The Los Angeles Times: Bush Secret Effort Helped Iraq Build Its War Machine : Persian Gulf: Documents show that 9 months before Hussein's invasion of Kuwait the President approved $1 billion in aid. Objections from others were suppressed.
In the fall of 1989, at a time when Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was only nine months away and Saddam Hussein was desperate for money to buy arms, President Bush signed a top-secret National Security Decision directive ordering closer ties with Baghdad and opening the way for $1 billion in new aid, according to classified documents and interviews. Getting new aid from Washington was critical for Iraq in the waning months of 1989 and the early months of 1990 because international bankers had cut off virtually all loans to Baghdad.
In addition to clearing the way for new financial aid, senior Bush aides as late as the spring of 1990 overrode concern among other government officials and insisted that Hussein continue to be allowed to buy so-called "dual use" technology -- advanced equipment that could be used for both civilian and military purposes. The Iraqis were given continued access to such equipment, despite emerging evidence that they were working on nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction. "Iraq is not to be singled out," National Security Council official Richard Haas declared at a high-level meeting in April, 1990, according to participants' notes, when the Commerce Department proposed curbing Iraqi purchases of militarily sensitive technology. And the pressure in 1989 and 1990 to give Hussein crucial financial assistance and maintain his access to sophisticated U.S. technology were not isolated incidents. Rather, classified documents obtained by The Times show, they reflected a long-secret pattern of personal efforts by Bush -- both as President and as vice president -- to support and placate the Iraqi dictator. . . .
Classified records show that Bush's efforts on Hussein's behalf continued well beyond the end of the Iran-Iraq War and persisted in the face of increasingly widespread warnings from inside the American government that the overall policy had become misdirected. [On April 19, 1990, the] White House National Security Council thwarted efforts by the Commerce Department to stem the flow of U.S. technology to Iraq. As late as July 9, 1990, April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, assured Iraqi officials that the Bush Administration was still trying to get the second $500 million [of the $1 billion in loan guarantees] released, according to a classified cable.