France provided Iraq with aircraft to launch AMDs [arms of mass destruction]
October 18, 2002 5:10 AM   Subscribe

France provided Iraq with aircraft to launch AMDs [arms of mass destruction] And they gave me (I bought it) the Renault Dauphine! Looks like the U.S. is not the only country that our home boys can complain about as far as foreign policy matters.
posted by Postroad (25 comments total)
posted by yertledaturtle at 5:14 AM on October 18, 2002

It states that France sold Mirages to Iraq since 1982 but apparently before 1990. May I remind you that, before 1990, Iraq was also more or less an American ally? And that the US supported Saddam Hussein during the war between Iraq and Iran (1980- '88)?

From the same article:

French intelligence sources have told Isnard that “there exists a basis” for the CIA’s accusations, but that, in their estimation (...), the CIA is at least just as guilty as the French for toying around with biological weapons, notably with its special operation of 1966.

During the 1966 trials the CIA spread a non-lethal biochemical substance — the well-named bacillus subtilis [Anthrax B]— in nine stations of the New York subway system

posted by NekulturnY at 5:36 AM on October 18, 2002

Say bonjjjoooouuurrr ya cheese eatin' surrender monkeys!

If the Simpsons aren't France's biggest critic, then I dont know who is.
posted by CoolHandPuke at 5:40 AM on October 18, 2002

Business as usual. Countries, including the U.S., sell weapons and supplies to other countries all the time. You're guaranteed that this will offend some other country. This is laissez-faire capitalism at its best. France did this in 1982. Out of those 120 aircraft 12-15 are still operational. In 1982 Iraq wasn't yet part of the Axis of Evil, in fact, they wouldn't even invade Kuwait, earning the U.S.'s ire, for another 8 years. That only 10% or so of these aircraft are still operational implies that France stopped selling them to Iraq quite some time ago. This is peer-pressure at its best.
posted by substrate at 5:50 AM on October 18, 2002

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is accusing France of having provided Iraq with the aircraft permitting it to carry and launch arms of massive destruction (AMDs)

Pot, kettle, black.
posted by talos at 6:11 AM on October 18, 2002

France provided Iraq with aircraft to launch AMDs
I'd just like to applaud everyone thus far for not making the obvious "overheated Athlon as weapon of mass destruction" joke.

Oh bugger.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:14 AM on October 18, 2002

Does it matter who sold Iraq what?

If I sell you a gun, am I responsible if you use it to kill? For that matter, if I sell you a piano, am I responsible for your uses or abuses of piano wire? (Guitars too!)

I am no French apologist, but neither the United States nor France is responsible for abuses of technology by lunatics.
posted by hama7 at 6:25 AM on October 18, 2002

If I sell you a gun, am I responsible if you use it to kill?

Well, hama7, some countries would argue that you are. That's why they have strict gun control.
posted by Summer at 6:33 AM on October 18, 2002

If I sell you a gun, am I responsible if you use it to kill?
I'm sure that providing a known felon or a homicidal maniac with a gun must be some kind of crime in most places in the world. Furthermore selling/giving a weapon to someone who you know in advance is planning to commit a crime must be "aiding and abetting", isn't it?
posted by talos at 6:38 AM on October 18, 2002

"Here's a deadly weapon. Now, don't you go off and kill anyone with it now."

posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:42 AM on October 18, 2002

Here is some crack. Use it or not. I am not responsible.
posted by Postroad at 6:48 AM on October 18, 2002

My point is: "Here is a tennis racket (or a newspaper, or a spoon, or a germ). Don't kill with it."

Morality dictates behavior.

I mean come on! "Here are your hands. Please don't kill anybody with them"!
posted by hama7 at 6:55 AM on October 18, 2002

That's what you told Noelle, right, Postroad?
posted by matteo at 6:56 AM on October 18, 2002

Wait, wait. These planes were modified with tanks to release chemicals. That's hardly France's fault. I could figure out how to rig up some tanks. I suppose Toyota is guilty of terrorism for making the refrigerator truck that Aum Shinrikyo modified and used to spread Sarin gas and kill and injure a lot of people?
posted by planetkyoto at 6:56 AM on October 18, 2002

I've never heard of B. subtilis as being called "Anthrax B" before. It's harmless, which is why it was used as a tracer in bioweapons tests... and it's in fact used as a eco-friendly fungicide. As for glycerin, you can drink the stuff (though it'll give you the runs), and potassium permanganate is a powerful oxidizing agent -- more powerful than bleach -- but hardly a weapon.

And the article is (deliberately?) vague in key phrases, such as: "...provided Iraq with the aircraft - notably the Mirage F1-EQ - which has been specially adapted to carry biological weapons...." Is this a special bio-weapons edition of the Mirage or did Iraq adapt them for bioweapons use? The article seems to imply the former (because of the singular "has") but I believe that the latter is true -- in which case, you can't blame France for anything more than standard irresponsible conventional weapons proliferation (which the US is quite guilty of, too.)

(Interestingly enough, a google search turned up this story, which seems identical with the Arabnews story, which, in turn, borrowed heavily from the the original Lemonde article (in French.) Given the different datelines and similarities in language, I suspect a case of double plagiarism.)
posted by ptermit at 6:58 AM on October 18, 2002

The whole point with weapons of mass destruction is there use as a deterrent (at least that was the point in the cold war).

However giving it to some wacko like Hussein and allowing him to use it is bad. Letting him carry on developing the weapons though is worse.

The second he gassed the Kurds and Iranian soldiers the UN/US/EU should've kicked his ass.
posted by PenDevil at 6:59 AM on October 18, 2002

I agree that the charges are weak. The most salient point is that while the United States is willing to rectify the mistake of selling Mirages to Iraq, France is not.

Hope Mirages are as shitty as most French cars...
posted by ParisParamus at 7:02 AM on October 18, 2002

And they gave me (I bought it) the Renault Dauphine!

You bought that piece of shit car? Someone abandoned one of those in my front yard, and I couldn't give it away.
posted by laz-e-boy at 7:03 AM on October 18, 2002

By the way, if anyone has a Citroen they'd like to give away, please contact me.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:07 AM on October 18, 2002

"... the Mirage F1-EQ — which has been specially adapted to carry biological weapons"

Those Iraqi's are smart bastards. I wonder what happened to all that "dual-technology farming equipment" Britain and America sold to Saddam, like the "combine harvester/ballistic missile launcher".
posted by ToothpickVic at 7:18 AM on October 18, 2002

Personally, I would worry most about anthrax and (possibly) smallpox. With these weapons, I'd say that "multiple autonomous anthropogenic delivery systems" (people) are much more effective than a handlfull of dubiously maintained French planes ----- and a hell of a lot cheaper.
posted by troutfishing at 10:31 AM on October 18, 2002

Is retrofitting a plane to drop a package with, perhaps a parachute, that difficult? The French may be odious for selling Saddam a nuclear reactor, but this doesn't seem to be a biggie. But feel free to tell me I'm mistaken.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:09 AM on October 18, 2002

French response, via IRNA. Odd that this isn't making, say, the IHT, other than side references such as in this WaPo article:

France has a long history of commercial ties with Iraq, dating back to the early 1970s, when Hussein traveled to Paris, his first trip to a Western capital, and Chirac, a rising political star, returned the favor two years later by visiting Baghdad. Chirac is considered the architect of France's early Iraq policy that provided Hussein with a nuclear reactor (bombed by Israel in 1981) and then supplied Baghdad with Mirage F-1 fighter jets, Exocet missiles and Etendard aircraft during its war with Iran. In exchange, France received oil -- an important concession, because French companies had been largely shut out of the Gulf's oil supplies by U.S., British and Dutch firms.

At the time, the French government regarded Hussein and his Baath Party as a bulwark against Ayatollah Khomeini's fundamentalist regime in Iran. The secular Baathists were modernizing and giving equal rights to women.

Iraq owes French companies about $5 billion. Also, the French oil concern, TotalFinaElf, has been pursuing exploration and development rights to two sites in Iraq, but has been unable to sign a contract as long as U.N. sanctions are in place. ....

However, few analysts and journalists believe that commercial concerns are at the heart of French policy, and many note that France participated in the first Gulf War. The $5 billion debt, many said, is marginal, and some analysts said that France would actually have more commercial opportunities if Hussein were ousted.

It seems the release of this report was not so much to shock the world with the evidence that Iraq's Mirage fleet came from France (a fact already quite public), as it may have been to embarrass Chirac, who was closely connected to the original sale.
posted by dhartung at 11:15 AM on October 18, 2002

I highly recommend watching the movie Deterrance. I don't want to ruin anything, but the US uses France as a conduit to supply Iraq with faulty nuclear weapons. Prophetic?
posted by eperker at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2002

Let's not neglect the UK's role.
posted by shoos at 2:59 PM on October 18, 2002

« Older   |   Braingirl Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments