Explaining Hussein’s Thinking

This morning’s Washington Post has a fascinating report on the results of a set of interviews with, among others, Tariq Aziz. The overarching theme of the interviews is: “What the heck was Hussein thinking???”


– Why didn’t Hussein didn’t fight back against the initial US invasion in March?

Hussein concluded after private talks with French and Russian contacts that the United States would probably wage a long air war first, as it had done in previous conflicts. By hunkering down and putting up a stiff defense, he might buy enough time to win a cease-fire brokered by Paris and Moscow.

– If Hussein had no WMDs, why didn’t he simply reveal that to the US to avert war?

Hussein was afraid to lose face with his Arab neighbors. Hussein concluded, these prisoners explained, that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and other countries paid him deference because they feared he had weapons of mass destruction. Hussein was unwilling to reveal that his cupboard was essentially bare, these detainees said, according to accounts from officials.

Such explanations may go a long way toward explaining some of the outstanding mysteries of the Iraq war. The article is worth reading.