The Capture of Saddam Hussein : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Saddam's long evasion and deception has come to an end. US Military Forces have once again demostrated their superior skills in capturing Huessein alive so that the Iraqi people can once and for all see that their nightmare is over. Coupled with the deaths of Saddam's malevolent sons earlier this summer, the announcement today about Saddam being held by the US military represents an unambiguous victory in the "public relation" war. Nonetheless, I suspect the anti-Bush critics and Democratic Presidential hopefuls will take much umbrage in this recent development since politics is always more important than national security. Sadam learned an important truth articulated nearly 60 years ago by former boxing legend Joe Louis. In preparing for his 1946 heavyweight championship match against the fleet-footed and elusive Billy Conn, the champ simply said "Conn can run but he can't hide". Saddam likewise learned that you can run from justice but you can't hide from Uncle Sam if he is determined to find you. It will now be interesting to see what role if any the World Court should play in determing where Hussein should be tried for war crime violations. QED

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2003


Praise the Lord! He should be tried in Iraq by an Iraqi court. The will take most of the teeth out of the democrat run for the presidency.

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2003

Congratulations to President Bush and the United States Military. It only cost a few hundred American lives and Billions of American dollars to capture this man. But WE got him. I certainly pray that no more American soldiers have to die on Iraqi soil now that Saddam has been captured. In many ways however, Pastor Paris, I hope this will allow "the president" to focus on issues that impact everyday Americans, jobs, jobs, jobs...the economy. Great military victories do not always translate into re-elections just ask "the president's" daddy. 87 Billion Dollars to Iraq, overcrowded and understaffed classrooms for American children. Also we are facing increased taxes at the state and local level to cover the gaps left by a shrinking economy. Hip Hip Hooray the Dow is over 10,000 but the stock market bust is still a painful memory for many Americans. I pray that "the president" will also handle his business for those of us who live in that place far from Iraq, the good ole USA.

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2003

Sour grapes. Hatred is preventing you from recognizing the favor of God. Rejoice with the rest of God's children.

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2003

I wouldn't go so far as to call it hatred, obsession yes. OUR PRESIDENT is doing a wonderful job. Just think, it could have been Gore. We would still be sending inspectors into Iraq and groveling to the French (whom we rescued with American blood spilled by the Germans in WWI and WWII) and the Germans (our enemy from WWII), and the United Nations begging, "O Please come and play with us."

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2003

RP / Alton Paris being critical of "the president's" policy neither indicates hatred or obsession. It is the glory of living in the American democracy that not only allows room for the dissenting voice but in many ways encourages it. I am sorry if bringing up the sacrifices of the soldiers who died in this "freedom" fight dampens your bombastic enthusiasm and I regret that you two cringe at the mention of the "bill" for this military exercise but my prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, who have been injured that their sacrifices will not be in vain.

Now you two, go on and party hearty. I ain't mad at cha one bit, I just have other plans.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003


I am God's child! I am not rejoicing. Where in the bible does it say for God's children to rejoice at a time like this?

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

How do mighty men fall? I think the Bible tells us. And God who is in control of all things receives the glory and praise. Whoever is in power. This is no political victory and it seems politics always seem to come up regarding these conversations. I am sure many on this board almost know who is on the side of who politially; but the victory belongs to the Lord.

It's difficulty for me to praise during a time like this. When we thought the war had ended, more of our soldiers have lost their lives. So in this time I earnestly continue to pray for our men and our country's leaders. Even in our praise we need to exercise humility before God.

In Christ, Carmen

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

The book of Jude addresses the issue of speaking evil of authorities. I am from the generation who voted for the candidate of their choice and when the winner emerged, that person became the president of all the people. That is not so today. Those who oppose President Bush make derogatory personal remarks that are uncalled for. Some try to cast doubt on the election process either through ignorance or outright lies. For example, since we use the Electoral College, the winner of the popular vote may not be elected, because we do not vote for the president but for Electors, who then vote for the candidate. The Electors from each state are not bound to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in that state, although they almost always do so. Gore and his inner circle know the system. Yet he and H. Clinton often make remarks that Gore won the popular and should be president and they know that is not true. They prey on the ignorance of our people and decieve them.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

Rev. Paris:

Please! To criticize the actions of The President (I hope this makes you and RP feel better) of the United States is the constitution right of any and all American citizens. To criticize an electoral process that was fraught with irregularities is hardly a derogatory knock at Mr. President Bush (are y'all rejoicing now?) To question the motives of a man who presented by his own admission false information to the American people in the State of the Union address is not the same thing as bashing him.

We endured the impeachment of an elected by a wide majority president who wantonly lied to the American people. The so-called office was abased because the holder failed to uphold the dignity of the office. Therefore we learned to discern and to no longer simply accept without support the words of our leaders. As a result,we must continue that same level of vigiliance when the "minority of the popular vote but the majority of the supreme court" (these my brothers are just facts don't kill the messenger) president leads us into conflict by at worst literally lying to us and at best sloppily misleading us.

I pray that this latest episode in the war against terror, brings peace to the world. I pray that the economy will improve so my brothers and sisters won't have to lose their homes and their healthcare. I hope that justice is served and that those who were victims of the "butcher of Baghdad find a sembalance of peace. And I pray that no more of my neighbors will have to lose a son or a daughter in the fruitless search for the mythical WMD.

Let the church say AMEN.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

Bro. Harold -

Please feel free to direct your piercing criticism and caustic wit at President Bush. I am of course accustomed to such comments but I happen to be very thick-skinned. Afterall, some of the best political commentary I ever wrote (pre-AME Today BB) occurred when the Philanderer from Little Rock was in the Oval Office. Now the biggest losers/winners in Saddam's capture are in order of significance:

Biggest Losers: 1. Saddam - coward surrendered without even putting up a fight. So much for his earlier bravado about "never will be taken alive by the US infidels.

2. Iraqi citizen who leaked information about Saddam's hideout but only to learn later he will not get the $25 million dollar bounty payment. Now that hurts. You suffer under Saddam and think you will cash in and, "poof" no dead US Presidents to spend.

3. Koffi Annan - Tried to look tough against Milosevic but clearly acquiesced to Saddam. 4. Germany, France, China & Russia - All complicit partners in the failure to enforce UN Resolution 1441 which could have avoided the invasion.

5. Howard Dean - If Dean get's the Democratic nomination, GWB's reelction is all but a fait accompli. Dean's confused and contradictory position about Iraq proves beyond doubt he is not fit to serve as Commander-In-Chief. These are not my words but the words of that cussing Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.

Biggest Winners 1. Iraqi people - This is a no-brainer.

2. Families of fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate price. Their loss was not in vain.

2. George W. Bush - His determination and focus is very Presidential.

3. Prime Minister Tony Blair - His actions about Iraq have a distinctive Churchillian overtone. If rock legends Mick Jagger and Elton John can be knighted by the Queen, certainly Mr. Blair is deserving of a knightship.

5. General Wesley Clark - Could be the next Henry "Scoop" Jackson for the Democratic Party. Do I have to explain who IS Scoop Jackson?

Now when you are watching the talking heads on your favorite cable news program pontificating about what all this means, notice how the above comments will play a prominent role :-) QED

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

Bro Harold is correct about one thing - freedom and safety comes with a price. We pay it every day on behalf of a largely ungrateful world. The appeasers of the world don't want to pay the price, thinking we can negotiate with genocidal maniacs while they take us for chumps. So they dissent while we carry the load.

And they have the right to dissent. That right was paid for by the same members of the military who are paying the price right now. As they came home from Vietnam they were spit on by dissenters. (Didn't MLK oppose the Vietnam war? Well I guess he wasn't right about everything!)

I also saw a report of a Marine recently returned from Iraq who was called a nazi by dissenters in Los Angeles. The sight of his dress blues was all they needed.

Truth is, a lot of dissenters are unworthy of the protection they enjoy. They can't pull those stunts in the regimes we take down.

Who is angry, or at least annoyed over the capture of Saddam? The residents of Tikrit, Al Qaeda, Hamas...and some of the readers of this board apparently. Dissenters.

Now who is celebrating? Shiites, Kurds, Kuwaitis...and our soldiers seem pretty ecstatic. They paid a price, and have had a payoff. The man they were after is bagged. Yup. It's worth a celebration.

The world is a better place with one less genocidal maniac on the loose. We paid the price, and

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

Reverend Paris,

The Epistles were written by bishops, whom all the Apostles were according to Acts. They were written to address and correct problems, misconceptions and practices occurring in the Church. What is interesting is that some of these are still happening in our churches today and some have not applied what, 2000 years ago, these Epistles were written to correct.

I hardly think the Book of Jude is applicable here. As I see it the context and intent is far from it. The reference is more about, heavenly beings, principalities and spiritual rulers, whom the finite minds of mortal men and women simply have no capacity to comprehend. Even, Satan is mentioned as one of these. Job also mentions that when the angels came to have an audience with God, Satan, himself was one in their midst. Despite what we often hear and the songs we sometimes sing, Jude reminds us that there is no earthly way to "Shake the Devil Off", and neither is it possible for human beings to rebuke him. Like the angels, as Jude so clearly states, we can only commend him to God. Only, the blood of Jesus causes him to tremble and fear.

All democratic governments, including the church, place a high priority on the Parliamentary Procedure as outlined in Robert's Rules of Order. The Congress and state legislative bodies use these rules as well. The Rules for elections require that those who govern receive one more than half of all votes cast. A simple example will illustrate the reason why.

Assume that twenty persons cast their votes for Mr. Black, Mrs. Green and Mr. Valentine. The election ends with Mr. Black receiving 8 votes, Mrs. Green receives 7 votes and Mr. Valentine receives 5. If the system then declares Mr. Black the president and puts him in charge, be he Priest, Pope or King, his ability to govern is dimiished and his government is doomed. The reason for this being that Mrs. Black did not get one more than half the votes that were cast. There were 8 votes cast for Mr. Black but 12 vote or one-half as many more against. Thus, the electorate will never see him as being their elected president. But, rather as merely someone the system put in the place of it.

Despite what anyone may say or do George W. Bush never received a majority vote. He was placed in office by a Supreme Court Ruling and the Electoral College vote. Jefferson and others put this system in place because it was their thinking that the American public was not well enough informed to actually elect a President. History records that this has occurred before and each time it has the results have been much the same.

The election of 1824 was one of the closest ever held. Even the Electoral College failed to do justice to it. Despite the fact that Andrew Jackson received the highest number of votes, The House of Representatives declared John Quincy Adams the winner instead. Like George W. Bush, John Quincy Adams was the only other son of a former President to be seated as President. Also like Bush his seating was questioned by the electorate during his entire term.

The people never accepted him as their elected President and for four years they held his policies in suspect and outright contempt. 1n 1828 the will of he people was finally realized. The people decided that they never intended to be disenfranchised again. Thus, Adams was defeated by Andrew Jackson who served two terms as President.

Two years later John Quincy Adams ran for the House of Representatives instead. Having received an overwhelming majority vote in this new position he was respected by all. Having found his true place in American politics, Adams served with honor and distinction in the House of Representatives for seventeen years until he died in 1848.

Whatever occurs in 2004, you can be certain that the American people will not stand to be disenfranchised nor told by the Supreme Court, The Electoral College or Congress who should hold their honor and respect as President. One so placed in the Office of President will never gain their confidence.

Until such time as government of the people, by the people and for the people prevails, we can be certain whoever is seated as President will have his/her policies scrutinized, criticized and held in contempt. The Constitution guarantees our sacred God-given right to it.

BY THE WAY, Bill, the comments I direct to George W. Bush will be at the polls on November 2, 2004 and on the campaign trail preceding it as well as all I can give a ride to the polls on Election Day. Don't ever underestimate the power of the National Convention or the people to choose one who is capable of unseating the incumbent President, especially following conditions I have outlined and described above.

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Americans are getting it wrong! Where are the weapons of mass destruction?

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Since the capture of Saddam, all I can say is "Look out y'all! There is a stampede acomin'!" The Stock Market shall rise again! The only weapons of mass destruction were Halliburton and big business salivating over the sight of "up from the ground came a bubbling crude...oil that gold...Texas Tea!"

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Robert -

There are some irregularities in your argument which warrant correcting. First, you observe that "The election of 1824 was one of the closest ever held. Even the Electoral College failed to do justice to it. Despite the fact that Andrew Jackson received the highest number of votes, The House of Representatives declared John Quincy Adams the winner instead." To say the Electoral College failed in 1824 is misleading. The House of Representatives WAS the Electoral College. The "disputed" Presidential election of 1824 was caused by four candidates seeking the Presidential nomination, Henry Clay, William Crawford, Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. They all ran under the "party" name of Democratic-Republican. Jackson indeed received the most popular votes received but none of the four had a majority of electoral votes so that is why the election went to the House of Representatives. In the House, Clay, who had won the fewest electoral votes and was thus out of the running, threw his support to Adams and ensured his election in February 1825. Contrary to your previous statement the Electoral College was not dysfunctional and produced an efficient albeit "disputed" outcome. Secondly, your discussion ignores the "disputed" election of 1888. In that Presidential contest Grover Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison despite garnering a larger popular vote. Harrison was the legitimate winner of the Presidential race because he won the requisite number of Electoral votes and thus according to the US Constitution he was installed in office. Instead of protesting the outcome of 1888 Cleveland went back into the private sector to practice law and mount a successful comeback which culminated in him defeating Harrison in 1892 with a majority of BOTH the popular and Electoral votes.

The US Constitution is unambiguous and unequivocal that the candidate seeking the office of the Presidency will be determined thru the Electoral College NOT the Poppular Vote. Critics of the Electoral College (Senator H. Clinton included) should re-read Article II, Section I and Amendment XII of the Constitution to rectify the legal amnesia. What occurred win the Election of 1824 and 1888 were anomalies but the Electoral College did its job hence the implication that the College failed is rejected based on the actual outcome.

Now when we fast forward to the Presidential Race of 2000. The lingering protests of unfairness only demonstrate that many of us simply forgot or never learned that the Electoral COllege determines the Presidency, not the popular vote. Gore lost many key "Democratic" states not to mention his own "home" state of TN. If he had won those key Democratic-friendly states and his own home state, Florrida would have been moot. However, as we all know FLorida was not moot but instead it became the political epicenter of the 2000 Election. The lawsuits which resulted from the Florida count were precipitated by election irregularities caused by some folks in Palm Beach County unable to decipher a Democratic- approved "butter-fly" ballott. The clarion calls for recounts along with "disputed" overseas and military absentee ballotts erupted into volcanic proportions. One, by one the lawsuits, from both Gore and Bush lawyers proceeded. The preliminary Bush lead dwindled and dwindled under the scrutiny of recounting methodologies. Finally, it was determined by the Florida Secretary of State that the winner was Bush by a margin of victory of 537 votes. An infinitesimally smalll margin true, but being close only counts in horse shoes and horse racing. Bush was the victor and the Gore Camp chose to challenge the outcome by wanting to recount the missing chads, flating chads and an assortment of fictional relief to overthrow the outcome. So, due process not being denied to the Vice-President, the appeals process concluded at the US Supreme Court. The Court reluctantly entered the fray but since the integrity of the Constitution was endangered the case was accepted and a decision was made. By a 5-4 majority the Court ruled that the Gore protests were WRONG and the razor-thin Florida majority was upheld. Bush won the election fair and square according to the requirements outlined in the US Constitution. Lingering protests about the 2000 Election Outcome are simply partisan in nature. If the High Court had reversed the outcome in Gore's favor 90% of black churches and parishoners would be praising the "fairness" of the system. It's ironic that black church members who vocally protest election irregularities like what happened in 2000 show so little emotion or concern when it occurs in their own faith communities. We have had "disputed" elections in the Black Baptist Church and AMEC. There exists right now political graft in preparation for the 2004 Election of AME Bishops (recall the topic on this BB about "How much does it cost to run for Bishop). If we accept a system of electing church leaders camoflauged with backroom deals and the circulation of curious cash to influence the outcome, how are we in a moral position to conclude that Bush is the illigitimate President? QED

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Bro Matthews, Please study the Electoral College system and the process we have for electing presidents. That may convince you that the popular vote is not used to elect our presidents. If the Electoral College can't elect a president it becomes the responsibility of Congress. Neither the electoral College nor Congress is bound by law to vote according to the popular vote. The Supreme ruled on a lawsuit brought by former VP Gore. After that ruling, the electoral College elected President Bush. You may not like it but that is the way it is. Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Bill and Reverend Paris,

In your haste to defend your President, I see that neither of you read anything I said. I do understand the Electoral College System and the seating and of Presidents all too well. But I am not required by God or the Constitution to approve of it when it is opposed to the will of the majority vote. Perhaps the notion that Americans are too uninformed to elect a President applies to some, but I am certainly not and never have I been one of them. Perhaps this will not be changed in my own life time. But I have the free will and choice to decide whom I do or don't support. I also have a Constitutional and God-given right to disagree which platforms, positions and policies. The people are the true government, not the representative who speak for them.

As I said before I know exactly what I must do. I intend to do it well on November 2, 2004, and every moment God allows me between now and then.

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Robert opines -

"In your haste to defend your President, I see that neither of you read anything I said. I do understand the Electoral College System and the seating and of Presidents all too well. But I am not required by God or the Constitution to approve of it when it is opposed to the will of the majority vote."

Further corrections.

1. I did not respond in haste, I understand perfectly well what you wrote. Your prior post contained some factual errors that warranted correcting. It would be derelict on my part to let those errors go unchallenged without an informed response.

2. President Bush is not just "my" President but the President of the United States for all legal US citizens. Even the impeached Bill Clinton was still "my" President despite his willingness to lie under oath, engage in the obstruction of justice and participate in reckless behavior which disgraced the Oval Office. Now unless you have changed your passport and renounced your citizenship like WEB DuBois did in 1960 (moved to Ghana), you remain a US citizen and by definition GWB is your President as well as mine regardless how offensive this may sound.

3. You state you understand the Electoral College (EC) and I have no reason to believe that you don't. However, you insist on allowing the will of the majority to prevail over the EC. This is nothing more than partisan-speak and echoing meaningless puzzling platitudes. You can reject the outcome issued by the EC but your dissent has little credibility or legitimacy until the EC is abolished as the opportunistic JR. Senator from NY has suggested. The "will of the majority" in many instances have yielded peculiar outcomes which were detrimental to black folks in the US. The EC is the legitimate process for electing Presidents and that is the only responsible action we should adopt in our instruction activities.

Now, allow me to ask a simple question to you and all "sworn enemies of Election 2000". What if the 2004 Presidential election produces a situation where Bush won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote due to a disputed outcome created by alleged voting improprieties in let's say the state of New York? Further assume that the US Supreme Court again reluctantly intervenes and upholds (by a 5-4 margin) the result of the disputed outcome in New York thus sealing the victory for the Democratic challenger. Would you still defend the "will of the majority" under this scenario? Since I work with lawyers everyday allow me to further add to the "cross-examination" by requesting that a simple yes or no would suffice for your answer. Thanks. QED

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Bro. Bill:

Since I am not a sworn enemy of the 2000 election, but an ardent critic I do not feel obliged to limit my response to a simple yes or no. However, if the Secretary of State in New York,or the chief election officer is the campaign manager in his or her state for the Democratic challenger and participates in an ethically questionable purge of the voter rolls aimed at targeting those voters who most likely would vote Republican and the myriad of improprieties that took place in Florida in 2000 and so forth, I would stand with the opponents of that election as well. So if you would rephrase your question to include a specific set of circumstances as I have outlined I would criticize that election as well no matter who was selected. Even if it were the current (s)elected president of the United States, the leader of my country and the land that I love, George W. Bush.

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Harold -

When God made you he threw away the mold! You're truly one of a kind :-). No further questions needed since I suspect under the rules of cross-examination your responses would indicated you are likely a "hostile" witness (LOL) As should be clear over the last 2- 3 years, I truly value and greatly enjoy the spirited debate and dialogue provided by you, Robert, Mary, Parsons Allen, Rogers & Barta, Nalton and all of my colleagues in the 17th, 18th & 19th Districts on matters pertaining to US and global politics. Just because I'm right on 90% of the issues doesn't mean I have to be cold, stubborn and unwilling to communicate with my fellow church members :-) QED

-- Anonymous, December 16, 2003

Seasons Greetings My Dear Professor QED

It is a great day when a tyrant like Saddam is finally captured. To those outstanding soldiers in the U.S. Military well done. While I certainly have expressed my view of disagreement with the U.S. Government in the approach to engaging this war I have no problem with the removal of the butcher of Baghdad. I believe the U.S. Government and the President who based this war on weapons of mass destruction knew all along this was only about Saddam as there were clearly no significant weapons found since the major fighting ended many months ago.

The issue therefore had to change politcially to the capture of Saddam and nothing else. It would be foolish to think that the U.S. Government would walk away from Iraq without something to show for the billions of dollars spent and the lives lost. This war is no longer about weapons of mass destruction but only about terrorism. The challenge will be the ability to root out the terrorist networks. I do not believe this will be found in Iraq. Don't be surprised if Pres.Bush makes an announcement soon on the withdrawel plan of U.S. forces from Iraq. If they stay to long it will negatively impact on his significant boost in the opinion poles since last Saturday.

Bro. Bill I am disappointed in you. You have lowered your margin of success from 95% to 90%. Getting rusty my dear fellow? (Smile)

God Bless You All

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2003


Documents detail Rumsfeld's Iraq visit in 1984 Baghdad trip followed criticism of chemical weapons' use By Dana Priest

Updated: 3:15 a.m. ET Dec. 20, 2003Donald H. Rumsfeld went to Baghdad in March 1984 with instructions to deliver a private message about weapons of mass destruction: that the United States' public criticism of Iraq for using chemical weapons would not derail Washington's attempts to forge a better relationship, according to newly declassified documents. Rumsfeld, then President Ronald Reagan's special Middle East envoy, was urged to tell Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz that the U.S. statement on chemical weapons, or CW, "was made strictly out of our strong opposition to the use of lethal and incapacitating CW, wherever it occurs," according to a cable to Rumsfeld from then- Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

The statement, the cable said, was not intended to imply a shift in policy, and the U.S. desire "to improve bilateral relations, at a pace of Iraq's choosing," remained "undiminished." "This message bears reinforcing during your discussions."

The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the nonprofit National Security Archive, provide new, behind-the-scenes details of U.S. efforts to court Iraq as an ally even as it used chemical weapons in its war with Iran.

Diplomatic effort An earlier trip by Rumsfeld to Baghdad, in December 1983, has been widely reported as having helped persuade Iraq to resume diplomatic ties with the United States. An explicit purpose of Rumsfeld's return trip in March 1984, the once-secret documents reveal for the first time, was to ease the strain created by a U.S. condemnation of chemical weapons.

The documents do not show what Rumsfeld said in his meetings with Aziz, only what he was instructed to say. It would be highly unusual for a presidential envoy to have ignored direct instructions from Shultz.

News from Iraq When details of Rumsfeld's December trip came to light last year, the defense secretary told CNN that he had "cautioned" Saddam Hussein about the use of chemical weapons, an account that was at odds with the declassified State Department notes of his 90-minute meeting, which did not mention such a caution. Later, a Pentagon spokesman said Rumsfeld raised the issue not with Hussein, but with Aziz.

Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said yesterday that "the secretary said what he said, and I would go with that. He has a recollection of how that meeting went, and I can't imagine that some additional cable is going to change how he recalls the meeting."

"I don't think it has to be inconsistent," Di Rita said. "You could make a strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons, or any kind of lethal agents, and then say, with that in mind, 'Here's another set of issues' " to be discussed.

Last year, the Bush administration cited its belief that Iraq had and would use weapons of mass destruction -- including chemical, biological and nuclear devices -- as the principal reason for going to war.

Important ally But throughout 1980s, while Iraq was fighting a prolonged war with Iran, the United States saw Hussein's government as an important ally and bulwark against the militant Shiite extremism seen in the 1979 revolution in Iran. Washington worried that the Iranian example threatened to destabilize friendly monarchies in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Publicly, the United States maintained neutrality during the eight- year Iran-Iraq war, which began in 1980.

Privately, however, the administrations of Reagan and George H.W. Bush sold military goods to Iraq, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological agents, worked to stop the flow of weapons to Iran, and undertook discreet diplomatic initiatives, such as the two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, to improve relations with Hussein.

Tom Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archives, a Washington-based research center, said the secret support for Hussein offers a lesson for U.S. foreign relations in the post-Sept. 11 world.

"The dark corners of diplomacy deserve some scrutiny, and people working in places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and Uzbekistan deserve this kind of scrutiny, too, because the relations we're having with dictators today will produce Saddams tomorrow."

Shultz, in his instructions to Rumsfeld, underscored the confusion that the conflicting U.S. signals were creating for Iraq.

"Iraqi officials have professed to be at a loss to explain our actions as measured against our stated objectives," he wrote. "As with our CW statement, their temptation is to give up rational analysis and retreat to the line that U.S. policies are basically anti-Arab and hostage to the desires of Israel."

'Presentable young man' The declassified documents also show the hope of another senior diplomat, the British ambassador to Iraq, in working constructively with Hussein.

Shortly after Hussein became deputy to the president in 1969, then- British Ambassador H.G. Balfour Paul cabled back his impressions after a first meeting: "I should judge him, young as he is, to be a formidable, single-minded and hard-headed member of the Ba'athist hierarchy, but one with whom, if only one could see more of him, it would be possible to do business."

"A presentable young man" with "an engaging smile," Paul wrote. "Initially regarded as a [Baath] Party extremist, but responsibility may mellow him."

Staff writer Vernon Loeb contributed to this article.


-- Anonymous, December 20, 2003

Our strategy then was to keep Iran and Iraq at war with each other and neither would be a threat to others (read that Israel). When Saddam was able to "win" the war and then invade Kuwait our strategy changed. We still did not mind him staying but he had to be too weak to go after Israel. If Saddam had been allowed to complete a stockpile of nuclear weapons, Israel and Iraq would have had a nuclear exchange which Israel would have lost because of the relative size. So, Saddam had to go because he was a threat to Israel, not us.

-- Anonymous, December 20, 2003

I saw a show a while back on Israel's bombing raid on Iraq's nuclear reactor during the Reagan years. The President was discussing possible sanctions against Israel with his advisors, when one said that in years to come we'd be very glad Israel did what she did.

Imagine where we'd be if Saddam had the bomb, as he surely would by now.

Israel recognized the benefits of a little "unilateral action" when the situation warrants, and who cares what the rest of the world thinks. They'll negotiate you into the grave. Liberals care more about preserving the process than actual results, and that gets innocent people killed.

-- Anonymous, December 24, 2003

It is nothing worse than a fearful Christian. The bible tells us not to fear...anyone. In all cases and events a true CHRISTIAN will stick to the tenets of what CHRIST said, not allowing for conservative issues or liberals say or do. JESUS SAID in Matthew 22:

The Greatest Commandment

34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[2] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[3] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

If we do anything other than what CHRIST said, than we are no more than the Saducess and the Pharisees Jesus referred to in the bible..hypocrites.

-- Anonymous, December 24, 2003

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