December 20, 2003
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Archive Exposes Rumsfeld's Iraq Mission

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was told to assure Iraqi leaders that Washington wanted close relations when he went there in 1984, despite public condemnation of Iraq's use of chemical weapons, a declassified document released shows. . . .

When he returned in late March 1984, the secret relationship had suffered a sharp setback because of strong US State Department condemnation on March 5 of Iraq's use of chemical weapons in fighting with Iran.

In the cable to Mr Rumsfeld, Mr Shultz said he and Under Secretary of Defence Lawrence Eagleburger had tried to reassure Iraq's under secretary of foreign affairs Ismet Kittani that they wanted to keep the relationship on track. . . .

In November 1984, the United States and Iraq established full diplomatic relations. . . .

The archive has in past uncovered and made public other documents that describe a constant US policy of helping Iraq in its war with arch US foe Iran, even as it publicly condemned Baghdad's use of chemical weapons.

The policy began in the early 1980s as Iraq was fighting for survival and continued during the administration of the elder George Bush, the current president's father. . . .


Stephen C. Pelletiere, "Did Saddam Gas His Own People?," New York Times, January 31, 2003

Eric Margolis, "People Who Live in Glass Houses," The Wisdom Fund, March 15, 2003

Eric Margolis, "Saddam Captured: The Man Who Knew Too Much," The Wisdom Fund, December 21, 2003

Andrew Buncombe, "Rumsfeld backed Saddam even after chemical attacks," The Independent, December 24, 2003

[Hussein's crimes were committed on our watch, when he was a US ally, and we knowingly looked the other way. But don't take my word for it; check out .--Robert Scheer, "US to Hussein: WMD A-OK," The Wisdom Fund, December 30, 2003]

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