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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sound like anyone you know?

"He thought the real threats from the West were the kind of hyperbole that one often hears in the Arab world," Post said. "And he was surrounded by sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear, not what he needed to know."

An interrogation of Ali Hassan Majid, the senior aide known as "Chemical Ali" for his alleged role in using poison gas to slaughter Iraqi Kurds in 1988, illustrated the point. Asked how Hussein responded to bad news, Majid indicated he "has never known any instance of anybody bringing bad news to Saddam," according to Duelfer's report.
-- From a fascinating LA Times article on what the Duelfer report tells us about Saddam Hussein. Ring a bell? Try this:
DIANE SAWYER: First of all, I just want to ask about reading. Mr. President, you know that there was a great deal of reporting about the fact that you said, first of all, that you let Condoleezza Rice and Andrew Card give you a flavor of what's in the news.


DIANE SAWYER: That you don't read the stories yourself.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. I get my news from people who don't editorialize. They give me the actual news, and it makes it easier to digest, on a daily basis, the facts.

DIANE SAWYER: Is it just harder to read constant criticism or to read --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Why even put up with it when you can get the facts elsewhere? I'm a lucky man. I've got, it's not just Condi and Andy, it's all kinds of people in my administration who are charged with different responsibilities, and they come in and say this is what's happening, this isn't what's happening.
The article says that Saddam believed all along that the CIA knew he'd destroyed his weapons, but was intent on deceiving Iran into thinking he still had them. It quotes a psychiatrist as saying that Saddam was "not psychotic," which was also the impression I got when I watched Dan Rather's interview with Saddam in February, 2003.

Both Bush and Saddam knew Saddam didn't have WMD's. Saddam knew that Bush knew. Saddam's mistake was thinking that that mattered.