Declassified U.S. government documents show that while Saddam Hussein was gassing Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. opposed punishing Iraq with a trade embargo because it was cultivating Iraq as an ally against Iran and as a market for U.S. farm exports.
According to Peter Galbraith, then an idealistic Senate staffer determined to stop Hussein from committing genocide, the Reagan administration “got carried away with their own propaganda. They began to believe that Saddam Hussein could be a reliable partner.”
Like ecocide, we consider genocide very bad in the sense that if anything near us smacks of it, we’ll use that as a reason to shout it down. But if it happens in some untrendy place on the other side of the world, well… what’s on TV?
The truth is unpopular. The popular illusion is that humanity is “progressing” and crusading against all evils. The truth is that we’re all trying to make money to stay ahead of the others, and if that requires genocide or ecocide, well, you don’t want to get dragged down beneath the wheel, do you?