September 26, 2002
Rumsfeld Made False Denials to the Senate
The U.S. gave Iraq those biological weaponsAccording to Robert Novak of the Chicago Sun Times, when Sen. Robert Byrd asked Donald Rumsfeld if the U.S. had ever helped Saddam Hussein build a biological weapons arsenal, Rumsfeld brushed off the question with a typically arrogant Rumsfeld sneer. But according to documents, Novak says, he should have said yes.
Novak: "An eight-year-old Senate report confirms that disease-producing and poisonous materials were exported, under U.S. government license, to Iraq from 1985 to 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war. Furthermore, the report adds, the American-exported materials were identical to microorganisms destroyed by United Nations inspectors after the Gulf War. The shipments were approved despite allegations that Saddam used biological weapons against Kurdish rebels and (according to the current official U.S. position) initiated war with Iran."
Rumsfeld's denial was safe. "Not to my knowledge," he said. The Senate report said there were 70 shipments, licensed by the government, and they were the same strains that were recovered from Iraq's bioweapons supplies.
Byrd also asked Rumsfeld about his own visit to Baghdad December 20, 1983, which Novak says "launched U.S. support for Saddam against Iran." Again Rumsfeld was dismissive, saying he assisted "as a private citizen . . . only for a period of months."
-- By David Cogswell