11/19/2005

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein - Press Release

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein - Press Release

U.S. DOCUMENTS SHOW EMBRACE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN IN EARLY 1980s DESPITE CHEMICAL WEAPONS, EXTERNAL AGGRESSION, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

The declassified documents posted today include the briefing materials and diplomatic reporting on two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, reports on Iraqi chemical weapons use concurrent with the Reagan administration's decision to support Iraq, and decision directives signed by President Reagan that reveal the specific U.S. priorities for the region: preserving access to oil, expanding U.S. ability to project military power in the region, and protecting local allies from internal and external threats. The documents include:

* A U.S. cable recording the December 20, 1983 conversation between Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein. Although Rumsfeld said during a September 21, 2002 CNN interview, "In that visit, I cautioned him about the use of chemical weapons, as a matter of fact, and discussed a host of other things," the document indicates there was no mention of chemical weapons. Rumsfeld did raise the issue in his subsequent meeting with Iraqi official Tariq Aziz.

* National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 114 of November 26, 1983, "U.S. Policy toward the Iran-Iraq War," delineating U.S. priorities: the ability to project military force in the Persian Gulf and to protect oil supplies, without reference to chemical weapons or human rights concerns.

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