Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Defense bleatings?
The Washington Times ^ | 12/19/2003 | Arnaud de Borchgrave

Posted on 12/22/2003 11:49:48 AM PST by JohnGalt

Edited on 07/12/2004 4:11:14 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

An article of faith among most Arab policymakers is that the U.S. gave Saddam Hussein a yellow-to-green light to invade Kuwait in 1990. Some of them will concede, albeit off the record, the yellow light was probably inadvertent and a reflection of inept diplomacy. Others state flatly, also off the record, that it had switched from yellow to green and that it was deliberate.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: aprilglaspie; arnauddeborchgrave; iraq; kuwait; saddam

1 posted on 12/22/2003 11:49:49 AM PST by JohnGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: optimistically_conservative
Interesting read in light of our exchange last week. A few people, besides you and me anyway, are thinking about this sort of stuff.
2 posted on 12/22/2003 11:50:55 AM PST by JohnGalt ("Nothing happened on 9/11 to make the federal government more competent.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
aww my eyes! Format man! :>
3 posted on 12/22/2003 11:53:12 AM PST by KantianBurke (Don't Tread on Me)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KantianBurke
Ugh indeed!

Defense bleatings?

By Arnaud de Borchgrave

An article of faith among most Arab policymakers is that the U.S. gave Saddam Hussein a yellow-to-green light to invade Kuwait in 1990. Some of them will concede, albeit off the record, the yellow light was probably inadvertent and a reflection of inept diplomacy. Others state flatly, also off the record, that it had switched from yellow to green and that it was deliberate.

The option of a U.S. red light that signaled clearly "do not cross the Kuwaiti border" is dismissed out of hand. No such signal was ever given by the U.S. There is also much evidence that coddling a tyrant became the better part of valor for three U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush (41).

Yellow or green will almost certainly be in the arsenal of any Saddam defense team. A group of Jordanian lawyers has already volunteered to organize a legal defense fund for the former Iraqi president. Jordan was one of two nations, with Yemen, who declined to join the coalition of almost 30 nations assembled by George Bush the elder (41).

The Arab world's conspiracy theorists argue that when 100,000 troops and 300 tanks were poised at Kuwait's border in late July 1990, about to attack, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, April Glaspie, gave Saddam the distinct impression the U.S. didn't care what happened. She had just returned to the U.S. Embassy from a meeting at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry when she got word that she was to come back to the ministry immediately. Without any explanation as to where she was going, she was taken to see Saddam. It was her first meeting with the president.

In a much-reported exchange, Miss Glaspie told Saddam "your inter-Arab disputes do not concern the United States but we strongly believe they should be settled peacefully." Next day, Miss Glaspie left Iraq to pick up her mother in London and begin a long planned home leave.

On July 31, two days before the balloon went up, Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly testified before Congress that the U.S. had no defense treaty with Kuwait or other Persian Gulf countries. On Aug. 1, the Bush 41 administration approved the sale of advanced data-transmission devices to Iraq. And the day after that, Aug. 2, 1990, Saddam gave his generals the green light to invade Kuwait. Throughout the Arab world's 22 countries, present and former policymakers believe this was the direct result of that ill-fated meeting with the U.S. ambassador when she flashed what Saddam interpreted to be either a yellow or green light.

Ask Arab interlocutors, again off the record, why the U.S. would have wanted Saddam to take over Kuwait? The answers are usually variations on the same theme: As a pretext to bring America's full military power into the Gulf to establish a protectorate over its vast oil resources

Saddam's defense team, whether Jordanian and/or Iraqi, is bound to produce transcripts of conversations Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld conducted with Saddam on Dec. 20, 1983. Mr. Rumsfeld was then on a presidential mission for Ronald Reagan. Iraq was already three years into the war it launched against Iran and which was to last eight years. Those were the days when the U.S. shared intelligence with Saddam, including spy-in-the-sky photos of Iranian units. Washington also authorized sales of equipment that could have both civilian and military use.

The U.S. was clearly hoping Saddam would prevail over Iran and sweep out the recently established theocracy whose clerical regime had humiliated U.S. diplomats and held them hostage for 444 days — until the day Mr. Reagan was sworn in as president.

Those were also the days when Iraq was spending lavishly on Washington lobbyists, lawyers and flacks to enhance the image of the self-styled Arab knight, depicted on murals in Iraq riding a white horse in battle against the infidels. Britain, France and Germany also have embarrassing secrets a defense team would not hesitate to surface.

At the height of Iraq's war against Iran, France was selling Baghdad 10,000 battlefield flares a day. German and French firms made a bundle selling Iraq components for Saddam's then embryonic nuclear program.

On Oct. 2, 1989, President Bush signed a top-secret National Security Directive that allowed closer diplomatic ties with Saddam's regime. It also authorized continued economic assistance to Baghdad. A month later, Secretary of State James A. Baker III began pressing the secretary of agriculture to approve new loan guarantees for Iraqi purchases of U.S. food products.

In April 1990, when Saddam's resort to chemical warfare against Iraqi Kurds was already well known, a delegation of five Farm Belt senators led by Bob Dole of Kansas, then the Republican leader in the Senate, met with Saddam in Mosul. The senators' main concern was to keep open the Iraqi market for American growers of rice and other grains. Mr. Dole told Saddam President Bush had asked him to say that "he wants better relations, and the U.S. government wants better relations with Iraq." Sen. Alan Simpson, Wyoming Republican, explained to Saddam that Iraq's problem was with the "haughty and pampered" Western media, not with the U.S. government.

That very same day, back in Washington, Mr. Baker instructed Ambassador Glaspie to inform Saddam that "as concerned as we are about Iraq's chemical, nuclear and missile programs, we are not in any sense preparing the way for a pre-emptive military unilateral effort to eliminate these programs. She was also to remind Saddam that when Israel, in 1981, bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant, "we condemned the 1981 raid. And would do so again today. We are telling Israel so."

Appeasement continued even when the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) discovered a secret Iraqi military procurement network operating in the U.S. Its nub was an Iraqi front company in Cleveland.

Some of Saddam's former close friends in Paris and London have suggested the recently created International Criminal Court should try Saddam. This might help the worst tyrant the world has seen since Josef Stalin avoid the death penalty. But many prominent Europeans and Americans would get splattered with past favors they would rather forget about.

Saddam is frequently referred to as a latter-day Adolf Hitler. His role model was Stalin who said "one death is tragedy; one million deaths is a statistic."
4 posted on 12/22/2003 11:56:45 AM PST by JohnGalt ("Nothing happened on 9/11 to make the federal government more competent.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
On Aug. 1, the Bush 41 administration approved the sale of advanced data-transmission devices to Iraq

Anyone know what those were?
5 posted on 12/22/2003 12:03:19 PM PST by lelio
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt; marron
Next day, Miss Glaspie left Iraq to pick up her mother in London and begin a long planned home leave.

And her second in command, Joseph Wilson, took over.

You know, Nigergate, Yellowcakegate, Kerry advisor. The guy who was married to a French diplomat at the time. The guy who was dining with Saddam's major French arms buyer on the eve of the Kuwait invasion.

I wonder if Saddam asked for clarification about Glaspie from Wilson...

6 posted on 12/22/2003 12:03:38 PM PST by Shermy (Threat level orange - buy more duct tape)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: lelio
Whatever Happened to Iraqgate? 1996.

No, but I will see what I can find; this classic article details the Hillary connection to Iraqgate.

7 posted on 12/22/2003 12:08:42 PM PST by JohnGalt ("Nothing happened on 9/11 to make the federal government more competent.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
If the trial is handled carefully it will not be Saddam vs the US but Saddam vs the Iraqi people. Though Saddam and his team may try to embarrass as many as possible, the actions of US agricultural negotiators are irrelevant to the circumstances and facts regarding such issues as Saddam gassing his own population ... It will be fodder for all those who have been trying to turn everything back on us but I don't think we ever claimed to be unaware of what Saddam was doing including the torture and so forth. The whole world knew that stuff was going on. It will be another thing entirely to try to pin any responsibility on us for Saddams criminal actions unless there is evidence that we commissioned those acts directly.

I'm sure we did quite a few things in turning our enemies against each other that we may now be embarrassed about. Shoot - we stood back and watched as Saddam butchered the uprising we inspired at the end of Gulf I and the Iraqis are very well aware of this but it did not prevent them from praising us for reversing the wrongs of the past. I suppose Saddam may take some consolation in these facts as they walk him to the gallows. And I have no doubt that the left / democrats will try to spin this whole thing as Republicans are Nazi's / blood for oil .....
8 posted on 12/22/2003 12:20:48 PM PST by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cdrw
For the purposes of this thread, and to expand on a conversation of another thread, throw the R and D stuff out for a moment, and just look how little turnover the United States has had between the people in charge then and the people in charge now.

From 1984:

But to trace out the history of the whole period, to say who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been utterly impossible, since no written record, and no spoken word, ever made mention of any other alignment than the existing one. At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.

9 posted on 12/22/2003 12:26:07 PM PST by JohnGalt ("Nothing happened on 9/11 to make the federal government more competent.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: cdrw
Torturing our POW'S. That is an offense against the USA.
10 posted on 12/22/2003 12:51:35 PM PST by Finalapproach29er ("Don't shoot Mongo, you'll only make him mad.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
Saddam will be tried in front of Iraqi judges (perhaps advised by or joined by some non-Iraqi judges) by an Iraqi prosecutor using Iraqi documents and Iraqi witnesses.

His defense may try to portray other countries as enablers, but it won't be relevant to the trial and probably not allowed. April Glaspie didn't try hard enough to stop me is hardly a defense. Imagine a defense that Saddam was only a mass murderer and warmongerer because that was what he thought his Western handlers wanted of him while his victims are being cross-examined.
11 posted on 12/22/2003 1:15:46 PM PST by optimistically_conservative (Clinton's Penis Endorses Dean: Beware the Dean Mujahideen)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
But the US was not "hoping Saddam would prevail over Iran". The Carter Admin quietly encouraged Saddam to invade Iran. The Iranians it was believed would then turn to the US to replenish their stocks of weapons and spares. Unfortunately for Carter, the Vietnamese had large stocks of US weapons and spares which they were more than willing to sell or trade for oil.

In fact the Reagan Admin pursued a policy which was designed to ecourage a protracted and costly stalemate between the two sides (intelligence data was also being passed to Iran and Israel was selling weapons to Iran). Rumsfeld's visit to Saddam was to pave the way for a normalization of relations (the embassy in Baghdad was reopened a few months later). Starting in 1985, the US began secret 'arms for hostages' deals with the Iranians which then morphed into an attempt at diplomatic rapproachment. Thus the Iran-Contra scandal was born.

12 posted on 12/22/2003 2:14:08 PM PST by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Shermy; JohnGalt
To say that the US was allied with Saddam is an oversimplification. We were never Saddam's allies.

Saddam's Iraq was, during the Cold War, a defacto member of the Warsaw Pact. His army was trained and equipped and advised by the Soviets, as was his intelligence service. This relationship continued up to and including the recent Gulf War 2, where he had the services of retired Russian generals. The charges that the US created and armed Saddam were never true, his armament was and is Russian. That part of it that is not Russian, at least in the most recent conflict, was French.

Our policy toward him initially was to woo him away from the Soviet camp, as we had done with the Egyptians. Considerations of his personal moral character were quite secondary to the primary need to pry him away from the Soviets. That is one dynamic in play in the late eighties and early nineties. Of course he was a bad guy, what pro-Soviet dictator wasn't?

The second issue was the need to contain Iran following the fall of the Shah, a self-inflicted crisis if ever there was one. This is evidence if more were ever needed that children should not be trusted with foreign policy. In this our relation to Saddam was cynical, and owed to the need to protect our base in Saudi Arabia. By this I am not referring to a specific military base, but to the fact that Saudi Arabia itself was an important base all during the Cold War for off-the-books enterprises, not to mention its value in resolving balance of trade issues by buying tons of military equipment they could never use, just at the right time, year after year.

In short, we were not Saddam's ally, we were Riyadh's ally. At that time, I think it safe to say, we saw Riyadh not as simply an ally, but as an extention of "us". They had not yet found or revealed foreign policy ambitions of their own, they seemed well pleased to serve as our surrogate, and to provide our public servants with well-remunerated retirement packages.

This is why we backed Saddam so firmly against Iran, but the moment he became a threat to Riyadh he was dropped so quickly his head spun. I doubt he saw it coming.

It is important to note that he had opened his oil industry to US companies prior to the invasion of Kuwait. Bechtel was tooling up to execute a mega-project there at Iraq's invitation. This is probably why April Glaspie's response was not stronger, we had a lot at stake there at the time.

Note, though, that she did not give Saddam a green light. She said very clearly that the US expected a peaceful solution. But we had an invitation to begin operating in Iraq's oil industry, which came in spite of our obviously cynical role in the Iran-Iraq War, where we rather openly played both sides against the middle.

Note also that had we accepted Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, that we would have had access to Kuwait's industry and Iraq's both. It is my impression that Saddam was surprised that we would turn on him with so much at stake for us. If we were driven only by oil-greed, he would have been right. But although we are not immune to commercial considerations, they are never the only considerations with us.

By opposing him, we shut lost access to his oil industry for a decade.

It is instructive to look with open eyes at our dealings with Saddam during the eighties. We closed our eyes to what we knew about him, because other issues were at stake. But following the invasion of Kuwait, and the subsequent massacres in the south and in the north, we could and did no longer ignore what we knew. This is the difference between us and, say, the French and Germans. We were willing to woo him away from the Soviets, and to use him against Iran. We could ignore his slaughters when we were in no position to do anything about it anyway. We could no longer ignore them, though, in the aftermath of his invasion of Kuwait, and when the massacres were committed almost within sight of our forces. That is when we established the no-fly zones, a weak response if ever there was one. Had we been true to our principles, or if we were truly venal, we would have occupied the north and the south and grabbed the oil 10 years ago. Instead we left the oil in the hands of our enemy, a rather odd response if commerce were all-important.
13 posted on 12/22/2003 3:33:14 PM PST by marron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
Well - I hear ya on the 1984 references and we must be vigilant about that. I think Marron's post number 13 hits the nail on the head though. It is but one example of many situations the US found itself in because we were fighting the cold war with the Soviet Union who were making strides toward world domination. The US never aspired to world domination but the Soviets had it as an explicit part of their ideology and they were brutal in its pursuit.

We can point to situations all over the world where the US cuddled up to nasty folks in the interests of shutting down the Soviets global ambitions to enslave us all. Now that the cold war has ended we are susceptible to moralistic political and legal attacks that are emotionally tempting as point issues but at the same time ludicrous in strategic context. Unfortunately there are many people today who do not recall, do not understand, or simply choose to ignore that strategic context.

Your post seems to suggest that there is a cabal at the top who are manipulating us and our history for their own financial and political gain. No doubt there is some of that going on but we must be careful to distinguish between causes and effects; between motives and side-effects. I believe that what distinguished us here is that we did the about face as soon as we could - once the soviets were no longer an issue.

If you read the conspiracy theories spewing out of the middle east you will learn a lot about how people deceive themselves and how governments and interest groups play off that phenomenon. One can look to the beneficiaries of any action and attribute that action to them as part of a secret plan and millions of people around the world will believe it. Hence every time the US benefits in any way, by anything, we are accused of secretly instigating whatever event brought on the benefit. Some people see the oil companies, arms manufacturers, racial / ethnic groups ... in the same light. People who are prone to dislike certain countries will see how they benefit from anything that happens and then perceive an evil conspiracy by them to bring it on.

I guess what I'm saying is that the cabal is not necessary to explain these perceptions. People do it to themselves every day. We must remain grounded in the facts and mindful of history. We can do as much damage to ourselves incorrectly perceiving the Orwellian presence as we can by allowing ourselves to be subjected to it. Life's a beach.
14 posted on 12/22/2003 5:10:17 PM PST by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Finalapproach29er
Yes - this is true. Not to belittle those events but they pale in comparison to what he did to his own people. Saddam is gonna get "tied to a tree" whether we bring the US case against him or not.
15 posted on 12/22/2003 5:12:24 PM PST by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: cdrw
This was a thoughtful reply, but did you see how you could scarcely contain yourself to not politicize. It is part of the American character to be skeptical about any collection of power (be it private or public) but even for this one post about the aesthetics of the whole thing, you felt the need to dismiss critics as conspiracy theorists.
16 posted on 12/23/2003 5:48:44 AM PST by JohnGalt ("Nothing happened on 9/11 to make the federal government more competent.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: JohnGalt
Well yes and no.

Yes I certainly did allow my personal political views to color both my response and my opinion. I have not personally researched the subject matter of the discussion so I am not armed with hard facts about the potential existence of the cabal nor the motives and plans of the US government during the Iran Iraq war. To this extent I am guilty of giving the benefit of the doubt to my own assumptions about, and memories of, the history and of casting dispersions on your apparent position.

No I did not dismiss the critics as conspiracy theorists. I was very careful about that and if I gave that impression then I overstated my case. It is a very specific kind of criticism I am concerned about and it is the very aesthetic nature of this criticism that gives rise to the danger that motivates my reply.

It has been a very long time since I read 1984 so I don't recall the mechanics used to capture the minds of the people in that context. Since 911 I began to read some English translations of middle eastern press and I was shocked to find such glaring examples of conspiracy theories run amok. These glaring examples illustrated for me how people are capable of stitching together facts and inferring hidden forces that cause them to materialize. With illustrations in hand I then look around the rest of the world, including inside the US, and I find the exact same behavior. Not anti-american behavior per se but this phenomenon of observing, or receiving reports of, several events that benefit the same person / country / organization and then inferring from those events that some action by the person ... must have been the cause. Indeed once the prospect of the purposeful actions are perceived the very events themselves get sited as de facto evidence of the hidden motives and the self reinforcing, circular perception begins. This appears to me to be a perception trap that all of us humans are susceptible to and that manipulative governments, companies, political organizations ... take advantage of. But even without any outside help we are susceptible to this trap.

All governments on the earth take actions in their interests. All governments on the earth support their countries commercial activities as much as possible within the context of national interests. Impressionistic displays of true facts regarding American activity with Iraq / Iran can and will be interpreted as de facto evidence of evil intentions even if those true facts are mere side effects of an unmentioned strategy. The same is true of American perceptions of Chinese, Russians ... the list goes on. These mosaics of scattered facts are easily assembled such that they lead people to perceive motives for which there is no other evidence. The aesthetics are a key part of the danger. They are seductive. They resonate in our minds when they lead us to see something that we otherwise desire or fear. The impressionism amplifies our existing biases.

Life's a "beach". We poor individuals are swimming in a sea of information, factual and otherwise, and it is very difficult to tell what the true motivations for things are. Countries, and elements with countries, will always seek to gain as much as possible from everything that gets done. The fact that some elements achieve certain gains is neither surprising nor is it evidence of motive on the part of the country. We have a very tough job trying to sort all this out; trying to figure out who our enemies and friends are; trying to figure out if we are indeed on the receiving end of Orwellian manipulation. It usually very hard to tell. What you saw as a dismissal of the critics was just a heads up about this perception trap and about the necessity for all of us to think beyond the sound bites and point facts.
17 posted on 12/23/2003 9:58:10 AM PST by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson