Against the Current, No. 74, May/June 1998
New Gulf War? Just Say No!
— The Editors
Keeping the Rich Invisible: How Census Bureau Hides the Super-rich
— Michael Parenti
English, Vanguard of the Fast-Food University
— Cary Nelson
Despite Defeat, CAT Workers "Vote Solidarity"
— Kim Moody
Transit Workers Try a "New Direction"
— Marian Swerdlow
Australia: War on the Docks
— The Editors
Confronting America's Military Today: A Lethal Behemoth
— Tod Ensign
The Rebel Girl: Girl Power—The Best, the Worst
— Catherine Sameh
Random Shots: Skating on Thin Ice
— R.F. Kampfer
- The Crisis in Chiapas
The Context for Autonomy
— Dan La Botz
Autonomy vs. the Mexican Party-State
— Hector Diaz-Polanco
A Youth Media Project for Chiapas
— Phyllis Ponvert
- War and Sanctions in the Gulf
— Edward Said
Contradictions of Empire
— David Finkel
When the U.S. Rescued Saddam
— Stanley Heller
The Media, The War, The Bottom Line
— Michael Betzold
- Palestine/Israel: 1948-1998
What About Palestine? A Statement on "Israel At Fifty"
— The Michigan Committee on Jerusalem
Reflections of A Daughter of the "'48 Generation"
— Tikva Honig-Parnass
On Literature and Resistance
— Betsy Esch and Nancy Coffin Interview Barbara Harlow
Who Said Detroit Died?
— Eddie Hejka
History Does Matter
— Heather Ann Thompson
- Letters to Against the Current
Letters to the Editor: Postmodernism and History; Prison Labor
— Tyrone Williams and Alex Lichtenstein
- In Memoriam
Natie Gould, As I Knew Him
— Morris Slavin
SADDAM HUSSEIN’S GREATEST crime was the invasion of Iran in 1980. The resulting war left an estimated million dead and 1.7 million wounded.
When the war went badly for Saddam and Iranians drove out his troops and attacked Iraq, the noble nations of the West and the peace-loving monarchies of the Gulf aided Hussein. With weapons and loans they helped the “Butcher of Baghdad” in his hour of need. When the war ended Saddam retained some of the land he had conquered.
That’s old history, of course, and nothing is more irrelevant than yesterday’s news. But when the Clintons and Albrights talk about Saddam as evil incarnate, let us remind them that the U.S. government [then] didn’t demand from Iraq that Saddam step down, or that Iraq offer to pay compensation or forswear future attacks on Iran.
The Dirty Details
Our satellite reconnaissance photos of Iranian troop positions were given to Iraq. We sold Saddam jeeps, helicopters and Lockheed L-100 transports. There’s also the matter of $1 billion in agricultural credits. We also looked the other way as the French sold him Mirage jets and the German government supplied him the chemicals to make poison gas. And we said nothing when the Kuwaitis and Saudis loaned him $100 billion.
Last and certainly not least was direct military interference. Saddam started the “tanker wars” and the U.S. government immediately stuck its nose in supposedly to assure the “safety of international shipping.”
Somehow we were only concerned with Iran. We reflagged Kuwaiti ships as our own and dared Khomeini [the Iranian religious dictator—ed.] to sink them.
When Saddam’s jets killed 37 sailors on the U.S.S. Stark it was all immediately forgiven. In contrast, Iranian ships and airplanes were treated with the utmost suspicion.
In 1988 the U.S. Vincennes blew up an Iranian civilian airliner, killing hundreds. Our government said it was an accident, but at the very least it was negligent homicide. A nearby navy captain said the Vincennes was nicknamed “Robocruiser” for its aggressive behavior.
The United States didn’t call Saddam a Hitler or a madman in the 1980s. Ronald Reagan didn’t raise an eyebrow when Hussein gassed Iraqi Kurds.
The State Department knew who they were helping when they saved his behind. It has no right to complain about him now.
ATC 74, May-June 1998