the Gulf War, the U.S. helped Saddam Hussein stay in power.
that contrary to the line thats constantly presented
about what the Gulf War was fought for, in reality
it had nothing to do with not liking Saddam Hussein
- as can very easily be demonstrated. So just take
a look at hat happened right after the U.S. bombardment
ended. A week after the war, Saddam Hussein turned
to crushing the Shiite population in the south of
Iraq and the Kurdish population in the north: what
did the United states do? It
watched. In fact, rebelling Iraqi generals
pleaded with the United States to let them use captured
Iraqi equipment to try to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
The U.S. refused. Saudi
Arabia, our leading ally in the region, approached
the United States with a plan to support the rebel
generals in their attempt to overthrow Saddam after
the war: the Bush administration blocked the plan,
and it was immediately dropped." [see footnote]
( p168 Understanding
Power Noam Chomsky )
served as national security adviser in the George H.
W. Bush administration. In this interview he discusses
why Saddam Hussein is a separate problem from going
after bin Laden's terrorist network, explains why the
coalition against terrorism is even more important than
the coalition built during the Gulf War, and defends
the decision in the earlier Bush administration not
to go after Saddam at the end of the Gulf War
and not to support uprisings in the northern and
southern parts of Iraq. He was interviewed in
We didn't cut off their
Brent Scowcroft: First
of all, one of our objectives was not to have Iraq split
up into constituent ... parts. It's a fundamental interest
of the United States to keep a balance in that area,
in Iraq. ...
So part of the reason
to not go after his army at that point was to make sure
there was a unified country, whether or not it was ruled
Well, partly. But suppose we went
in and intervened, and the Kurds declare independence,
and the Shiites declare independence. Then do we go
to war against them to keep a unified Iraq?
Interviewer: But why would
we care at that point?
Brent Scowcroft: We
could care a lot.
thought we had two interests. One was to evict the Iraqi
Army from Kuwait. But the other really was to get Saddam
out of power.
No, it wasn't.
Well, either covertly
No. No, it wasn't. That
was never... You can't
find that anywhere as an objective, either in the U.N.
mandate for what we did, or in our declarations, that
our goal was to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
- frontline: gunning for saddam: interviews: brent scowcroft
On the rebel Iraqi generals' rejected pleas, see for example,
John Simpson, "Surviving In The Ruins," Spectator
(U.K.), August 10, 1991, pp. 8-10. An excerpt: "Our
programme [Panorama on England's B.B.C.-1] has found evidence
that several Iraqi generals made contact with the United
States to sound out the likely American response if they
took the highly dangerous step of planning a coup against
Saddam. But now Washington faltered. It had been alarmed
by the scale of the uprisings [against Saddam Hussein] in
the north and south. For several years the Americans had
refused to have any contact with the Iraqi opposition groups,
and assumed that revolution would lead to the break-up of
Iraq as a unitary state. The Americans believed that the
Shi'as wanted to secede to Iran and that the Kurds would
want to join up with the Kurdish people of Turkey. No direct
answer was returned to the Iraqi generals; but on 5 March,
only four days after President Bush had spoken of the need
for the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam Hussein, the White
House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said, "We don't intend
to get involved . . . in Iraq's internal affairs. . . ."
An Iraqi general who escaped to Saudi Arabia in the last
days of the uprising in southern Iraq told us that he and
his men had repeatedly asked the American forces for weapons,
ammunition and food to help them carry on the fight against
Saddam's forces. The Americans refused. As they fell back
on the town of Nasiriyeh, close to the allied positions,
the rebels approached the Americans again and requested
access to an Iraqi arms dump behind the American lines at
Tel al-Allahem. At first they were told they could pass
through the lines. Then the permission was rescinded and,
the general told us, the Americans blew up the arms dump.
American troops disarmed the rebels."
Drinkard, "Senate Report Says Lack of U.S. Help Derailed
Possible Iraq Coup," A.P., May 2, 1991 (Westlaw database
# 1991 WL 6184412). An excerpt: "Defections by senior
officials in Saddam Hussein's army -- and possibly a coup
attempt against Saddam -- were shelved in March because the
United States failed to support the effort, according to a
Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff report. . . . [T]he
United States "continued to see the opposition in caricature,"
fearing that the Kurds sought a separate state and the Shi'as
wanted an Iranian-style Islamic fundamentalist regime, the
report concluded. . . .
"The public snub of Kurdish and other Iraqi opposition
leaders was read as a clear indication the United States did
not want the popular rebellion to succeed," the document
stated. . . . The refusal to meet with the Iraqi opposition
was accompanied by "background statements from administration
officials that they were looking for a military, not a popular,
alternative to Saddam Hussein," the committee staff report
said. . . . The United States resisted not only the entreaties
of opposition figures, but of Syria and Saudi Arabia, which
favored aiding the Iraqi dissidents militarily, the report
"Senior Iraqis offered to defect, report says," Boston
Globe, May 3, 1991, p. 8; "Report: U.S. Stymied Defections,"
Newsday (New York), May 3, 1991, p. 15;
Tony Horwitz, "Forgotten Rebels: After Heeding Calls To Turn
on Saddam, Shiites Feel Betrayed," Wall Street Journal Europe,
December 31, 1991, p. 1.
on the immediate decision by the U.S. to allow Saddam Hussein
to massacre the rebelling Shiites and Kurds -- in part using attack
helicopters, as expressly permitted by U.S. commanders -- at the
conclusion of the Gulf War, see for example, Michael
R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor, The
Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf,
Boston: Little Brown, 1995, pp. 446-456 (on Saudi Arabia's rejected
plan to assist the Shiites who were trying to overthrow Saddam,
see pp. 454-456).
for Chapter 5 of Understanding
Power Noam Chomsky