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Rumsfeld and Hussein during happier times - back in 1983 when the US was supporting Hussein in his war against Iran. Saddam was a valuable US asset in the Middle East.

The dollar cost of the current military intervention in Iraq is discussed in The Three Trillion Dollar War.

The relationship between the US, Iran and Iraq has been a sad and complex one since the US took control of Britain's colonial asset, Iran (including the recently nationalized oilfields), in the revolution of 1954 by installing a pro-US administration. The puppet Shah served US interests until he was removed by an Islamic revolution in 1979. Losing control of this asset gave the US a reason to support Iraqi aggression against the forces of Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iran-Iraq war. It is interesting to note the difference in the treatment Iraq received after annexing Kuwait (with the goal of controlling oil production in that region) compared with its use of chemical weapons in its attacks on Iran and its own Kurdish population in the 1980s.

A few years after the 1979 Iran hostage crisis Saddam Hussein led Iraq into war with Iran. It was a brutal, bloody conflict. America supported Iraq through it, giving them military aid and technical assistance including finances used to fund chemical and biological warfare. After the Iran war, Saddam turned his troops against the Kurds, a small ethnic minority in the north of Iraq. George H. Bush was president of America at the time and made no move to prevent Saddam's campaign of genocide until Iraq, smarting from debts incurred in the Iran-Iraq war, decides to recoup their losses by invading oil-rich neighbour Kuwait.

The US opposed UN action against the invasion of Iran, removed Iraq from its list of nations supporting terrorism, allowed US arms to be transferred to Iraq, provided Iraq with intelligence aid, economic aid and political support (the US restored diplomatic relations in the late 1980s), encouraged its Gulf allies to lend Iraq over $30 billion for its war effort and looked the other way as Hussein gassed the Kurds at Halabja and other towns. All the better to weaken Iran's Islamic Republic, as well as draw Iraq away from the Soviet Union and closer to the US.

The Teicher Affidavit is the declaration of a US official about the role of the US in the support of Iraq during the war with Iran. The carnage and destruction of the Iran-Iraq war paved the way for the next war in the Persian Gulf - the US-led "Operation Desert Storm."

Iraq was severely weakened after the eight year war, and the Iraqi government felt its Arab neighbours owed them something - after all, they'd been fighting to protect Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from the militant mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who were posing as the true defenders of Islam against Western influence and denouncing the pro-US monarchies of the Gulf states. Instead, Iraq discovered that Kuwait was overproducing its oil quota, undercutting Iraqi oil revenues and also slant drilling for oil into Iraqi territory. After warning the US Ambassador that the situation was intolerable and that Iraq would take action - and after hearing from the US Ambassador April Glaspie that this would pose no problem for US interests - Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Click here for a transcript of Hussein's meeting with US ambassador Glaspie.

On January 16, 1991, the US launched "Operation Desert Storm" against Iraq and its people. For the next 42 days, the military might of the main imperialist power on the planet, joined by its allies, was unleashed on a poor Third World country. US and allied planes pounded Iraq. By the time the war was over, they had dropped 88,000 tons of bombs.

"Let me tell you what happened briefly. There were 114,000 separate aerial sorties in 42 days - one every 30 seconds. Eighty-eight thousand tons of bombs were dropped. Only seven per cent were guided. Ninety-three percent were free-falling bombs that hit where chance, necessity and no free will took them. There were 38 aircraft lost by the US in the slaughter. That number is less than the accidental losses in war games where no live ammunition is even used. No enemy aircraft rose to meet them."
Ramsey Clark - former US Attorney General, final hearings of the Commission of Inquiry into US conduct in the Gulf, New York, February 1992

"When the ground war came...there was no ground war. It wasn't a battle, it was a slaughter. General Kelly said when the troops finally moved forward that there were 'not many of them left alive to fight'. We killed at least 125,000 soldiers and to date 130,000 civilians. We killed as many as we dared."
Ramsey Clark at the final hearings of the Commission of Inquiry into US conduct in the Gulf, New York, February 1992

Strict sanctions implemented by the US and the UN killed more than Operation Desert Storm. Two UN advisors to the sanctions program quit citing the suffering of the Iraqi people as evidence of the failure of the system. In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl asked Madeleine Albright: "I understand that 500,000 Iraqi children have died due to our sanctions ... was it worth it?" To which Albright replied, "It was worth it."

A Reuters (April 11, 2001) article shows that even Kuwait recommended lifting the sanctions on food and medicines into Iraq.

Do you think the war is a dark joke? Here's the punchline...

Related links:

Conservative analysis of the 2008 US election and the Iraq war
Cheney, Rumsfeld and Tiger Force
Selective use of intelligence
Foolishly premature quotes from about Iraq
Scowcroft on Bush Jr
Napalm by any other name
New spin on the declaration of independence
Pictures from Falluja (very disturbing)
More images of the war in Iraq (WARNING - very disturbing images)
Civlian casualties in Iraq
Psyops and the spin doctor
Taking Saddam out
Bush in the bunker
Scepticism about civlian casualties in Iraq
Dreams beget reality?
A view from the ground
Some Iraqis reject foreign intervention
Official criticism
Bush senior is critical of the handling of Iraq by his son
Historical support for Hussein
Bush makes some good comments on the anniversary of D-Day
Iraq in the news
Faces of the Fallen
NY Times on their reporting in the leadup to the Iraq war
Robert Fisk is an incredible Middle East commentator.
Check out Fisk's excellent research on the British occupation of Iraq in 1917 here
More humorous historical parallels from Channel 4 here
Check out some of the downsides of the US occupation of Iraq here
US tactics are getting tough in some areas
The US has mostly given up on finding any functional WMD programs 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Some intelligence officers are also critical of the war.
I've had some good debates with the pro-war community at www.right-thinking.com
Chatting About Uranium
Chemicals Between Us
Iraqi Delusions
Interpreting the Facts
What We Found
The first topic thread I got involved in on the site was related to the media attention give to the US army's Private Lynch when the BBC claimed that her "rescue" may have been a media exercise:
Original BBC article
Lynch lost her memory of the rescue
The BBC maintained its position
Some of my main points from the blog debates are summarized here
Saddam's brutality
US support for Hussein while he persecuted the Kurds
Funding for Iraq was hidden
After whipping up a jacuzzi of innuendo the Bush administration denied a link between Hussein and 9/11 here, and here.
A window into Iraq from Occupation Watch
Tenet of the CIA talks about intelligence
Siebel Edmonds 1 | 2 | 3
Rumsfeld's war
Weapons inspector David Kay talks about WMDs here
David Kay again
Human Rights Watch on the Iraq war
Harper's on Iraq
Some interesting comments on the lack of WMD
Aljazeera gives some background on Al-Sadr here
It's not about the oil
The state of Iraq's weapon's program which was a big catalyst in the US invasion is discussed here.
It's also worth remembering some of the crimes of the Hussein regime
Questions about Halliburton
There is some excellent debate about the invasion of Iraq here
November 5 2003 NY Times op-ed http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/05/opinion/05KRIS.html
Coalition forces
An excellent timeline of US-Iraq relations is available.
Click here to read Noam Chomsky's take on Iraq - from Z-mag
Click here for Arundhati Roy's views on American imperialism
A liberal Arab perspective on Iraq is documented here
Iraq's arms buildup dissected by Michael Klare
An interview with former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter.
Some myths in the Iraq war are dissected at http://www.iacenter.org/images/iraqfactsheet.pdf
Federation of American Scientists page on terrorism.
Strategic influence and perception management techniques 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Halliburton cartoon
Analysis of American subterfuge in the Middle East http://hnn.us/articles/1066.html
Take a quiz on the Gulf War
Denis Halliday former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq resigned over the oil-for-food program
Sanctions and civlian casualties in Iraq
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter says information gathered by his team was used illegally by the US government in strikes made on Iraq.
Good discussion of the arming of Hussein
An analysis of UN resolution 1441 is available at http://www.accuracy.org/un2/
Good, analytical support for the US led invasion of Iraq at http://www.qando.blogspot.com
Where is the Muslim outrage?
Improvement in Iraq? More cartoons about Operation Iraqi Liberation

You get the idea about the subject matter of these links:
Through the eyes of a soldier
Lies, damn lies and statistics
Conditions in Guantanamo Bay
UN oil for food programme
Things which have been said about Iraq
What if Bush is right? Did someone say "Crusader"?
Baghdad blogger Salam Pax
Fukuyama on Iraq
Powell on Iraq
Only as good as your last war
Cheney and Halliburton
Was Iraq a moral war for the betterment of Iraq and the world?
Bush in 30 seconds - commercials
The Pakistan connection
Reasonably ancient history
Saddam's parallel universe
CNN on arms inspections in Iraq
The coming war between Iraq and Iran
Fisk looks at the history of Iraq
Sanctions against Iraq