Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Did He Sing Before We Made Him Swing?

I think this article asks some good questions concerning the issue of what information we managed to get out of Saddam Hussein before he was executed, and why we could not obtain more, in particular this excerpt…

Joost Hilterman, Middle East director for the International Crisis Group, said he wanted to know the extent of collusion by Western governments and companies with Saddam's regime. As one example of Western collusion, Hilterman referred to Frans van Anraat, a Dutchman convicted last year of supplying Saddam with chemicals used to make mustard gas and nerve agents. The Iraqi army later used the chemicals against Kurds and Iranians.

But less widely known, Hilterman said, is that the U.S. government kept a close eye on Iraq's chemical weapons as far back as 1983, even as the Reagan administration was assisting Saddam in Iraq's war with Iran.

Recently declassified documents reveal that although U.S. officials criticized Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iran, the Reagan administration sent several high-level delegations to Baghdad to reassure Saddam of continued American support in the war.

"The U.S. will continue its efforts to help prevent an Iranian victory, and earnestly wishes to continue the progress in its relations with Iraq," former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said.
Also noted in the news story is Hilterman’s claim that, in 1993, the Clinton Administration conducted a review of our country’s association with Hussein to “make sure that there was nothing that would create credibility problems for the U.S. in any future tribunals for Saddam Hussein.” That actually makes we wonder a bit too.

I know the incoming 110th Democratic U.S. Congress is going to have a lot of work to do, but I think Rep. Silvestre Reyes, incoming head of the House Intelligence Committee, and the incoming head of the Senate Intelligence Committee (who I believe is Carl Levin) should ask Bushco for some kind of an explanation appropriate for intelligent adults as to why Hussein was executed before the questions discussed in the Seattle Times story (as well as others) could be answered (and if any investigation results that implicates prior administrations, so be it).

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