December 24, 2005


Rumsfeld eats Christmas dinner with troops in Iraq (Reuters, Dec 24, 2005)

"When you read things and hear things that express doubt about the future here in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, know that there have always been doubts expressed, there have always been those who have suggested that the cause could not be successful, that the cause would be lost," he said.

"In fact it was the people who persevered that proved them wrong. The great sweep of human history is for freedom and we're on the side of freedom.

"In the struggle between freedom and tyranny, freedom ultimately prevails."

Rumsfeld said the war in Iraq would go down in history as the "liberation of a country that once was an ally of terrorists".

"It will recount the battles that defeated Saddam's regime and the struggles that helped Iraq along its path to democracy, ushering in a new chapter in the Middle East, a hopeful era."

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2005 2:03 PM

Beginning in September, 1989, the Financial Times laid out the first charges that BNL, relying heavily on U.S. government-guaranteed loans, was funding Iraqi chemical and nuclear weapons work. For the next two and a half years, the Financial Times provided the only continuous newspaper reportage (over 300 articles) on the subject. Among the companies shipping militarily useful technology to Iraq under the eye of the U.S. government, according to the Financial Times, were Hewlett-Packard, Tektronix, and Matrix Churchill, through its Ohio branch [7].

Even before the Persian Gulf War started in 1990, the Intelligencer Journal of Pennsylvania in a string of articles reported: "If U.S. and Iraqi troops engage in combat in the Persian Gulf, weapons technology developed in Lancaster and indirectly sold to Iraq will probably be used against U.S. forces ... And aiding in this ... technology transfer was the Iraqi-owned, British-based precision tooling firm Matrix Churchill, whose U.S. operations in Ohio were recently linked to a sophisticated Iraqi weapons procurement network." [8]

Aside from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and ABC's Ted Koppel, the Iraq-gate story never picked up much steam, even though The U.S. Congress became involved with the scandal. FAS report

In December 2002, Iraq's 1,200 page Weapons Declaration revealed a list of Western corporations and countries—as well as individuals—that exported chemical and biological materials to Iraq in the past two decades. Many American names were on the list. Alcolac International, for example, a Maryland company, transported thiodiglycol, a mustard gas precursor, to Iraq. A Tennessee manufacturer contributed large amounts of a chemical used to make sarin, a nerve gas implicated in so-called Gulf War Syndrome. A full list of those companies and their involvements in Iraq [9] [10].

On 25 May 1994, The U.S. Senate Banking Committee released a report in which it was stated that pathogenic (meaning disease producing), toxigenic (meaning poisonous) and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It added: These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction. [11]

The report then detailed 70 shipments (including anthrax bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the UN inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program. See another list here, and another here.

843 companies has been listed as being involved in the arming of Iraq. [12] Twenty-four U.S. firms exported arms and materials to Baghdad [13].

Donald Riegle, Chairman of the Senate committee that made the report, said, "UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States 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." He added, "the executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control sent Iraq 14 agents "with biological warfare significance," including West Nile virus, according to Riegle's investigators [14] [15].

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, released a list of U.S. companies and their exports to Iraq.

Posted by: Grog at December 25, 2005 4:04 AM

Grog, Do you feel better now?

Posted by: erp at December 25, 2005 8:43 AM

Somebody didn't get a visit from Santa Claus.

Posted by: AllenS at December 25, 2005 8:54 AM

Thank you, Grog, for laying out the case for the '03 re-invasion in great and devastating detail.

Clearly, we couldn't permit the Iraqi menace to go unchecked.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 25, 2005 1:37 PM

You haven't checked the Iran brief; chapters from
Fanning the Flames, and the Weapons Bazaar, to see
that Thatcher, Kohl, Mitterand, the sainted Olaf
Palme,Rajiv Gandhi, Gorbachev, et al; did almost
the same thing, often to both sides

Posted by: narciso at December 25, 2005 2:47 PM

Warning to other mid-east despots! Next time we (an imperialist nation) send a lackey on a mission they will carry it out or end up like Saddam. He should have focused his efforts on regime change in Tehran.

Posted by: tgn at December 25, 2005 4:00 PM

It's so hard to keep track of whether Saddam was armed to the teeth by big business or naked to his enemies so should be allowed to keep killing Shi'tes and Kurds....

Posted by: oj at December 25, 2005 4:08 PM

Yeah, I'm confused. Did he have a massive western-supplied wmd program, including nuclear, chemical and biological prongs, or did Bush lie?

As it happens, Grog, that list has been bopping about the internet for years and has been picked apart many times. It boils down to a small amount of dual-use material, very little if any weaponry and anthrax. The dual-use material might not have been a great idea, but when we noted in Colin Powell's UN address that Saddam was still seeking dual-use material, the left pooh-poohed it. Their weaponry was supplied by any number of other countries, most of who refused to undo their error when the chance was presented. The anthrax was part of an agricultural program and was supplied to anyone who asked, including individuals. It was not weaponized. So, the question for you is, was Iraq capable of weaponizing anthrax, and if so, why wasn't that a good reason to invade?

Posted by: David Cohen at December 25, 2005 10:19 PM