The search for the elusive “smoking gun” continues: do Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have a business and working relationship? So far there is a lot of smoke but no gun.
As the mocking grin of Osama still haunts us through intermittent videos on the major networks, we prepare to invade Iraq because Saddam has “weapons of mass destruction.” But how did Saddam obtain these weapons that we are on the verge going to war to destroy?
Look no further than the White House. That’s right! There are at least two smoking guns hanging out at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Two of our leaders screaming the loudest for the invasion of Iraq have ties to Saddam that have been verified. Their transactions are on paper and on video. They are both clearly linked to Saddam. They are smoking guns.
Smoking Gun Rumsfeld
Although Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld never experienced combat, he is anxious to send our men and women into war. Prior to his cabinet position he had considerable success as Ronald Reagan’s bagman to Baghdad. In the early 80s Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad to meet with Saddam and normalize relations. This was indeed a successful mission.
Reports by the US Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, overseeing American exports policy, show the successive administrations of Reagan and Bush Sr. sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs, and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other nasty germs were also sold. Saddam used these weapons of mass destruction on the human waves of Iranian children-soldiers in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and on the Kurds in Northern Iraq.
Supposedly, the use of chemical warfare was outlawed in the 1925 Geneva Protocol. The entrepreneurial spirit of the U.S. and European corporations that make these horrible weapons and the intense U.S. hatred of Iran at the time made it easy to forget old laws. So Saddam got his weapons of mass destruction.
Today there are estimates of approximately 100,000 Gulf War veterans receiving disability compensation for Gulf War Syndrome. Perhaps Rumsfeld can shed some light on these ailments.
Now he wants to send our citizens to possibly face weapons he helped provide for the enemy. It’s interesting that the administration will drag out the charge of “traitor” when citizens speak out against the war, yet not for one who was instrumental for arming our enemy.
Smoking Gun Cheney
During the Gulf War, the Secretary of Defense was Dick Cheney, our current Vice President. Like Rumsfeld, Cheney never experienced combat, in fact he was never in the armed forces, but like Rumsfeld is very familiar with Iraq. During his tenure as CEO at Halliburton, the company did $23.8 million in business with Hussein after the first Gulf War.
If Hussein is such a monster, why did Halliburton and its subsidiaries sell him the equipment to get his bombed out oilfields up and running so he could afford to build weapons of mass destruction?
Though we are ready to invade Iraq, we are still doing business. Iraq is America’s second-largest Middle Eastern oil supplier. When one trades with the enemy, isn’t he a traitor?
When Cheney left Halliburton, he received a $34 million severance package for a job well done. Halliburton stockholders are now suing him for some Enron-like practices that occurred during his time at the helm.
As America’s top oil-services company, Halliburton is the nation’s fifth largest military contractor and the biggest non-union employer in the United States. It employs more than 100,000 workers worldwide and does more than $15 billion in business a year. It is not surprising, then, that Halliburton and its many subsidiaries are lined up with hands out for the anticipated military contracts. Who better to take care of Iraq’s oil after the war?
While the U.N. Inspectors are combing Iraq for weapons, they should also visit Washington and talk to Rumsfeld and Cheney, who encouraged Iraq to build up its weapons capabilities in the first place. The smoking gun is not in Iraq, it’s right here at home.
Charles R. Steward III is a journalist in Texas and is a U.S. Army Veteran.