Will the U.S. Reap What it has Sown? Byrd Asks
By Paul J. Nyden
Friday, 27 September, 2002
Note | (1) Senator Robert Byrd has torn the lid off some of the darkest and
nastiest secrets of the Reagan/Bush I years, and he did so standing in the well
of the Senate. Consider well what you read below, and understand: Our
entanglements with Iraq, most especially including the Gulf War, are nothing
more than damage control. We armed Saddam Hussein. We funded him. We gave him
the worst horrors from Pandora's Box. The legacy of Reagan/Bush has fully
bloomed, and may God help us all. -- wrp
Also worthy of note is that the shipments did not cease until Bill Clinton
Replaced George Bush I, in October of 1993. -- ma)
Hussein unleash botulinum toxin, perhaps nature's deadliest poison, and other
viruses and chemicals if the United States attacks Iraq?
Sen. Robert C.
Byrd, D-W.Va., posed this question to the Senate on Thursday, based on documents
obtained from different federal agencies.
"We have a paper trail," Byrd
said. "We not only know that Iraq has biological weapons, we know the type, the
strain, and the batch number of the germs that may have been used to fashion
those weapons. We know the dates they were shipped and the addresses to which
they were shipped.
"We have in our hands the equivalent of a Betty
Crocker cookbook of ingredients that the U.S. allowed Iraq to obtain and that
may well have been used to concoct biological weapons."
Between 1985 and 1988, the nonprofit American Type Culture
Collection made 11 shipments to Iraq that included a "witches' brew of
pathogens," including anthrax, botulinum toxin and gangrene. All shipments were
Between January 1980 and October 1993, the federal
Centers for Disease Control shipped a variety of toxic specimens to Iraq,
including West Nile virus and Dengue fever.
The U.S. Commerce Department
and CDC provided lists of these shipments. "The Defense Department ought to have
the same lists, so that the decision-makers will know exactly what types of
biological agents American soldiers may face in the field," Byrd said.
"At last week's Armed Services Committee hearing, Secretary [Donald]
Rumsfeld said he had no knowledge of any such shipments and doubted that they
ever occurred. He seemed to be affronted at the very idea that the United States
would ever countenance entering into such a deal with the devil.
"Secretary Rumsfeld should not shy away from this information. On the
contrary, he should seek it out," Byrd said.
In its Sept. 23 edition,
Newsweek magazine published an article discussing the viruses, poisons and gases
that the U.S. sent to Saddam Hussein in the mid-1980s. At that time, the U.S.
regarded Iraq as a potential ally against Iran's Ayatollah Khomeni.
criticized Rumsfeld for failing to answer questions he asked last week about
these shipments to Iraq during an Armed Services Committee hearing.
repeat today what I said to him then," Byrd said. "In the event of a war with
Iraq, might the United States be facing the possibility of reaping what it has
Calls to the White House press office on Thursday afternoon were
referred to the Department of Defense, where no one returned a call. One woman
at the White House asked, "How do you spell Byrd?"
Federal documents and
a United Nations Security Council report document a direct connection between
periods when Iraq received toxins and viruses from the U.S. and the periods when
Iraq developed biological weapons.
Byrd closed his speech by asking what
the future holds.
"The role that the U.S. may have played in helping
Iraq to pursue biological warfare in the 1980s should serve as a strong warning
to the president that policy decisions regarding Iraq today could have far
reaching ramifications on the Middle East and on the United States in the
"In the 1980s, the Ayatollah Khomeni was America's sworn enemy,
and the U.S. government courted Saddam Hussein in an effort to undermine the
Ayatollah and Iran. Today, Saddam Hussein is America's biggest enemy, and the
U.S. is said to be making overtures to Iran."
The Bush administration is
also discussing whether to arm groups of ethnic dissidents, such as the Kurds,
"Could the U.S. be laying the groundwork for a brutal civil war
in Iraq? Could this proposed policy change precipitate a deadly border conflict
between the Kurds and Turkey?" Byrd asked.
He again urged caution.
"Decisions involving war and peace," he said, "should never be rushed or muscled
through in haste. Our founding fathers understood that, and wisely vested in the
Congress, not the president, the power to declare war."
Congress must consider Bush's requests for new war powers "carefully,
thoroughly, and on our own timetable ... and avoid the pressure to rush to
judgment on such an important matter."
(In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes.)
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