WHEN THE IRAQI REGIME collapsed in April 2003, few observers saw reason to mourn the loss of Saddam's brutal dictatorship. While a great deal of information about the former Iraqi regime's assorted atrocities has been uncovered since the invasion, newly-released documents go even further in demonstrating its manifest depravity.

One such document is CMPC-2003-012666, a letter from Qusay Hussein that directs as follows:

Transfer all Kuwaiti POW's / a total of 448 captured Kuwaitis who are located at the Al-Nida Al-Agher Prison and the Intelligence / General Center and Kazema Prison in Al-Kazema, to make them human shields at all locations that are expected to be attacked by the American aggressors. Put them in communication locations and essential ministries, radio and television, Military Industrial Commissions, and all other locations expected to be attacked by the criminal Anglo-American aggressors.

In addition to the barbarity of using prisoners as human shields, it should be noted that these documents constitute a clear refutation of the official position of the Iraqi government, which claimed from 1996 onwards that while it had taken 126 Kuwaitis prisoner during the Gulf War, they were no longer in Iraqi custody. Clearly, the Iraqi regime had no intention of releasing all of its Gulf War prisoners under any circumstances, but rather chose to retain them for the apparent purpose of creating the appearance of civilian casualties for propaganda purposes during the U.S. bombing campaign.

In a similar vein is CMPC-2004-002219-0, which lays out a series of memos between Saddam's office, Iraqi military intelligence, and the Iraqi army in order to draw up plans to attack Kurdish guerrilla bases. As these memos make clear, international treaties banning the use of chemical weapons (referred to throughout the memos with the euphemism "special equipment") were of little interest to Saddam Hussein:

1. Based on our Directorate's suggestion, an approval from the Secretary of the Presidency Office was obtained to strike, using special equipment, the quarters of Iran's agents in (Tkiyya, Bilkjar) basin next to Karah Dagh, and (Balisan) basin located on the main road next to Jawarkornah-Khlayfan, and do not execute this strike before informing the Secretary of the Presidency Office on how to implement it.

. . . 1. Operations to fight the saboteurs and agents of Iran and Khomeini Guards in your regions, using special equipment are sanctioned as follows:

A. Bases of Iran's agents in Balisan Basin(Balisan village-Totama-Ghitti-Sheikh Wisan) located next to the main road next to Khlayfan.

B. Bases of Iran's agents in village basins of (Tkiyyeh-Biljikar-Siyusnan, in the Karah Dagh vicinity.

. . . 1. The President/Leader (may God save him) ordered our directorate to study, with the professionals, directing a surprise strike against (Khomeini Guards bases located within the quarters of the first division of Barazani's saboteurs) using special equipment, and the possibility of executing it in any of the following methods (Air Force, Army Air Force, artillery).

. . . 4. The above mentioned targets, in paragraphs(A-B) under item 3, are important bases for Iran's agents and members of Iranian enemies, are far away (as targets for special equipment) from our units. They are considered more appropriate than others to strike with our equipment for being located in low regions which helps the chemical fumes to settle. We can also treat them with available ways (air force, tubular bombers, Samtiyyat (Helicopters) and at night

5. Our directorate suggested striking both targets, referred to in item 3, during this period using two thirds of available special equipment (Ricin) plus one third of available special equipment (Mustard Gas) and keeping the balance for emergency situations that might arise in the operation theater.

6. The top secret, personal and urgent letter No.953/965/k dated March 29, 87 from the President's Office Secretary, stated the following:

"Approval of striking has been obtained provided the results are exploited . . . for the purpose is not only to inflict losses among the saboteurs, but also to coordinate with the Corps . . . please advice prior to striking".

The mention of targeting Iranians as well as Kurds with chemical weapons may strike some Western observers as unusual, but it is worth remembering that Iran has historically supported Iraqi Kurds against the central government going back to the 1970s and that Iranian troops attacked Iraqi positions from the northern Kurdish areas in 1988 in the hopes of relieving pressure on their southern front.

It is important that we enumerate the atrocities carried out under Saddam's auspices. Those who died at the hands of his regime deserve nothing less.

Dan Darling is a counterterrorism consultant for the Manhattan Institute Center for Policing Terrorism.
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