Why Did We Send Inspectors To Iraq, Again?January 24, 2008
First, the story: Interrogator: Invasion Surprised Saddam
Saddam Hussein initially didn’t think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture…
hmmm…did Piro ask him nicely, or was there waterboarding involved? Was Saddam really playing the “peace through (perceived) strength” game?
Second, cue the predictable knee-jerk rightosphere reaction: Saddam lied, people died (x2) oops … (x3) darnit! (x4) you gotta be kidding me (x5)
cliffs notes: The war was necessary because Bush (and the rest of the world) believed Saddam’s lies. Ergo, Bush exonerated.
Third, a nice stroll down memory lane, hinting at how much Bush actually believed what Saddam was saying at the time (a visual aid via the White House site):
I love this. We presumably sent in inspectors because we didn’t trust Saddam (inspectors that we may recall, were advised by us to leave Iraq, after they had found nothing). Now these bloggers are implying that the war was necessary because…everyone believed him anyway? Let me get this straight. Saddam was lying before, but not then, and he certainly wasn’t lying to the FBI guy Mr. Piro, so….I’m confused, ’cause somewhere in there Saddam became more trustworthy than the inspectors. Wait a second…then why did we even bother sending them?
Oh! I remember:
It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
I think the bottom line here is that Saddam didn’t think we were crazy enough to spend a trillion dollars and stir up a hornets nest by invading Iraq based on his rep and flimsy intel, especially with the reality of empty-handed U.N. weapons inspectors. He was “surprised” because he had no idea that we were going in regardless.