Setting the Record Straight on Who Armed Saddam

By Doug Patton

Are you as weary as I am of hearing those who opposed the war with Iraq repeat the phrase “America armed Saddam”?

Well, take a short trip with me down memory lane to the halls of the United Nations. Do you remember all that whining and gnashing of teeth among the assembled states on the U.N. Security Council last fall and again this winter over the “warmongering” Americans and our “cowboy” president?

Do you remember the nations who protested the loudest? Do you remember what they said? Something about, “give inspections a chance” (read “give appeasement a chance”).

The people protesting the loudest included the Germans, the Russians, the Chinese and, of course, our old friends, the French. With everything in their diplomatic arsenal, these nations stood in the way of removing Saddam Hussein. France, realizing it could not persuade the Bush administration to continue waiting on Han Blix to find something, even threatened to veto any resolution to use force against the Iraqi tyrant.

And all the while, from the left, we heard the refrain, “America armed Saddam.” Well, the truth can now be told. The current issue of The Weekly Standard, quoting from a study done by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, provides a breakdown of which nations supplied weapons to Iraq between 1973 and 2002.

Number one, by far, was the former Soviet Union (Russia) with a whopping 57 percent. Next came peace-loving France with 13 percent, followed by China at 12 percent, Czechoslovakia at 7 percent, Poland with 4 percent and Brazil with 2 percent.

Bringing up the rear were Egypt, Romania, Denmark, Libya and those warmongering cowboys, the United States of America, with a paltry 1 percent each.

To their credit and my surprise, the Germans apparently have been behaving themselves for the last 30 years (although it is worth noting that half of them were behind the Iron Curtain for the majority of that time).

Hypocrisy seems to be the major export of the nations at the top of this list – especially the French. Just when we think they can’t disappoint us any further, they hit a new low.

We have known all along that France provided the nuclear materials Saddam used to build the reactor the Israelis had to destroy in 1981.

Now we learn from a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, that files found in the wreckage of the Iraqi foreign ministry in Baghdad reveal that the government of Jacques Chirac has been funneling information to Saddam Hussein gleaned from the United States, even from meetings with President Bush himself.

Apparently, the information so conveniently supplied by the French kept Saddam briefed on every development of U.S. planning and may have helped him prepare for war. One report warned of an American “attempt to involve Iraq with terrorism” as “cover for an attack on Iraq.”

As it becomes increasingly obvious why Jacques Chirac didn’t want us poking around in the ruins of a liberated Baghdad, for fear we might find “Made in France” labels on a lot of contraband, we find ourselves in the position of having to deal with an “ally” who is completely untrustworthy.

Likewise, very little trust should be extended to Russian President Vladimir Putin in this post-war environment. While the Soviet Union is no more, and Russia is not the same sort of state it was for 70 years, the fact remains that Putin came out of that regime. In fact, he was the cold-blooded leader of the dreaded KGB.

And, of course, it is a given that China is never to be trusted.

What President Bush ultimately does about U.S. relations with these nations remains to be seen. But the next time some peacenik tells you that “America armed Saddam,” give him the facts. Not that it will make any difference.

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Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor at the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns can be read in newspapers across the country, and on www.GOPUSA.com, where he serves as the Nebraska Editor. He also writes for Talon News Service (www.TalonNews.com).

Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@neonramp.com.

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