"I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them! The international community and those who listen to them."
~ "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majeed.
~ "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majeed.
CNN recently aired a documentary on genocide. Among those interviewed for the documentary was Peter Galbraith, the only person in the West who tried to draw attention to Saddam's attempted genocide of the Kurds. From CNN:
Years before the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was slaughtering Iraq's Kurds with bombs, bullets and gas.
The Reagan White House saw it as a ruthless attempt to put down a rebellion by a minority ethnic group fighting for independence and allied with Iraq's enemy, Iran.
But Peter Galbraith thought it was something worse.
"A light went off in my head, and I said, 'Saddam Hussein is committing genocide,'" said Galbraith, who was on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.
An unabashed idealist, Galbraith was known for tackling unconventional issues.
"If you're going to be idealistic in life, you're going to be disappointed," he said. "But that's not a reason to abandon idealism."
Galbraith was one of the first Westerners to witness the effects of the slaughter. During a fact-finding trip for the Senate in 1987, he saw something troubling.
"When we crossed from the Arab part of Iraq into the Kurdish part of Iraq, the villages and towns that showed on our maps just weren't there," he said. Bulldozing Kurdish villages was just the first phase of Hussein's war against the Kurds. In 1988, it escalated with chemical weapons.
"Thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people were killed in those attacks, and then Iraqi troops moved into those villages and gunned down the survivors."
There are several video clips of Galbraith talking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour: Video 1, Video 2, and the bullshit excuses can be seen in Video 3.
More on the documentary can be found here.
It was "special interests" that saw to it the Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988 was never enacted. In her book A Problem from Hell America and the Age of Genocide, Samantha Power notes that it was agricultural "special interests", notably wheat and rice growers who were engaged in supplying Iraq with their products, who helped to kill Galbraith's legislation. But there were other "special interests", too:
According to a 1988 confidential State Department cable, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the non-profit National Security Archive (NSA), U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie wrote that Bechtel officials threatened to bypass the sanctions, passed by the Senate in 1988.
”Bechtel representatives said that if economic sanctions contained in the Senate act are signed into law, Bechtel will turn to non-U.S. suppliers of technology and continue to do business in Iraq,” the cable said.
The document also shows further behind-the-scenes particulars of how the U.S. corporation, now part of President George W. Bush's project to bring democracy to post-Saddam Iraq, courted the dictatorial regime with full knowledge of Saddam's use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops and the Kurds -- with the approval of U.S. diplomats.
”They (Bechtel) were certainly well aware of what was going on in Iraq and had no qualms about making a buck there,” said Jim Vallette, research director at the Washington-based Sustainable Energy and Economy Network.
”So they had no concerns over what Saddam was doing to his own people.” [sic]
[ . . . ]
In the 1980s Bechtel signed a technical services contract to manage the implementation of Iraq's two-billion-dollar petrochemical project II. U.S. firms, including Bechtel, won 300 million dollars in contracts to build the plant.
But the deal was jeopardised when the U.S. Senate wanted to penalise Baghdad for using chemical weapons against the Kurds, although it was well documented that Saddam had employed such weapons against Iran for at least four years before he used them on the Kurds.
The Senate initiative came on the heels of a series of Iraqi chemical weapons assaults against Kurds -- most notably in Halabja in March 1988 -- and called for strict economic sanctions against Baghdad, including blocking all international loans, credits and other types of assistance.
The government's then minister of industry, and Saddam's son-in-law, Husayn Kamil, told Bechtel officials he was angry the Senate passed the 'Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988', according to the cable.
[ . . . ]
Fearing to lose the contract, Bechtel officials threatened then to use non-U.S. suppliers and technology to keep the lucrative deal, in spite of the Senate's decision.
Isn't capitalism great?! Aren't "free" markets wonderful?!! Let's not forget that Turkey was also involved in the genocide of Kurds along with Saddam.
Ah, well . . . at least Hussein Kamel got his. Now if only scumbags like those at Bechtel and in the Ankara regime would get theirs.
While we're on the subject of hoping for just desserts, Blackwater mercenaries were indicted by a federal grand jury in DC of the slaughter the mercenaries carried out in Baghdad in September 2007. It looks like every attempt now is to make the mercenaries look like honorable human beings, but the fact is they are simply mercenaries, whores of war, so to speak.
Man, I'd pay to see these guys swing. I'd even bring the popcorn.