If Saddam is Guilty of Genocide, Can Rumsfeld be Innocent? Email Print

An Associated Press article from Baghdad last week generates much food for thought.  The article dealt with the trial of brutal Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and a line of argument being vigorously pursued by the prosecution.

The focus was on 1982 and the brutal genocide of significant segments of the Kurdish population of Iraq's northern territories.  The Shia beliefs of the Kurds clashed with Saddam's Sunni regime and many were forced to pay the ultimate price of death for those basic underlining differences.

The important element was to register on the year mentioned by the prosecution.  The year 1982 should be familiar to those studying the Iraq-U.S. relationship for a fundamental reason.  It preceded 1983, a pivotal year in that relationship.  Remember those photos of a glowing Donald Rumsfeld sitting in the office of none other than the perpetrator of genocide himself?  

The delighted Rumsfeld, as President Reagan's emissary, had helped shape a trade deal that provided the U.S. with Iraq's most valuable commodity of oil in exchange for weapons and technology.

A fast forward to the days immediately preceding the U.S. invasion of Iraq found that same Donald Rumsfeld stressing the need of driving Saddam from power.  To underscore the gravity of the case Rumsfeld pointed to acts of genocide committed by the brutal dictator that America's CIA helped install in power.  

Saddam's forces could well have been gassing Kurds at the very moment when Rumsfeld was beaming proudly over his achievement as he sat in Saddam's office.  In any event, we know fully well that he was devoutly immersed in the genocide process during that period.    

What you never heard from Rumsfeld during that period, and assuredly will never hear, is any kind of explanatory time line denoting when Saddam ceased being a U.S. ally and became a brutal tyrant who allegedly threatened America with weapons of mass destruction that Condoleezza Rice dramatically referred to as an impending giant mushroom cloud.  

While knowledgeable Iraq watchers like Scott Ritter and elements of America's State Department and CIA had stressed that the pre-invasion Iraq being confronted by the Cheney-Bush Junta had been substantially weakened by two costly wars with neighboring Iran and the United States in the Gulf War along with UN sanctions, the bullish Rumsfeld not only pushed on; he proudly showcased a new offensive aerial attack force dramatically christened as "shock and awe."  

It will be recalled that under shock and awe careful distinctions were to be made between military and civilian targets.  Tell that to the civilian victims in a grand total of carnage that a John Hopkins University study, with substantial corroboration from European sources, placed at 100,000 deaths.  

Fox News, the Bush Administration's propaganda arm, was careful to reveal in post-invasion "coverage" only footage far removed from the battlefield, to generate the impressions of effortlessness along with the idea of U.S. forces being greeted as "liberators" as Dick Cheney had earlier predicted on Meet The Press.  

When Al Jazeera dared to show what was really happening, beginning with widespread death and destruction within Baghdad, the U.S. protested mightily and after pressure was applied the Arab network was turned out of its Baghdad office.  Ironically the same forces that had promised democracy to the Iraqis generated the pressure that prompted the shutdown.  

Senator Alan Simpson, a longtime ally of fellow Wyoming figure Dick Cheney, resented the assaults that Saddam Hussein received from segments of the American press and apologized personally to the dictator during that same period for the bad public relations Saddam had received in the U.S., certainly sparked by that dangerous "left wing media" the right frets about.  

Press resentment was a Simpson fixation.  When he wrote his political memoirs his subtitle was: "A Lifetime of Scrapping With the Press."

The question to ponder is this:  If Saddam Hussein is guilty of genocide for gassing Kurds in 1982 and the Reagan Administration via Rumsfeld's efforts concluded an agreement with him one year later that supplied weapons and important weapons technology, including the wherewithal to manufacture poison gas, then can Rumsfeld and other involved parties be anything other than complicit in genocide?        


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If this was a Mafia case, it would be like going after Sammy "The Bull" Gravanno... but not asking him about John Gotti.

You would think between Court TV, Nancy Grace, The Abrams Report, or even The Colbert Report someone would have discussed the fact that the trial is about stuff Saddam did when Reagan was president!

They aren't going after him because he invaded Kuwait, or because he let his sons run torture chambers, or because he slaughtered people after they followed Poppy Bush's message to rise up.... nah... he is being tried for stuff he did as our local enforcer.

I mean how ironic is that?  Not as ironic as Cheney giving someone else a heart attack, but pretty damn close.

The pay is great... but the retirement plan sucks.

A recent FBI search warrant reveals Republicans refer to themselves as the Corrupt Bastards Club!

by 8ackgr0und N015e on 03/05/2006 03:43:43 AM EST

excellent point!

I've heard Chomsky talk about Rumsfeld's complicity in the gassing the Kurds as well.

He also points out that, if Iraq was so all-powerful and dangerous to the US with these chemical and biological WMDs, why was Saddam at the height of his military strength, unable to defeat (it's closest neighbour) Iran, using these weapons in 8 years of all-out war?  

by rebop on 03/05/2006 06:44:49 AM EST

It is misleading to comparer all out war and the defeat of Iran to either the defense of Iraq from an invading army or a terrorist attack.

Chemical weapons are notoriously difficult field weapons.  Attacking Iran and actually subduing it would require a much more massive attack than mere field weapons.  Remember, folks tend to find motivation when they are defending their home turf.  Hence, the failure of Iran to kick Iraq's ass when the tables turned and they attacked.  Hence the failure of US forces to control the country after "shock and awe" ....

A terrorist attack would take much less effort than war.  So one could easily see a situation where someone in possession of WMD might be able to use them as terrorist tools even if they could not mount a military campaign.

Having said that... someone needs to explain why the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor all made categorical statements about the certain knowledge of WMD when plenty of people were telling them the opposite.

But those are questions for a different trial.

A recent FBI search warrant reveals Republicans refer to themselves as the Corrupt Bastards Club!

by 8ackgr0und N015e on 03/05/2006 05:00:18 PM EST

and a Cheney-Bush Junta trial and the media silencers head for the hills.  Blindside them with it and you produce mass strokes.  If others such as Milosevic are tried then fine, but even pose the question about the Junta and you get this knee jerk "We're at war" response at the least and "You're giving aid and comfort to the enemy" rant at worst.  Hopefully enough people will wake up before it is too late to do anything, as Pastor Martin Niemoller lamented in Germany during the Third Reich years.

Bill Hare

by Bill Hare on 03/07/2006 01:37:40 PM EST

In his case the Nazis started by going after everyone else before savaging their own.  RINO hunting would have him scratching his head.....

A recent FBI search warrant reveals Republicans refer to themselves as the Corrupt Bastards Club!

by 8ackgr0und N015e on 03/08/2006 01:09:16 AM EST