Giving Military Aid to Dictators is a Bad Idea

Saddam Hussein at trial, July 2004-edit1
Photo of Saddam Hussein. By N/A. Edited by jjron [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It’s just a single sentence in the recent NY Times report on U.S soldiers in Iraq being harmed by old chemical weapons discovered in Iraq:

“In five of six incidents in which [U.S.] troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies.”

The article goes on to explain how Western corporations, including two in the U.S., helped and profited from the making of Iraq’s chemical arsenal. The Times provides a detailed report on these deals. Conventional weapons needed to launch the chemical attacks were also obtained from European and Egyptian sources.

We know, thanks to a Foreign Policy magazine report in 2013, that the U.S. government under President Reagan had helped Iraq use and cover up  evidence of chemical weapons in its long war with Iran. When Iraq used chemical weapons against its Kurdish population in 1988, killing as many as 5,000, most of them civilians, the U.S. first put the blame on Iran.

Ironically, it was Western-made “weapons of mass destruction”, not any new WMD, that were found in Iraq after we invaded in 2003 having decided that Hussein was no longer a trusted ally, chemical weapons whose presence our government kept secret even from its own troops in the field. As the NY Times succinctly puts it:

“The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.”

This is what comes of providing military aid to dictators and launching foreign wars. Sadly, it is always young Americans ordered overseas that suffer the consequences, along with the people in other lands caught in harm’s way.

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