The Handshake
3 June 2011

The Handshake (2007)

DVD, 2 minutes, video loop

On December 20th, 1983, Donald Rumsfeld (U.S. Secretary of Defence – 1975-77 and 2001-06) met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad as President Reagan’s special envoy to establish support for Iraq in its conflict with Iran. The US was eager not to let an Iranian victory interrupt Middle East oil supply and transportation of oil to its own shores. For the next five years, until Iran finally capitulated, the United States backed Saddam’s armies with military intelligence, economic aid and covert supplies of munitions, including, according to recently declassified documents, chemical compounds.

Although photographs and video footage of Donald Rumsfeld’s 1983 meeting with Saddam Hussien were readily available, they were notably absent from U.S. media coverage of the Iraq war beginning March 2003. Any journalistic mention of Donald Rumsfeld’s key role in aiding the Iraqi leader was similarly absent.