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Saddam Hussein has not always been Satan to the United States. In fact, this is a recent invention. Until 1988, when there was the ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq War, he was one of their favoured allies. Here are just some of the more salient facts:

Countries in general, and the USA amongst them, tend to have the emotional maturity of 5-year-olds: They’re petty, they solve almost everything by fighting, and they have an almost ritualistic need for a great enemy. The US used to treat Iran as the great devil, and now Iraq shares the title (note that we take it for granted that the Iranians treat the US as the great devil). But seriously, or should I say – aside of that:

The rise of what the US saw as the fundamentalist threat was never more apparent than during the Iranian Islamic revolution and the years that followed it. However, the communist block was still perceived as US’s major strategic enemy. The interests leading US policy in the region included the will to control middle-eastern oil, in addition to the will to spread a relatively democratically/capitalistically oriented regime (or at least an anti-communist regime) in as many countries as possible. The Iran-Iraq war was a sterling opportunity to back both sides, and thus both weaken their governments and win their support.

It’s interesting to notice that the soviet-union played a similar, yet more elaborate, trick during the 48 war – it voted for the establishment of a Jewish state in the UN, and proceeded to send Czechoslovakia to back Israel while it backed the Arab countries in the ensuing conflict. Had the USSR not backed the new state and made sure it stays a bone in the neck of oil producing countries, it would have never kept their support for so long.

Conclusion? Saddam Hussein is still a piece of Excrement, and the US government often has a foreign affair policy that would not please all democrats. So @#@$$%#$ what?

It is not, after all, beyond the realms of possibility that countries will change their foreign policies with the passing of time. Especially in the West, where governments change periodically, one can't really expect their policies to be consistant - one administration might take a directly opposed stand on an issue simply to spite the previous one.

Just one small example is the oft-quoted (especially in the current presidential elections campaigns) so-called "historic bond" between the USA and Israel - as Geez points out above, Israel was affiliated with the other side at the time just after its establishment, and the Americans frowned on that to such a degree that they refused to supply the IDF with the necessary military equipment in the '73 war (the Yom Kippur War), and were in fact only persuaded to mount a last minute air convoy when the very existance of the only democracy in the Middle East was under serious threat.

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