One of the Bizarro-world realities of today is that the same White House folks who conduct the war on Iraq were sucking up to Hussein as an ally 20 years ago. Two items on this. First, a lovely Mike Luckovich cartoon Rumsfeld Made Iraq Overture in '84 Despite Chemical Raids.
As a special envoy for the Reagan administration in 1984, Donald H. Rumsfeld, now the defense secretary, traveled to Iraq to persuade officials there that the United States was eager to improve ties with President Saddam Hussein despite his use of chemical weapons ...
"The Iraqi leadership was extremely pleased with Amb. Rumsfeld's visit," the memo said. "Tariq Aziz had gone out of his way to praise Rumsfeld as a person."
Dec 20 was the 20th anniversary of Rumsfeld and Hussein's handshake. More: National Security Archive.