Friday, August 30, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Worship False Idols

Iran-Contra: treasonous. Ignoring AIDS: heartless. Running up debt: typical, and ignored. Planting the falsehood, now ingrained in teabaggR holy books like the word of god, that cutting taxes increases revenue: disastrous. Undoing every one of Jimmy Carter's energy initiatives: tragic. The list of harm is much longer. Why is this guy so revered?

And now, it turns out, Ronnie turned a blind eye to -- facilitated, in fact -- Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against Iran. And, like Iran-Contra, denied it.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein's military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent. 
The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq's favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration's long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn't disclose. 
U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein's government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture. "The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn't have to. We already knew," he told Foreign Policy.
I guess you can rationalize pretty much anything. Now, it appears, we're about to do something serious about Assad's use of nerve gas. When and where will it ever end? Human beings. Worse thing to happen to this lovely planet.

[Image source]

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