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UPI and the UK Independent report that official Iraqi government documents show that Saddam Hussein engaged in a series of bribes of high-ranking European officials:
Documents from Saddam Hussein's oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.
"I think the list is true," Naseer Chaderji, a governing council member, said. "I will demand an investigation. These people must be prosecuted."
If true, these documents would explode the Presidential race. Democrats consistently attack Bush for "unilateralism" and, in John Kerry's words, building an "illegitimate" coalition because the French opposed the US. Chirac even reversed course and stabbed Colin Powell in the back by reneging on an agreement to back us if we allowed a final effort at inspections. At the time, France certainly presented its opposition as a principled stand on behalf of peace, an arguable concept in and of itself while Saddam was filling mass graves with the bodies of his opponents. But if Chirac and/or his ministers were being paid off by Saddam, it yanks the "unilateral" rug right out from under the Democrats. No one in their right mind would expect the US to get a permission slip from a criminally corrupt ally who sold the US out for personal riches.
Get ready for some real fireworks if these documents are authenticated. The French may finally wake up from their long nanny-state slumber and discover that they've been betrayed by their keepers.Sphere It View blog reactions
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