Rumsfeld Visited Baghdad in 1984 to Reassure Iraqis, Documents ShowSo as Buzzflash puts it, the Reagan administration was willing to turn a blind eye to Iraq's use of chemical weapons if they would be our pals. No, folks. It's NEVER been about the oil...
Trip Followed Criticism Of Chemical Arms' Use
By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Donald H. Rumsfeld went to Baghdad in March 1984 with instructions to deliver a private message about weapons of mass destruction: that the United States' public criticism of Iraq for using chemical weapons would not derail Washington's attempts to forge a better relationship, according to newly declassified documents.
Rumsfeld, then President Ronald Reagan's special Middle East envoy, was urged to tell Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz that the U.S. statement on chemical weapons, or CW, "was made strictly out of our strong opposition to the use of lethal and incapacitating CW, wherever it occurs," according to a cable to Rumsfeld from then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
The statement, the cable said, was not intended to imply a shift in policy, and the U.S. desire "to improve bilateral relations, at a pace of Iraq's choosing," remained "undiminished." "This message bears reinforcing during your discussions."
The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the nonprofit National Security Archive, provide new, behind-the-scenes details of U.S. efforts to court Iraq as an ally even as it used chemical weapons in its war with Iran.
An earlier trip by Rumsfeld to Baghdad, in December 1983, has been widely reported as having helped persuade Iraq to resume diplomatic ties with the United States. An explicit purpose of Rumsfeld's return trip in March 1984, the once-secret documents reveal for the first time, was to ease the strain created by a U.S. condemnation of chemical weapons.
The documents do not show what Rumsfeld said in his meetings with Aziz, only what he was instructed to say. It would be highly unusual for a presidential envoy to have ignored direct instructions from Shultz.
Friday, December 19
Another "Holy S---" Story
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 3:57 PM