Saddam Hussein called the hand of George W. Bush and put a stumbling block in front of U.S. war plans by informing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that he would allow U.N. weapons inspectors to immediately return to Iraq without condition. The White House was dismissive of Hussein’s olive branch and said disarmament, not inspections, was the issue as the U.S. stepped up military preparations and operations against Iraq.
On September 12, Bush told the U.N. that Hussein had violated U.N. Security Council resolutions by not allowing U.N. inspections and was building more “weapons of mass destruction” that Saddam had already used to kill Iranian troops and “his own people”. Bush has called Hussein an international criminal and urges military action against Iraq to make a “regime change”. Saddam’s accomplices in the killings were the Reagan and Bush, Sr. administration officials who sold Hussein the technology and materials to develop such weapons in the war against Iran in the 1980s . This makes U.S. officials international criminals. No wonder Bush the younger is so adamant about United States’ citizens not being under the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction. “Poppy”, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Dubya could all end up in the dock if justice were done
On September 8, 2002, the Sunday Herald of Glasgow, Scotland reported the sales of the deadly materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs, botulism and other germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia to Iraq by the United States from January 1985 to August 1990.
Senator Donald Riegle, then chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs that oversees U.S. export policy said, “UN inspectors had identified many U.S. manufactured items that had been exported from the U.S. to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and (established) that these items were used to further Iraq’s chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs.”
According to the Sunday Herald, the Senate report said that, “The U.S. provided Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs.” Also included in such exports to Iraq were, “chemical warfare-agent precursors, chemical warfare-agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare related materials, missile fabrication equipment and missile system programs.”
The Sunday Herald also reported that former U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, and Count Hans von Sponeck, a former U.N. coordinator in Iraq and UN under-secretary, were dubious about recent claims of Iraqi weapons production. Ritter is a Republican who voted for Bush and now says that Bush is a “liar” for claiming Hussein is a threat to America. Von Sponeck says he thinks the West is lying about Iraq’s weapons program after he visited alleged weapons sites in Iraq this July and found them in the “same destroyed state which we witnessed in 1999.”
On September 16, 2002, the Washington Post reported that U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, II (D-W.Va.) met with key Iraqi officials in Baghdad this past weekend, including the deputy prime minister and a speaker of the national assembly, who seemed “very interested” in allowing inspectors to return unconditionally.
Rahall voted for the resolution to go to war against Iraq in 1991, but said this time, “It appears strange to me that a year ago this was not an imminent threat to the United States, but now, six weeks before an election, it is.”
The frenzied talk of war could benefit the administration and Republicans as well as incumbents of both parties. War is the ultimate political diversion from the corporate/governmental corruption scandals that have abetted the double-dipped recession ravaging the pocketbooks of the average American voter.
It is better to ride the war horse to victory in November if you are in the White House and desperately distressed about more public discourse concerning your personal financial involvement with Harken, Halliburton, and Enron. War talk is also good for your reelection chances if you are a member of the gang over at Capitol Hill who are scared to death of more stories about big campaign contributions and maybe even a few inside stock tips from the lobbyists and executives of WorldCom or Global Crossing.
In a story headlined, “In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue” and “U.S. Drillers Eye Huge Petroleum Pool”, the Washington Post on September 15 revealed the inevitable reason for a “regime change” in Iraq. War and weapons of mass destruction that kill Iranians and Iraqis by the thousands don’t really matter and U.S. officials who were accomplices in the killing will never be brought to justice. It’s the oil, stupid!
Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and civil rights activist in Columbia, South Carolina. www.turnipseed.net