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Tuesday, October 12, 2004


the rational dictator

the chicago tribune's analysis of the duelfer iraq/wmd report (free registration required) pointed up just exactly how thoroughly propagandized the american public has been for all these years with respect to saddam hussein. i think that most observant critics have understood as much for years, but the drenching irony is bound to be shocking to some.

the whole article deserves a read, but the upshot is this:

(CIA analyst) Duelfer urges people to forget the images that portrayed Hussein as a buffoon. ...By all accounts, Hussein has been lucid, rational and deliberate in months of sessions.

...The former official said the CIA never understood that Hussein was bluffing about his long-abandoned weapons chiefly to deter Iran, Iraq's longtime enemy. To Hussein, Tehran's alleged push to gain the nuclear arms that he was denied posed an unacceptable danger to his country and a challenge to his rightful place in history. ...In Hussein's view, the U.S. priority in the region was to ensure that Iran's Islamic Revolution did not spread to other nations and give radical Shiite clerics a chokehold on global oil supplies. He was convinced that Washington's national interest lay in containing Iran's suspected nuclear arms program, not in toppling his regime.

...Ironically, Saddam Hussein misread U.S. intentions in part because he believed the CIA was far better at spying than it turned out to be. Senior aides told interrogators that Hussein was convinced the U.S. intelligence agency knew he had no illicit weapons. Hussein assumed that the CIA had penetrated his regime, just as his own intelligence services used wiretaps, secret cameras and informants to spy on the U.N. weapons teams.
at the end of the day, saddam turned out to be the machiavellian prince -- ultimately rational. his primary miscalculation was assuming that the united states under the bush white house was similarly rational, understood where its interests laid, and would act accordingly despite the bluster of proclamations from bush, cheney and rumsfeld.

but the white house turned out to be exactly the sort of unpredictable loose cannon that we've all been propagandized to believe saddam was -- much to the surprise and dismay of europe as well as the middle east.

and yet more ironic, in acting so, the united states has clearly fallen into the trap that saddam has so convinced himself that no rational nation would -- effectively handing over the world's second largest oil reserves to what is likely to emerge a shia fundamentalist government and iranian client state, full of venom for america.

there's a resounding lesson in the duelfer report for all the american folks who believe their nation the responsible, rational steward of law and order in the world.

Good post Kidder. Why does the Trib still make you sign in to read an article?

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to spam you with cubs merchandising email, of course. :)

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the duelfer report can be read in its entirely here.

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