Information Warfare: July 18, 2001

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Here's an example of Information Warfare going on right in front of you. Iraq continues to protest that the UN embargo is killing Iraqi civilians. In particular, the embargo prevents Iraq from buying certain kinds of heavy trucks, computers, chemicals and industrial equipment. The UN says that this type of equipment is dual use; that it can also be used by the military or for the production of chemical weapons. Actually, it's the United States that's vetoing the shipment of this stuff to Iraq. The main reason for that is because that when America allows the shipment of these items to Iraq in the 1980s, it was later accused of "arming Iraq." This became a popular myth on the left A typical book of this ilk is Arming Iraq (by Mark Phythian and Nikos Passas) "How the U.S. and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine." The Northeastern University Press published this, which was basically about gunrunning during the Iran-Iraq war and how Iraq ripped off aid programs to buy weapons, plus how Iraq exploited dual use equipment. PBS also did a show in September 1990 blaming the west for arming Iraq, using the same evidence. Somehow, no one ever came up with tangible evidence (except for the French, but that was hardly a secret) that Iraq had any American weapons. All this paranoia was turned into "Iraqgate", a vast American conspiracy to build up Iraq's armed forces. The only actual "weapons" that could be identified were the non-military equipment (medical equipment, trucks, industrial chemicals, etc) that were turned to military use, particularly the production of chemical weapons. When the US tries to withhold such dual use equipment, same people who invented "Iraqgate" accuse the United States of abusing Iraqi civilians. Who says you can't have it both ways? 

 


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