So What was Saddam Up To?

Saddam Hussain behaved very strangely before Gulf War Part Duex, why?

He seems to have convinced his own generals he had a secret stockpile of chemical weapons (no, I have not cite). He did not cooperate with UN inspectors until it was too late. He remained a vocal pain in the butt for the West when common sense would have told him to sit the heck down and shut the heck up.

It seems to Western eyes that he was doing all he could to provoke the Americans into doing him in.

I presume that is not the case, that we are dealing with some serious misunderstanding of SH’s actions and motivations. Understanding him is made more difficult by both culture and by the fact his is a sick, sick puppy.

Any thoughts?

I think there is some evidence that to some extent, it was the other way around; that out of fear of retribution for their shortcomings, his generals and scientists told him they had capabilities they really had not achieved. He may actually have believed he had WMD, when in fact he did not.

Yes, I think you are right. Didn’t the generals et. al. think they would be caught? Was it a scheme to skim money from the supposed WMD program?

But returning to Saddam’s pointy little head, why did he order a WMD program? No matter what he did, he must have known he could not have survived another war with the Americans.

Saddam was playing Texas No Hold 'Em with a pair of duces and a lady showing, claiming to have a weak hand while trying to give off every fake tell of having a harem in the hole. Bush called his bluff with a straight flush on the felt and collected the pot. Unfortunately, the pot was a bunch of wooden nickels and subway slugs.

Saddam was playing at having those infamous Weapons of Much Discussion 'cause he liked being able to push and prod at Fat Sam, and then when it came time to meet at the flagpole, claimed (apparently honestly) that he, in fact, had no such devices. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand that Sam has been wanting to push his nose in for years and took his bluff at face value in order to justify his aggression. Oops.

Don’t feel bad for Sadie; he bet the pass line one too many times. But the real losers are the Iraqis, who have borne the brunt of the damage and are now victim to every sociopathic fundamentalist with a bomb and a grudge, and the Coalition nations who have have to foot the bill and supply the bodies (some of which are coming back in less than operational condition). Oh, and the rest of the world, which now has to deal with a newly energized Islamic Fundie crusade.

Ain’t international relations grand? Just like being on the playground; only the kids are armed with submachineguns and grenades.


According to former weapons inspector David Kay, it was probably desperation to simply save their skins:

(Shoulda previewed…) Never mind electomagnetism, the nuclear strong force, or “dark energy”; the only force more powerful than than human stupidity is human vanity. Saddam no doubt thought he could keep the US at bay by manipulating and confounding the court of public opinion; hell, Castro has managed it for nigh on 50 years now.

Well, he was half right. Unfortunately (for him) he didn’t count on a President who was oblivious (for better or worse) to the court of international opinion, and a populace seeking a target upon which to revenge its recent wounds.


You know, I used to believe in the ‘Rational Actor’ model of international relations. All of this will make a fascinating book someday.

Just one more bit of speculation, no facts, but the idea that I find interesting is the one that says that Saddam had more on his mind than the U.S. Saddam probably wanted Tehran to keep thinking that Iraq was more dangerous than, er, it turned out to be - in the short term, at least.

He was being nationalistic.

He had a diverse group of people that he goverened (ruled?) and he did everything you said to handle those groups, to use an earlier metaphor played every card.

Standing up to the bully as some of the people probably preceived the U.S. was just one of those cards.

Many truckloads of stuff was sent by SH into Syria after the Ultimatum but before the shooting started. No doubt in my mind, most of that was loot. But some could have been WMD or perhaps even plans for such. No-where near enough to account for what we claimed he had, but still…

Not disputing your point DrDeth, but do you have a cite for that? I haven’t heard that claim before.

I am sorry but have seen lots of speculation so far but not one decent cite. Hardly good enough for GD, let alone GQ.

  1. Did Saddam ever claim to have WMDS to the west? Not as far as I am aware. He always claimed he didn’t.
  2. Did he think he had WMDs? I have not seen a cite that authoratively says he did. People have speculated that he did, but evidence?
  3. Did he tell his generals he had WMDs. He may have but we need more information.
  4. Did we think he had WMDs? Yes many people did, and it clouded their view right up to the invasion.

When the US Army invaded, they did it with the assumption that they would be gassed. During the approach to Baghdad, a radio intercept was thought to be a release order for a chemical attack. The Coalition went to the highest defensive posture.

Of course nothing happened. Still, the Americans behaved as if they truly thought that SH had gas.

Best analogy ever

Except that the pot was actually a grenade with the pin pulled.

He needs to shift to boxers

Whether he claimed to have them or not, it’s known that he used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. During the '91 Gulf War, I remember seeing news footage of a large chemical plume that was created when Coalition forces destroyed an Iraqi weapons depot that contained nerve gas. Many veterans think that accidental exposure to chemical agents (from this and other incidents) is what caused “Gulf War Syndrome.” There was a very real fear that Saddam might load Scud missles with nerve gas, but thankfully he never did. Also, Saddam is accused of using nerve gas against the Kurds in northern Iraq.

After the Gulf War, Saddam promised that he’d get rid of all of his chemical weapons. I don’t think anybody expected him to actually do it, but ironically it’s looking like he may have been true to his word.

Thanks, I’m working on my Mametspeak. :wink:

That statement could describe the entire Middle East. We can thank our friends across the pond for that, as one last dying gasp of the British Empire. Thanks, guys. :rolleyes:


According to a PBS program I watched on Saddam, it would also appear that he was very focused on himself and his legacy these last few years. He built Mosque after Mosque and named them after himself, filling them with inscriptions singing his praises because it is apparently forbidden under Islam to destroy or tear down a Mosque.

Further, he was writing novels, trying to develop screenplays, etc. because in his own mind he was already a great military leader and a great historical figure, but he wanted to be a great literary figure as well. He aspired to be one of those people who is admired for a thousand years. The point of the documentary, as I recall, was that he was so focused on these aspects of his legacy that he didn’t pay as much attention to the pending American invasion as he might otherwise have done.

Oh, and apparently the novel he was working on was some kind of epic love story or poem… THAT would have been interesting. :eek:

Dude, your getting hyperbole all over his nice metaphor.

tsk tsk