Unindicted Co-Conspirator: Donald Rumsfeld
By Norman Solomon
08 November, 2006
Saddam Hussein has received a
death sentence for crimes he committed more than a year before Donald
Rumsfeld shook his hand in Baghdad. Let's reach back into history and
extract these facts:
On Dec. 20, 1983, the Washington
Post reported that Rumsfeld "visited Iraq in what U.S. officials
said was an attempt to bolster the already improving U.S. relations
with that country."
Two days later, the New York
Times cited a "senior American official" who "said that
the United States remained ready to establish full diplomatic relations
with Iraq and that it was up to the Iraqis."
On March 29, 1984, the Times
reported: "American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied with
relations between Iraq and the United States and suggest that normal
diplomatic ties have been restored in all but name." Washington
had some goodies for Saddam's regime, the Times account noted, including
"agricultural-commodity credits totaling $840 million." And
while "no results of the talks have been announced" after
the Rumsfeld visit to Baghdad three months earlier, "Western European
diplomats assume that the United States now exchanges some intelligence
on Iran with Iraq."
A few months later, on July
17, 1984, a New York Times article with a Baghdad dateline sketchily
filled in a bit more information, saying that the U.S. government "granted
Iraq about $2 billion in commodity credits to buy food over the last
two years." The story recalled that "Donald Rumsfeld, the
former Middle East special envoy, held two private meetings with the
Iraqi president here," and the dispatch mentioned in passing that
"State Department human rights reports have been uniformly critical
of the Iraqi President, contending that he ran a police state."
Full diplomatic relations
between Washington and Baghdad were restored 11 months after Rumsfeld's
December 1983 visit with Saddam -- who went on to use poison gas later
in the decade, actions which scarcely harmed relations with the Reagan
As the most senior U.S. official
to visit Iraq in six years, Rumsfeld had served as Reagan's point man
for warming relations with Saddam. In 1984, the administration engineered
the sale to Baghdad of 45 ostensibly civilian-use Bell 214ST helicopters.
Saddam's military found them quite useful for attacking Kurdish civilians
with poison gas in 1988, according to U.S. intelligence sources. "In
response to the gassing," journalist Jeremy Scahill has pointed
out, "sweeping sanctions were unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate
that would have denied Iraq access to most U.S. technology. The measure
was killed by the White House."
These are facts that the public should know about the current defense
secretary of the United States.
latest book, "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning
Us to Death," is out in paperback. For information, go to: www.warmadeeasy.com
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