Iraq and Poison Gas

Old Blog Import

It is suddenly de rigueur for US officials to say,”Saddam Hussein gassed his own people.” They are evidently referring to the Iraqi military’s use of chemical weapons in the Iraqi Kurdistan town of Halabja in March 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War, and then in the area controlled by the Teheran-backed Kurdish insurgents after the cease-fire in August.

Since Baghdad’s deployment of chemical arms in war as well as peace was known at the time, the question is: What did the US government do about it then? Nothing. Worse, so strong was the hold of the pro-Iraq lobby on the Republican administration of President Ronald Reagan, it succeeded in getting the White House to frustrate the Senate’s attempt to penalize Baghdad for violating the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons, which it had signed. This led Saddam to believe that Washington was firmly on his side–a conclusion that paved the way for his invasion of Kuwait and the 1991 Gulf War, the full consequences of which have yet to play themselves out.”

The Nation