So what is Saddam thinking?

Does anyone have an idea what Saddam could possibly have been thinking? I read alot about him attempting to draw the US into a foreign policy gaffe but that must be the best example of cutting off your nose to spite your face in history. Why not fake concessions and rebuild your arsenal later rather than guarantee destruction not only of your military assets but your personal assets (if not your life) as well? Is he ignorant of the US military capacity? Assuming for a second he isn’t a complete idiot and madman, what might he be thinking?

There should probably be an “assuming he’s alive” in there somewhere, too.

Damned if I know what he was thinking, this week. After Bush’s speech Monday night, the game was clearly up for him. Given the choice between “enjoy a comfortable exile somewhere” and “get blown to bits,” pretty much any sane person would take the former in a heartbeat.

For the most part, Saddam, other than being extremely evil and amoral, has acted sanely during his career in Iraq, in the sense of making rational decisions from the POV of someone whose goal was to be an absolute ruler over as much as possible for as long as possible. But the decision not to leave during that final 48-hour window - that was nuts.

Saddam: “gee… am I deep enuf in this bunker…??”


What was David Koresh thinking in Waco, Texas?

What was the Rev Jim Jones thinking at Jonestown Guyana?

What was Heaven’s Gate leader Marshall Applewhite thinking?

…waitaminit… since Saddam is definitely not a christian, can he correctly be diagnosed as having a Messianic complex?

I guess I’m wondering if he’s been appropriately briefed on the US military capacity relative to Iraq’s or if he really just doesn’t know what’s out there.

If he were a Shi’ite, he could have a Mahdi complex.

The US has not prevailed in a major drawn out conflict since WW2. The Vietnam War was a massive failure, and all American conflicts since then (e.g. Iraq I and Serbia) have been overwhelming and relatively painless American victories.

Furthermore, there is more opposition within the US to this war than to any of the other recent conflicts. Not to mention the worldwide public opinion which is decidely against the war.

In light of the above, SH might legitimately believe that he does not have to win outright to win the war. He only has to drag it out long enough and inflict enough casualties (especially American, but even Iraqi civilians, to an extent) for world and US public opinion to pressure Bush enough to make him settle for a face-saving compromise withdrawal.

For this, he does not have to defend all of Iraq’s territory, or keep all of Iraq’s army. If he can keep some of his best troops loyal, he can inflict some damage, particularly if the US military gets overconfident. This is without even resorting to WMD.

Of course, it is a big gamble, and probably won’t work. But SH is a gambler, and has rolled the dice a lot before and won, or at least broken even.

Last night on Charlie Rose, author and former CIA Middle East analyst Ken Pollack gave an interesting summary of what he thinks Saddam is thinking (if he’s alive, that is).

  1. By not using chemical or biological weapons until troops get to Bagdad, the antiwar movement will be able to more convincingly point to this and claim that Saddam must not have WMD. (note that Pollack is sure that Saddam does indeed have them).

  2. Saddam is expecting to be able to sway world sentiment by publicizing civilian deaths caused by American bombs.

  3. By that point, Saddam’s elite loyal troops will have entrenched and dug into Bagdad, making for a much tougher fight – in Pollack’s words, a “Mesopotamian Stalingrad.”

So, faced with a strengthened world opinion against the war and the prospect of high-casualty street fighting, America will back down and Saddam will get to stay alive, stay in power and keep his weapons.

here’s a link to Pollack’s foreign affairs article, on which his book is based:

Mark Bowden had a good article in the Atlantic about the mind of Saddam. He argues that Saddam definitely has a kind of messianic complex.

“I knew I shouldn’t have trusted the United States when they said they had no objections to my planned war with Kuwait…”

And this of course, never happened. At least as told by Traik Aziz.

And if he were a Zen-Sunni, he could have a Kwisatz Haderach complex.

Where am I gonna sleep tonight? And which one of you bastards keeps tipping off the Americans??

That was funny but you forgot the punchline…

Steve Mohammed points to Adul Adul…

He is probably thinking right up until the very end that the UN would save him.

I’m glad to see this sentence. I thought perhaps the rest was written before the events of the past few days.

The Republican Guard is lead by men that got their jobs because of their loyality to Saddam, not because they are good military leaders. The elite unit of the Republican Guard is a bodyguard and secret police unit. This doesn’t mean they are knowledgable in military maneuvers. I wouldn’t count on them too much.

“Wow, is that my liver over there on the wall?”

“Oh. That United States. Whoops.”

I heard a radio report speculating that he may also not really understand the power of the US military or their resolve this time. The analyst’s argument is that SH does not actually get very good advice (war with Iran, invade Kuwait) from his inner circle. The reason is because everybody is scared to be the bearer of bad news or disagree with him due to his nasty habit of killing people he doesn’t like. I imagine you could make all sorts of bonehead decisions if you have a cabinet full of only yes-men.

Bill Gates once said something to the effect “In business, good news should travel fast, and bad news even faster.”

Ouch, those tomahawks really hurt. :smack:

He probably expected a massive first strike but is probably astounded by the scale of the air attacks.

He probably thinks that if he can draw this out long enough the world opinion will sway in his favour and the American forces will be forced to stop.

His eternal optimism will be his undoing as I do not believe this won’t stop until his regime is wiped from the face of the earth.

OH! OH! OH!! I know what he was thinking…