Monday, November 06, 2006

Behind Bush's Nuclear Gift to Terrorism

 A lot of the blood on Saddam's hands is on ours, too:

As I noted in a Moscow Times piece earlier this year, historian Roger Morris reminded us – in broad daylight, in the New York Times, a week before Bush launched his invasion in 2003 – that Saddam's regime had been helped to power by not one but two coups supported by the CIA. The first brought the Baathist Party to power in 1963 – after the CIA had helpfully tried to murder the incumbent strongman, Abdel Kassem, with a poisoned handkerchief. Kassem, who had been Washington's boy as long as he posed a counterweight to Egypt's Nasser and his "dangerous" secular nationalism (oh, for some dangerous secular nationalists in the Middle East today, eh?), left the reservation when he began "threatening Western oil interests" and "talking of openly challenging" American dominance in the Middle East, Morris notes. Operating from bases in Kuwait, American agents lent military intelligence support to the Baathist-led rebels and armed Kurdish separatists – all with the blessing of President John F. Kennedy.

The coup was successful; Kassem was tried for "crimes against the Iraqi people" and executed. The CIA then helpfully provided the successful Baathists with lists of "suspected communists and leftists." The Baathists then proceeded to systematically murder hundreds of people on the CIA lists. American arms were soon flowing to the new "legitimate government of Iraq" – weapons which, as Morris notes, the Baathists turned against the Kurds whom the CIA had armed only months before. Meanwhile, "western corporations like Mobil, Bechtel and British Petroleum were doing business with Baghdad – for American firms, their first major involvement in Iraq."

That was coup number one. Five years later, a Baathist faction led by Saddam Hussein's kinsman, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, staged a violent uprising against the government, again with CIA support. Where did Morris get this information? Straight from the horse's mouth: " Serving on the staff of the National Security Council under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in the late 1960's, I often heard C.I.A. officers – including [Kermit}Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and a ranking C.I.A. official for the Near East and Africa at the time – speak openly about their close relations with the Iraqi Baathists." It is unlikely that the lowly thug and enforcer Saddam Hussein would have ever been in a position to take power in Baghdad if not for the assistance of the elist scions of power and privilege whose headquarters now proudly bears the name of one of its later chieftains, George Herbert Walker Bush.

Bush I proved a worthy successor to the illustrious Kermit and his Baathist-loving colleagues. As both vice-president and president, he sustained Saddam in his harsh rule at every turn – up to the very day that Hussein invaded Kuwait, with a nod and wink from Bush's envoy. With Ronald Reagan, he supported the infamous "tilt" toward Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war, with the United States providing military intelligence for Saddam's WMD attacks on Iranian positions, direct encouragement of his "area bombing" of Iranian cities, and diplomatic cover for him in the international community, removing his regime from the list of "terrorist supporters." This bond was sealed, of course, by the visit of Reagan's special envoy to the dictator: Donald Rumsfeld.

Source: Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium - Behind Bush's Nuclear Gift to Terrorism

No comments: