Evini Films a film production
Ignatius was on C-Span last December (12/31/90)
Fri Dec 29, 2006 19:01

Ignatius was on C-Span last December (12/31/90)

Stopping Saddam

In a review of a spy novel by David Ignatius, who is also a veteran reporter for the Washington Post, Newsweek describes the author's "expertise in navigating the darker corridors of intelligence tradecraft" as "awesome" (8/26/91:48). Such expertise may be the sine qua non of the successful newshound these days. Here is an example:

Ignatius was on C-Span last December (12/31/90) when a caller from Hickory, North Carolina, complete with accent, made the following astute remarks:

In reference to the call about the U.S. creating a government to control the oil fields [in Kuwait], we only have to reinstate the former one, which we already control. The primary reason we're defending Kuwait is economic. President Bush's ties to the oil industry are well known. The primary beneficiaries of this whole affair are our own oil companies and the OPEC producers. A war will be profitable for everyone involved in the oil business, except Iraq. They're already warning us of $100-a-barrel oil, which, considering the fact that an oil shortage is not likely, even in the case of hostilities, will mean profits will multiply. The U.S. oil companies have shown no inclination to absorb any costs or limit their profits.

Ignatius responded:

Well, I, you know, I may be naive, but I don't tend to think that conspiracy theories fit the way politics works in the United States. We're just not good at conspiracies when we try them. I do think that what the caller says is interesting and worth thinking about. In the end, I suppose he's right, that the arguments, the powerful arguments, for going to war here are economic.

These dark corridors have been navigated expertly indeed. "In the end," the caller is right. But first of all he is a conspiracy theorist, so he is wrong. The word "conspiracy" comes from Ignatius, but who notices that? Big Oil profits? Conspiracy theory, ergo ridiculous. Ignatius continues:

When they sat down that weekend after the Aug. 2 invasion, we're told that what really haunted the president and his advisors was this idea of half the world's oil under the control of Saddam, that that was an intolerable situation. They did think back to Carter, to the way the country felt in the late seventies, and they said, 'We can't have this again.' So I think it did begin with this economic rationale. The notion that the oil companies are going to benefit over time, even in a period of high prices, in a way that would justify the president taking these risks--I don't--I think is wrong.

Now let us understand this correctly. Actually, the Bushmen did want to go to war over oil, and the oil companies will benefit, "even" if prices are high (would profits be higher if prices were lower?)--but not "in a way that would justify" war. So again, Ignatius is saying, the caller is right, but wrong. His straightforward observation, though correct, has been turned into a conspiracy theory, which is wrong.

Of course the oil companies were among the primary beneficiaries of the war, of course Bush is an oil man, and of course he is in their pocket. Big Oil is one of the biggest fish in the sea. What president could defy them and not get his head shot off, like Jack Kennedy? But Big Oil was not the only beneficiary. Where did the $40 billion "cost" of the war go? The answer to this question would give us the list of beneficiaries.

One was the military. The shift from East-West, high-intensity military planning to a North-South, middle and low-intensity strategy was in motion long before Saddam's invasion, which fell neatly into the middle-intensity category. The invasion of Kuwait provided just the push that was needed to stop the talk about "peace dividends" and defense budget cuts which could be heard in Congress as late as July, 1990, and which would have been disastrous for the new strategic initiatives. The Pentagon could not have asked for a more convenient crisis.

The banks also benefited. When the Iran-Iraq war ended in August, 1988, with both countries devastated, a million dead, and both sides having received a steady flow of weaponry from the US and other countries, Iraq was in debt for more than $65 billion. Half of that was owed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, who might have written it off in appreciation of Saddam's containment of Iran, but the Western banks were not about to relinquish their $26 billion, nor the Eastern bloc countries their $10 billion. In June, 1989, an organization called the US-Iraq Business Forum, headed by Robert Abboud and including a representative of Kissinger Associates (Alan Stoga), met with Saddam to discuss the financing of Iraq's development program. The conditions for new loans would be the privatization of Iraq's oil industry and the mortgaging of part of it as collateral to the banks. Saddam refused. Now, as a result of the war, 30% of Iraq's oil revenue is in the hands of the UN, which is tantamount to being in the hands of US and international banks.

Ignatius doth protest too much. There is in fact a good case for conspiracy in the Gulf War. In April, 1990, Congress voted to impose economic sanctions on Iraq, largely because of Saddam's supposed chemical attack on the Kurds in Halabja the previous month, despite a U.S. Army War College report that Iran was more likely responsible for this attack and that sanctions against Iraq would be a provocative and dangerous mistake. At the same time, Kuwait was insisting on $13-per-barrel oil and draining the Rumaila oil field, 95% of which is in Iraq, effectively strangling Iraq's only source of revenue. Massive debt, no new credit, no significant revenue, and, according to Saddam, border violations on the part of the Kuwaitis and United Arab Emirates, and a media campaign against him in the US--these were the subjects of his talk with the US ambassador, April Glaspie, on April 25. Glaspie agreed about the media:

These are the methods the Western media employ. I am pleased that you add your voice to the diplomats who stand up to the media. Because your appearance in the media, even for five minutes, would help us to make the American people understand Iraq. This would increase mutual understanding. If the American President had control of the media, his job would be much better (New York Times, 9/23/90).

As for the border dispute and what Saddam saw as aggression on the part of Kuwait and the U.A.E., Glaspie and the US government were well aware at this point that Saddam had "deployed massive troops in the south." Saddam asked the US not to encourage Kuwait, "not to express your concern in a way that would make an aggressor believe that he is getting support for his aggression..." Clearly, the invasion was imminent, and clearly, Glaspie, speaking for the US, could have warned him not to do it. Instead, she bent over backward to let Saddam believe the US would not intervene:

We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts such as your border dispute with Kuwait. I was with the American Embassy in Kuwait in the 60s. We were told then that we should express no opinion about this question and that it doesn't concern America. James Baker told our official spokesman to emphasize these instructions.

On top of all this are the revelations by Representative Henry Gonzalez that the Bush administration continued to approve guaranteed loans to Iraq up to the eve of the invasion, despite clear indications that these so-called "agricultural" loans were being converted for military purposes.

If this was not conspiracy, it was sandbagging par excellence, and I don't see the difference. In any case, one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to doubt the prevailing assumptions--that Saddam would have invaded no matter what Glaspie had said, that economic sanctions would never have worked to get him out of Kuwait, and that war profits accruing to the military-industrial-finance complex do not influence policy.

Jiyan - finally a film about Halabja, the second Hiroshima, coming soon to a theatre near you. ... Evini Films a film production company ...


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dirk Adriaensens"
To: ; "Greater Manchester Coalition
Against Sanctions and War"
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2002 2:08 AM
Subject: Re: Halabja Film in Liverpool!

Hello all,
let's talk about Halabja again. In his excellent book (in French):
"Attention Médias!" by Belgian journalist Michel Collon (subtitle:
anti-manipulation manual, ed.1992, editions EPO), there is a large piece
about this matter, and I can't find similar pieces in the CASI-list, so I'll
translate the essence here:
"according to a report, elaborated by an american commission, the Army War
College Team and the Department of US Defence, affirmatively state that
Halabja has been "gazzed" by the Iranian Army. And also the Red Cross (I 've
read this in 1990 in the newspaper) was quite sure at that time it was the
Iranian Army that used the cyanide. The Pentagon even stated that " we know
the types of gaz that are used by Iran and Iraq. Iraq doesn't use cyanide",
or something like that. The report has been resumed in the Washington Post
of 04 mai 1990.
Suddenly, all this explanations changed after the "invasion" of Kuwait. And
then it was Saddam, Saddam and Saddam who used gas. Are we all still dazed
and confused and media-manipulated? Or are we willing to see (at last) that
we must try to discover the truth after we've pushed out the
media-manipulation out of our brains? That's not too much to ask after 11
years, isn't it? Halabja has been a major argument in the debate of the
remaining of the sanctions. So, let's dig for the truth here, like we've
done with the lies of the so-called atrocities in the Kuwaiti hospitals,
lies that made the public support Desert-storm..
So, once and for all: so-called "atrocities" of Saddam were never a reason
for the Gulf-war. It was oil, oil and oil.
Dirk Adriaensens.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Greater Manchester Coalition Against Sanctions and War"

Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2002 4:42 PM
Subject: Halabja Film in Liverpool!


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