Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Saddam's Catch-22

There's an Iraq War question I've always had a hard time answering and it goes like this, "Mike, if Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction, then why didn't he just come clean before the invasion? Why did he kick the inspectors out? Why did he basically act like he had the weapons?"

I thought, for awhile, that he was just afraid of appearing weak in front of his own population. Or that he was just crazy or stupid.

It turns out, according to the 1,000 page report of CIA analyst and head of the Iraq Survey Group Charles Duelfer, that he was afraid of appearing weak in front of Iran. And that makes a lot of sense.

Iran really is developing Weapons of Mass Destruction and Saddam has known that for awhile. But, while under sanctions, Saddam couldn't match the threat. So his only hope, to deter an enemy who he fought for 8 years in the 1980s, was to bluff.

At the same time, Saddam remembered that he was once a US ally -- secure in his rule because of the assistance we gave him. He hoped to re-establish that relationship. Admitting he had no WMDs would have helped. But, then, IRan would have figured out his weakness.

He couldn't have it both ways. So, he took a chance and judged, wrongly, that after a decade of not invading Iraq and overthrowing him, the US was the lesser threat and he kept up the charade.

Thing is -- this is the kind of thing we should have known before the war. It seems clear to me in retrospect but it should have seemed clear, at the time, to foreign policy experts. It is, anyhow, the unexplained rationale for Saddam's pre-war decisions.


At 3:41 PM , Blogger Dollar Video Curator said...

I finally got to watch a tape of you on Fox last night. You were so kick ass!!


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