Cold feet over Iraq

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Aug 18 08:03:51 MDT 2002

(This lead story in today's NY Times undercuts the Bush lie that the war
is about eliminating weapons of mass destruction. Along with the
defection of veteran high-profile Republicans this week including Henry
Kissinger makes an invasion of Iraq more difficult--but not impossible.)

Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 -- A covert American program during the Reagan
administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at
a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders
would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the
Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct
knowledge of the program.

Those officers, most of whom agreed to speak on the condition that they
not be identified, spoke in response to a reporter's questions about the
nature of gas warfare on both sides of the conflict between Iran and
Iraq from 1981 to 1988. Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly
cited by President Bush and, this week, by his national security
adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as justification for "regime change" in Iraq.

The covert program was carried out at a time when President Reagan's top
aides, including Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Defense Secretary
Frank C. Carlucci and Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the national security
adviser, were publicly condemning Iraq for its use of poison gas,
especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja in March 1988.



Louis Proyect

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