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.
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?
KEYWORDS: Donald Rumsfeld, Saddam Hussein, Genocide of Iraq's Kurds, Senator Alan Simpson
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