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Use Of Chemical Weapons In Iraq War

1375 words - 6 pages

NHD Essay
Bill Cao
“All is fair in war and love”, an American idiom, illustrates how any logically effective means can and should be used to attempt to end a war. Iraq’s chemical weapons program matured throughout the Iran-Iraq war. The climate before and during the war, 1988-1998, consisted of Cold war tensions and forced Western nations to choose opposite sides of the USSR. Relations between western nations and Iran deteriorated with the coup d'état of the shah and the Iranian hostage crisis.1 The weapons program attempted to give the Iraq military leverage in the war, when fighting gains for both sides stagnated. Chemical weapons were used in 1987 as part of the “War of the cities”, a systematic bombing campaign targeting civilian populations2 and as a tactical weapon. American assistance in the development of Iraq’s chemical weapons was justified, as it was the countries’ responsibility to protect the rights of their citizens. International actors had a responsibility to protect their citizen’s rights in the most effective method.
Evidence that western nations knew about Iran’s chemical weapons and help it along its path is immense, starting in 1983 with confirmed legitimate complaints from the Iranian government and State Department sources of Iraq chemical weapons usage.3 Information of daily use of chemical weapons reached Treasure secretary, George P. Shultz, detailing how foreign firms including a U.S. subsidiary aided in the development of the chemical weapons. Although the United States publically denounced the use of chemical weapons, they knowing allowed the continuation of chemical weapons to develop4. As on state department official put it “Iraq's chemical weapons use will not change U.S. interest in pursuing closer U.S.-Iraq relations.”5

: Iranian Soldier with Gas Mask observing his soundings.
The United States and its allies have the first and foremost duty to protect national sovereignty and the rights of its citizens, and this duty trumps any moral restrictions of war. National sovereignty allows for a smooth operation of society, because a lack thereof results in the citizens being forced to significantly alter their decisions to appease another country. A lack of covert intervention in the Iran-Iraq war would have led to a lopsided war, due to Iranian military superiority. Because the Middle East in 1980 produced thirty percent of global oil production the scenario ,Iranian dominance , in the region would have greatly hampered economic activities in the Global economy.6 The United States clandestinely supported Iraq via chemical weapons development, while it publicly declared neutrality in order to national sovereignty.7,8. Clandestine operations protected United States’ energy security in the volatile Middle East. Publically keeping neutrality, a good public relations move, allowed the United States to deflect potential scrutiny. This scenario justified clandestine intervention on the part of western nations, as it...

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