December 17, 2002


Iraq’s declaration of its weapons programs contains explosive news for Germany, a Berlin paper has reported. The dossier is said to detail covert arms deals between German defense firms and Iraq.

Just as the heated debates within the German government over the role of German troops and equipment in a possible war against Iraq seem to be cooling down, another potential bombshell threatens to reignite the fires.

On Tuesday, the Berlin-based left-wing paper, Tageszeitung reported that aspects of the 12,000-page Iraqi report on Iraq's weapons programs, submitted to the U.N last week, could prove highly embarrassing for Germany.

The newspaper - believed to be the first to have access to the top-secret dossier - has written that the Iraqi declaration contains the names of 80 German firms, research laboratories and people, who are said to have helped Iraq develop its weapons program.

The most contentious piece of news for Germany is that the report names it as the number one supplier of weapons supplies to Iraq. German firms are supposed to easily outnumber the firms from other countries who have been exporting to Iraq. . . .

Another real fear is that Schröder’s image as a staunch pacifist might now be sullied if it emerges that Germany has all along been helping the very leader who it has been unwilling to topple, to stockpile his weapons.

Gee, do you think?

UPDATE: Reader John Schuchard emails:

Hmm... It's too bad they could'nt have sold them any food or medicine to help all those many thousands of dying Iraqi children. That was the fault of the US and our mean old embargo, wasn't it? One would think with all the carping we heard about it, that would be the Sophisticated rationale for breaking the embargo. (And what happened to all those dying kids anyway? Did they evaporate?)

And here I thought WE were the Profit-Driven War Machine that undermines diplomacy... Well have no fear, for I'm sure The Guardian will explain it all tomorrow about how it's STILL our fault.

Yes, there are still some certainties in life.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Eric Bainter writes:

Seems to me that selling weapons and otherwise breaking the embargo against Iraq, and then loudly opposing the US's plan to thump Saddam (didn't they even threaten to deny use of bases at one point?) doesn't make Germany a pacifist - more like an enemy.

Yeah. There are real pacifists of course. But there are also a lot of people who call themselves pacifists but who are actually just rooting for the other side.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently, there were some U.S. firms involved, too, though the information is sketchy. I'll bet they're not pretending to be pacifists, though. Which isn't a reason not to go after them.