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Revelations from Saddam's inner circle.

Following the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) commissioned a detailed study of primary source accounts--both printed documents and accounts from captured senior Iraqi leaders--of Saddam's regime. A useful summary of that study is found in "Saddam's Delusions: A View from the Inside," in the May-June issue of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the internationalist Council on Foreign Relations.

Not surprisingly, the portrait offered in the USJFCOM study is of a hideous, secretive regime ruled by a dictator capable of murder on a whim. For instance, in 1982 he had the Iraqi minister of health arrested and murdered, and the victim's chopped-up body delivered to his widow. Such was the punishment for the minister's suggestion that Saddam relinquish power.

Nor is it surprising that, rather than configuring his military for foreign aggression, its "main mission was to ensure the internal security of the Baathist dictatorship," and was concerned "with everything except fighting wars."

While Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs were all but completely eliminated by the mid-1990s, he insisted on maintaining the illusion that they were active, worrying that full disclosure "might encourage the Israelis to attack." But with the Bush administration eager to bring about regime change in Iraq, Saddam was in a double-bind: by 2002 he was "insistent that Iraq would give full access to UN inspectors 'in order not to give President Bush any excuses to start a war.'"
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Title Annotation:Saddam Hussein
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jun 12, 2006
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