Arming Saddam.
September 20, 2002 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Arming Saddam. "ABC News Nightline opened last June 9 with words to make the heart stop. "It is becoming increasingly clear," said a grave Ted Koppel, "that George Bush, operating largely behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and military help that built Saddam's Iraq into the aggressive power that the United States ultimately had to destroy."

Does it matter if no one reports it? Does a tree falling make a sound if no one hears it? Are these facts not relevant to the war against Iraq? For your debating pleasure, a blast from the past.
posted by nofundy (33 comments total)

 
Among people who actually pay attention to recent history, I think its pretty common knowledge that the US supported iraq to fight iran (where we had previously been supporting a puppet leader). Same deal in Afghanistan with the mujahadeen, of course.

All of this got reported plenty, most people just don't care, so we get to blunder ahead repeating the same mistakes. Yay!
posted by malphigian at 11:50 AM on September 20, 2002


We armed the Iraqis against the Iranians, the Iranians against the Iraqis, the Egyptians against the Israelis, the Israelis agains the Egyptians, the Afghans against the Soviets, both sides of every fartass war in Central America throughout the 1980's.... we don't take part in wars, we cater them.

So no, not relevant for the Iraqi debate, other than to point out that today's enemy is tomorrow's friend is next week's enemy is next month's friend, ad infinitum. Such is politics. What next? An FPP that says Bush = Hitler????"

*crawls back into hole*
posted by UncleFes at 11:58 AM on September 20, 2002


See also Bush Senior: Hating Saddam, Selling Him Weapons,
by Kurt Nimmo:

As Dubya the Junior and his coterie of chick hawks prepare to make war on a Frankenstein Bush the Senior--at least in part--created, the revelations exposed by Representative Henry B. Gonzalez and a handful of others need to be revisited within the full context of public debate.

In 1982, Reagan "legalized" direct military assistance to Iraq. This resulted in more than a billion dollars in military related exports. According to Kenneth R. Timmerman (author of The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq) the US government under Reagan and Bush sold Iraq 60 Hughes MD 500 "Defender" helicopters, eight Bell Textron AB 212 military helicopters equipped for anti-submarine warfare, 48 Bell Textron 214 ST utility helicopters (sold for "recreational" purposes), and US military infra-red sensors and thermal imaging scanners (sold illegally to Iraq through a Dutch company). After the Gulf War, the International Atomic Energy Agency found the following US equipment in Iraq: spectrometers, oscilloscopes, neutron initiators, high-speed switches for nuclear detonation, and other tools used to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons.

While Bush Junior declares he "will not allow... a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction," the administration of his father and Reagan, as the Gonzalez revelations demonstrate, apparently didn't have the future of America in mind when they allowed biological and chemical weapons--as well as massive amounts of conventional military hardware--to be exported to Iraq. They were only interested in making sure Saddam gassed as many Iranians as possible--and thus pay back the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for evicting the despised Shah Reza Pahlavi and initiating an anti-western revolution in Iran. No doubt it irks Bush, Cheney, neocons in general, and a few mulitnational oil corporations that Iran is calling the shots on its oil resources.

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:00 PM on September 20, 2002


Your axe must be sharp enough to split atoms by now.
posted by MrBaliHai at 12:00 PM on September 20, 2002


Correct link: Bush Senior: Hating Saddam, Selling Him Weapons,
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:01 PM on September 20, 2002


Perhaps we should follow the lead of the NRA, who, just today on TV stated that America would be much safer if everyone were armed.
posted by Postroad at 12:05 PM on September 20, 2002


We're going to live with the repurcusions of the cold warrior mentality for a long time to come. Between the US and the old USSR they've completely armed the world. Every bloodthirsty militant out there either has a Kalashnikov or an AR-15 or in some cases both. This will not go away until the ideal of arming others to fight 'the good fight' is seen as the cowardly action and con game it truly is.
posted by skallas at 12:09 PM on September 20, 2002


Basically, that was then - this is now. And perhaps this would be a safer place if we were all armed - it would damn sure be more civil, if you had to worry about grandma whipping out a piece and blasting your ass when you tried to cut in front of her walker in the checkout line..
posted by Pressed Rat at 12:11 PM on September 20, 2002


And perhaps this would be a safer place if we were all armed - it would damn sure be more civil, if you had to worry about grandma whipping out a piece and blasting your ass when you tried to cut in front of her walker in the checkout line..

Right. Arming the senile has been what the NRA has done best.... almost as good a job as the Republican Party. See above...

Your axe must be sharp enough to split atoms by now.

Your head must be sandy enough for cat waste by now.

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:19 PM on September 20, 2002


Your axe must be sharp enough to split atoms by now.

Hahaha! Thanks for noticing!
*grind**grind**grind*
Wanna see my one trick again? :-)
*grind**grind**grind*
At least I've got lots of company doing the same trick so I don't feel totally isolated!
posted by nofundy at 12:19 PM on September 20, 2002


I think part of the reason "Iraqgate" (I'm so sick of -gate as a suffix) fails to stick is the discomfort most Americans feel regarding scandal and former Presidents. If the actual, sitting president is not above inquiry and public scrutiny, former presidents certainly are.

Just like Reagan would never see the consequences of Iran-Contra, just like Billy Clint won't see any more consequences of his *ahem* indiscretions, and Dubya can go back to being an alcoholic or whatever.
posted by rocketman at 12:51 PM on September 20, 2002


What next? An FPP that says Bush = Hitler????

Er, I think you're kind of misquoting that FPP. But at remember who came up with Saddam > Hitler.
posted by soyjoy at 12:52 PM on September 20, 2002


Uh, I think that was originally going to be "at least remember." But I got sidetracked trying to find out if the ">" was going to cause problems.
posted by soyjoy at 12:54 PM on September 20, 2002


[derail] One thing that has really struck me about Iraq is the amount of attention we are all suddenly paying to the issue. Did something change in Iraq since 9/11? Why now? The Bush government doesn't want to share any documents about it's energy policies, not even mere lists of names, but they can't shut up about Iraq. Everyday, as our economy slowly tanks, as airports remain unsecured, as Palestine is still fighting with Israel (or is that the other way around?), some talking monkey from the Bush admin is out there screaming "Code Orange!!" and pointing at Baghdad. Bush is not a stupid man. He believes SH is a problem, and he's using that problem to create political capitol while removing the threat. Two birds, one really big rock. He has created an environment in which only his issues are discussed. Enron is going to happen again, friends, and I just can't wait for the next market-fueled rolling blackout. Let's talk about some sand dune halfway around the world. yeah.[/derail]
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:07 PM on September 20, 2002


By now it's common knowledge that the US armed Iran and (mainly) Iraq during the 80's. What gets my goat is when members of this administration use the "Saddam used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, not to mention the Iranians. He is evil and we must do something about him RIGHT NOW!" justification for war against Iraq.

Now if Ari Fleischer just said "Saddam might seem sinister now, but he was our best buddy when he was evil incarnate. We knew full well about his atrocities when we were selling him arms and providing him with military intelligence. Now we need to divert people's attention from the things that matter, make Iraq's oil available to the world, and also line the pockets of our arms manufacturers (our military complex isn't going to perpetuate itself, you know), so we have to turn on our old customer and friend", I would actually start to respect this administration...a little.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:59 PM on September 20, 2002


Sorry about all the "nows".
posted by Devils Slide at 2:01 PM on September 20, 2002


We spent ten years arming him and ten years disarming him.
posted by euphorb at 2:31 PM on September 20, 2002


Economy? Radiation detectors? NRA? No problem. We'll disarm males, arm all females, starting in Western New York. [/derail]
"I was in the Pentagon on September 11. Our office was on the opposite side of the building, and as we filed out none of us guessed how horrible it was until we saw, from the parking lot, the columns of smoke. That first evening, amid the shock and sense of loss, I thought, "This is what blowback really means." No one can excuse Al Qaeda's murderous hatred, but I now realize that this terror network was made possible by the arms and money we provided the Afghan mujahedeen during our demented anti-Soviet crusade. Those Americans who supported these thugs and psychopaths should be ashamed. Whenever I see that antidrug ad that claims that buying pot helps terrorists, I am reminded that our own cold war "patriots" helped to slaughter 3,000 people, and tried to kill me at my desk."
Agreed, it's the sales pitch that's the problem here, because one side isn't playing it straight. Time for the old salesman's technique for flushing out hidden objections: "OK, Bush Administration, we're willing to work with you on that point. I'm going to get back to it with you in just a moment. Now, let's assume we resolve that point where we're stuck. Do we have a deal for peace?"

The answer is always no. It doesn't matter what objection you flush out: the hawks appear emotionally convinced that invasion is necessary, and will trot out any convenient justification they can find. When the flaks put out the impression that the Administration isn't even willing to attempt an inspection regime in good faith, it's no surprise that the public starts to wonder about ulterior motives like electoral politics, personal business interests, taking your mind off the economy, etc.

If the Administration would level with the public and flat out say, "We don't feel we can guarantee your security for x, y, and z reasons, thus we must attack" the whole thing would start to sound plausible, and less like a con job. Maybe the public would respond: Gotcha, we'd rather absorb another 9-11 than start WWIII. Or maybe they'd say, "Don't buy it, if Iraq hits NYC or DC the repercussions for the rest of the world would be so bad the Arab world would rue the day." Or maybe the public will say "Agreed, once Iraq blocks the inspectors out, military action is required." IMHO it's way too late for advertising, PR, and BS- it's time to level with the public.

And now I will shut up, since this topic is taking up way too much of my time and attention also. Somebody else can dig out the next round of links.
posted by sheauga at 2:39 PM on September 20, 2002


What elwoodwiles and sheauga said.
And also, do we have to go to war? Couldn't we just continue to pick at them to pieces? Time is more on our side than theirs. What's the rush for a showdown? Just asking.
Everybody's focusing on Iraq, instead of the huge domestic problem of Bush, unemployment, deterioration of life? I wish there were more productive ideas for our future instead of the whining.
{derail?/}
posted by semmi at 3:18 PM on September 20, 2002


Too bad many more liberals aren't armed. I'm sure they would have quit complaining by now, assumed their responsibility, and violently overthrown the oppressive regime they keep going on about.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:26 PM on September 20, 2002


How about this for an idea:

Selling arms to foreign countries should be illegal. Yes, we can create arms to defend our own country, and develop new weapons to protect ourselves in conflict, but to sell to any other nation whatsoever would be banned.

For? Against?
posted by skylar at 4:13 PM on September 20, 2002


I agree in principle with Skylar's idea, with the added proviso that it would not apply to our closest allies. Example? Countries with whom we have mutual defense treaties, such as the other members of NATO.

If we say to the world that an attack on another country us an attack on us, then it is reasonable to sell them arms to perhaps diminish the possibility of that occurring in the first place. It also allows for more coordination of forces in the event of allied action.

Any alliance short of that, arms sales should be prohibited. But I'm not holding my breath.
posted by bowline at 6:29 PM on September 20, 2002


I 'd have no problem with it, but realize that lack of weapons will not prevent war. In Rwanda 1994 the lack of modern weaponry meant only that the majority of genocide victims were slaughtered with machetes and ubuhiris, i.e. nail studded clubs. Some people actually paid to be shot rather than hacked to death.
posted by quercus at 7:58 PM on September 20, 2002


Selling arms to foreign countries should be illegal. Yes, we can create arms to defend our own country, and develop new weapons to protect ourselves in conflict, but to sell to any other nation whatsoever would be banned.

Could other countries sell arms? And who would enforce the ban if they did and how?
posted by semmi at 9:12 PM on September 20, 2002


Other countries do, indeed, sell arms. In particular, Russia and France are nipping at the US's heels.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:09 PM on September 20, 2002


"It is becoming increasingly clear that the Roosevelt administration spent the first part of the 40's arming the Soviet Union, and now that knowledge is being used against us."

Today's friend may be tomorrow's enemy. It is the way of the world.

I'm not saying we shouldn't be careful about who we arm - we should - but sometimes there is no avoiding this kind of thing.
posted by hadashi at 10:20 PM on September 20, 2002


"In 1995, the Clinton Administration recognized that the Turkish government used American arms in domestic military operations where human rights abuses occurred. In fact, Turkey has forcibly evacuated, leveled and burned more than 3,000 Kurdish villages in the past decade. Most of the atrocities, which have cost over 40,000 lives, took place during Clinton's first term in office. As an ally of the U.S. through NATO, Turkey receives U.S. weapons, from dozens of companies, including Hughes, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. Despite a horrifying report of violent abuse by Amnesty International, the State Department passed arms deals with Turkey. The war in Turkey represents the greatest use of U.S. weapons in combat anywhere in the world today."

- Top 25 Censored News Stories of 1999, projectcensored.com
posted by Devils Slide at 12:33 AM on September 21, 2002


I don't like the implication of this post, which is that you detest George W. Bush (probably for no reason other than that he would disfavor your drug, alcohol or tobacco use).

So what if what you claim is partially, or completely true. If be were allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler, should that estop us from then seeking to rid the world of the Soviets?

But in any case, I doubt what the link claims is as clear-cut as you claim.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:37 PM on September 21, 2002


Yeah, DevilsSlide, but the PKK were a heavily-armed guerrilla group that wasn't above bombing civilians and assassinating political enemies. And in any event, since the 1999 capture of their leader Ocalan, and a tactical alliance by Turkey with Iraqi Kurdistan, they have mainly abandoned armed struggle and are cooperating with the Turkish government.
posted by dhartung at 2:51 PM on September 21, 2002


This letter to the daily torygraph surprisingly says it all...
posted by cohiba at 4:43 PM on September 21, 2002


hmmmmmmmm.. the link didn't work...I'll try again.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fopinion%2F2002%2F09%2F16%2Fdt1606.xml
posted by cohiba at 4:44 PM on September 21, 2002


Too bad many more liberals aren't armed. I'm sure they would have quit complaining by now, assumed their responsibility, and violently overthrown the oppressive regime they keep going on about.

Yeah! Or at least they would have tried. After all, lots of conservatives are armed, and at least one of them did his part to overthrow the oppressive regime they keep going on about. If it hadn't been for the Founding Fathers' wisdom in maintaining easy access to weaponry, and his own wisdom in acquiring it, this man's act of patriotism could never have happened. And then where would we be?
posted by ramakrishna at 7:37 PM on September 21, 2002


We're going to live with the repurcusions of the cold warrior mentality for a long time to come.

I'm not sure if this is a cold war mentality. I think it's an imperial mentality on behalf of both the US and Europe of which the cold war was just a symptom. Why bother spending lots of cash and risking danger by occupying countries, when you can get their governments to do your fighting for you and then secure the best trade deals? All the goals of empire achieved with none of the risks. The machinations of the US and the UK have failed so now they have to go in the old way and take control themselves.

I'm with Skylar. International arms sales should be banned. Unfortunately it won't happen because the industry is too profitable.

This thread is dead, so no-one will read this. *twiddles thumbs, wanders out*
posted by Summer at 2:29 AM on September 23, 2002


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