News Release

Iraq’s Use of Chemical Weapons: A Reason for Invasion?

Bush administration officials have cited the Iraqi government’s use of chemical weapons as a key reason for launching an overwhelming attack on Iraq. Condoleezza Rice said last week: “He [Saddam Hussein] has used chemical weapons against his own people and against his neighbors…” On Sunday, a front-page New York Times article reported: “A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.”

The following analysts are available for interviews:

KANI XULAM
Director of the American Kurdish Information Network, Xulam said today: “The Iraqi government’s gassing of Kurds in the 1980s should not be used as a ploy for war now. We need to develop ways of bringing war criminals to justice across the board. A major U.S. attack on Iraq will likely unleash the use of much-talked-about weapons of mass destruction on the Kurds because northern Iraq is being used as a staging ground to topple the regime in Baghdad.”
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JEREMY SCAHILL
An investigative journalist and author of the recent article “The Saddam in Rumsfeld’s Closet,” Scahill said today: “Some of the very same government officials who are now advocating invasion of Iraq, citing its use of chemical weapons over a decade ago, were in fact cooperating with Iraq when it was actually using such weapons. For example, Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein in 1983 and again was in Baghdad in 1984 just after U.S. State Department reports of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons surfaced. The purpose of his missions to Baghdad was not to get the Iraqis to stop using such weapons — it was to forge closer ties.”
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Bennis will be speaking on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. She is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-editor of Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader.
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LAMIS ANDONI
An independent journalist and analyst, Andoni has covered the Mideast for two decades. She said today: “It has been known for years that the U.S. government provided satellite data to Iraq while it was using chemical weapons. This is a reminder of U.S. hypocrisy and calls into question the real motives for the U.S. government’s war policies on Iraq.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167