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> US 'backed Saddam's use of chemical war on Iran' > By Paul McGeough, Herald Correspondent in New York > August 19 2002 > > http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/08/18/1029114048796.html > > President George Bush's case for war against Saddam Hussein has been > undermined by disclosures that the United States acquiesced in Iraq's past > use of chemical weapons and that Russia is on the verge of signing a $A73 > billion economic co-operation deal with Baghdad. > > Mr Bush and his advisers have built much of their case against Saddam > Hussein on his use of chemicals in the 1981-88 Iraq-Iran war. > > But yesterday former US officers said the Iraqis regularly built chemical > attacks into battle plans that were drawn up for them by the US. > > A veteran of the program told The New York Times the Pentagon "wasn't so > horrified by Iraq's use of gas. It was just another way of killing people - > whether with a bullet or with phosgene, it didn't make any difference". > > Another officer said Iraqi forces "had gotten better and better" at using > chemical weapons. They "were integrated into their fire plan for any large > operation, and it became more and more obvious". > > > The war was fought when Ronald Reagan was president, but his White House > team included the father of today's president, then vice-president George > Bush, and a national security adviser who is today's Secretary of State, > Colin Powell. > > That the US supported Iraq in its war against Iran, in the hope of thwarting > any spread of the Iranian Islamic revolution to the oil-rich Persian Gulf, > is not news. But the detailed allegation that chemical weapons were > integrated into battle plans that were prepared by the US is new, and it > could not have come at a worse time for the Bush campaign to march on > Baghdad. A spokesman for Mr Powell denied the allegation, but would give no > detail. > > In a 1988 battle in which Iraq retook the strategic Fao Peninsula, US > advisers helped plan the attack and, according to the Times, a US defence > intelligence officer who inspected the battlefield reported that areas of > chemical contamination had been cordoned off and that it was littered with > the packing for chemical antidotes that the Iraqis had administered to > themselves in case the gas was blown back on their positions. > > The Moscow-Baghdad trade deal was revealed at the same time as US officials > confirmed that the US ambassador to Germany had complained to Berlin about > Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's refusal to join the campaign against Iraq. > > The Russian deal, which officials said could be signed as early as the end > of this month, is to last for five years and covers oil, electricity, > chemicals, irrigation and railways. > > Its rationale is based on the fact that much of Iraq's infrastructure was > built by the old Soviet Union and that Iraq still owes Moscow billions in > unpaid debts. > > The deal will be a serious irritant to Washington, because at a time when it > is attempting to isolate Iraq it implicitly says that Moscow believes > Baghdad to be a bankable international business partner. > > Moscow, like Berlin, refuses to back any attack on Iraq. > > At the weekend Mr Bush acknowledged a growing and powerful Republican lobby > working to head off his war plans. He was particularly stung by the > intervention in the debate by Brent Scowcroft, who served as national > security adviser to his father as president. > > Mr Bush promised a process of consultation, but he went on: "America needs > to know I'll be making up my mind based on the latest intelligence and how > best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies." > > Working on the known closeness and respect between Mr Scowcroft and the > father of the president, some analysts have formed the view that he warned > off Bush junior with a lengthy and detailed argument in The Wall Street > Journal last week with the knowledge and blessing of Bush senior. > > An official was quoted as saying of the Scowcroft article: "I think the > first president Bush is telling his son: 'Be prudent, George'. We are being > prudent." > > > > _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk