* A few months later, on July 17, 1984, a New York Times article with a Baghdad dateline sketchily filled in a bit more information, saying that the U.S. government â€œgranted Iraq about $2 billion in commodity credits to buy food over the last two years.â€ The story recalled that â€œDonald Rumsfeld, the former Middle East special envoy, held two private meetings with the Iraqi president here,â€ and the dispatch mentioned in passing that â€œState Department human rights reports have been uniformly critical of the Iraqi President, contending that he ran a police state.â€
* Full diplomatic relations between Washington and Baghdad were restored 11 months after Rumsfeldâ€™s December 1983 visit with Saddam -- who went on to use poison gas later in the decade, actions which scarcely harmed relations with the Reagan administration.
* As the most senior U.S. official to visit Iraq in six years, Rumsfeld had served as Reaganâ€™s point man for warming relations with Saddam. In 1984, the administration engineered the sale to Baghdad of 45 ostensibly civilian-use Bell 214ST helicopters. Saddamâ€™s military found them quite useful for attacking Kurdish civilians with poison gas in 1988, according to U.S. intelligence sources. â€œIn response to the gassing,â€ journalist Jeremy Scahill has pointed out, â€œsweeping sanctions were unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate that would have denied Iraq access to most U.S. technology. The measure was killed by the White House.â€
These are facts that the public should know about the current defense secretary of the United States.