The United States planned and instigated the Persian Gulf Crisis, Christic Institute President Daniel Sheehan said in a panel Wednesday at the Kennedy School of Government.
Sheehan, an attorney whose organization is currently the plaintiff in a suit against 27 figures from the Iran-Contra affair, said he possesses classified government documents to prove his claim.
Sheehan said that one of the Pentagon documents in his possession, dated 1990, was headed, "A strategic force for 1990 and beyond." He said the second document, titled "Global Reach-Global Power," discussed ways the United States could obtain mineral resources from Third World countries, using the specific example of Iraq and Kuwait.
Sheehan also described an Arab summit shortly before the war, in which the foreign minister of Kuwait confronted Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. According to Sheehan, Aziz responded that Kuwait should be careful because Iraq possessed documents which revealed that Kuwait and the U.S. had purposely goaded Iraq to war.
"The Kuwaiti ambassador passed out on the debate floor. This is not a normal way an ambassador acts when accused falsely," he said.
In the months before the Iraqi invasion, "Kuwait moved oil equipment from a company in which President Bush's National Security Advisor is a chief stockholder, to the Kuwaiti border," Sheehan said. "[Kuwait] shot oil drills at a 45 degree angle into Iraqi territory."
Sheehan added that when King Hussein of Jordan asked the Kuwaiti Emir's brother how he planned to respond to Iraqi displeasure at the oil-theft, the Prince replied, "We're not going to respond at all. Let them occupy our territory if they will. We're going to have the U.S. come in."
A second panelist, Kurt Cambell, said he did not believe that Sheehan's documentation was sufficient evidence to prove a premeditated U.S. plan to start a war.
"I can't see how it's to the Kuwaiti's benefit to allow Iraq to invade Kuwait," said Cambell, an assistant professor of public policy and international relations at the Kennedy School and a consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Thirty nations were involved in the war, including Eastern Europe," Cambell said. "Saddam Hussein would not yield to sanctions. Saddam has longevity, he's still there."
Cambell said that U.S. action was necessary, and prevented a much more serious future war.
"If it was just four or five years down the road, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein would have used nuclear weapons," he said.
Cambell said that he would like to see the institution of some type of international tribunal to legally call for the ouster of Hussein.
"Saddam Hussein was an evil character from central casting," Cambell told the audience.