Imperialist in Chief: A Critical History of George H. W. Bush’s War on Iraq
The Bush administration also deceived the public on Iraq’s chemical weapons. The U.S. provided billions in military and economic aid to Iraq during the 1980s, up until Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. was a supporter of Hussein’s regime during the worst of his atrocities, before, during, and after the gassing of Halabja in 1988. The issue barely appeared in the news in the run-up to the Gulf War, but it was more often reported following the invasion of Kuwait, since the gassing played into the United States’ own narrative that it was concerned with human rights in Kuwait.But the U.S. was anything but concerned with the victims of Hussein’s crimes when the deaths occurred – his victims were pawns in a geopolitical power game between the U.S. and Iraq.
Looking at past support for Hussein, one sees U.S. fingerprints all over the Iraqi chemical attacks on the Kurds and against Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war. President Bush, working with Senators such as Republican Bob Dole, fought against the instituting of sanctions against Iraq after the Halabja gassing. Furthermore, as reported by the New York Times in 2002, discussions with “senior military officers” revealed that the Reagan administration secretly provided “critical battle planning assistance [to Iraq against Iran] at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war.” ABC’s Nightline reported in 1992 that the “Reagan/Bush administrations permitted – and frequently encouraged – the flow of money, agricultural credits, dual use technology (allowing Iraq to develop chemical weapons), chemicals, and weapons to Iraq.” In the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war, U.S. officials removed thousands of pages from U.N. reports that documented how the U.S. supplied the components for developing chemical weapons. As the German newspaper Die Tageszetung reported:
“The missing pages [of the U.N. report] implicated twenty-four U.S. based corporations and the successive Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. administration in connection with the illegal supplying of Saddam Hussein government with myriad weapons of mass destruction and the training to use them.”
The Bush administration enabled the chemical weapons atrocities committed by Hussein.