological weapons and Iraq. First, legitimate and peaceful scientific research is conducted in almost every country on bacterium that could theoretically be weaponized. Research is conducted on bacteria in connection with agricultural efforts that, for example, seek to prevent foodstuffs from becoming spoiled (as in clostridium botulinum) or seek to prevent disease in livestock (as in anthrax). Bacteria is not really suitable as a weapon unless it is weaponized--a complex process in which the U.S. evidently had no role with respect to Iraq. Second, at the time when the biological samples were sold to Iraq, we were living in a more innocent age. There were few, if any export controls on sales of biological samples and almost any research institution in almost any country could have obtained the biological samples Iraq did, simply by asking. It was not until 1992 that the United States along with twenty-two other countries even agreed to control exports of organisms and the toxins as well as equipment that could be used in production of biological weapons. Third, while there is little doubt that Saddam had an active biological weapons program, there is no evidence that Saddam ever used his biological weapons on anybody. If you are going to charge the U.S. with complicity in Saddam's crimes, there should be an actual crime involved. So far as we know, none of Saddam's millions of victims met their end through biological warfare attack.

So what's left? What are these supposedly terrible things that the U.S. allegedly did? Here's your answer in all it's glory. Read through it word for word.:

Did U.S. government officials have some official visits and exchange pleasantries with Saddam? Check.

Did the State Department remove Iraq from its list of states supporting international terrorism during the Iran-Iraq War? Check.

Did we allow Iraq to participate in a U.S. guaranteed loan program during the Iran-Iraq War? Check.

Did we do a lot of other things that were helpful to Iraq during the course of its war with the fanatical Iranians? Yes.

Was the U.S. pursuing some business opportunities in Iraq? Undoubtedly.

Did all of this continue even after we learned that Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran? You bet. Now for the money question--So what?

How do the U.S. activities vis-à-vis Iraq as exhaustively detailed in the National Security Archive amount to our creating Saddam? Particularly in comparison to those other countries like France, Germany and the U.S.S.R. who actually provided Saddam with significant weaponry? (And whose approval we were supposed to seek prior to removing Saddam.) There is a real world out there beyond the pages of leftist journals and the faculty lounge and that real world sometimes demands that we shake hands with some pretty disagreeable characters. Notice I said "shake hands", not "get into bed." It is simply a huge stretch to suggest that the U.S. relationship with Saddam was special or that Iraq enjoyed a favored position with the U.S. in comparison to some other Middle Eastern countries. Certainly the Gulf States in general and Saudi Arabia in particular shared closer relationships with the U.S. during the same period. You could also add Egypt and Jordan to the list of Arab countries that had closer relationships to the U.S. than Iraq enjoyed even at the pinnacle of U.S.-Iraq détente.

Moreover, the period in which Saddam and the U.S. had any type of relationship was exceedingly short, less than twelve years out of the Ba’ath party’s thirty-six years in power in Iraq. From 1968 to 1980, Iraq was firmly a Soviet client state with which the U.S. had no formal diplomatic relations. The U.S. relationship with Saddam began as a result of the Shi'a Islamic Revolution in Iran and Saddam's decision to go to war with Iran in 1980 following that revolution in the hope of regaining a strategic waterway he had been forced to relinquish in a prior war with Iran.

At the time Saddam attacked Iran, Iran's mullahs were threatening to export their revolution throughout the Persian Gulf. U.S. vital ally Saudi Arabia felt particularly threatened by the Iranian revolution because most of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields are in areas with majority Shi'a populations. It is a sad fact of life that when you threaten the Persian Gulf oil fields, you threaten the economies of the U.S., Europe and Japan. None of these states were prepared to countenance Iranian interference in other oil producing countries.

Moreover, Iran had loudly self-identified as an enemy of the U.S. and (as if we could forget) had humiliated the U.S. by holding our diplomats hostage for 444 days. And the Iranians were not just engaging in lip service when they described themselves as being at war with the "Great Satan." During the course of the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranians also waged a proxy war against the U.S. by financing terrorist attacks on U.S. targets throughout the Middle East. Iran-backed Hezbollah began attacking and kidnapping Americans throughout Lebanon. In 1983, Hezbollah operatives bombed the U.S. Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut. Also in 1983, an Iranian-backed group known as Al Dawa, or "The Call" bombed the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Unsuccessful attempts by the Reagan Administration to trade arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages held by Hezbollah ultimately led to the Iran-Contra Affair. Moreover, in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War, the proxy war with the U.S. turned into an a undeclared full-fledged shooting war between the U.S. Navy and Iranian naval forces after Iran began to threaten neutral shipping in the Persian Gulf and (by design) oil supplies to the industrialized world.

Under the circumstances, Saddam's invasion of Iran was a perfect opportunity to blunt the Iranian threat and the U.S. would have been crazy not to take advantage of the situation by tilting toward Iraq. (Some have even suggested that the U.S. encouraged Saddam to invade Iran in the first place, but there is little evidence to support the charge, nor would the U.S. have had much influence over then-Soviet client Iraq.) Thus, some military aid was given to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, particularly after the war began to turn against Iraq after 1984. The aid consisted primarily of sharing satellite photo reconnaissance with the Iraqi army. In August 2002, an article appeared in the New York Times suggesting that the U.S. actually aided the Iraqis in tactical planning during the Iran-Iraq war but the report was denied by virtually every possible on the record source.

So that’s the full account of U.S. involvement with Saddam so far as is known at this point. What is striking about such involvement is how largely symbolic it was compared to that of France, Germany and the U.S.S.R. In Saddam, the U.S. found an enemy of the Iranian revolution who would help to blunt Iran's evil designs on the rest of the Middle East. A policy which, by the way, appears to have been largely successful insofar as Iranian backed revolution did not in fact sweep through the Shi'a populations of the Middle East. Had we not backed Saddam, particularly after he began to lose the Iran-Iraq war, me might now be facing a far more powerful threat in the Middle East consisting of a super Shi'a state comprised of Iran, Bahrain, and parts of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

At the end of the day, what little support Saddam received from the U.S. ended with Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the relationship between Saddam and the U.S. returned to its natural state of mutual hostility. So, given all of the above, why do some continue to insist that the U.S. "created Saddam?" I will attempt to answer that question tomorrow in Part II of this posting.

Posted by Darren at January 13, 2004 10:19 AM | TrackBack


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: biochemicalweapons; biologicalweapons; bioweapons; chemicalweapons; chemweapons; cia; hussein; iraq; iraqi; iraqiweapons; iraqiwmds; lefties; leftwingmyths; libmyths; myths; saddamhussein; wmd
I find this very imformative and worthy to send to Wacko LW fruitloops.
1 posted on 01/13/2004 9:04:42 AM PST by finnman69
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To: finnman69
I would like to see the source for the contention that we sold Iraq any conventional weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. There is no source provided in this article for that contention and I don't think it is true. Our hands are clean in that regard. The only contention I have ever heard about us selling conventional weapons to Iraq during the war was that William Casey sued some front company in Chile to sell a small amount of weapons to Hussein, but I have never seen a verified source for that contention/rumor.
2 posted on 01/13/2004 9:15:09 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: finnman69
I don't know...Does saying "we didn't do nothing, because the other guys did much more" satisfy you ? It's like saying Vichy France was not antisemitic at all, because its bad treatment of Jewish people paled when compared to what occured in Nazi Germany...

Well, anyway, whatever the reason was to intervene, the USA did the right thing in toppling Saddam's hateful regime.
3 posted on 01/13/2004 9:19:04 AM PST by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: finnman69
read later...
4 posted on 01/13/2004 9:22:28 AM PST by GrandEagle
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To: vbmoneyspender
Oh please. It's not like our shit is completely odor free.

This is a chart on who sold Iraq conventional weapons and how much: http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/Trnd_Ind_IRQ_Imps_73-02.pdf

This file is the register of the transfers and licensed production of major conventional weapons to Iraq: http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/IRQ_IMPRTS_73-02.pdf

All told, we only sold Iraq $200 million dollars worth of conventional weapons and gave them some intelligence. By the time the US had started selling weapons to Saddam, the Soviets had already transfered $14 billions worth of weapons. That played a much greater role in creating Saddam than the US ever did or would do. The leftist idiots who keep saying that the world is a complicated place never really actually do the complex thinking need to analyze it. The simply blame the US, conservatives, religion, etc...
5 posted on 01/13/2004 9:35:30 AM PST by pragmatic_asian
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To: All
bump
6 posted on 01/13/2004 9:36:07 AM PST by Hobsonphile (Art should celebrate God's creation. Writers should love humanity in all its forms.)
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To: pragmatic_asian
Also if you look at the detail in the SIPRI reports, you will see that the "weapons" that were sold to Iraq from the US were civilian helicopters that Saddam converted for military use.
7 posted on 01/13/2004 10:22:43 AM PST by ThreeYearLurker
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To: pragmatic_asian
as previously pointed out, they got civilian helicopters. I guess we do come out smelling pretty clean -- wouldn't you say?
8 posted on 01/13/2004 10:38:22 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: pragmatic_asian; All
Who is SIPRI and are they considered to be a credible source? How possible is it that we delivered weapons to Iraq covertly, like through third parties and that sort of thing, ways that don't show up on these sorts of lists?

I'm just wondering because this looks like good info to wave in the face of kooky leftists and other riff raff and I'd like to make sure it's solid.
9 posted on 01/13/2004 10:39:38 AM PST by Yardstick
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To: auboy
Bump
10 posted on 01/13/2004 10:42:57 AM PST by auboy (I'm out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight–American Soldier–Toby Keith, Chuck Cannon)
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To: finnman69
bump
11 posted on 01/13/2004 11:25:41 AM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: finnman69
bump
12 posted on 01/13/2004 11:25:46 AM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: Atlantic Friend
The least the morons at DU could do is acknowledge that the great countries of France and Germany armed and supported Saddam too.
13 posted on 01/13/2004 12:05:46 PM PST by Democratshavenobrains
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To: Yardstick
SIPRI is the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute based in Sweden. This page explains their methodology: http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/atmethods.html

"SIPRI uses the term 'transfer' rather than 'trade' since the latter is usually associated with 'sale'. SIPRI covers not only sales of weapons, including manufacturing licences, but also other forms of weapon supply, including aid and gifts.

The transferred weapons must be destined for the armed forces, paramilitary forces or intelligence agencies of another country. Weapons supplied to or from rebel forces in an armed conflict are included as deliveries to or from the individual rebel forces, identified under separate 'recipient' or 'supplier' headings. In cases where deliveries are identified, but where it is not possible to identify either the supplier or the recipient with an acceptable degree of certainty, transfers are registered as coming from 'unknown' suppliers or going to 'unknown' recipients.

Weapons must be transferred voluntarily by the supplier. This includes weapons delivered illegally-without proper authorization by the government of the supplier or recipient country-but excludes captured weapons and weapons obtained through defectors.

The weapons must have a military purpose. Systems such as VIP (very important person) aircraft used mainly for other government branches but registered with and operated by the armed forces are excluded. Weapons supplied for technical or arms procurement evaluation purposes only are not included."
14 posted on 01/13/2004 1:52:31 PM PST by pragmatic_asian
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To: pragmatic_asian
It's funny I've never heard any noises from these people about all the arms we transferred to the USSR during the Stalin years. Did anyone ever say we "created" the Soviet menace?
15 posted on 01/13/2004 2:08:14 PM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Atlantic Friend
In other words, if we are Frankenstein, ought we not kill the monster we created?
16 posted on 01/13/2004 3:13:01 PM PST by RobbyS (XPqu)
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To: pragmatic_asian
*Thanks and bump*
17 posted on 01/13/2004 3:13:57 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: RobbyS
People are ignorant. International relationships are transient -- friends become foes and foes become friends and foes who became friends become foes again and over and over again.

We were enemies with the United Kingdom in the past. Now we are allies. We were enemies with Russia (formerly the Soviet Union). Now we are allies (sort of). Etc.

One reason for being "civilized" while at war. Because your foe may be your friend some day.

So goes world history.... History 101.

18 posted on 01/13/2004 3:26:59 PM PST by dhs12345
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To: dhs12345
You forgot the example of our wartime alliance with Stalin.Jystifying that, Churchill once said that if Hitler invaded hell, Churchill would at least say a few good words for Satan in the House of Commons.
19 posted on 01/13/2004 3:55:15 PM PST by RobbyS (XPqu)
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To: finnman69
Too many facts ... Michael Moore says we made Saddam so it must be true ... ;)
20 posted on 01/13/2004 7:06:44 PM PST by Mr. Buzzcut
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To: RobbyS
In a way, yes. As the article points out, we all were the Frankensteins - and with some very good reasons, given the Iranian alternative. But our monster has now outlived his use and its welcome a long time ago, and so getting rid of it was the right thing to do. I just wish we had done our part in the mopping up, too.
21 posted on 01/14/2004 12:06:48 AM PST by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: Democratshavenobrains
Well, yes, they could do that - it is a well-documented fact, should they bother to open a few books from time to time. We all were part of the Frankenstein team, because our monster looked so much better than the Iranian super-monster, as the article rightly states.

That's why taking Saddam down was the right thing to do - and to me was a valid political objective, WMDs or no WMDs. I just wish we had sent troops to lend a hand.
22 posted on 01/14/2004 12:14:17 AM PST by Atlantic Friend (Cursum Perficio)
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To: RobbyS
You are right! An example of a friend then foe then friend.

Stalin was one of the worst. As bad as Saddam.

I thought about this right after I hit post.
23 posted on 01/14/2004 7:01:53 AM PST by dhs12345
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To: Mr. Buzzcut
Following that logic, then we made Stalin.
24 posted on 01/14/2004 7:05:57 AM PST by dhs12345
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To: finnman69
bump
25 posted on 01/14/2004 7:09:15 AM PST by STFrancis
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