The AP is reporting that Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service organized a Saddam-financed trip to Iraq for three Democratic lawmakers in October 2002. The indictment doesn’t name the lawmakers, but the dates of the trip match up with a trip to Iraq taken by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan, and Mike Thompson of California—all three anti-Iraq War.
The trip was allegedly arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official who worked with Iraqi intelligence. Saddam supposedly paid Al-Hanooti 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil in exchange for getting the Democrats over to Iraq. During the trip the three lawmakers called for diplomatic approaches to handling Saddam.
The three Democrats have said that they had no idea that Saddam had sponsored their trip. I’m sure that’s true. It goes to show just how adept the Iraqi dictator had become at working American officials (and other world leaders) like puppets. But still: three anti-war U.S. Reps were flown to Iraq on Saddam’s dime in order to defend his kleptocratic regime. And the anti-war crowd dares to call those of us who supported the invasion naïve?
Just imagine if the pleas of the three were heeded. Just imagine if we didn’t, after all, invade Iraq–and then this story broke. What might the headline read if we had continued to “contain” Saddam inside his box of butchery these past five years and the tale of 2 million barrels in exchange for U.S. compliance came out?
“Blood For Oil” just about covers it, don’t you think?