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By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International   |   Sept. 16, 2002 at 3:15 AM   |   0 comments

'HOW WE HELPED CREATE SADDAM'

During the 1980s, when Iraq was at war with Iran, the United States supplied Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with supplies and military hardware, including shipments of "bacteria/fungi/protozoa" to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission, Newsweek reports. Former officials say the bacteria cultures could be used to make biological weapons, including anthrax.

The Reagan administration began allowing the Iraqis to buy a wide variety of "dual use" equipment and materials from American suppliers. Confidential U.S. Commerce Department export control documents, obtained by Newsweek, say the shopping list included helicopters to transport Iraqi officials, television cameras for "video surveillance" and chemical analysis equipment for the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission.

The U.S. almost certainly knew from its own satellite imagery Hussein was using chemical weapons against Iranian troops, the magazine says.

When Hussein bombed Kurdish rebels and civilians with a lethal cocktail of mustard gas, sarin, tabun, and VX in 1988, the Reagan administration first blamed Iran, before acknowledging the culprits was Iraq. There was only token official protest at the time.

-- How could the United States protest Iraqi actions when it supplied the biological agents?

-- Should the United States have allowed shipments of bacterial elements to Iraq in the 1980s?


KENNEDY DYNASTY

The Kennedy family dynasty, so consistently victorious in the past 50 years it has become the liberal brand name of politics, may have entered the autumn of its discontent, according to The Washington Times.

In a defeat that startled analysts, Kennedy relative Mark K. Shriver lost the Democratic primary last week in Maryland's 8th Congressional District.

A Kennedy had not tasted defeat at the polls since 1986, when Kathleen Kennedy Townsend lost her bid for the U.S. House from Maryland.

Townsend, Maryland's lieutenant governor, is herself in a tougher-than-expected campaign for governor this fall, amid criticism in her own party she has frittered away a 15-point lead in a race that is hers to lose.

Andrew Cuomo, who inherited his own political lineage but married into the Kennedy family, dropped out of the Democratic primary in the New York governor's race earlier this month when polls showed he was more than 20 points behind.

While the younger generation is experiencing campaign difficulties, elder statesman Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., is, in the eyes of some observers, at the peak of his influence in Congress.

-- Is the Kennedy dynasty over?

-- Can any dynasty last for more than a couple generations?


SCHOOL UNIFORMS ON THE WAY OUT

In 1994, Long Beach, Calif., was the first big-city public school district to adopt uniforms. When school crime rates dropped 22 percent the first year, the district quickly became a model for the country.

Soon educators and politicians began to hold up uniforms as cure-alls: noise and discipline problems went down, attendance and test scores went up. Uniforms would blur distinctions between rich and poor and short-circuit the age-old competition over clothes.

Former President Bill Clinton urged uniforms in two State of the Union addresses.

But in the spring of 1999, a parent at a California junior high school objected to mandatory uniforms, saying the policy violated students' constitutional right of free expression.

A newspaper article pointed out state law allowed parents to opt out of uniform policies. It was news to many parents and ammunition to their children. The word spread quickly.

Hundreds of parents opted out and others began using waivers as bargaining chips -- get an A in algebra and a student could opt out of the uniform.

-- What is a "student's constitutional right of free expression?"

-- Should uniforms be required if parents can have their children opt out?

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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