The Sad History of Iraq's WMD Program

Its outrageous that Bush argues its necessary to preemptively attack Iraq because of the dangers posed by its development of Weapons of Mass Destruction when the US government was so instrumental in helping Iraq develop its weapons of mass destruction program in the first place.

During the 1980s, the Reagan and first Bush Administrations sought to “contain” Iran by funding and supporting Iraq’s war of aggression against Iran. The support included intelligence assistance and the facilitation of arms sales. The US also helped Iraq obtain international loans to finance the war. As part of this effort, the US government permitted Iraq to purchase computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq’s missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

Much of this purchasing was from private US firms who profited from the slaughter of Iranians and Iraqis alike. Moreover, many of the persons involved with this deadly trade are now ironically pushing for war against Iraq. For example, Secretary of Defense and war hawk Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad in 1985 and met with Saddam Hussein as a private businessman on behalf of the Reagan administration.

In the 1980s, Brent Scowcroft, chairman of the president Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, served as Vice Chairman of Kissinger Associates until being appointed as National Security Advisor to the first President Bush in January 1989. Congressperson Henry Gonzalez concluded that “Until October 4,1990, Mr. Scowcroft owned stock in approximately 40 U.S. corporations, many of which were doing business in Iraq.” Scowcroft’s stock included that in Halliburton Oil, also doing business in Iraq at the time, which was until recently run by current Vice President Dick Cheney. Scowcroft companies, according to Gonzalez, “received more than one out of every eight U.S. export licenses for exports to Iraq. Several of the companies were also clients of Kissinger Associates while Mr. Scowcroft was Vice Chairman of that firm.”

Kissinger Associates helped US companies obtain US export licenses so Iraq could purchase US weapons and materials for its weapons programs. US government approved sales of large varieties of chemical and biological materials to Iraq. These included anthrax, components of mustard gas, botulinum toxins (which causes paralysis of the muscles involving swallowing and is often fatal), histoplasma capsulatum (which may cause pneumonia, enlargement of the liver and spleen, anemia, acute inflammatory skin disease marked by tender red nodules), and a host of other nasty chemicals materials.

The contemplated war on Iraq is just another example of the US belatedly seeking to destroy the dictator/security threat which it, in fact, created. The US corporate, military industrial machine favors dictators because they provide internal political stability for US economic interests, as well as sources of cheap labor and materials. As was the case in Afganistan, the US policies of the 80s are now coming back to haunt the world, once again showing how the cure is worse than the problem, or at least just as bad.

The United States government sees it all as a big geo-political game, in which dictators and bullies get armed to fight other dictators, and then must be knocked down. People, life, human rights, democracy — none of it really seems to matter as the US deals death and destruction like it was boxes of widgets.

The real danger to world security — to your personal safety as you sit at home in the United States — is the United States government. The US has the world’s biggest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, and we’re supporting nuclear armed regimes around the world who oppress their people, just like Saddam. When you play violent games that emphasize power and violence and death, you create a world in which the chickens may come home to roost.