From an interview with Noam Chomsky in September, 2015: "President Bush I, the statesman Bush, even invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to the U.S. for advanced training in weapons production, an extremely serious threat to Iran."

What was the nature of this invitation and when did it happen?

  • It would probably help if you could include a source that supports the assertion that the United States (and here you presumably mean the US government?) actually did invite Iraqi scientists to study nuclear science in the 1980s. It would also help if you edit your question to include what your research has already found. Where have you already searched? What did you find? Please help us to help you. SE sites work best if the questions are supported by preliminary research Aug 5, 2019 at 18:04
  • Exactly, Dennis. It would be very hard to ask the question "when" if I already knew haha.
    – Sermo
    Aug 5, 2019 at 18:21
  • @DenisdeBernardy Actually, having the source of the quote narrows down the possible date-range considerably. From "it might have been something Chomsky said in passing", now we have the quote we see that Chomsky alleged it was George H Bush that invited them. Since he was President from 20 January 1989 to 20 January 1993, and Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, initiating the Gulf War, that leaves a very narrow window (January 1989 - July 1991). Aug 5, 2019 at 18:28
  • @semipaiscuba Yes, I managed to dig up the quote, but that's still all that I know. I haven't found other references to it. I don't doubt the authenticity of his source, but I'd like to know it.
    – Sermo
    Aug 5, 2019 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


It's hard to say what specific event Chomsky was meaning since he didn't provide a specific reference, but he may have been referencing what's explained in this NYT article from 1992:

How did the Iraqis learn to use such specialized equipment? In large part from the United States Government. In August 1989, the Pentagon and the Department of Energy invited three Iraqis to attend a "detonation conference" in Portland, Ore. Financed by American taxpayers, the meeting brought together experts from around the world to explain to the Iraqis and others how to produce shock waves in any desired configuration. There were even lectures on HMX, the high explosive of choice for nuclear detonation, and on flyer plates, devices that help produce the precise shock waves needed to ignite A-bombs. Both HMX and flyer plates have turned up at Al Atheer, which should surprise no one. The three Iraqis who attended the conference came from the laboratory that eventually provided Al Atheer with its first shaped charges. [...]

Altogether, the Iraqis carried out 20 detonation tests before May 31, 1990 -- the date of the last Iraqi progress report on Al Atheer found by the United Nations. The Iraqis had worked their way through five versions of the bomb design, cutting the weapon's total weight from one ton in the first version to about half a ton in the last -- light enough to go on a missile.

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