Web Of Deceit: The History Of Western Complicity In Iraq, From Churchill To Kennedy To George W. Bush by Barry LandoWeb Of Deceit: The History Of Western Complicity In Iraq, From Churchill To Kennedy To George W. Bush by Barry Lando

Web Of Deceit: The History Of Western Complicity In Iraq, From Churchill To Kennedy To George W…

byBarry Lando

Paperback | February 5, 2008

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An investigative history of Western complicity in Saddam Hussein’s crimes reveals the story his trial never will.
In February 1991, the Shia of southern Iraq rose against Saddam Hussein.

Barry M. Lando, a former investigative producer for 60 Minutes, argues compellingly that this ill-fated uprising represents one instance among many of Western complicity in Saddam Hussein’s crimes against humanity. The Shia were responding to the call for rebellion from President George H.W. Bush that was broadcast repeatedly across Iraq by clandestine CIA stations. But, just as the revolution was on the brink of success, the United States and its allies turned their backs. In the end, tens of thousands were massacred.

Because of restrictions imposed by the Special Tribunal prosecuting Saddam Hussein, the extensive role of the U.S. and its allies in his crimes will never be explored at his trial. But as Web of Deceit demonstrates, the nations that now denounce Saddam most prominently secretly backed the dictator from his rise to power in the 1960s and ‘70s to his offensives in Iran and, despite warnings, took no action to stop his invasion of Kuwait. They also turned their backs when he used chemical weapons against the Iraqi people and persisted in international sanctions long after they had proved ineffective and, for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, lethal.

Web of Deceit draws on a wide range of journalism and scholarship to present a complete picture of what really happened in Iraq under Saddam, detailing – for the first time – the complicity of the West in its full and alarming extent.


From the Hardcover edition.
Barry M. Lando spent over 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with 60 Minutes. The author of numerous articles about Iraq, he produced a documentary about Saddam Hussein that has been shown around the world.A Canadian citizen, Lando was born in Vancouver and now lives in Paris.From the Hardcover edition.
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Title:Web Of Deceit: The History Of Western Complicity In Iraq, From Churchill To Kennedy To George W…Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.94 × 6 × 1 inPublished:February 5, 2008Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385663684

ISBN - 13:9780385663687

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Introduction : The Trial of Saddam When United States troops pulled Saddam Hussein from the cramped “spider hole” where he had been hiding on December 13, 2003, I wrote an article in which I speculated that, although they exulted at having finally captured the former Iraqi tyrant alive, a lot of very important people around the world might well have preferred the disheveled fallen dictator to have been riddled by a hail of bullets, blown up by a grenade, or self-dispatched by a cyanide capsule when all seemed lost. That would have provided a nice, neat end to the tale. There would have been no need for a trial. Hypothetically, the trial of the former dictator could have been a ghastly global media circus in which many of the world’s great leaders, past and present, would have found themselves pilloried as codefendants–charged with complicity in many of the crimes against humanity that occurred during Saddam’s bloody reign. It wouldn’t take unusual skill for Saddam’s defense team to make such a case. Those leaders would include, but certainly not be limited to, American presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George Bush pere and fils; other world lead-ers such as Margaret Thatcher, Jacques Chirac, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Hussein of Jordan, and Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia; Israel’s Menachem Begin; and many of the men and women who guided their foreign policy, ran their military, and oversaw their intelligence agencies. Outside the political sphere, the accused might include hundreds of American and foreign businessmen, leaders of agrobusiness, oil tycoons, and arms merchants from across the globe who profited handsomely from doing business with Saddam Hussein while closing their eyes to what he was up to–or, in some cases, despite knowing full well. It’s not that such foreign involvement in any way alleviates Saddam’s guilt; it’s just that these and other foreign notables, through Saddam and on their own, were also responsible for much of the suffering of the Iraqi people. And without their sophisticated arms and massive financing, their intelligence information and diplomatic support–their sins of omission and commission–Saddam would never have wreaked the horrors that he did. In the months following Saddam’s capture, I wondered how the Americans and their Iraqi allies would deal with the judicial problem: How to put Saddam and his lieutenants on trial for the crimes against humanity committed during his rule, without implicating these others who were either directly complicit in his crimes or turned their back on them when they occurred? How to avoid transforming the trial of Saddam Hussein into an explosive chronicle of the foreign cynicism and greed that helped shape the history of modern Iraq, including the crimes of Saddam? The Americans and their Iraqi allies handled the problem quietly. To avoid the jurisdiction of any international court or group of independent jurists, they established their own special Iraqi tribunal. According to the regulations of that tribunal, only Iraqi citizens could be charged or subpoenaed. This meant, for instance, that if Saddam’s attorneys sought to summon George H. W. Bush to ask why, in February 1991, he had first called for the Iraqi people to rise up against Saddam and then ordered American soldiers to refuse all aid to the rebels while enabling Saddam to crush them, that embarrassing line of questioning wouldn’t be admitted by the tribunal. The same logic would apply to Saddam’s gassing of thousands of Kurds at Halabja in 1988. There is no way his attorneys could point out that Saddam’s chemical weapons were supplied primarily by French, Belgian, and German firms, or that the U.S. State Department refused even to meet with Kurdish leaders who had proof of the attacks, or that the U.S. and its allies had steadfastly blocked international moves to condemn Saddam for his use of mustard and nerve gasses. The period considered by the tribunal is also strictly limited to the time when Saddam ran the country, from 1978 to 2003, so that his attorneys also could not refer to historical deeds that might have cast his foreign accusers as something more sinister than liberators of the Iraqi people. They could not point out the fact that the first to use aircraft, machine guns, and bombs to put down unruly Iraqis were the British, in 1920, when Winston Churchill was British Secretary of State for War. Or the fact that the 1963 coup that brought Saddam’s Baath party to power was supported by John F. Kennedy’s Central Intelligence Agency, which also provided lists of hundreds of supposed Iraqi Communists, who were duly arrested, tortured, and executed–Saddam at the time was not yet a prominent political figure, just one of the principal torturers. Nor could Saddam’s lawyers recount the ruthless fashion in which Iran, Israel, and the United States under Richard Nixon made use of the Kurds to undermine the central government in Iraq by encouraging, arming, and training them–and then left them to be massacred by Saddam in 1975 when they no longer served their sponsors’ purposes. After all, as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger pointed out when a congressional committee later queried him about abandoning the Kurds, “One should not confuse undercover action with social work.” Kissinger should not be singled out; over the years, American officials became renowned for pithy quotes demonstrating their keen, hardheaded realpolitik. In 1991, for instance, Ronald Reagan’s first secretary of state, Alexander Haig, chided an investigative journalist for appearing surprised that Israel’s Ariel Sharon had denied that Israel illegally transferred U.S. arms to the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War, though that was precisely what Israel had done. “Come on. Jesus! God!” Haig exploded, disgusted at the reporter’s naïveté. “You’d better get out and read Machiavelli or somebody else, because I think you’re living in a dream world! People do what their national interest tells them to do, and if it means lying to a friendly nation, they’re going to lie through their teeth.” Ten years later, I received a similar reply from Thomas Pickering, George H. W. Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations. I asked him how he could justify President Bush’s first calling on the Iraqis to rise up in 1991, then leaving them to be slaughtered by the Iraqi dictator. “In war and love, all’s fair,” Pickering confided with a knowing smile. That same flinty attitude – the world is a tough place, and you’ve got to get your hands dirty to survive – has been the proud hallmark of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As he put it when questioned about the rampant looting after the U.S. takeover in Baghdad that was to presage the nightmarish years of violence and death that were to follow, “Stuff happens.” Iraq has the misfortune of being a case study of how “stuff happened” over almost a century as gimlet-eyed foreign leaders ignored considerations of morality and justice in the name of greater causes, like fighting Communism or Islamic terrorism – while ensuring access to the region’s vast petroleum resources.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

National Bestseller“A splendid, gripping, dispassionate, and badly-needed account. . . . Lando does an immense public service with this book.” —William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune“The proof that the U.S. armed and supported Saddam right up until the invasion of Kuwait is here. Depressing but fascinating.” —Russell Smith, The Wyre (xyyz.ca)“A compelling must-read that goes far beyond the current crop of books on Iraq.” —Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes"Through extensive quotes from politicians, statesmen and official documents, Lando exposes the duplicity and ulterior motives that have pervaded the West's dealings Iraq. From the CIA's artificial prolonging of the Iran-Iraq War to the legendary betrayals of the Kurds and Shiites, the result has been death and destruction on a massive scale. . . . [Web of Deceit] offers readers a grasp of the country America has broken more than perhaps any other."–Publishers Weekly"Plenty of ammunition here for those who believe a “campaign of lies and distortion” accounts for the U.S. presence in Iraq."– Kirkus Reviews, starred review