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View Diary: A question. U.S. and chemical weapons (24 comments)

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  •  No and no. (1+ / 0-)
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    Ahianne

    1) Saddam Hussein did indeed use chemical weapons on his own people, as well as on the Iranian army, in the 1980s. But the U.S. in no way gave him a 'green light' to do so, and I have no doubt that folks in the Pentagon & White House at the time were appalled. That is, appalled but not sufficiently motivated to anything much about it. Gotta remember, back in 1980s the Soviet Union was still a going thing, and the Iranian Revolution had just occurred with dire consequences for U.S. influence in the region. So it was a Henry Kissinger/Realpolitik kind of thing to look the other way after the fact.

    2) Agent Orange was in no way a chemical weapon. It was a defoliant/herbicide used to kill vegetation and thereby make it impossible for the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong to hide from the might of U.S. airpower. Turned out not to be very helpful afterall, and the whole dioxin/unintended long term consequences thing is pretty ugly, but this was not a chemical weapon intended to directly harm people.

    3) Napalm is one form of firebomb. It causes horrific casualties and injuries. But it's not a 'chemical weapon' in the sense of being a poison. To the victim there is no significant difference between being burned to death by napalm, being torn to bits by high explosives, or being perforated by high velocity fragments from cluster bombs. Dead is still dead. Are disfiguring burns in survivors 'worse' than traumatic brain injuries from fragments? It strikes me as just different colors of horrible.

    •  you are mistaken about the US and Iraq (2+ / 0-)
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      CenPhx, Ahianne

      The US did indeed know that Saddam was using chemical weapons. The US was also providing satellite intelligence to Iraq to make its chemical attacks more effective.

      When the UN and the US Congress both tried to move to impose penalties on Iraq for using chemical weapons, the US White House (under Bush the Elder) blocked both efforts.

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