'Idealist' tried to halt Saddam's Kurdish slaughter





Years before the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was slaughtering Iraq's Kurds with bombs, bullets and gas.

The Reagan White House saw it as a ruthless attempt to put down a rebellion by a minority ethnic group fighting for independence and allied with Iraq's enemy, Iran.

But Peter Galbraith thought it was something worse.

"A light went off in my head, and I said, 'Saddam Hussein is committing genocide,'" said Galbraith, who was on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.

An unabashed idealist, Galbraith was known for tackling unconventional issues.

"If you're going to be idealistic in life, you're going to be disappointed," he said."But that's not a reason to abandon idealism."

Galbraith was one of the first Westerners to witness the effects of the slaughter. During a fact-finding trip for the Senate in 1987, he saw something troubling.




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