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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Two brutal presidents

One with weapons of mass destruction, the other not. One insane, the other not. Juan Cole summarizes Saddam's motives for pretending to still have WMD's based on the Iraq Survey Group's report:
Saddam was fighting several Shiite revolutions, being mounted by the Sadrists, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the al-Da`wa Party, and the Marsh Arab Hizbullah. He was barely able to keep a lid on them, using secret police and brutal repression. They were being backed by Iran (or at least all but the Sadrists were), and he was admitting that he feared that if the Iranians and the Iraqi Shiites thought he would not be able to gas them, he might be open to another invasion or a popular Shiite uprising. The group report says Saddam used chemical weapons on the Shiites to put down the rebellion of spring, 1991. (What it does not say is that the United States, which was in a position to stop this use of WMD on civilians, as well as the use of conventional weapons to massacre thousands, declined to so much as fire a missile at a helicopter gunship).

Ironically, the Sadrists and Marsh Arabs have gone on to pose a dire threat to order in post-Saddam Iraq, and the US has also treated them harshly as a result.

Saddam also was appears to have been convinced that the US would not attack his regime after September 11, because of its secular character. Saddam is often caricatured as a madman (and it is true that there is something wrong with the man), but in this remark he shows himself thinking rationally and expecting Bush to do the same.
BIG mistake there, Saddam. NEVER underestimate the insanity of George W. Bush.