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Thursday, March 09, 2006

The story behind the picture

Chris Floyd provides an extensive caption to go with this graphic. An excerpt:
How worried was [George H.W.] Bush about the situation? Let's look at the historical record. In the two weeks before the [1990] invasion of Kuwait, Bush approved the sale of an additional $4.8 million in "dual-use" technology to factories identified by the CIA as linchpins of Hussein's illicit nuclear and biochemical programs, the Los Angeles Times reports. The day before Saddam sent his tanks across the border, Bush obligingly sold him more than $600 million worth of advanced communications technology. Yet a week later, he was declaring that his long-time ally was "worse than Hitler."

Yes, the Kuwaitis had called in their marker. Like a warlord of old, Bush used the US military as a private army to help his business partners. After an extensive bombing campaign that openly--even gleefully--mocked international law in its targeting of civilian infrastructure (a tactic repeated in Serbia by Bill Clinton--now regarded as an "adopted son" by Bush), the brief 100-hour ground war slaughtered fleeing Iraqi conscripts by the thousands--while, curiously, allowing Saddam's crack troops, the aptly-named Republican Guard, to escape unharmed. Later, these troops were used to kill tens of thousands of Shiites who had risen in rebellion against Saddam--at the specific instigation of George Bush, who not only abandoned them to their fate, but specifically allowed Saddam to use his attack helicopters against the rebels, and also ordered US troops to block Shiites from gaining access to arms caches. It was one of the worst, most murderous betrayals in modern history--and has been almost entirely expunged from the American memory.
One place it still exists in memory is in the 1999 movie Three Kings, starring George Clooney. Another is in Ramsey Clark's book The Fire This Time.