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The Prewar Evidence (or Lack

Thereof)
Saddam Hussein’s Collaboration with Terrorists
and His Deterrability

by Jonathan Rick

Government 550
May 2005
Table of Contents

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 3

Collaboration with Terrorists .......................................................................................................... 4

Collaboration with al Qaeda on 9/11 .................................................................................. 4

Collaboration with al Qaeda Outside 9/11 .......................................................................... 7

Collaboration with Terrorists Outside al Qaeda ............................................................... 11

Deterrence ..................................................................................................................................... 12

The Iran-Iraq War ............................................................................................................. 13

U.S. Tilt................................................................................................................. 15

The Gulf War .................................................................................................................... 16

Causes ................................................................................................................... 16

Mixed Signals ....................................................................................................... 18

Prewar Deterrence ................................................................................................. 23

Prewar Compellence ............................................................................................. 25

Intrawar Deterrence .............................................................................................. 31

Past Use of Unconventional Weapons .............................................................................. 33

Was Saddam Deterrable? .................................................................................................. 34

Coda .............................................................................................................................................. 37

Works Cited .................................................................................................................................. 38

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Introduction

To justify the Iraq war two years ago, you had your pick of reasons. Since 1979 Saddam
Hussein had unremittingly brutalized the Iraqi people, sprayed poison gas on his enemies,
foreign and domestic, and waged an arguably genocidal1 campaign against Iraqi Kurds—whom,
since 1975, the United States had repeatedly betrayed.2 By continually harassing and eventually
ejecting international weapons inspectors in 1998, he had violated both the 1991 cease-fire he
signed with the U.S. and myriad U.N. resolutions. With 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves,
and 600 miles from Saudi Arabia’s 25 percent, he sat astride the chokepoint of the global
economy. He had invaded Iran in 1980, raped Kuwait in 1990, fired missiles at Saudi Arabia and
Israel in 1991, and shot at American and British aircraft patrolling Iraq’s no-fly zones since
1992. He also held an incorrigible craving for a nuclear weapon—his progress toward which the
world drastically underestimated before the Gulf War—untold petrodollars to buy one, scientists
and engineers with the know-how to build it, and a peerless police state to conceal it all.
Yet the casus belli I find most compelling are Saddam’s collaboration with terrorists,
past, present and potential, and the question of his deterrability. Specifically: Was Iraq involved
in the attacks of September 11, 2001? To what extent did it have a relationship with al Qaeda?
Of what significance was its relationship with non-Qaeda terrorists? And what does Saddam’s
past aggression—in his wars against Iran and Kuwait; his assaults on the Kurds, Israelis and
Saudis; and his response to American actions from the Gulf War to the start of the present one—
reveal about his susceptibility to deterrence? I believe these questions form the most important
criteria to assess the threat Iraq posed to the United States as of March 2003.
Although answers may now appear inconsequential, as the jailed tyrant awaits trial for
war crimes and a democratic Iraqi government organizes itself, the answers herein are
historically significant because they derive exclusively from material publicly available before
the war began. Of course, some may see such use of 20-20 vision more as a handicap than a
benefit. To this end, I have footnoted extensively and structured my analyses around
counterarguments.

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Collaboration with Terrorists
Collaboration with al Qaeda on 9/11

Two days after September 11, 2001, James Woolsey, a C.I.A. director under President
Clinton, and Laurie Mylroie, coauthor of Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf (1990),
separately suggested that the attacks were, in Woolsey’s words, “sponsored, supported, and
perhaps even ordered by Saddam Hussein.”3 Five days later, a U.S. official leaked to the
Associated Press that “the United States has received information from a foreign intelligence
service that Mohamed Atta,” the ringleader of the 9/11 gang, “met earlier this year in Europe
with an Iraqi intelligence agent.”4 As the story unfolded over the next month,5 the world learned
that in early April 2001,6 Atta had allegedly rendezvoused with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-
Ani, a vice consul in Iraq’s embassy in Prague but actually a spymaster. (Less than two weeks
following the alleged meeting, after surveillance cameras caught Ani casing the downtown
headquarters of Radio Free Liberty/Radio Liberty, the Czech Republic expelled him for
“activities incompatible with his diplomatic status,” a euphemism for espionage.7 According to
the Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Hynek Kmonicek, who ordered Ani’s expulsion, “I told the
Iraqi chief of mission [in Prague] that [Ani] was involved in activities which endanger the
security of the Czech Republic.”8) The meeting would have been Atta’s second9 time in the
Czech capital in less than a year, having passed through the city’s airport en route from Germany
to New Jersey in June 2000, and was the sole evidence tying Saddam to 9/11.
Accordingly, the so-called Prague connection underwent storied scrutiny. On October 12,
Stanislav Gross, the Czech Interior Minister, announced that he could not confirm the meeting.10
But in an interview two days later with Frontline and the New York Times, Sabah Khodada, a
former Iraqi army captain, said that 9/11 “was conducted by people who were trained by
Saddam.”11 In his column in the Chicago Sun-Times on October 15, Republican confidant Robert
Novak wrote that his intelligence sources agreed with what Lord Robertson, NATO’s Secretary
General, had told U.S. senators the previous week: there was “not a scintilla” of evidence
implicating Baghdad in 9/11.12 On October 20, the Times reported that some of those making the
allegation were small businessmen accusing their competitors of doing business with terrorists.13
On October 26, Gross called a news conference to assert that Atta had, in fact, been in
Prague in early April,14 a corrective shared by U.S. federal law enforcement officials. 15 In early
November, the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, qualified Gross’s statement, telling C.N.N.
that “Atta contacted some Iraqi agent,” not to plot attacks on America, but on the building in
Prague that houses Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.16 (The international communications
service incurred Baghdad’s wrath when it began broadcasting anti-Saddam programs into Iraq
that year.) Back in Prague, however, Gross; Jiri Kolar, the chief of the B.I.S., the Czech domestic
intelligence service; and a government spokeswoman promptly added that Zeman was merely
suggesting one of multiple hypotheses.17 Three weeks later the Czech president, Vaclav Havel,
told C.N.N.’s Larry King that his government was “70 percent sure” the meeting occurred. 18
None of this fazed classified-information virtuoso William Safire, who in one his
November New York Times columns proclaimed the meeting an “undisputed fact.”19 Likewise,
first on 60 Minutes II two days later, then on Meet the Press with Tim Russert in December, Vice
President Richard Cheney declared that the meeting was “pretty well confirmed.”20 Yet a week
later, several theories developed that indicated a case of mistaken identity. Some believed that
Ani was a low-ranking diplomat with the same name as a more important Iraqi intelligence
agent; others thought Atta strongly resembled a used car dealer from Nuremberg—Atta went to

4
college in Hamburg—with whom Ani often met. Still others conjectured that the Mohammed
Atta who sojourned to Prague in April was not the hijacker but a Pakistani of the same name.
“Interviews with Iraqi defectors, Czech officials, and people who knew the Iraqi diplomat,” the
Times wrote, “have only deepened the mystery surrounding Mr. Atta’s travels through central
Europe.”21
On December 17, Jiri Kolar announced that there were no documents showing Atta had
visited Prague in 2001.22 In February, despite misgivings from some of their colleagues, “senior
American intelligence officials” concluded otherwise.23 Then, at least among the mainstream
media, a consensus emerged. In his Washington Post column in March, David Ignatius referred
to “senior European officials” who believed the Saddam-Osama relationship was “somewhere
between ‘slim’ and ‘none.’”24 Four days later, C.I.A. Director George Tenet told the Senate
Armed Services Committee that “the jury’s out.”25 In a speech on April 19 to the Commonwealth
Club of California, F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller outlined the extent of his agency’s fruitless
investigation: “We ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record
we could get our hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank accounts.” 26 A week
later, Newsweek reported that “a few months ago, the Czechs quietly acknowledged that they
may have been mistaken about the whole thing. U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials
now believe that Atta wasn’t even in Prague at the time the Czechs claimed.” 27 In May, Time
magazine labeled the meeting “discredited,”28 and the Post and Times quoted a senior Bush
administration official who concurred.29 In August, the Los Angeles Times noted that “the C.I.A.
and F.B.I. concluded months ago that they had no hard evidence.”30
In September, a month before Congress would vote to authorize the war, Dick Cheney
told Tim Russert, “I want to be very careful about how I say this. . . . I think a way to put it
would be it’s unconfirmed at this point.”31 The same day, National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice told C.N.N.’s Wolf Blitzer, “We continue to look at [the] evidence.” 32 In
October, the congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11 unclassified testimony George Tenet had given
on June 18.33 While the C.I.A. was “still working to confirm or deny this allegation,” Tenet said,
“We have been unable to establish that Atta left the U.S. or entered Europe in April 2001 under
his true name or any known aliases.”34
Three days later, United Press International quoted “[s]enior Czech intelligence
officials,” who “now have ‘no confidence’ in their earlier report” validating the meeting. “We
can find no corroborative evidence . . . and the source has real credibility problems,” said “a
high-ranking source close to Czech intelligence.”35 The New York Times added that “Czech
officials who have investigated the case now say that Mr. Zeman and Mr. Gross spoke without
adequately vetting the information or waiting for the Czech internal security service to
substantiate the initial reports.”36 Indeed, the Times reported, President Havel had advised
Washington earlier in the year to disregard the meeting. (He did so discreetly, to avoid publicly
embarrassing other prominent officials who had vouched for the meeting.37)
Of course, two days later, the Times quoted Havel’s spokesman that the “president never
spoke with any American government official about Atta, not with Bush, not with anyone
else.”38 Meanwhile, Ministers Gross and Kmonicek (who had since become ambassador to the
United Nations) continued to insist that the meeting occurred.39 “I do not have the slightest
information that anything is wrong in the details I obtained from the B.I.S counterintelligence. I
trust the B.I.S. more than journalists,” Gross sniffed.40 This too remained the position of the
White House, Pentagon and National Security Council.41

5
* * *

So, on one hand, the B.I.S., who by virtue of proximity had the best data, held that the
rendezvous happened. It was certainly plausible, since before communist Czechoslovakia split
into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, Iraq had been a major buyer of Czechoslovak
arms.42 Additionally, according to Richard Perle, then the chair of the Defense Policy Board, an
influential advisory group to the Pentagon, operations like 9/11 “are not planned in caves;
they’re planned in offices by people who have secretaries and support staffs and research and
communications and technology.”43 Espionage analyst Edward Jay Epstein concurs. Only states
have embassies protected by diplomatic immunity, by which they can transfer weapons via
courier planes, which by treaty cannot be searched. Only states have consulates to issue travel
documents underhandedly. Only states have banks via which they can transfer money virtually
untraceably. And only states have internal security services to threaten relatives of prospective
agents.44 Finally, as James Woolsey, who visited England to investigate the case on behalf of the
Justice Department, contends, even with all the ambiguity, the evidence was “about as clear as
these things get.”45
On the other hand, counters Daniel Benjamin, the director for counterterrorism at the
National Security Council from 1998-1999, it is “very difficult to hide serious ties” between a
regime and a terrorist client. For in collaborating, “they negotiate over targets, finances, materiel,
and tactics.”46 Similarly, the apparatuses of bureaucracy—including employees who will swap
secrets for cash—afford ample opportunity for spying on governments. This is why state
sponsors, like Libya vis-à-vis the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and Iran vis-à-vis the
1996 attack on the Khobar Towers, have historically left ample trails.
And yet the only Iraqi trail pertaining to 9/11 was one meeting in Prague, during a month
for which neither the F.B.I. nor C.I.A. could uncover any visa, airline or financial records
showing that Mohamed Atta had left or reentered the U.S. (Their research placed him in Florida
two days before the meeting.)47 Second, all the evidence rested on the uncorroborated allegation
of a single informant,48 who could produce neither any audio nor visual recordings. Third, no one
could verify what Atta and Ani had discussed—for instance, whether Atta requested help or
updated Ani on his progress. Accordingly, as Secretary Rumsfeld admitted to Bob Novak in May
2002, “I just don’t know” whether there was a meeting or not.49
But circumstantiality is not a basis—or even a partial basis, really—for taking a country
to war. After all, the burden of proof always falls on he who asserts a positive. In the 16 months
between 9/11 and the Iraq war, despite considerable efforts,50 hawks failed to meet this burden.
Consequently, neither of the administration’s two most publicized arguments for the war—the
State of the Union address (1/28/03) and Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the
U.N. Security Council (2/5/03)—even mentioned Prague.51 And lest we misconstrue the subtext,
on January 31—seven weeks before the war began—Newsweek asked the President specifically
about a 9/11 connection to Iraq, to which Bush replied, “I cannot make that claim.”52

6
Collaboration with al Qaeda Outside 9/11

Of course, because al Qaeda and Iraq did not collaborate on something as risky as the
9/11 spectacle does not mean they did not do so elsewhere. To the contrary, we often forget that
numerous Clinton-administration officials53 linked Iraqi nerve gas experts to the Al Shifa
pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, in which Osama bin Laden had a large financial
interest54 and which, in 1998, the U.S. bombed in retaliation for al Qaeda’s attacks on our
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.55 Indeed, the C.I.A. had “solid reporting of senior level
contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda going back a decade,” as White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer announced in September 200256 and C.I.A. Director George Tenet wrote to the chair of
the Senate Select Intelligence Committee in October.57 In his U.N. presentation, Colin Powell
confirmed that “members of both organizations . . . met at least eight times at very senior levels
since the early 1990s.”58
The strongest of these links derived from a murky group of about 150 jihadists known as
Ansar al-Islam.59 Though it existed in various forms since the 1990s, when its founder launched
a rebellion against the two feuding secular factions that divvy up Iraqi Kurdistan,60 only recently
had Ansar become the nexus between al Qaeda and Iraq. That nexus focused on Abu Musab al-
Zarqawi, Ansar’s boss and a senior bin Laden associate.61 After suffering wounds from the U.S.
military campaign in Afghanistan, where he had run a poisons training camp, Zarqawi fled to
Baghdad, where he arrived in the spring of 2002. While recovering, a number of his cohorts
converged on the capitol to establish a base of operations. 62 When healthy, Zarqawi helped
establish another poisons camp in an enclave of northern Iraq that Ansar controlled.63
Since Iraq’s intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, purportedly maintained a mole in
Ansar’s most senior levels,64 Ansar would not have harbored Zarqawi without Saddam’s implicit
imprimatur. As Donald Rumsfeld explained, “In a vicious, repressive dictatorship that exercises
near-total control over its population, it’s very hard to imagine that the government is not aware
of what’s taking place in the country.”65 The columnist Christopher Hitchens elaborates: “To
believe that Zarqawi was innocent of al Qaeda and Baathist ties, or to believe that he does not in
fact represent such a tie, you must believe that a low-level Iraqi official decided to admit a much-
hunted Jordanian—a refugee from the invasion of Afghanistan, after September 11, 2001—when
even the most conservative forces in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were keeping their distance from
such people and even assisting in rounding them up.”66
To be sure, dozens of Qaeda refugees did slip into northern Iraq. But they were holed up,
not in Iraq proper, but in Iraqi Kurdistan, which for most of Ansar was native land.67 Moreover,
under the no-fly zones imposed after the Gulf War and patrolled 24 hours a day since by the U.S.
and U.K., Kurdistan stood outside Baghdad’s grip. Thus, though Saddam was aware of Ansar’s
activities, his influence over them was at best circuitous and most likely inoperative. 68 According
to the C.I.A. and British intelligence, he regarded Zarqawi and his ilk more as a threat than an
ally.69
Likewise, although Ansar certainly had ties to al Qaeda, it was not under its thumb. 70 For
while Zarqawi and bin Laden cut their teeth together against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the
1980s, their mutual presence there in the 90s merely cohered with the postbellum status: host to
myriad jihadist groups, from Uzbeks to Chechens to Pakistani fighters for Kashmir.71 With their
own camps and agendas, and amid a civil war, terrorists both worked with and against one
another. As George Tenet told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee in February 2003,
Zarqawi “conceive[d] of himself as being quite independent” of al Qaeda.72

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Second, as George Tenet acknowledged in his aforesaid letter, “Our understanding of the
relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying
reliability.”73 This was because the evidence came not from spies on the ground, the field’s gold
standard, but from defectors and exiles. As Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt explain in Silent
Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence (2002), while the latter can provide unique
insight, they have a strong incentive to tell interviewers what they want to hear. They also may
have been gone so long from their country of origin that their knowledge is obsolete;74 they “may
be greedy; they may be somewhat unbalanced people who wish to bring some excitement into
their lives; they may desire to avenge what they see as ill treatment by their government; or they
may be subject to blackmail.”75 Newsweek elaborates: “Historically, with a few noble exceptions,
intelligence peddlers have been a pack of liars and swindlers. That was true during the Cold War,
when double and triple agents in spy Meccas like Berlin and Vienna sold made-up secrets to the
highest bidder, and it has been especially true in the Middle East, where conspiracy is a way of
life.”76
In Iraq, such stories began in 1998, when the United Nations Special Commission
evacuated. When these weapons inspectors suddenly left, writes Kenneth Pollack, a former
director for gulf affairs at the National Security Council, Western “intelligence agencies were
caught psychologically and organizationally off balance. Desperate for information . . . they
began to trust sources that they would previously have had UNSCOM vet.”77 The main supplier
soon became become the Iraqi National Congress, a London-based umbrella group of anti-
Saddam activists, led by the controversial businessman Ahmad Chalabi. With the backing of
such principals as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Perle, the I.N.C. put its members with
compelling tales in touch with reporters. The resulting articles spun dramatic accounts about the
Baghdad-bin Laden axis, among other things. Crucially missing, however, in keeping with the
I.N.C.’s history of coloring facts to suit its agenda, was independent corroboration. A typical
result was that reports of Iraqis training Qaeda operatives in chemical and biological agents78
came from but one informant.79
Third, whereas in his presentation Powell sought to persuade laymen to pass a second
resolution authorizing war, the State Department’s annual Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002
report logged the less dramatic facts informatively for specialists. For instance, that al Qaeda had
established a “base of operations” in Baghdad, as Powell alleged, indicates far more Iraqi
complicity than if “small numbers of highly placed al Qaeda militants” were “present” there, 80 in
the description of the State report. (George Tenet’s letter likewise used the word “presence.”)
Sponsorship is not tolerance. This is not to say that Saddam was not harboring senior Qaeda
leaders—he was—but to append the needed niceties to declarations, like that of Donald
Rumsfeld, that the evidence was “bulletproof.”81
Fourth, and most important, the 2002 N.I.E. indicated that if Saddam struck an American
target, he would very likely rely on his own operatives rather than outsource. 82 To be sure,
consider the Palestinians, his cause célèbre in recent years. The media regularly aired stories
about checks from Iraq to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. If Saddam were willing to
encourage with terrorists this blatantly, wouldn’t he do the same—or worse—with al Qaeda?
On one hand, while divergent ideologies and ambitions would have circumscribed any
Iraqi-Qaeda relationship, mutual antipathy toward the “great” and “little Satan” (America and
Israel), as toward the House of Saud, indicates they would have suspended their differences for
tactical and temporary synergy. As the pacts between such sworn archenemies as the Soviets and
Nazis, and, later, the Soviets and Americans, show, “expediency, not affinity,” often governs

8
such partnerships, as one analyst observes.83 This is why even the Prophet Muhammad
cooperated with outright pagans, in the Treaty of Hudaibiyah (628 AD); why Afghan
mujahedeen took handouts from the U.S. in their jihad against the Soviets; and why, a month
before the Iraq war began, in an audiotape released by Al-Jazeera, bin Laden assured his
followers that “there will be no harm if the interests of Muslims converge with the interests of
the socialists [like Saddam] in the fight against the crusaders.”84 Likewise, following Egypt’s
Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam was not principled but Machiavellian, and so harnessed the
potency of religious extremism to thrust against his adversaries.85
On the other hand, in a post-9/11 world, in the event of another attack against the U.S.,
Saddam had every reason to believe that, at a minimum, he would be a top suspect. Whether he
was involved or not wouldn’t initially matter; given the Bush administration’s zealous pursuit of
casus belli against him—in 2002 the president called the tyrant the “guy who tried to kill my
dad”86—Iraq would certainly suffer guilt by association. This is why, during the anthrax scares in
New York, Washington and Florida in October 2001, early suspicions fell on Baghdad.87
Moreover, Saddam received great utility from publicly awarding his $25,00088 checks. It
was a way to swashbuckle onto the world stage, to present himself as spitting in the face of the
invincible “Zionists,” thereby gaining prestige on the Arab street and moving himself closer to
realizing his dream as uniter and overload of the Arab world. His goal was symbolic, not
strategic; as the Mideast scholar Fouad Ajami observes, “The norm has been for Iraq, the frontier
Arab land far away from the Mediterranean, to stoke the fires of anti-Zionism knowing that
others closer to the fire—Jordanians, Palestinians, Egyptians, Syrians, and Lebanese—would be
the ones consumed.”89
It is equally unlikely that once he attained a nuclear weapon, Saddam’s megalomania
would have allowed him to fork over what he had spent billions of dollars on and worked
decades for. Just as the U.S. did not share all its nuclear expertise with its allies, so the Soviet
Union balked at giving nukes to China, despite repeated Chinese requests and ideological
sympathies. A handoff of conventional weapons, including biological or chemical ones, would
have been likelier, but still unlikely, since despite 20-plus years of collaboration with the
Palestinians—who reciprocated rhetorically in spades for their avuncular hero—Saddam never
once gave them any weaponry from his vast arsenal.
Even less likely was Saddam to have smuggled weaponry to al Qaeda, whose to-the-
death avowals included toppling secular regimes like his and who might well turn on him. After
all, Osama bin Laden had long viewed the Saudi Wahhabi theocracy as insufficiently Islamic and
repeatedly called Saddam an “infidel”90—so much so that when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990,
bin Laden offered to deploy his mujahedeen to battle the Baath and protect the land of Mecca
and Medina.91 To trust such proxies with such responsibility would have been exceedingly
uncharacteristic for a Stalanist paranoid. And, as a student and admirer of the Soviet tyrant,
Saddam knew how the Stalin-Hitler pact turned out—with the former double-crossed and almost
destroyed by his Nazi “ally.”92
And yet, Saddam need not have had a formal alliance with Osama, a la the Taliban or as
with Soviet satellites during the Cold War; operational collaboration with the group responsible
for 9/11 would suffice as a casus belli. But this was far from the case on the road from Baghdad
to Kabul, a road of dots, not of lines. “We are talking about channels, contacts,
communications,” said one senior administration official,”93 or moral rather than physical
support. There was nothing substantial, nothing beyond some scattered, inevitable feelers.94
Granted, as Christopher Hitchens notes, Baghdad would continue to shelter some of bin Laden’s

9
men and to send envoys “to seek accommodation and understanding . . . with the newest and
most serious anti-American force in the region. How could it be otherwise? It was the
Mukhabarat’s job to do such things.”95 The evidence indicates, however, that Saddam had drawn
a line short of arming al Qaeda, so that consequential ties between the two were at best
tenuous.96

10
Collaboration with Terrorists Outside al Qaeda

But what about Saddam’s well-known collaboration with terrorists outside al Qaeda? In
1985, after Abu Abbas hijacked the Achille Lauro Italian cruise ship and rolled the wheelchair-
bound American, Leon Klinghoffer, off the side to his death, the Palestinian flew to Baghdad for
refuge. Ditto for Abu Nidal, who, before the emergence of Osama bin Laden, was the world’s
most prolific and hotly pursued terrorist, and who later became, as Christopher Hitchens notes,
“an arm of the Iraqi state, not an asylum seeker.”97 Nor should we forget Saddam’s harboring of
Abdul Rahman Yasin, whom U.S. prosecutors indicted for helping to mix the explosive
chemicals in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.98
Additionally, in 1993, Saddam dispatched his goons to kill the first president Bush when
the latter made a ceremonial visit to Kuwait. In 1998, after defecting ultimately to the U.K.,
Ahmed Ani’s predecessor, Jabir Salim, divulged that Saddam had given Salim $150,000 to blow
up the headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague.99 Most recently, as discussed
above, Saddam had become an overt sugar daddy of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
Clearly, then, Baghdad was a state sponsor of terrorists who often murdered Americans.
The attempted assassination of Bush 41 might arguably have been the last straw, but in June
1993, President Clinton retaliated by firing 23 Tomahawk missiles at the headquarters of the
Mukhabarat.100 Furthermore, as deadly as Saddam’s network of terrorists was, it no longer posed
a threat to Americans; as of February 2002, the C.I.A. had no evidence of Iraqi-related terrorist
operations against the U.S. in nearly a decade.101 (According to the State Department, for the
past several years Iraq directed its energies mostly at domestic opposition.102) This is not to say
that time exonerates criminality: once a murderer, especially a mass murderer, always a
murderer. War, however, seems belatedly excessive to bring half a dozen terrorists to justice.
Admittedly, anything less would never drain the swamp that Iraq was for such thugs. But the
safety of Americans does not require, as President Bush vowed days after 9/11, “ridding the
world of evildoers.”103

11
Deterrence

A year before she became National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice described U.S.
policy toward Iraq in the Foreign Affairs journal: “[T]he first line of defense should be a clear
and classical statement of deterrence—if they do acquire W.M.D., their weapons will be
unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration.”104 Until 9/11, this
reasoning constituted America’s national security strategy, and kept the Cold War cold. But
deterrence only works if the deterree is rational, that is, if he appreciates that attacking the
deterer will beget massive retaliation. Hawks argued that since Saddam was “unbalanced”105
(Bush), we could ill “afford to trust [his] motives or give him the benefit of the doubt” (Rice).106

12
The Iran-Iraq War

Exhibit A: In September 1980, a year after he became president, Saddam invaded Iran.
For the Third World the war reached unprecedented losses of blood and treasure: eight years cost
150,000107 Iraqis their lives and Iraq nearly half a trillion dollars.108 Yet, ultimately, Iraq gained
no territory. Michael Sterner, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Carter, thus
describes the invasion “as one of this century’s worst strategic miscalculations.”109 Surely such a
headstrong catastrophe shows that Saddam was too reckless to be deterrable.
A closer examination suggests otherwise. Formed by the confluence of the Euphrates and
Tigris rivers and stretching for 120 miles before emptying into the Gulf, the Shatt al-Arab
waterway forms the Iraq-Iran border in southern Iraq. Both countries have claimed the Shatt for
centuries, and in the early 1970s, to divert Iraq’s resources, the Iranian dictator, Reza Shah
Pahlavi, began arming and fomenting turmoil among Iraq’s sizable, separatist Kurdish minority.
So devastating was this meddling—after all, its large population (roughly three times that of
Iraq), oil reserves and strong U.S. support made Iran the Persian Gulf’s most powerful state—
that to retain Kurdistan, Iraq acceded to Iran’s demand to demarcate the Shatt al-Arab along its
thalweg. This Algiers treaty of March 6, 1975, humiliated the Iraqis, but it reduced interstate
tensions.
That is, until February 1, 1979, when a tumultuous backlash against the shah and his
American patron swept into power the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. A “fanatic whose
judgments are harsh, reasoning bizarre and conclusions surreal,” in the description of Time
naming him Man of that Year, Khomeini sought to “export”110 his theocratic order to
surrounding Islamic countries, aiding Muslims whose rulers he thought corrupt, like the Arab
gulf monarchs, or secular, like Saddam. Khomeini was also a Shiite, and despised the secular
Sunnis who ran Iraq, marginalized Iraq’s Shiite majority, and governed Iraq’s six Shiite holy
shrines.
Realizing his peril, Saddam strove to ingratiate himself with the Iranians, to tie Arab
nationalism to Islamic fundamentalism and to preserve the status quo. By late 1979, he had made
various public gestures of piety and invited Tehran to arbitrate their differences. The
revolutionaries, however, spurned the diplomatic notes—Khomeini remained “impervious”111—
and “reject[ed] resort to all means of peaceful settlement.”112 Instead, they goaded the Kurds and
Shiites to depose Saddam, as Iranian operatives tried to assassinate senior Iraqi officials. By the
time they nearly killed Tariq Aziz on April 1, 1980, border clashes, including artillery
bombardments and occasional air raids, were spreading and intensifying, largely at Iran’s
instigation.
Furthermore, whereas Saddam was a tin-pot dictator in a region that knew only
dictatorships, Khomeini instilled singular and global fear. “[H]is hooded eyes and severe
demeanor, his unkempt gray beard and his black turban and robes conveyed an avenger’s wrath,”
wrote the Mideast journalist Milton Viorst.113 The United States was particularly agitated, since
rabid antipathy toward it had largely fueled Khomeini’s coup, which his partisans soon parlayed
into taking hostage, for 444 days, 52 Americans from the U.S. embassy in Tehran.114
Summarizes one history textbook: “T.V. images . . . of blindfolded hostages, anti-American
mobs, and U.S. flags being used as garbage bags rubbed American nerves raw.”115 “It was
America’s first modern encounter with . . . Islamicists, and the first time Americans heard their
country called ‘the Great Satan,’” observes Mark Bowden, a veteran military affairs journalist.

13
“Hundreds of thousands of gleeful Iranians celebrated in the streets around the embassy night
and day, burning [President] Carter in effigy and chanting ‘Death to America!’”116
With his ear ever attuned to world opinion, Saddam recognized Tehran’s isolation, as
well as its growing unemployment and rising disaffection among its professional classes and
ethnic minorities. Iraq also maintained significant tactical advantages: its Arab and largely Sunni
Muslim neighbors were unlikely to support Iran’s Persian Shiites; Iran had minimal defenses in
the Shatt al-Arab; a Western embargo had caused Iran spare part shortages and lack of
equipment maintenance; and military officers, whom the regime had purged en masse, were now
divulging their former country’s vulnerabilities to Iraqi authorities. The gulf’s once mightiest
military was crippled, its readiness temporarily undercut, and its leader’s hegemonic ambitions
unequivocal.
Conversely, Iraq’s economy was awash with money and record oil revenues. Given
Egypt’s suspension from the Arab League following its 1978 peace accord with Israel, its
prestige and relations in the Arab world were also at their highest and most cordial. Thus, after
securing the backing of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Saddam seized a long-awaited initiative and
invaded his historical foe. He aimed principally to snatch back in a quick strike a large slice of
the Shatt al-Arab.
Although Saddam struck the first formal blow, “What made war likely—even
inevitable,” argues Shahram Chubin, coauthor of Iran and Iraq at War (1988), was Iran’s
“neglect of, and disdain for, the (traditional) military balance obtaining between the two
countries.”117 In the analysis of Efraim Karsh, editor of The Iran-Iraq War (1989), Iraq’s
invasion was preemptive, “an offensive move motivated by a defensive strategy.”118
Additionally, whereas the potential fruits of an attack were immense, the risks were minimal.119
“Objectively,” judges the military historian John Keegan, “the resort to force was a logical
option.”120 Indeed, only force would have, as it did, thwarted Khomeini and kept Saddam in
power. “War with Iran,” security scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt conclude, “was
not a reckless adventure; it was an opportunistic response to a significant threat.”121
Moreover, while Saddam severely underestimated Khomeini’s acolytes, their zealotry,
not his, perpetuated the fighting. As Shahram Chubin explains, for Tehran the war “came to
represent a test of the revolution,” epitomizing “all the themes of suffering and martyrdom which
the leadership seemed determined to cultivate.” In time, the war and the revolution merged, so
that the war, like the revolution, was to be “unsullied by practical considerations.” For this
reason, Iran continually snubbed the cease-fires Iraq offered throughout the years. Indeed, Iran’s
“definition of the absolute stakes that the war represented (which brooked no compromise)
helped fuel it long after it made any sense.”122 Mark Bowden elaborates: “[A]rmed with only
prayer and purity of heart,” young Iranians had “stormed the gates of the most evil, potent
empire on the planet, booted out the American devils, and secured the success of the mullahs’
revolution.”123 Against such “heady romanticism,”124 the Baath was fighting for its survival.

14
U.S. Tilt

That the war raged so statically also resulted from the complicity of the United States,
which strove to ensure that neither country emerged victorious. For at the same time the Reagan
administration was secretly arming the ayatollahs (in violation of federal law), it also was
generously “tilting” toward Baghdad. After all, this was the Cold War, and under the theory that
the friend of my friend is my enemy, U.S. foreign policy was to coddle anti-communists. As
Franklin Roosevelt reportedly said of Nicaragua’s dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be a son
of a bitch, but at least he’s our son of a bitch.”

15
The Gulf War
Causes

Two years after its ceasefire with Iran, Iraq embarked on another adventure, savagely
occupying and plundering Kuwait. Expressing the view of many in retrospect, Mark Bowden
argues that Saddam’s decision ranks as “one of the great military miscalculations of modern
history.”125
Again, context paints a different picture. In 1980, Iraq had $35 billion in foreign
exchange reserves. By 1990, an $80 billion foreign debt—about one and a half times the
country’s G.N.P.—was saddling Saddam. Reconstruction costs were huge, unemployment was
rampant, inflation was raging; with their existing loans unpaid, creditors in Europe, Japan and
the U.S. were reluctant to extend new ones. As one journalist elucidated, “Saddam was not the
regional colossus of popular legend, but a bankrupt dictator fighting for survival.” 126 Indeed, in
January he had narrowly escaped an assassination by army officers, who, like their war-weary
compatriots, were awaiting the promised peace dividend and anticipating democratic reforms, a
la trends in Kuwait, Yemen and Jordan. Equally ominous was the popular revolution in
Romania, which in just one week in December had brought the tyrant, Nicolae Ceausescu, before
a firing squad.127 The influx of Soviet Jews to Israel only exacerbated this tinderbox.
With such alarms ringing in his ever-vigilant mind,128 Saddam contended that he had
thwarted Iranian expansionism on behalf of all Arabs, which entitled him to relief from the $30
billion debt he had racked up with his ethnic brethren. Iraqis paid with our blood, he believed;
the gulf states should pay with their dollars. The Kuwaitis—whose overseas investments,
estimated at $100 billion, provided them with more than $6 billion a year, a sum roughly
equivalent to their oil revenues—disagreed, and refused to forgive $10 to $20 billion they had
loaned Iraq.129 The Sabahs, Kuwait’s ruling family, also enjoyed the first Arab stock exchange,
the first Arab department store comparable to any in the West, five-star hotels, superhighways,
luxurious shopping malls, office towers and a $400 million conference center—all of which
made Saddam, given his far greater population and land, look down on his pocket-sized neighbor
with envy and chagrin.130
Adding insult to injury, when, via the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries,
Iraq tried to raise the price of oil by production cuts, Kuwait instead continued to prime the
pump, doubling its quota violation. Combined with similar incorrigible cheating, for the past two
years, by the United Arab Emirates, the glut had depressed the average price of an OPEC barrel
from $20.50 in early January to a mere $13.60 in June.131 Since Iraq relied on oil for 95 percent
of its export revenues, every $1 drop in the price of oil cost it $1 billion a year. “As Saddam saw
it,” Time commented, “the Kuwaitis might as well have been stealing from his treasury.”132
Then there was the quarrel over the rich, vast Rumaila oilfield, which lies mostly in Iraq
but whose southern tip dips slightly into Kuwait. Insisting that when he was engaged against
Iran, Kuwait had siphoned off oil from the Iraqi side of the field, Saddam demanded $2.4 billion
in reparations.133 There was also the issue of two Kuwaiti islands, Bubiyan and Warba, which
blocked most of Iraq’s mere 18 miles of access to the gulf. For an oil exporter, being so
landlocked was an enormous disadvantage, yet despite a coastline of 310 miles, Kuwait refused
Saddam’s requests to lease the islands.134 Finally, Baghdad had historically considered the
sheikdom part of its second largest city, Basra, as it had been under the Ottoman Empire. In this
analysis, British imperialists had merely drawn a line on an empty map in 1922, carving off
Iraq’s alleged 19th province.

16
And so, as Time concluded, “There sat Kuwait . . . bulging with enormous reserves of oil
and cash, boasting an excellent port on the Persian Gulf—and utterly incapable of defending
itself against Iraq’s proficient war machine. Saddam Hussein, hungry for money . . . knew before
the first of his soldiers crossed the border that it would be a walkover—and it was. In 12 hours,
Kuwait was his.”135

17
Mixed Signals

And yet, rather than invade impulsively, Saddam first put out feelers. On February 11,
1990, he met with John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian
Affairs, in Baghdad. The next five years, Saddam said, would determine whether the U.S. used
its hegemony for “constructive purposes,” or whether it would blindly follow Israel.136 Kelly
responded that the tyrant was a “force for moderation in the region, and the United States wishes
to broaden her relations with Iraq.”137
But those relations, as Saddam suggested 12 days later at a summit of the Arab
Cooperation Council in Amman, would now be more one-sided. For the first time in a decade,
the Iraqi president called Americans imperialists, bent on dominating the Middle East. The
solution, in order to influence U.S. foreign policy, was for the Arab world to withdraw the
petrodollars it had invested in the West and to expel American ships from the gulf. There was no
place among “good” Arabs, Saddam argued, for “the fainthearted who would argue that . . . the
United States will be the decisive factor, and others have no choice but to submit.”138
The rhetorical ratcheting up derived from two events between the Kelly meeting and the
summit. On February 21, the State Department had released its annual human rights report,
which called Iraq’s record “abysmal.”139 And on February 15, Voice of America had broadcast in
Arabic an editorial titled, “No More Secret Police,” which in its own words was “reflecting the
views of the U.S. government.”140 Inspired by the recent overthrow of Ceausescu, the editorial
subduedly expressed hope that comparable regimes, including Iraq among seven others, would
meet the same fate.
Saddam received these common criticisms with great indignation. As April Glaspie, the
U.S. ambassador to Iraq, cabled stateside, Baghdad “read the editorial as U.S.G.- [U.S.
government] sanctioned mudslinging with the intent to incite revolution.”141 Glaspie then penned
a statement of “regret,” to Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, that the editorial “left . . . open . . . [an]
incorrect interpretation. It is absolutely not United States policy to question the legitimacy of the
government of Iraq nor to interfere in any way with the domestic concerns of the Iraqi people
and government.”142 Back in Washington, William Safire, who via a Freedom of Information
request obtained Glaspie’s cable, reported that “John Kelly excoriated those democracy-pushers
at the V.O.A. who were undermining his seduction of Saddam Hussein and demanded they be
slapped down. Secretary Baker agreed; he told the U.S. Information Agency to get written
clearance” from State on future commentaries regarding the sensitive subject of Saddam.143
Nor did the seduction wane when on March 16, on trumped-up charges of espionage,
Baghdad summarily hanged Farzad Bazoft, a 31-year-old journalist with the London Observer. It
was the first time a government had executed a foreign journalist in at least a decade, but
whereas Britain recalled its ambassador to Iraq and denunciated the execution as “barbarism
deeply repugnant to all civilized people,”144 the White House went mute. “[W]e don’t have a lot
of details on the case,” said spokesman Marlin Fitzwater.145 All the State Department could
muster was to “deplore Iraq’s decision.”146
Saddam’s next public speech came on April 1; one line stood out amid his usual
rambling. “By God,” he thundered, “we will make fire eat up half of Israel if it trie[s] [anything]
against Iraq.”147 This unprecedented reference to chemical weapons made headlines worldwide.
In a rare unambiguous moment, the State Department, in line with White House, called the
remarks “inflammatory, irresponsible and outrageous.”148

18
Significantly, Saddam panicked. Turning to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, by April 5 he
was engaged in a four-hour discussion with Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom’s ambassador
to the U.S. Saddam asked Bandar to assure the U.S. and the U.K. that he wanted good relations
with them and had no intention to attack Israel. Rather, he sought their guarantee that Israel
would not attack him, as it had done in 1981 by preemptively destroying a nuclear reactor in
Osirak, Iraq.149 The White House took the tyrant at his word.
The quintet of senior senators—Robert Dole (R-KS); Alan Simpson (R-WY); Howard
Metzenbaum (D-OH); James McClure (R-ID); and Frank Murkowski (R-AK)—who met
Saddam in Mosul on April 12, was equally unquestioning. As the soon-to-be “Butcher of
Baghdad,” but at the time “Mr. President,” carped that he was the victim of a Western
propaganda campaign, like the V.O.A. editorial, Bob Dole asserted, falsely, that the V.O.A.
commentator had paid for his mistake with his job. Indeed, Dole declared, “[O]nly 12 hours
earlier President Bush . . . assured me that he wants better relations . . . with Iraq.”150
Ambassador Glaspie, who was also present, interjected: “As the ambassador of the U.S., I am
certain that this is the policy of the U.S.”151 When Saddam persisted in reprobating Israel,
Senator Simpson bootlicked: “I believe that your problems lie with the Western media and not
with the U.S. government. . . . [Ours] is a haughty and pampered press; they all consider
themselves political geniuses.”152 Finally, after revealing that he was “a Jew and a staunch
supporter of Israel,” Senator Metzenbaum commended the creature who, just two weeks prior,
had threatened to gas the Jewish state: “I am now aware that you are a strong and intelligent man
and that you want peace.”153
On April 16, an interagency Deputies Committee, reviewing U.S. policy toward Iraq,
reached the same verdict. Yet National Security Directive 26, which cosseted Saddam via
commerce, remained predominant and unequivocal. As John Kelly told a House subcommittee
on April 26, “We believe it is important to give the government of Iraq an opportunity to
demonstrate that it does, indeed, wish to reverse this deterioration in relations, and we are,
therefore, opposed to legislation to impose economic sanctions.”154
Kuwait was the next deer in the headlights. At a summit of Arab heads of state in
Baghdad on May 28, Saddam iterated his grievances. Then he accused the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh
Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, of waging economic war against Iraq.155 Washington’s attention,
however, was elsewhere, since the same day, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had arrived in
the U.S. capital for a four-day summit meeting with Bush. Further, since Saddam made the threat
in private, neither the Washington Post nor New York Times immediately reported it. Yet when
the news “filtered back to official circles,” as veteran journalist Don Oberdorfer later reported,
“it sparked only passing interest.”156
July brought the crossing of a new and final threshold. In a letter, dated July 16, 1990, to
the Arab League Secretary General, Tariq Aziz charged Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates
with “direct aggression.”157 Although the letter was not made public for several days, the gist of
Saddam’s Revolution Day radio address the next day had been overt since February. Proclaiming
that the neglect by unnamed gulf states—widely known to be Kuwait and the U.A.E.—to
Baghdad’s predicament was like “stabbing Iraq in the back”158 with “a poison dagger,”159
Saddam warned, “If words fail to protect Iraqis, something effective must be done to return
things to their natural course and return usurped rights to their owners.”160 “Iraqis will not forget
the saying that cutting necks is better than cutting the means of living.”161 This was Saddam’s
acknowledgement that he intended—besides having the capability—to undertake military action
to redress his grievances. In its July 21 issue (printed, as per weekly magazine dates, a week

19
earlier, and written the week before that), the Economist surmised that Iraq’s vituperations
“sound alarmingly like a pretext for invasion.”162
Appropriately enough, on July 18, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad presented Iraq with
formal demands for clarification. But the demands were dropped after six days in vain. Also on
the 18th, State spokesman Richard Boucher promulgated language that would soon become rote:
the U.S. remained “strongly committed to supporting the individual and collective self-defense
of our friends in the gulf with whom we have deep and longstanding ties.”163 Under questioning,
Boucher refused to disclose whether the U.S. would provide military help to its friends in case of
an Iraqi attack.
On July 19, State cabled Glaspie both to stress friendship with Iraq and establish that the
U.S. was “committed to ensure the free flow of oil from the gulf and to support the sovereignty
and integrity of the gulf states.” The cable added, “We will continue to defend our vital interests
in the gulf,” and repeated the line about being “strongly committed to supporting” the self-
defense of our gulf friends.164 More pointedly, Dick Cheney, who was then Secretary of Defense,
told journalists that the U.S. commitment, made during the Iran-Iraq War, to defend Kuwait if it
were attacked remained valid.165 So far, so clear—even if Cheney’s spokesman soon added that
his boss was quoted with “some degree of liberty.”166
By July 20 Saddam had begun deploying military vehicles southeast—though it was a
foreign military attaché traveling along the highway from Kuwait City to Baghdad, not U.S. spy
satellites, who first reported the movement. Within hours, U.S. analysts estimated that Iraq had
frontiered two divisions of the Republican Guard, its best troops, equal to 30,000 soldiers.
Kuwait’s entire army was roughly 20,000 men.167 Iraq made no effort to hide the buildup, so
many experts believed that Saddam was just flexing, trying to intimidate Kuwait to comply with
his demands, rather than preparing to invade it.168
By this time, the Pentagon had dispatched its Mideast warships to positions closer to
Kuwait. Similarly, in an unprecedented request from an Arab country, the U.A.E. asked the U.S.
to supply it with two large KC-135 aerial-refueling tankers, so it could keep patrol planes
airborne around the clock to monitor any Iraqi aggression. The White House approved the
request on July 23, and on July 24 the Defense Department announced the deployments—the
U.S. military’s first notable activity in the region since the Iran-Iraq war’s ceasefire—as a
demonstration of support to the two emirates. “We also remain determined,” the Pentagon
statement read, “to insure the free flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and to defend the
principles of freedom of navigation and commerce.”169 Again, on balance, so far, so clear—even
if the statement continued, “Our continuing efforts . . . are not directed against any single
country.”170
But July 24 was a busy day. In Baghdad and Kuwait, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
tried mediation, one of a series of visits, calls and messages involving senior Arab leaders. After
returning to Cairo, Mubarak related that Saddam had assured him he had “no intention” to invade
Kuwait.171 According to Mubarak, the trouble was only a “summer cloud,” the kind in Cairo that
produces no rain.172 Accordingly, State’s spokeswoman, Margaret Tutwiler, pussyfooted. “There
is no place for coercion and intimidation in a civilized world,”173 she recited. At the same time,
“We do not have any defense treaties with . . . or security commitments to Kuwait.” 174 Asked if
the U.S. would help Kuwait if Iraq attacked it, Tutwiler emphasized the “strongly committed”
slogan.175 Secretary Baker was less mealymouthed. Although resolving disputes by coercion was
“contrary to U.N. charter principles,” he enjoined American ambassadors in Arab capitals, the
U.S. “take[s] no position on the border delineation raised by Iraq with respect to Kuwait.”176

20
* * *

How a rational person would decode these mixed signals is debatable. Which is why, on
July 25, a week before he invaded, Saddam made the extraordinary request to see Ambassador
Glaspie personally. The tyrant was earnest, stern and shrewd. “[W]hat can it mean,” he riposted
in reference to Tutwiler’s remarks and news of the naval exercises, “when America says it will
now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and
statements which have been made has encouraged the U.A.E. and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi
rights.”177 Evidently, yesterday’s words and deeds had got Saddam’s attention—and his goat; at
the least he suspected the U.S. might intervene.178
This was it, then, the opportunity to strengthen or to sap that impression, to crystallize all
the foregoing bureaucratese, to deter Saddam or to disregard the Sabahs. Glaspie unambiguously
chose the latter, “in the spirit of friendship—not in the spirit of confrontation,” she explained.179
She reminded Saddam that President Bush had rejected imposing trade sanctions on Iraq because
the U.S. sought “better and deeper relations” with him.180 Like Senator Simpson, she rebuked the
U.S. media as “cheap and unjust,”181 and referred to an apology from the American Information
Agency. “Your stance is generous,” replied the megalomaniac.182
Then came the selling point heard round the world, the Rubicon, the fait accompli. “I
know you need funds,” Glaspie affirmed. “We understand that and our opinion is that you should
have the opportunity to rebuild your country. But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts,
like your border disagreement with Kuwait. . . . James Baker has directed our official spokesmen
to emphasize this instruction” (my italics).183
Saddam was equally forthright. Regarding Kuwait and the U.A.E., he asserted that “when
planned and deliberate policy forces the price of oil down without good commercial reasons,
then that means another war against Iraq.”184 Regarding the U.S., he asserted, “If you use
pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not
threaten you. But we too can harm you. . . . We cannot come all the way to you in the United
States, but individual Arabs may reach you.”185
As the meeting concluded, Saddam announced that the Kuwaiti crown prince/prime
minister had agreed to meet the vice chair of Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council in Saudi
Arabia, and later in Baghdad, to begin defusing the crisis. The tyrant said that he had given
Hosni Mubarak his word that he would not “do anything until we [Iraqis] meet with” the
Kuwaitis. If “we see that there is hope,” he continued, “then nothing will happen. But if we are
unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death, even though
wisdom is above everything [else].”186 Like President Carter, who lamented that his Soviet
counterpart, Leonid Brezhnev, had lied to him before invading Afghanistan in 1979,187 the Bush
administration embraced this verbal promise-warning188
To be sure, in March 1991, Glaspie testified for two days before the House Foreign
Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations committees. She denied her reputed obsequiousness
and maintained that the Iraqi transcript of the meeting, the only one taken, was “maliciously”
edited, deleting both her warnings that the U.S. would object to military force against Kuwait
and Saddam’s promise not to do so.189 Indeed, the transcript was officially abridged, prepared in
Arabic and, like all documents from a police state, doctored. In whom, therefore, do we place
more credibility: a 25-year veteran of the foreign service, one of America’s top Arabists and the
first woman to head a U.S. embassy in the Middle East,190 or Saddam Hussein?

21
Regrettably, the differences are not that diametric, since in her testimony, Glaspie
conceded the transcript “was about 80 percent correct,” and admitted to her fateful no-sides
sentence.191 Likewise, the cable she sent stateside after the meeting so matched the transcript that
State officials described the latter as “essentially accurate.”192 Nor did State explain why, upon
receiving Glaspie’s cable, it did not direct her to deliver a tougher message. Instead, the U.S.
government refused to correct the transcript, or to release the cable for 30 years. More tellingly,
three days after Glaspie’s meeting with Saddam, Jim Baker (who many believe scapegoated the
loyal envoy) whisked her away into silenced obscurity at a desk job in Washington.
In case Saddam was obtuse, on July 28 State wired him a three-paragraph message in
President Bush’s name, which in part read: “[W]e believe that differences are best resolved by
peaceful means and not by threats involving military force. . . . Let me reassure you, as my
Ambassador, Senator Dole and others have done, that my administration continues to desire
better relations with Iraq. We will also continue to support our other friends in the region with
whom we have had longstanding ties. We see no necessary inconsistency between these two
objectives. As you know, we still have fundamental concerns about certain Iraqi policies and
activities, and we will continue to raise these concerns with you in a spirit of friendship and
candor.”193 The cable made no mention of or even hinted at vital interests, protection of
sovereignty, or the 100,000 Iraqi troops hovering over Kuwait.194
With the handwriting on the wall, the last days of July saw a flurry of last-ditch meetings
and telephone calls. At its midyear meeting in Geneva, OPEC voted, and Kuwait and the U.A.E.
agreed, to limit production and raise the target price of a barrel for the first time in a decade. 195 In
Washington, in defiance of President Bush,196 the Senate and House voted to impose economic
sanctions, with the tougher Senate bill proposing to cut off $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to Iraq
and ban the sale of weapons and sensitive technology thereto. 197 King Hussein of Jordan
reassured Bush that Saddam would not resort to military force, and Hosni Mubarak and King
Fahd affirmed that the greater Arab Nation was handling and would settle this Arab quarrel. All
counseled the President to refrain from upsetting the diplomatic applecart.
By July 31, Iraqi troops along the Kuwaiti border now exceeded 100,000,198 far more
than were necessary for mere saber rattling. Asked what the U.S. would do if Iraq invaded
Kuwait, John Kelly told a House subcommittee, “That, Mr. Chairman, is a hypothetical or a
contingency question, the kind of which I can’t get into. Suffice it to say we would be extremely
concerned, but I cannot get into the realm of ‘what if’ answers.” Pressed if it were correct that
the U.S had no treaties that would obligate it to intervene, Kelly replied, “That is correct.” 199
Within minutes Saddam heard the hearing on the B.B.C. World Service.200 Two days later, “what
if” was “what now?”

22
Prewar Deterrence

Could the world have known that Saddam would invade Kuwait? Referring to Pearl
Harbor, security specialist Roberta Wohlstetter found it “much easier after the event to sort the
relevant from the irrelevant signals. After the event, of course, a signal is always crystal clear;
we can now see what disaster it was signaling, since the disaster has occurred. But before the
event it is obscure and pregnant with conflicting meanings. It comes to the observer embedded in
an atmosphere of ‘noise,’ i.e., in the company of all sorts of information that is useless and
irrelevant for predicting the particular disaster.”201 This was not the case in the spring and
summer of 1990, since for six months Saddam had been sounding the tocsins of war publicly
without apparent effect.202 As the Economist later summated, between February and April,
Saddam “had demanded the withdrawal of the American navy from the gulf, called on fellow
Arabs to reactivate the oil weapon, and threatened not just to attack Israel . . . but to burn it with
chemical weapons. Add Iraq’s challenge to Syria in Lebanon”—Saddam had been funneling
arms and money to the Christian militia fighting Damascus, his main regional rival203—“plus a
relentless arms build-up, and the evidence was plain: the bad old . . . Iraq was back again.”204
It seems that the Bush administration didn’t want to hear this. As Christopher Hitchens
puts it, “A revised border with Kuwait was self-evidently part of the price that Washington . . .
agreed to pay in its long-standing effort to make a pet of Saddam Hussein.”205 Nor did the
administration, with the exception of a small minority of specialists,206 suspect an invasion.
Among the findings from a monograph published that year by the Army War College: “For the
foreseeable future, debt repayment will fully occupy the [Iraqi] regime; it will have neither the
will, nor the resources to go to war. . . . Baghdad should not be expected to deliberately provoke
military confrontations with anyone.”207
Furthermore, even after the C.I.A. realized on July 25, pace the initial consensus, that
Baghdad was not bluffing,208 nobody thought “the Iraqis were going to take all of Kuwait,”209 as
Ambassador Glaspie recalled. Instead, the thinking went, they would just annex some contested
territory along Kuwait’s northern border. And so what if they did? The corollary consensus was
that while military force concerned the U.S., the U.S. would not take sides in what it perceived as
a no-win, thankless, inter-Arab conflict. Observed a senior U.S. administration official: “I can’t
see the American public supporting the deployment of troops over a dispute over 12 miles of
desert.”210
A pattern thus developed: the Iraqi regime would do or say something brash or
provocative. With several notable exceptions early on, the U.S. avoided inflammatory responses,
conveying what Jeffrey Record, in Hollow Victory: A Contrary View of the Gulf War (1993),
terms “a combination of indifference and appeasement.”211 Of course, bellicosity unchallenged is
bellicosity aggrandized. This is especially true in Saddam’s world, where, the Mideast scholar
Amatzia Baram notes, when you bluster, “you expect to get a counterthreat. If you don’t, it
means weakness . . . and eventually retreat.”212
In this way, writes another Mideast scholar, Janice Gross Stein, U.S. policy “was
inconsistent, incoherent, and unfocused in the critical two weeks preceding the invasion.” 213 So
negligent were we, concludes Jean Edward Smith in George Bush’s War (1992), that “the United
States bears substantial responsibility for what happened.”214 For while no one may have
intended to green light Saddam’s invasion, our collective winks and nods—sins of omission and
commission—effectively did just that. “[H]e probably felt free to move on Kuwait,” Jeane
Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the U.N., told a House committee in December

23
1990.215 Therefore, as Mearsheimer and Walt conclude, “Deterrence did not fail in this case; it
was never tried.”216
The second condition that facilitated Saddam’s aggression was Kuwaiti pertinaciousness
and superciliousness. Admittedly, as Stein notes, the U.S. “strengthened Kuwait’s resolve,”217
given the absence of impellence and our regular proclamations about “deep and longstanding
ties” with “our friends in the gulf.” At the same time, as historian Theodore Draper observes,
emboldened by their immense wealth and international financial connections, the Sabahs
“behaved as if they were invulnerable.”218 According to the authors of Saddam Hussein: A
Political Biography (1991), they interpreted Saddam’s demands “as a bargaining [position]
rather than an ultimatum. . . . They suspected that some concessions might be necessary, but
were determined to reduce them to the barest minimum.”219 Kuwaiti’s financial minister, Sheikh
Ali al-Khalifa al-Sabah, was blunter. Ten of OPEC’s 13 members were quotabusters, he told the
National Press Club in November 1990. “Those who could, did. Those who couldn’t,
complained.”220
This does not mean that defying extortion invites invasion. For one, since Baghdad had
formally recognized Kuwait’s independence in 1963, its border claims derived less from history
than from opportunity.221 Yet some of Saddam’s grievances were eminently fair. Besides the oil
glut, many experts agreed that Kuwait was slant drilling into the Rumaila oilfield. 222 As Time
later opined, “A payment to Baghdad for past deprivation and a guarantee of a more equitable
distribution of oil resources in the future [wa]s both doable and just.”223 The Sabahs, however,
never gave such propositions their due; and, as political scientist Christopher Layne notes,
“When diplomacy fails to adjust an unacceptable status quo, an aggrieved state often uses or
threatens to use force, which remains the ultima ratio in world politics.”224
Finally, as with Iran, Saddam again grievously miscalculated in plunging into war. But,
again, he did so because while he was vulnerable, his victim was more so. He weighed his
options warily and had compelling reasons to believe his attack would not cause retaliation. To
the contrary, he had recently been building alliances with his neighbors. In February 1989, he
had helped charter, and became the first president of, the Arab Cooperation Council, an
economic group uniting Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and North Yemen,225 which Western diplomats saw
as a force for moderation.226 The next month, he had inked a nonaggression treaty with the
Saudis.227 And since April 1990, when he made his infamous threat to Israel, the Arab street had
showered praise on their new Saladin, the Muslim commander who liberated Jerusalem from the
crusaders.228 Invading Kuwait, therefore, was less the impulsive irrationality of a “serial
aggressor”229 than the bold coercion of a tyrant. Recalled a U.S. diplomat in the Mideast: “If I
had been sitting where he was sitting and getting the signals he was getting from Washington and
elsewhere at the time, I would probably also have gambled on the invasion of Kuwait.”230
Similarly, while invading a nonthreatening neighbor is wantonly immoral, morality
matters little to tyrants, in whose calculus the end justifies the means. Indeed, by raping Kuwait,
Saddam cut his Gordian knot. With one swift blitz, he doubled the oil under his control to 20
percent of the world’s known reserves, second only to Riydah’s 25 percent.231 And not only
would Kuwait’s petrodollars now flow into Iraq’s coffers, the tyrant could also manipulate the
emirate’s output to ensure a high price for Iraqi oil. Call it the Willy Sutton theory of
international relations: Why seize Kuwait? “Because that’s where the money is.”

24
Prewar Compellence

As Baghdad installed a puppet government in Kuwait City and its troops plundered their
new real estate, a stunned world moved rapidly in unprecedented concert. Working through the
night until the morning of August 2, the United Nations Security Council overwhelmingly passed
Resolution 660, calling for Iraq’s immediate and unconditional withdrawal from all Kuwait.
Following the U.S. lead, France, England, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Japan all froze Kuwaiti
and Iraqi assets in their countries. The Islamic Conference Organization, the Arab League
Council and the Gulf Cooperation Council all condemned the invasion. The European Economic
Community imposed a boycott on Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil, and, as China and Russia would soon
do, ended all arms sales thereto.
By August 5, though he had initially told reporters he was “not discussing
intervention,”232 President Bush declared, “This will not stand, this aggression against
Kuwait.”233 The next day was even more historic: for the first time in 23 years, the U.N. passed
strict economic sanctions, without dissent. By August 8, the same day Iraq formally annexed
Kuwait, Bush announced that he had deployed 210,000234 troops to Saudi Arabia.235 For their
part, the Saudis invited the U.S. to stage military operations from the soil of Mecca and Medina,
the two holiest sites in Islam. Cuba and Yemen, both of which abstained in the U.N. vote for
sanctions, fell into line in condemning the annexation (Resolution 662). Even Switzerland,
despite its decades-old policy of neutrality, joined the blockade, just as the Arab League,
breaking the old taboo against colluding openly with Israel’s closest ally, dispatched troops to
fight shoulder to shoulder with the Americans against their Arab brothers.
During the next few months, as the U.N. passed seven more resolutions, the French,
Soviets and Arabs tried to initiate negotiations. Nothing significant occurred, however, until
November 8, when, surprising even Congress, President Bush announced that he was doubling
U.S. forces in the gulf to more than 400,000.236 Three weeks later, in its first authorization of
offensive military action since the Korean war, the U.N. issued Saddam an ultimatum: disgorge
Kuwait by January 15, 1991, or be evicted by “all necessary means.”
The last ditch came on January 9, when James Baker met Tariq Aziz in Geneva. The
purpose of the meeting was to disabuse the Iraqis of any misperceptions and assure them of the
gravitas of the crisis. To this end, Baker carried a letter from President Bush to Saddam, the most
important part of which read: “[T]he United States will not tolerate the use of chemical or
biological weapons or the destruction of Kuwait’s oil fields and installations. Further, you will be
held directly responsible for terrorist actions against any member of the coalition. The American
people would demand the strongest possible response. You and your country will pay a terrible
price if you order unconscionable acts of this sort.”237 Although he studied the letter as if to
memorize its key points, Aziz refused to accept it, professing that its language was inappropriate
for communication between heads of state.238 Four hours later, the meeting ended in vain; three
days later, Congress voted to authorize military force; and four days after that, 19 hours after the
U.N. deadline expired without effect, the Gulf War began.

* * *

In retrospect, Saddam’s intransigence appears mad. “Seen . . . from afar,” Time remarks,
he “comes across as a figure seldom found outside the pages of comic books or pulp fiction: the
villain who will stop at nothing.” Did this “Arab Dr. No”239 actually believe he could fend off

25
what, by January 15, was the largest deployment of the United States military since Vietnam?
Add the coalition, and the troops at his doorstep totaled almost 600,000, against the 545,000 he
had deployed in and around Kuwait.240 Does not such a delusion neutralize deterrence?
Let’s review the delusion arguments. To borrow from the Mideast historian Daniel Pipes
(albeit in a slightly different context), “This mistake can best be explained as the result of
Saddam inhabiting the uniquely self-indulgent circumstance of the totalitarian autocrat, with its
two key qualities: (1) hubris: the absolute ruler can do anything he wants, so he thinks himself
unbounded in his power; and (2) ignorance: the all-wise ruler brooks no contradiction, so his
aides, fearing for their lives, tell him only what he wants to hear. Both these incapacities worsen
with time and the tyrant becomes increasingly removed from reality. His whims, eccentricities
and fantasies dominate state policy.”241 Indeed, as Time noted, the tyrant lived “in hothouse
isolation, in limited contact with any ideas but his own. Except for three and a half years in
Egypt . . . in 1960 . . . and brief visits abroad in the early 80s, he knew little of the world outside
Iraq. During a 1990 interview, Saddam twice expressed amazement that the U.S. had no laws to
jail people who insulted the American President—as Iraq does.”242
To be sure, prematurely quitting Kuwait would have undermined Saddam’s honor on the
Arab street, on which the humiliation of capitulation—or its perception—is often worse than
defeat.243 Likewise, to prevent domestic revolt, Saddam needed to prove to his countrymen that
his regime was still fearsome. But as Pipes notes, “[T]he spin doctors in Baghdad kn[e]w how to
portray retreat as victory.”244 The political psychologist Jerrold Post concurs: Saddam’s “past
history reveals a remarkable capacity to find face saving justification when reversing his course
in very difficult circumstances.”245 He could have pointed to the financial gains the invasion
enabled, the punishment of the Sabahs, or that the international coalition dared not confront Iraqi
forces.
To further be sure, for the first few months of the crisis, one might have analogized
Saddam’s outrageous offers of negotiation to the style of Israeli-Palestinian talks: only after
beginning with the most extreme position does one make concessions. One might also note that
in order to avoid war, Saddam eventually released foreigners he was holding as hostages; 246 that
he invited to Baghdad such personalities as Austria’s Kurt Waldheim, Britain’s Edward Heath
and Germany’s Willy Brandt;247 that to influence votes at the U.N. he offered the Third World
free oil;248 and that he instructed his ships to submit to searches by Western vessels enforcing the
embargo. “Saddam was not trapped into war,” writes Janice Stein.249
“But it [all] seemed more public relations than reality,”250 as Time put it; the tyrant’s
bellicose actions undercut such trial balloons. For example, the annexation of Kuwait cut off any
easy way out, and the initial use of the hostages as human shields was gratuitous. On the military
front, Iraq continually reinforced its troops, and dug an elaborate defensive line along the
Kuwait-Saudi border. Most self-defeatingly, Saddam availed himself constructively of none of
the various proposals to avert war—especially when a mere gesture would have greatly bolstered
the arguments against war.
And yet, despite all this, Saddam had considerable reasons to think hanging tough would
work. First, the Bush administration equivocated in explaining the casus belli to the American
people. For instance, during a senate debate in October, Bob Dole spelled out the one reason why
the United States was in the gulf: “O-I-L.”251 A week later, protestors chanting “No blood for oil”
forced President Bush to reply, “The fight isn’t about oil, the fight is about naked aggression.”252
Yet in November, in order to bring the rationale “down to the level of the average American
citizen,” Jim Baker told reporters, “If you want to sum it [the crisis] up in one word, it’s

26
‘jobs.’”253 Consequently, Americans were unsure whether they were fighting for their president’s
“new world order beginning to emerge in the aftermath of the Cold War,”254 or to make the world
safe for gas guzzlers, as a Boston Globe cartoon in early August suggested.255
Similarly, Americans were dubious about restoring the Kuwaiti government—an
autocratic, anti-Semitic, anti-American regime that, to paraphrase Bismarck’s comment about the
Balkans, was not worth the bones of a single U.S. soldier.256 During the congressional debate to
authorize military force—which passed by only 52 to 47 in the Senate and 250 to 183 in the
House—Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) recalled his experience with the Sabahs while
ambassador to the U.N. They were “singularly nasty,” the senator said, and “conspicuously
poisonous.”257 A similar attitude prevailed at the first post-invasion meeting of the National
Security Council. As one official remembered, “Hey, too bad about Kuwait, but it’s just a gas
station, and who cares whether the sign says Sinclair or Exxon?”258 “Surely it not American
policy to make the world safe for [monarchy],” the New York Times wrote on August 12,
1990.259
Third, an avid viewer of C.N.N., Saddam was listening closely to this intense debate,260
which he interpreted, with reason, as evidence that such a divided country would not go to war.
Iraqi newspapers routinely quoted antiwar senators,261 and Saddam undoubtedly took comfort
from the parade of skeptics counseling delay before the Senate Armed Services Committee in
early December. Baghdad further construed the firing of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Michael
Dugan (in September for disclosing details of U.S. attack plans), like the ouster of the hawkish
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in November, as a sign that war was increasingly
unpopular.262
Fourth, many Western military experts estimated that with the world’s fourth largest
army, consisting of almost one million soldiers, 500 combat aircraft and 5,500 tanks,263 Iraq
would mount a formidable defense. Its war against Iran, Secretary Cheney told the House Armed
Services Committee, had “left Saddam with a warhardened military—disciplined, organized, and
tough.”264 “[I]f he chooses to,” predicted General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded U.S.
forces in the gulf, Saddam “could bring a tremendous amount of . . . might to bear in an attack on
Saudi Arabia.”265 Moreover, until August 8, the U.S. had no troops in the region, having relied
instead on a policy of “offshore balancing,” Then, as they began to pour into Saudi Arabia, the
deployment was so extraordinary that Bush needed to call-up 180,000 regular reservists266—
whom civilian aircraft had to ferry to the gulf267—and, for first time in 20 years, to activate the
Individual Ready Reserve, the pool of “weekend warriors” designed for national crises.268
Further, as Saddam himself recognized, the U.S. had “weapons that strike from afar,” but victory
would “depend on a soldier who walks on the ground and comes with a hand grenade, rifle and
bayonet to fight the soldier in the battle trench.269 Military historian Robert Pape agreed:
“Airpower alone cannot compel” Baghdad’s retreat; “we must be prepared to commit immense
ground forces as well as air forces for a protracted campaign, and be ready to pay a high price in
blood and treasure.”270
Recent history, however, showed that Americans were distinctly unwilling to bear this
burden. By cutting and running from Beirut in 1983, after Hezbollah bombed a barracks and
killed 241 marines, and by evacuating Mogadishu 10 years later, after guerillas slaughtered 19
G.I.s, the U.S. government had fostered the widespread impression that it could be chased out of
a country at the first sight of bloodshed. Our collective nonchalance to the subsequent attacks on
the World Trade Center in 1993, the Khobar Towers in 1996, and the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 only
reinforced contempt for our resolve. The interpretation of Osama bin Laden, from an interview in

27
1998, is instructive: “[O]ur boys were shocked by the low morale of the American soldier and
they realized that the American soldier was just a paper tiger. . . . After a few blows, [America] .
. . rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace.”271
Saddam, too, was keenly sensitive to this trend. In fact, so much did he relish Black Hawk
Down (2001), the movie that dramatized the Somalian debacle, that he distributed it to his senior
command.272 “Yours is a society which cannot accept 10,000 dead,” he had taunted April
Glaspie,273 whereas Iraq had proven its ability, throughout the past decade, to absorb massive
casualties. Tariq Aziz made the implication explicit: “[I]f the American leader[s] think[] that this
is a vacation like they had in Panama or Grenada, they are mistaken. . . . It will be a bloody
conflict.”274
Indeed, the question was never whether the coalition would defeat Iraq; it was at what
cost. It was not for nothing that coalition troops were donning gas masks, stockpiling a full range
of inoculation kits, and deploying elaborate decontamination equipment.275 For this reason,
further Baathist pronouncements about the “mother of all battles,”276 or—most memorably, the
promise from the Minister of Information that Iraqis would eat any downed American pilots277—
were not simply typical Arab rhetoric but strategic. In Saddam’s plausible analysis, as the war
dragged on and the morale of his adversaries withered, a stalemate would ensue, thus increasing
Iraq’s chances for a respectable draw.278 He knew he would lose militarily, as he told Soviet and
French envoys in October and early January,279 so he emphasized symbolic victory, on winning
in psychological terms.280 To borrow the assessment of Iraq today from military historian Victor
Davis Hanson, while Saddam knew that he couldn’t blow up enough Abrams tanks or even
Humvees to alter the battlefield, he could certainly maim or slaughter a few hundred Westerners
with pomp, knowing that C.N.N. would magnify the trauma and savagery, and do so often
enough to render the taxpaying citizens back home exhausted with the entire “mess.”281
Observed columnist Mike Barnicle: “War is popular for the first week or month our soldiers are
engaged in combat. . . . Toss a few hundred [flag-draped coffins] into the mix, add 120 women to
each state’s roster of Gold Star Mothers, and popularity wanes.”282 This Achilles’ heel was not
lost on President Bush, who in a news conference in late November vowed, “This will not be a
protracted, drawn-out war. . . . I pledge to you: there will not be any murky ending.” 283 In
announcing the commencement of hostilities, Bush repeated, “[T]his will not be another
Vietnam.”284
Fifth, even those inclined to support war first favored sanctions,285 which unlike the last
ones the U.N. imposed, in 1977 on South Africa, were mandatory for all member states, barring
them from buying anything from or selling anything to Iraq or Kuwait, except on humanitarian
grounds. In an interview in mid-September, General Schwarzkopf explained the logic: “If we
figure, as has already been announced, that Iraq is losing one billion [dollars] in revenues every
day the sanctions are in effect, then it’s going to be interesting to see how much loyalty he
[Saddam] has in his armed forces when he’s unable to pay their salaries, feed them, and resupply
them with fuel and spare parts and ammunition.”286 The flip side was that Saddam could
probably endure the sanctions well until the middle of 1991287—all the while consolidating his
grip on Kuwait and hoping the world would insure itself to the change of an “emirate” to a
“republic.”
Sixth, as time wore on, it became increasingly thorny to hold the coalition together.
Indeed, if the coalition for the Iraq war were a “coalition of the bribed . . . and the extorted,”288 as
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) called it, then the coalition for the Gulf War was its precedent: an
extremely fragile united front among disparate states. Consider the votes at the United Nations;

28
from the cases we know, we may infer others. After the U.N. delegate from Yemen received
some acclaim for casting a negative vote, Secretary Baker retorted, “I hope he enjoyed that
applause, because this will turn out to be the most expensive vote he ever cast.” Which it was, as
Bush abruptly cut off $70 million to Yemen in foreign aid and excluded it from the 1992 U.S.
budget request.289 For Egypt, the U.S. and the gulf states each forgave about $7 billion of debt.290
Although Syrian troops contributed little to the fighting, Damascus benefited from tacit U.S.
approval for Hafez al-Assad’s establishment of a Pax Syriana in Lebanon, the lifting of
economic sanctions and $200 million from the European Community, a Japanese loan of $500
million, and more than $2 billion from the Arab world.291 Russia received credit guarantees and
$1 billion from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.292 For not exercising a veto, China’s foreign minister
received a reception at the White House after suffering diplomatic isolation for a year and a half
following the Tiananmen Square massacre.293 Even the foreign minister of Cuba got some
schmoozing, albeit fruitless, in a 90-minute chat with Secretary Baker—the highest-level public
meeting between the two countries since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.294 Again, none of
this escaped the rapt attention of Baghdad.
Seventh, Saddam’s invasion put the Arab world in several catch-22s. For one, he played
heavily on the idea that the U.S. employed a double standard in defending Israel’s occupation of
the mostly Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip, while denouncing Iraq’s occupation of
Kuwait. The linkage was logically untenable, but so hypersensitive was the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict that it reflexively rallied all Arabs. For another, while the Saudis, Egyptians and others
made a virtue of necessity, the presence of foreign forces, inextricably linked with past Arab
humiliations, was increasingly inflaming Arab xenophobia and resentment.295 The regimes
wanted American help, but in a way that wouldn’t confirm the aggressor’s claim that the rich
gulf states were surrogates for American interests.296 As Fouad Ajami puts it, “Saddam had
sacked a country, but . . . [t]he gullible saw him as a Robin Hood, an avenging Saladin fighting
‘the Franks’ and their local collaborators, erasing the colonial boundaries imposed after World
War I.”297 “Even some who admire neither the repressive dictator nor his rape of Kuwait are
attracted by his rhetoric of Arab greatness,” commented Time. “Saddam’s populist message
against corrupt regimes”—“emirs of oil” he called them298—“and the swagger of a leader who
can and will fight them, has had an intoxicating effect” on those who “believe they can only
benefit from a violent reshuffling of the regional status quo.”299 For these reasons, Arab rulers,
most prominently Jordan’s King Hussein, continually urged the U.S. to show restraint while they
attempted to forge an “Arab solution.”300 This of course was music to Saddam’s ears, as he
exploited this diplomacy to consolidate his grip on Kuwait. Then, when push came to shove,
King Hussein—like Algeria, Yemen, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Tunisia and
Sudan—openly sided with Iraq.
Finally, there was the so-called nightmare scenario,301 whereby a diplomatic victory
might result in a larger crisis. For instance, Saddam might partially pull out from Kuwait, or if he
pulled out completely, he might leave troops just north of the border. What the coalition would
do then was a very debatable question. “The unhappy reality of the situation,” recalled National
Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, in a book he later coauthored with Bush, “was that an Iraqi
withdrawal would leave us in a most difficult position.”302 For this reason, according to the
veteran White House insider Bob Woodward, by January 1991 the president had decided that
war was unavoidable;303 “We have to have a war,” Bush told his advisors.304
Thus, the choice for the Gulf War lay with both Saddam, who thought he could forestall
or weather it, and Bush, who needed it. Both men displayed inflexibility: Saddam, in his refusal

29
to negotiate in good faith; Bush, in his insistence on unconditional withdrawal. It’s also worth
remembering, as Jeffrey Records points out, that Presidents Kennedy and Johnson could have
withdrawn American forces from Vietnam at any time before the Tet Offensive. “Like Saddam
in Kuwait, however, the United States by 1968 had invested enormous prestige in Vietnam, and
believed it could ultimately prevail, or if not, that it had to endure whatever was in store in order
to uphold its honor and reputation for at least a willingness to fight for perceived vital interests.
Saddam’s refusal to quit Kuwait except under fire is in hindsight no more or less objectively
nonsensical than America’s refusal to abandon Indochina even after all hope for a military
decisive solution was lost.”305

30
Intrawar Deterrence

But if Saddam were deterrable, why, after the U.S. had threatened dire consequences for
doing so, did he order his troops to blow up 750 Kuwaiti oil wells as they retreated?306 (The
flames, which took years to extinguish, caused an ecological catastrophe; the largest previous
oilfield blaze—only five fires—occurred in Libya in 1965.307) More shockingly, why, the day
after the U.N. issued its deadline, did Iraq load three types of biological agents—botulinum
toxin, aflatoxin, and bacteria capable of causing anthrax—into roughly 200 missile warheads and
aircraft bombs, which it then distributed to air bases and a missile site?308 Ken Pollack argues
that such brinksmanship shows that Saddam was an “an inveterate gambler and risk-taker[,] who
regularly twist[ed] his calculation of the odds to suit his preferred course of action.” 309 His thirst
for revenge, remarks Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Bush fils
administration, tempted him to throw caution to the wind.310
The truth is more nuanced. Faced with three ultimatums (put to him via Tariq Aziz at
Geneva), Saddam calculated that the U.S. was unlikely to nuke his country because of a terrorist
attack or burning oil wells; the real fear, and emphasis of deterrence, was always on poison gas
and germ warfare. For instance, in his memoirs, James Baker writes that he “left the impression”
with Aziz that if Iraq used a chemical or biological weapon, the U.S. would retaliate with a
tactical nuclear one. Baker adds that he “promise[d]” that such an act would change the U.S. war
aim from liberating Kuwait to overthrowing Baghdad.311
Aziz—and thus Saddam—got the message; as Time reported of the meeting, “Clarity
reigned.”312 In fact, five days after the meeting the White House released the full text of
President Bush’s letter,313 and when U.N. inspectors scoured Iraq after the war, they found that
“everywhere they went” Iraqis had copies of the text.314 Finally, in 1995, Aziz confirmed to Rolf
Ekeus, who at the time headed UNSCOM, that he had interpreted the letter as threatening the
Bomb.315 Which is why, as Aziz admitted in an interview with P.B.S. in 1996, that Baghdad
refrained from using its chemical weapons.316
Further, even with our nuclear deterrent, the Bush administration relayed mixed signals.
For one, in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor in August, Air Force Chief of Staff
Michael Dugan acknowledged that the U.S. had “no plans” to use chemical or nuclear weapons
if war broke out. “We would avoid in every possible circumstance even talking about deploying .
. . chemical weapons,” Dugan said. “We’ve made a national policy of getting rid of” such
arms.317 Iraq had also signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in 1968, and official U.S. policy,
which had never been repealed, prohibited Washington from using a nuclear weapon against a
signatory.
To be sure, in late December, Secretary Cheney declared that “were Saddam Hussein
foolish enough to use weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. response would be absolutely
overwhelming and it would be devastating.”318 Two weeks later, however, the Washington Post
reported that “administration officials say such forceful language should not be interpreted as
meaning the United States plans to use nuclear or chemical weapons,” any use of which the U.S.
had ruled out.319 To break such taboos, explained C.I.A. Director William Webster, would risk
world opprobrium.320 Two days later, Secretary Baker, and by extension President Bush,
retreated to language similar to Cheney’s.321
As with America’s prewar diplomacy, how a rational person would interpret these signals
is debatable. Yet the fact remains, as political scientist Barry Posen concludes, that despite “a

31
variety of oblique [nuclear] messages,”322 the suggestion that we would use our most potent
weapons deterred Saddam from using his.

* * *

Of course, making good on his prewar pledges,323 Saddam assaulted Israel—a nuclear
power324—with 40 Scud missiles. He also lobbed another 48 at Saudi Arabia and three at
Bahrain.325 Concludes Ken Pollack: Saddam “play[ed] dangerous games without realizing how
dangerous they truly [were].”326 “In the end, he has frequently proven inadvertently suicidal.”327
To the contrary, Saddam was shrewd, not stupid. He knew that the United States was
lobbying Israel to hold her fire. This full-court press was both diplomatic and military-based, and
resulted in the deployment to Israel of two Patriot anti-missile battalions, complete with
American crews. 328Similarly, he knew that any response by Israel would sunder the pivotal and
fragile coalition against him. As such, Saddam had considerable latitude to taunt Tel Aviv,
whose retaliation was likely only in the event of a chemical or biological attack.
Yet although Saddam possessed these weapons, he fired missiles armed with
conventional tips. According to Khidhir Hamza, the highest-ranking scientist to defect from
Saddam’s Iraq and author of Saddam’s Bombmaker (2002), “[W]hat he used against Israel was
very low-tech—warheads sometimes filled not even with explosives but with concrete.”329 As
Pollack acknowledges elsewhere, “Few knowledgeable observers doubt” that Israel’s nuclear
threat deterred Saddam from striking it unconventionally.330 The tyrant equated such bravado
with suicide.
Finally, Saddam’s attacks arguably were payback. After all, a decade earlier, nine Israeli
F-16s had destroyed Iraq’s nearly operational 75-megawatt, $275 million nuclear reactor.331
Expressing world opinion at the time, the New York Times editorial board condemned this
“aggression” as “inexcusable and short-sighted.”332

32
Past Use of Unconventional Weapons

But Iraq was one of the largest producers of chemical weapons, and Saddam was the only
living head of state to have used them, to cow domestic dissidents and subdue external enemies.
Surely, this willingness to employ repeatedly what Winston Churchill reportedly dubbed “that
hellish poison” demonstrates such a lack of restraint as to brand Saddam unpredictable.
First, while the use of nerve agents is sickening, they are not “weapons of mass
destruction” in any meaningful sense. Writer Gregg Easterbrook explains: “Since the gassing of
the trenches in World War I and the Holocaust a generation later, people have been terrified by
the thought of death by gas—partly because chemical agents are invisible, partly because we
visualize ghastly, helpless choking rather than vanishing in the flash of an explosion. But pound
for pound, chemical weapons are less lethal than conventional explosives and more difficult for
an attacker or terrorist to use.”333 In his memoirs Colin Powell, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff during the Gulf War, crystallized the difference: “A chemical attack would be a public
relations crisis, but not a battlefield disaster.”334
Second, since Saddam’s victims—Iranian infantry and Kurdish civilians—lacked any
comparable arms, they could not respond—or even threaten to, in kind. Moreover, until Iraq
engulfed Kuwait, the world had disregarded accusations from the former country and treated
accusations from the latter dubiously. Saddam’s calculations would be entirely different in facing
the United States, which possesses the world’s most nuclear devices and its biggest microphones.
Indeed, if revenge overwhelmed him, if Saddam were irrational, then sometime during past
decade—every minute of which American and British planes have enforced no-fly zones over
the north and south of his country—he would have undoubtedly let loose something fierce from
his vast arsenal. In fact, though Iraqis intermittently shot at their overseers, who returned fire,
they limited themselves to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns.335 To up the ante,
Saddam undoubtedly recognized, would have been his loss.

33
Was Saddam Deterrable?

And yet, as the columnist David Brooks notes, the United States “has continually
misjudged the appetites of voracious tyrants like Saddam Hussein.” During the Cold War,
analysts assumed that it was irrational for the Chinese to intervene in Korea. Oops. Ditto for the
U.S.S.R. to overspend on defense. We also couldn’t comprehend why the Soviets would try to
get first-strike nuclear capability, so we missed that too. Then they invaded Afghanistan—
oblivious to the lessons of Vietnam.336
With Saddam, we thought that his war with Iran had exhausted his adventurism. Then
came Kuwait. The aftermath of the Gulf War revealed that we had also radically underestimated
his nuclear weapons program. “[W]hy would a cash-strapped leader devote himself so fanatically
to such a goal?” Brooks asks.337
His answer: “[A]nalysts are always imagining that foreign dictators will behave as they—
social scientists with PhDs and homes in suburban Virginia—would behave in similar
circumstances.” We assume that such creatures “will be deterred by U.S. military preponderance
because, after all, that’s the rational reaction.”338 The problem with these “bloodless
compilations of data” are that they anesthetize the each individual’s unique personality—his
passions, his ambitions, the influence of his wife. Pride, honor and rage are incredibly important
outside the West.339 And “[w]hen you try to analyze human affairs using a process that is
systematic, codified and bureaucratic . . . [y]ou don’t produce reason—you produce what [the
political scientist] Irving Kristol called the elephantiasis of reason.”340 Not everyone acts by
restaurant economics.
Seen this way, Saddam Hussein emerges as Hitlerian, “dangerous to the extreme,” as
Jerrold Post told the House Armed Services Committee in 1990.341 Lacking any scruples, he was
comfortable “carry[ing] a bluff to the edge of a precipice,” in the words of Youssef Ibrahim, then
the Mideast bureau chief for the New York Times.342 And his sense of mission could taint his
judgment, according to a C.I.A. report issued in the weeks before the Gulf War. 343 Accordingly,
Ken Pollack argues that Saddam’s “personality and his history [could] only lead us to expect the
worst.”344 For his “continued survival [wa]s far more attributable to luck than . . . to
prudence.”345 Is not such precariousness a disaster waiting to happen?
First, as foreign policy expert Mark Strauss reminds us, such trepidation is all-too
familiar. State Department reports contended that Gamal Nasser would “merge the resources and
emotions of the entire Middle East into a single assault against Western civilization.” C.I.A.
analyses described Fidel Castro as “messianic,” “erratic” and “in a high state of elation
amounting to mental illness.”346 Throughout the 1970s, the U.S. saw OPEC countries as led by
fools who would bring down the global financial system, even if it meant their own economic
destruction.
Of course, it turns out that First World bombast can be just as bad as Third World
bombast; dictators—who, by necessity, are supremely cunning creatures—can be both
bloodthirsty and rational. And as political scientist John Mueller points out, “[E]gomania is
standard equipment for your average Third World tyrant.”347
But perhaps such masquerades were the point all along; for being perceived as maniacal
can be a useful tactic in international relations. “An uncouth, cigar-chomping Curtis LeMay
frightened us in peace,” observes Victor Hanson; “[W]e may not have won without him in
war.”348 Or consider a story recounted in an unclassified 1995 study by the U.S. Strategic
Command. On September 30, 1985, four Soviet diplomats were kidnapped in West Beirut. Two

34
days later, Moscow delivered to the leader of the Islamic Liberation Organization a package
containing a single testicle—that of his eldest son—with a note that said in no uncertain terms,
“Never bother our people again.” The Lebanese got the message. “Such an insightful tailoring of
what is valued within a culture,” the STRATCOM authors advise, “is the type of creative
thinking that must go into” deterrence strategy.349 In their aforementioned promises about the
hellish fate awaiting Americans if we intervened in 1990-91, the Iraqi leadership thought the
same way.
Indeed, STRATCOM continues, “[I]t hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and
cool-headed.”350 Rather, as the character playing Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995)
puts it, since “the communists only respect strength . . . they will only negotiate in good faith if
they fear the madman Richard Nixon.” Nixon replies: “Exactly. Unpredictability is our best
asset.”351 Thus, as Mark Strauss concludes, “[M]aybe, just maybe,” the best way to navigate the
international system is to convince your enemies “that you’re crazier than they are.” 352 (Although
he was, rightly, strongly paranoid, there was no evidence that Saddam suffered from mental
illness.353)
Second, as dangerous as it were, Saddam’s gambles paid dividends. Remember: even
though Egypt militarily lost its 1973 war with Israel, Anwar Sadat became a hero to the Arab
world for his willingness to strike, and initially force back, the previously invincible Israelis.
Likewise, in 1981, Libya mounted an air attack on an American F-14 Tomcat fighter after it had
crossed the so-called line of death in the Gulf of Sidra. Even though the U.S. subsequently
destroyed Gadhafi’s jets, the conflict so elevated his status that actually he thanked President
Reagan.354 With Saddam, “Never mind that his forces were routed in Kuwait,” as Time observes;
with some justification, he deemed himself triumphal because he resisted the onslaught by 40
nations.355
Moreover, by 1998 the Iraqis were physically harassing the U.N. weapons inspectors—on
one occasion firing two rocket-propelled grenades into an UNSCOM building in Baghdad, on
another grabbing the controls of an UNSCOM helicopter in flight and nearly causing it to
crash.356 Then, in October, Saddam expelled all American inspectors. The response? While
UNSCOM initially withdrew, and returned a few weeks later, it withdrew again in December,
along with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The U.S. and the U.K. then bombed Iraq for
four days in Operation Desert Fox. Yet both international groups remained banned (until 2002,
when under threat of war Iraq invited them back). Saddam’s risks had again bred rewards.
Third, Saddam’s heart lay in dominating the Middle East, not the United States. (Without
any intercontinental ballistic missiles, he also lacked the capability to reach North America.)
Time explains: “He . . . longed for his name to go down in Arab history alongside those of the
culture’s great heroes, like Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Jews into Babylonian captivity, and
Saladin . . . He wanted to fulfill the modern-day promise of . . . Nasser, restoring Arab unity and
the greater Arab nation to its rightful place in the world.”357 For this reason, throughout the 80s
when we were plying Baghdad with computers and chemicals, we considered the tyrant to be a
rational actor. What changed was not Saddam, but U.S. foreign policy.358
Fourth, some commentators saw in Saddam a Masada complex, which would drive him
to a martyr’s death rather than acquiesce. In 1996, William Safire envisioned a scenario in which
“the U.S. president warns Iraq of total annihilation, [and] the dictator shrugs it off as his way to
heaven.”359 But as Jerrold Post countered in 1990, “This is assuredly not the case, for . . .
survival is [Saddam’s] number one priority.”360 “Why would he have so many tunnels and

35
escape routes under his various castles?” asks political scientist Chris Matthew Sciabarra.361
“[B]ecause he loved life more than he hated us,” says the columnist Thomas Friedman.362
Indeed, in March 2003, Saddam was beginning his fourth decade in power as the ruler of
a congenitally tumultuous nation. Whatever his fevered fantasies, he had made his regime “coup-
proof”363 and perfected the art of Teflon politics. For instance, on August 15, 1990, 13 days after
he had devoured Kuwait, Iraq found itself facing an ominous military buildup. Yet instead of
perpetuating his war against Iran while trying to fight another against the U.S.-led coalition,
Saddam cut his losses of eight years and conceded to almost all Tehran’s demands. He was
nothing if not pragmatic.
Finally, in 2002-03, Iraq retained a shadow of its pre-Gulf War power. A decade of
economic sanctions and limited military campaigns had devastated the Iraqi people, land,
economy and military. Yes, these inferences parallel those which prevailed before Iraq rolled
into Kuwait, but for one difference: 9/11. While Saddam might have had an itch to attack the
U.S., he would only have scratched it if he could do so with impunity. “[S]eeing the fate of the
Taliban,” columnist Steve Chapman notes, “he [couldn’t] have [had] any illusions about the
price he would pay.”364

* * *

In the run-up the Iraq war, President Bush compared Saddam to Stalin,365 but, as the
security scholar Richard Betts summates, he drew the wrong lesson. Like Saddam, Stalin
miscalculated in invading South Korea in 1950—because President Truman, like Bush pére, did
not try to deter him. In fact, Secretary of State Dean Acheson had indicated publicly that South
Korea was outside the U.S. defense perimeter. Conversely, Stalin never invaded Western
Europe, where the NATO deterrent was clear. In the same way, Saddam acted foolishly when the
consequences of his gambles were unclear, but backed down when the threat was credible.366

36
Coda

Although I believe this thesis captures the final word on Saddam Hussein’s deterrability,
it does not address the questions, best articulated by the columnist Charles Krauthammer, if
deterrence is less preferable to rollback or if it has become obsolete.367 Rather, my assumption is
that deterrence, while not risk-free, is less risky than the alternatives. Add this to the absence of
significant collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda, and you get a strong argument for vigilant
containment.
Steve Chapman frames the argument by reference to the Cold War: “What is the United
States supposed to do when faced with the following danger: a belligerent . . . tyrant with whom
we once fought an inconclusive war, who has worked with violent groups that have opposed us
abroad, and who is bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction? Can we afford to let him
pursue that ambition, or should we act with decisive military force to erase the threat?
“That was the dilemma presented in 1963 by Mao Tse-tung, the fanatical Communist
who ruled over China. When he embarked on a program to build an atomic arsenal, President
Kennedy considered a preemptive368 strike to stop him.” But in the end the U.S. chose to rely
instead on deterrence. “So far, we’ve won the wager.”
Indeed, not only did we deter Mao, “who had fought us to a standstill in Korea and liked
to boast that China, with all its people, could easily endure a nuclear war”; we also deterred
Joseph Stalin, “who had shown his ambitions by forcibly colonizing half of Europe.”369 Thus,
“To view Saddam as an intolerable danger is to say, as Columbia scholar Kenneth Waltz puts it,
that though the strong can deter the strong, the strong cannot deter the weak.”370

37
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1
In ‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide (2002), Samantha Power argues that although
Saddam’s 1988 Anfal campaign was primarily instrumental, rather than ideological, the distinction does not matter,
legally or morally. “Genocide was probably not even Hussein’s primary objective. His main aim was to eliminate
the Kurdish insurgency. But it was clear at the time and has become even clearer since that the destruction of Iraq’s
rural Kurdish population was the means he chose to end that rebellion. Kurdish civilians were rounded up and
executed or gassed not because of anything they as individuals did but simply because they were Kurds.” Samantha
Power, ‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic, 2003 [2002]), p. 172.
2
“Washington has repeatedly encouraged the Kurds to revolt but then abandoned them to Baghdad’s mercies:
selling them out in 1975, standing by while Saddam slaughtered them in the nightmarish 1987-88 Anfal campaign,
sitting on the sidelines after Desert Storm in 1991, and conducting only token strikes after Saddam’s encroachment

50
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3
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4
Karen Gullo, “Criminal Charges Filed in Probe,” Associated Press Online, September 18, 2001.

See also Paul Kelso, Nick Hopkins, John Hooper and Richard Norton-Taylor, “F.B.I. Believes Plotters Planned to
Seize Six Airliners for Attack,” Guardian (U.K.), September 19, 2001.
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0,1300,554350,00.html>; John Donnelly and Bryan Bender, “Hijacking
Suspect Said to Have Met with Agent,” Boston Globe, September 19, 2001.
<http://www.boston.com/news/packages/underattack/pdf/091901.jpg>; David Ensor, “U.S. Casts a Wary Eye
toward Iraq,” CNN.com, September 19, 2001.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/19/inv.iraq.terrorism/index.html>
5
See for instance Peter Finn and Charles Lane, “Will Gives a Window into Suspect’s Mind,” Washington Post,
October 6, 2001. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A14042-
2001Oct5&notFound=true>; Stephen Engelberg and Matthew Purdy, “Countless Questions, a Few Answers,” New
York Times, October 7, 2001.

Curiously, Newsweek initially reported that Atta met not with Ani but with Farouk Hijazi, Iraq’s ambassador to
Turkey. Evan Thomas, “Cracking the Terror Code,” Newsweek, October 15, 2001, p. 45.
6
In October 2001, the New York Times dated the meeting as April 8. Patrick E. Tyler with John Tagliabue, “Czechs
Confirm Iraqi Agent Met with Terror Ringleader,” New York Times, October 27, 2001.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/27/international/europe/27IRAQ.html>

Subsequent Times articles, however, referred only to “early April,” and the 9/11 Commission Report cited April 9.
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States
(New York: W.W. Norton, 2004), p. 228. <http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch7.htm>
7
As quoted in Peter Green and Ben Fenton, “Prague Confirms Hijack Leader Met Iraqi Agent,” Telegraph (U.K.),
October 27, 2001. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/10/27/watta27.xml>
8
As quoted in Michael Isikoff with Warren Getler, “Hard Questions about an Iraqi Connection,” Newsweek,
October 29, 2001, p. 6.
9
According to the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes—quoting from a top secret, 16-page memo, dated October 27,
2003, from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, to the chair and vicechair of the Senate
Intelligence Committee—Atta had also visited Prague in December 1994 and October 1999. The committee, which
was investigating the administration’s prewar intelligence claims, asked Feith to annotate his July 10, 2003,
testimony, and his leaked memo indexed in 50 numbered points what the various alphabet intelligence agencies
(C.I.A., F.B.I., D.I.A., N.S.A.) had collected about a bin-Laden-Baghdad axis. Stephen F. Hayes, “Case Closed,”
Weekly Standard, November 24, 2003, pp. 20-25.
<http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/378fmxyz.asp>

On the heels of Hayes’s article, however, the Department of Defense issued a statement labeling “inaccurate”
reports of “new information” regarding Iraqi-Qaeda contacts. [Unsigned], “D.O.D. Statement on News Reports of al
Qaeda and Iraq Connections,” United States Department of Defense, November 15, 2003.
<http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2003/nr20031115-0642.html>

51
Newsweek similarly took the Feith memo to task. Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, “Case Decidedly Not
Closed,” Newsweek Web, November 19, 2003. <http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3540586>

(For a summary of the above, see Jack Shafer, “Case Open,” Slate, November 18, 2003.
<http://slate.msn.com/id/2091381>

For an analysis of the memo, see Daniel Benjamin, “The Case of the Misunderstood Memo,” Slate, December 9,
2003. <http://slate.msn.com/id/2092180/>

Nonetheless, as of the eve of the war, the mainstream press—the sole source of information for the American public
and this section of my thesis—corroborated neither the ’94 nor ‘99 meeting.
10
[Unsigned], “Police Investigating whether Atta Ran Business in Czech Republic,” Czech News Agency (CTK),
October 12, 2001.
11
Sabah Khodada, Interview with [Unknown], Frontline and the New York Times, October 14, 2001.
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/gunning/interviews/khodada.html>
12
Robert Novak, “No Evidence against Iraq,” Chicago Sun-Times, October 15, 2001.
13
John Tagliabue, “No Evidence Suspect Met Iraqi in Prague,” New York Times, October 20, 2001.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/20/international/europe/20PRAG.html>
14
[Unsigned], “Czechs Confirm Suspected Hijacker Met Iraqi,” CNN.com, October 27, 2001.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/10/27/inv.czech.iraq/index.html>
15
Patrick E. Tyler with John Tagliabue, “Czechs Confirm Iraqi Agent Met with Terror Ringleader,” New York
Times, October 27, 2001. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/27/international/europe/27IRAQ.html>
16
As quoted in [Unsigned], “Czech PM: Atta Considered Prague Attack,” CNN.com, November 9, 2001.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/11/09/inv.czech.atta/index.html>; Alan Sipress, “Czech Leader:
Atta Plotted Radio Free Europe Attack,” Washington Post, November 10, 2001, p. A20; Brian Whitmore, “Atta
Role; Anti-U.S. Plot in Prague Detailed,” Boston Globe, November 10, 2001.
17
MS, “Zeman[’]s Words about Atta one of Hypotheses—Intermin, BIS,” Czech News Agency (CTK), November
9, 2001; [Unsigned],“Czech Government Plays down Comments over Radio Strike Plan,” Agence France-Presse,
November 10, 2001.
18
Vaclav Havel, Interview with Karry King, Larry King Weekend, December 2, 2001 [taped November 27, 2001].
<http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0112/02/lklw.00.html>

On November 18, National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told Tim Russert, “I don’t want to comment on”
the Prague connection. Condoleezza Rice, Interview with Tim Russert, Meet the Press with Tim Russert, N.B.C.
News Transcripts, November 18, 2001. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/9-
11_saddam_quotes.html>
19
William Safire, “Prague Connection,” New York Times, November 12, 2001.

See also William Safire, “Protecting Saddam,” New York Times, March 18, 2002; William Safire, “Mr. Atta Goes
To Prague,” New York Times, May 9, 2002; William Safire, “Missing Links Found,” New York Times, November
24, 2003.
20
Richard Cheney, Interview with Gloria Borger, 60 Minutes II, November 14, 2001.
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20011114.html>; Richard Cheney, Interview

52
with Tim Russert, Meet the Press with Tim Russert, December 9, 2001.
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20011209.html>
21
Chris Hedges with Donald G. McNeil Jr., “New Clue Fails to Explain Iraq Role in Sept. 11 Attack,” New York
Times, December 16, 2001.
22
Peter Green, “Iraq Link To Sept. 11 Attack and Anthrax Is Ruled Out,” Daily Telegraph (U.K.), December 18,
2001. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/12/18/wirq18.xml>
23
James Risen, “Terror Acts by Baghdad Have Waned, U.S. Aides Say,” New York Times, February 6, 2002.
24
David Ignatius, “Dubious Iraqi Link,” Washington Post, March 15, 2002.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A29957-2002Mar14>
25
George Tenet, Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Federal News Service, March 19, 2002.
26
Robert S. Mueller III, Speech, “Partnership and Prevention: The F.B.I.’s Role in Homeland Security,”
Commonwealth Club of California, April 19, 2002. <http://www.commonwealthclub.org/archive/02/02-04mueller-
speech.html>
27
Michael Isikoff, “The Phantom Link To Iraq,” Newsweek Web, April 28, 2002. The print and slightly shorter
version of this online exclusive appeared under the same title in Newsweek’s May 6, 2002, issue, p. 36.
28
Daniel Eisenberg, “’We’re Taking Him Out,” Time, May 13, 2002, p. 38.
<http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/05/06/time.out>
29
[Unsigned], “U.S. Drops Last Link of Iraq To 9/11,” New York Times, May 2, 2002.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/02/ international/middleeast/02INQU.html>; Walter Pincus, “No Link between
Hijacker, Iraq Found, U.S. Says,” Washington Post, May 1, 2002. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-
dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A11966-2002Apr30>
30
Bob Drogin, Paul Richter and Doyle McManus, “U.S. Returns To Theory of Iraqi Link To Sept. 11,” Los Angeles
Times, August 2, 2002.
31
Richard Cheney, Interview with Tim Russert, Meet the Press with Tim Russert, N.B.C. News Transcripts,
September 8, 2002. <http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bush/meet.htm>
32
Condoleezza Rice, Interview with Wolf Blitzer, C.N.N. Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, C.N.N. News Transcripts,
September 8, 2002.
33
“Speeches and Testimony,” 2002, Director of Central Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency.
<http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/2002/index.html>
34
George J. Tenet, Prepared Testimony, Unclassified, Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before
and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, June 18, 2002.
<http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/2002/dci_testimony_06182002.html>
35
Martin Walker, “Czechs Retract Terror Link,” United Press International, October 20, 2002.
<http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20021020-092811-8185r>
36
James Risen, “Prague Discounts an Iraqi Meeting,” New York Times, October 21, 2002.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/21/international/21PRAG.html>
37
James Risen, “Prague Discounts an Iraqi Meeting,” New York Times, October 21, 2002.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/21/international/21PRAG.html>

53
“Through extensive interviews with key Czech figures, [the Prague connection] emerges as a complex . . . tale of
political infighting among Czech leaders and feuding between rival intelligence services, topped off by a series of
simple blunders and overheated statements.” James Risen, “How Politics and Rivalries Fed Suspicions of a
Meeting,” New York Times, October 21, 2002.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/21/international/middleeast/21PLOT.html>
38
Peter S. Green, “Havel Denies Telephoning U.S. on Iraq Meeting,” New York Times, October 23, 2002.
39
“The meeting took place,” Kmonicek told the Prague Post (Czech Republic). As quoted in Frank Griffiths, “U.N.
Envoy Confirms Terrorist Meeting,” Prague Post (Czech Republic), June 5, 2002.
<http://www.praguepost.com/P02/2002/20605/news1a.php>
40
As quoted in [Unsigned], “Gross Insists on Meeting between Atta and Iraqi Diplomat Here,” Czech News Agency
(CTK), April 29, 2002; [Unsigned], “Hijacker ‘Did Not Meet Iraqi Agent,’” B.B.C. News, May 1, 2002.
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1961668.stm>
41
James Risen and David Johnston, “Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. on Iraqi Ties To al Qaeda,” New York Times,
February 2, 2003. <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/02/international/middleeast/02INTE.html>
42
James Pitkin, “Czechs: Hijacker Met with Iraqi Spy,” Prague Post (Czech Republic), May 8, 2002.
<http://www.praguepost.com/P02/2002/20508/news3.php>
43
James Schlesinger et al., “Defense Policy,” National Interest, Thanksgiving 2001. p. 83.
44
Edward Jay Epstein, “Al Qaeda, Pawn of Nations,” April 2, 2003, in Edward Jay Epstein and Daniel Benjamin,
“Saddam and Terrorism,” Slate, March 31, 2003-April 2, 2003. <http://slate.msn.com/id/2080850/>
45
As quoted in Bill Keller, “The Sunshine Warrior,” New York Times Magazine, September 22, 2002, p. 53.
46
Daniel Benjamin, “A Prague Orgy,” April 2, 2003, in Edward Jay Epstein and Daniel Benjamin, “Saddam and
Terrorism,” Slate, March 31, 2003-April 2, 2003. <http://slate.msn.com/id/2080850/>
47
Michael Isikoff, “The Phantom Link To Iraq,” Newsweek, May 6, 2002, p. 36; Romesh Ratnesar, “Iraq and al-
Qaeda: Is There a Link?,” Time, September 2, 2002, p. 34.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/08/26/time.iraq/>
48
Michael Isikoff, “Looking for a Link,” Newsweek, August 19, 2002, p. 10; James Risen, “Prague Discounts an
Iraqi Meeting,” New York Times, October 21, 2002.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/21/international/21PRAG.html>; Brian Whitmore, “Hijacker-Iraqi Meeting
Disputed Differing Reports on Whether Prague Encounter Occurred,” Boston Globe, October 23, 2002.
49
Robert Novak, “On Atta, Prague and Iraq,” Chicago Sun-Times, May 13, 2002.

In September 2003, Cheney told Tim Russert the same. “[W]e’ve never been able to . . . confirm[] it or discredit[] it.
We just don’t know.” Richard Cheney, Interview with Tim Russert, Meet the Press with Tim Russert, September 14,
2003. <http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3080244/>
50
For instance, on 10 separate occasions, Donald Rumsfeld asked the C.I.A. to investigate Iraqi links to 9/11. Daniel
Eisenberg, “’We’re Taking Him Out,” Time, May 13, 2002, p. 38.
<http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/05/06/time.out>

Similarly, Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, urged Colin Powell’s speechwriters to include
the Prague connection in his U.N. address. Dana Priest and Glenn Kessler, “Iraq, 9/11 Still Linked by Cheney,”
Washington Post, September 29, 2003.

54
51
On July 2, 2003, U.S. troops arrested Ani in Iraq. The Iraqi denied ever meeting Atta, a denial that officials found
credible. Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, “Case Decidedly Not Closed,” Newsweek Web, November 19, 2003.
<http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3540586/>; Dana Priest and Glenn Kessler, “Iraq, 9/11 Still Linked by Cheney,”
Washington Post, September 29, 2003.

Also in July, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence declassified the much-delayed report of their Joint Inquiry into 9/11. Tellingly, nowhere in 858 pages
does the report mention Iraq’s purported involvement in the day of infamy.
<http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/911.html>

A year later, the 9/11 Commission Report concluded: “[T]here are no U.S. records indicating that Atta departed the
country [U.S.] during this period [April 6, 9, 10, 11]. Czech officials have reviewed their flight and border records as
well for any indication that Atta was in the Czech Republic in April 2001, including records of anyone crossing the
border who even looked Arab. They have also reviewed pictures from the area near the Iraqi embassy and have not
discovered photos of anyone who looked like Atta. No evidence has been found that Atta was in the Czech Republic
in April 2001. . . .

“These findings cannot absolutely rule out the possibility that Atta was in Prague on April 9, 2001. He could have
used an alias to travel and a passport under that alias, but this would be an exception to his practice of using his true
name while traveling (as he did in January and would in July when he took his next overseas trip). The F.B.I. and
C.I.A. have uncovered no evidence that Atta held any fraudulent passports.

“K[halid]S[haikh]M[ohammed] and [Ramzi] Binalshibh both deny that an Atta-Ani meeting occurred. . . .

“The available evidence does not support the original Czech report of an Atta-Ani meeting [in April 2001].

The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States
(New York: W.W. Norton, 2004), pp. 228-229. <http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch7.htm>
52
As quoted in Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff, “No More Hide and Seek,” Newsweek, February 10, 2003, p. 46.
Eight months later, in September 2003, President Bush again put the Prague connection to rest. “We’ve had
no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th,” he told reporters. As quoted in Helen
Thomas, “Hussein Link Was Sales Job,” Miami Herald, September 27, 2003.
<http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/6872801.htm>
53
According to Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering: “We see evidence that we think is quite clear on contacts
between Sudan and Iraq. In fact, Al Shifa officials, early in the company’s history, we believe, were in touch with
Iraqi individuals associated with Iraq’s VX program.” As quoted in Jane Perlez, “Iraqi Deal with Sudan on Nerve
Gas Is Reported,” New York Times, August 26, 1998.

According to National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, “Iraq has assisted in chemical weapons activity in Sudan.
Samuel R. Berger, “Why the U.S. Bombed,” Washington Times, October 16, 1998.

Richard Clarke, the national coordinator of counterterrorism and computer security programs, said he was “sure”
that Iraq was behind the Al Shifa EMPTA, a powdered substance that, when mixed with bleach and water, becomes
the nerve agent VX. As quoted in Vernon Loeb, “Embassy Attacks Thwarted, U.S. Says,” Washington Post, January
23, 1999.

Former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay also concurred: “Sudan is not a state that you’d normally expect to
understand by itself the intricacies of the production of VX. I think most people suspect there was Iraqi help in this.”
As quoted in Ann Kellan, “VX: The Most Toxic of Nerve Agents,” CNN.com, August 21, 1998.
<http://www.cnn.com/TECH/science/9808/21/vx.explainer/>

55
54
“Al Shifa was part of a larger entity run by the Sudanese government, the Military Industrial Corporation, in
which bin Laden had a large financial interest.” Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror
(New York: Random House, 2002), p. 354.
55
In The Age of Sacred Terror (2000), Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon note that U.S. intelligence officials
obtained from Al Shifa a soil sample containing EMPTA; that EMPTA “had no commercial use anywhere in the
world,” and while “[t]here are several different methods for making VX . . . the only one known to involve EMPTA
is Iraq’s . . . [T]his information was never contradicted, but few found it persuasive.” Daniel Benjamin and Steven
Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002), p. 355.

See also Daniel Benjamin, “The Case of the Misunderstood Memo,” Slate, December 9, 2003.
<http://slate.msn.com/id/2092180/>; Stephen F. Hayes, “Bill Clinton Was Right,” Weekly Standard, July 5-July 12,
2004. <http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/274fwxli.asp> ; Christopher Hitchens,
“Clarke’s Progress,” Slate, March 29, 2004. http://slate.msn.com/id/2097901/
56
As quoted in Karen DeYoung, “Unwanted Debate on Iraq-al Qaeda Links Revived,” Washington Post, September
27, 2002. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8563-2002Sep26?language=printer>
57
“C.I.A. Letter To Senate on Baghdad’s Intentions,” New York Times, October 9, 2002.
58
Colin L. Powell, Speech, “Iraq: Failing to Disarm,” Security Council, United Nations, New York, New York,
February 5, 2003. <http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2003/17300.htm>
59
Bradley Graham, “Al Qaeda Presence in Iraq Reported,” Washington Post, August 21, 2002.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A42094-2002Aug20?language=printer>
60
Romesh Ratnesar, “Iraq and al-Qaeda: Is There a Link?,” Time, September 2, 2002, p. 33.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/08/26/time.iraq/>
61
Colin L. Powell, Speech, “Iraq: Failing to Disarm,” Security Council, United Nations, New York, New York,
February 5, 2003. <http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2003/17300.htm>; George W. Bush,
Speech, “World Can Rise To This Moment,” February 6, 2003.
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030206-17.html>; George Tenet, Hearing of the Senate
Select Intelligence Committee, Federal News Service, February 11, 2003.

Zarqawi was also responsible for the killing of Laurence Foley, an American diplomat in Amman, in October 2002,
and in January 2003 he had been linked to a ricin lab in London. Karl Vick, “Jordanians Arrest Two in Death of
U.S. Envoy,” Washington Post, December 15, 2002; Walter Pincus, “U.S. Effort to Link Terrorists To Iraq Focuses
on Jordanian,” Washington Post, February 5, 2003. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A26604-
2003Feb4?language=printer>
62
Colin L. Powell, Speech, “Iraq: Failing to Disarm,” Security Council, United Nations, New York, New York,
February 5, 2003. <http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2003/17300.htm>
63
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State, “Overview of State-sponsored
Terrorism,” Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, April 30, 2003.
<http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2002/html/19988.htm>
64
Colin L. Powell, Speech, “Iraq: Failing to Disarm,” Security Council, United Nations, New York, New York,
February 5, 2003. <http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2003/17300.htm>; Jeffrey Goldberg,
“The Great Terror,” New Yorker, March 25, 2002, pp. 68-70.
<http://newyorker.com/fact/content/?020325fa_FACT1>
65
As quoted in Bradley Graham, “Al Qaeda Presence in Iraq Reported,” Washington Post, August 21, 2002.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A42094-2002Aug20?language=printer>

56
66
Christopher Hitchens, “In Front of Your Nose,” Slate, October 25, 2004. <http://www.slate.com/id/2108636/>
67
Romesh Ratnesar, “Iraq and al-Qaeda: Is There a Link?,” Time, September 2, 2002, p. 33.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/08/26/time.iraq/>; Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Great Terror,” New
Yorker, March 25, 2002, p. 65. <http://newyorker.com/fact/content/?020325fa_FACT1>
68
Walter Pincus, “Alleged al Qaeda Ties Questioned,” Washington Post, February 7, 2003.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A38235-
2003Feb6&notFound=true>
69
Mark Hosenball and Evan Thomas, “Spies, Lies and Iraq,” Newsweek, February 10, 2003, p. 49.
70
Walter Pincus, “Alleged al Qaeda Ties Questioned,” Washington Post, February 7, 2003.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A38235-
2003Feb6&notFound=true>
71
Eric Umansky, “Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” Slate, June 29, 2004.
<http://www.slate.com/Default.aspx?id=2103109&>
72
George Tenet, Hearing of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, Federal News Service, February 11, 2003.
73
“C.I.A. Letter To Senate on Baghdad’s Intentions,” New York Times, October 9, 2002.

Ahmad Chalabi left Iraq the same year the Dodgers left Brooklyn. Harold Meyerson, “Preemptive Peace,”
74

Washington Post, April 8, 2003. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52729-2003Apr7>


75
Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt, Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence, 3d ed. (Dulles,
Virginia: Brassey’s, [1991] 2002), pp. 16-17.
76
Mark Hosenball and Evan Thomas, “Spies, Lies and Iraq,” Newsweek, February 10, 2003, p. 48.
77
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong,” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2004,
p. 86. <http://www.brookings.edu/dybdocroot/views/articles/pollack/20040108.pdf>
78
On September 25, in an interview with Jim Lehrer, Condoleezza Rice alleged that Iraq had trained Qaeda
members in the development of chemical weapons. Patrick E. Tyler, “U.S. and Britain Drafting Resolution to
Impose Deadline on Iraq,” New York Times, September 26, 2002.

Twelve days later, President Bush declared, “Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and
deadly gases.” George W. Bush, Speech, “President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat,” Cincinnati Museum Center,
Cincinnati Union Terminal, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 7, 2002.
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html>

In his U.N. presentation on February 5, 2003, Colin Powell spoke of how a bin Laden operative, who was seeking
help in acquiring poisons and gases, had forged a “successful” relationship with Iraqi officials in the late 1990s.
Powell also alleged that, as recently as December 2000, Iraq had offered “chemical or biological weapons training
for two al Qaeda associates.” Colin L. Powell, Speech, “Iraq: Failing to Disarm,” Security Council, United Nations,
New York, New York, February 5, 2003. <http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/powell/remarks/2003/17300.htm>
79
Eric Schmitt, “Rumsfeld Says U.S. Has ‘Bulletproof’ Evidence of Iraq’s Links To al Qaeda,” New York Times,
September 28, 2002; Karen DeYoung, “Unwanted Debate on Iraq-al Qaeda Links Revived,” Washington Post,
September 27, 2002. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8563-2002Sep26?language=printer>

57
Regarding Colin Powell’s presentation, Newsweek reported that the “C.I.A. said it could not confirm some of the
material that the most hawkish Pentagon officials insisted would be killer points . . . (Much of it is provided by Iraqi
defectors the Pentagon has decided to adopt, but who are considered unreliable by intelligence professionals.)”
Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff, “No More Hide and Seek,” Newsweek, February 10, 2003, p. 45.

In the same issue, Newsweek also noted: “At the Pentagon, a special intelligence-analysis unit set up by the hawkish
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz claims to have evidence showing that Saddam has ties to al Qaeda . . .
Top spooks at the C.I.A., however, are skeptical. In not-for-attribution conversations, they routinely cast doubt on
tips and analyses emanating from the Pentagon hardliners.” Mark Hosenball and Evan Thomas, “Spies, Lies and
Iraq,” Newsweek, February 10, 2003, p. 47.

Two months into the war, the New Yorker’s Sy Hersh related the following story: A former Bush Administration
intelligence official recalled a case in which Chalabi’s group, working with the Pentagon, produced a defector from
Iraq whom an agent from the D.I.A. interviewed overseas. The agent relied on an interpreter the I.N.C. supplied. In
the 2002 summer, the D.I.A. report, which was classified, was leaked. In a detailed account, the London Times
described how the defector had trained with al Qaeda terrorists in the late 1990s at secret camps in Iraq, how the
Iraqis received instructions in the use of chemical and biological weapons, and how the defector was given a new
identity and relocated. A month later, however, a team of C.I.A. agents went to interview the man with their own
interpreter. “He says, ‘No, that’s not what I said,’” the former intelligence official told me. “He said, ‘I worked at a
fedayeen camp; it wasn’t al Qaeda.’ He never saw any chemical or biological training.” Afterward, the former
official said that “the C.I.A. sent out a piece of paper saying that this information was incorrect. They put it in
writing.” But the C.I.A. rebuttal, like the original report, was classified. “I remember wondering whether this one
would leak and correct the earlier, invalid leak . . . [I]t didn’t.” Seymour M. Hersh, “Selective Intelligence,” New
Yorker, May 12, 2003, p. 48. <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030512fa_fact>

In July 2004, Newsweek reported that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was evidently the source for the specific al Qaeda-
Iraqi claims made by Bush and Powell (see footnote 78), had now recanted. Michael Isikoff, “Iraq and al Qaeda,”
Newsweek, July 5, 2004, p. 6.
80
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State, “Overview of State-sponsored
Terrorism,” Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, April 30, 2003.
<http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2002/html/1998.htm>
81
As quoted in Eric Schmitt, “Rumsfeld Says U.S. Has ‘Bulletproof’ Evidence of Iraq’s Links To al Qaeda,” New
York Times, September 28, 2002.

Key Judgments, Iraq’s Continuing Program for Weapons of Mass Destruction, “National Intelligence Estimate,”
82

National Intelligence Council, October 2002, p. 8. <http://www.cia.gov/nic/special_keyjudgements.html>


83
Edward Jay Epstein, “Saddam and Osama,” March 31, 2002, in Edward Jay Epstein and Daniel Benjamin,
“Saddam and Terrorism,” Slate, March 31, 2003-April 2, 2003. <http://slate.msn.com/id/2080850/entry/2080855/>
84
“Bin Laden Tape: Text,” B.B.C. News, February 12, 2003.
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2751019.stm>

Most unprincipled were the Koran-toting 9/11 hijackers, some of whom bedded down with escorts and frequented
go-go clubs. Dave Wedge, “Terrorists Partied with Hooker at Hub-Area Hotel,” Boston Herald, October 10, 2001;
Evan Thomas, “Cracking the Terror Code,” Newsweek, October 15, 2001, p. 44; Michael Isikoff and Daniel
Klaidman, “The Hijackers We Let Escape,” Newsweek, June 10, 2002, p. 26.
85
As Time noted in March 2003, “In recent years the standard-bearer of secular Baathism even turned to prayer to
exploit Islamic ardor, building gigantic mosques and lacing his speeches with the language of jihad.” Johanna
McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s Head,” Time, March 31, 2003, p. 58.

58
After the Gulf War, he placed the opening declaration for an Islamic prayer, “Allahu akbar” (God is great), on the
Iraqi flag in his own handwriting, and augmented his patronage of Palestinian religio-terrorist groups. Christopher
Hitchens, “Covering the ‘Quagmire,’” Slate, April 29, 2004. <http://www.slate.msn.com/id/2099664/>

(Of course, the mosques did not honor Allah but Saddam, a major heresy.)
86
As quoted in John King, “Bush Calls Saddam ‘The Guy Who Tried to Kill My Dad,” CNN.com, September 27,
2002. <http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/27/bush.war.talk/>; [Unsigned], “Got Him, but Now
What?,” Economist (U.K.), December 20, 2003.
87
See for instance Richard Butler, “Who Made the Anthrax?,” New York Times, October 18, 2001.
88
Ken Layne, “Saddam Pays $25K for Palestinian Bombers,” FoxNews.com, 3/26/2002.
<http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,48822,00.html>
89
Fouad Ajami, “Iraq and the Arabs’ Future,” Foreign Affairs, January-February 2003, p. 13.
90
Dana Priest and Walter Pincus, “Bin Laden-Hussein Link Hazy,” Washington Post, February 13, 2003; “Bin
Laden Tape: Text,” B.B.C. News Online, February 12, 2003. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2751019.stm>
91
Jason Burke, “What Is al Qaeda?,” Observer (U.K.), July 13, 2003.
<http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,996509,00.html>

This article is an excerpt from Burke’s book, Al Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror (2003).
92
Gene Healy, “Why Hussein Will Not Give Weapons of Mass Destruction To al Qaeda,” Cato Institute, March 5,
2003. <https://www.cato.org/dailys/03-05-03.html>
93
As quoted in Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff, “No More Hide and Seek,” Newsweek, February 10, 2003, p. 46.
94
Although the phrase “scattered, inevitable feelers” comes from a postbellum article, the antebellum evidence
supports it. Robert S. Leiken, “The Truth about the Saddam-al Qaeda Connection,” National Interest, November
2004. <http://www.inthenationalinterest.com/Articles/November2004/November2004Leiken.html>
95
Christopher Hitchens, “The Price of Victory,” January 16, 2004, in Paul Berman et al., “Liberal Hawks
Reconsider the Iraq War,” Slate, January 12-16, 2004. <http://slate.msn.com/id/2093620/entry/2094001/>
96
Romesh Ratnesar, “Iraq and al-Qaeda: Is There a Link?,” Time, September 2, 2002, p. 34.
<http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/08/26/time.iraq/>
97
Christopher Hitchens, A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq (New York: Plume, 2003), p. 13.
98
Alison Mitchell, “U.S. Informer Is New Suspect in Bomb Plot,” New York Times, August 5, 1993.

According to the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, Yasin “possibly has a chemical burn scar on his right thigh,”
presumably from mixing said chemicals. “Most Wanted Terrorist: Abdul Rahman Yasin,” Most Wanted Terrorists,
Federal Bureau of Investigation. <http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/terrorists/teryasin.htm>
99
Michael Isikoff, “The Phantom Link To Iraq,” Newsweek, May 6, 2002, p. 36; Peter Finn, “Czechs Confirm Key
Hijacker ‘Contact’ with Iraqi Agent in Prague,” Washington Post, October 27, 2001.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A59829-2001Oct26&notFound=true>
100
Additionally, the veteran political reporter Seymour Hersh has argued that the evidence for Saddam’s
involvement in that plot is “seriously flawed.” 100 Seymour M. Hersh, “A Case Not Closed,” New Yorker, November
1, 1993, p. 80. <http://www.newyorker.com/archive/content/?020930fr_archive02>

59
101
James Risen, “Terror Acts by Baghdad Have Waned, U.S. Aides Say,” New York Times, February 6, 2002; Dana
Priest, “U.S. Not Claiming Iraqi Link To Terror,” Washington Post, September 10, 2002.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A59403-2002Sep9?language=printer>
102
Dana Priest, “U.S. Not Claiming Iraqi Link To Terror,” Washington Post, September 10, 2002.

As quoted in Manuel Perez-Rivas, “Bush Vows to Rid the World of ‘Evildoers,’” CNN.com, September 16,
103

2001. <http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/gen.bush.terrorism/>
104
Condoleezza Rice, “Promoting the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs, January-February 2000, p. 61.
<http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20000101faessay5/condoleezza-rice/campaign-2000-promoting-the-national-
interest.html>

George W. Bush, Speech, “President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point,” United States Military
105

Academy, West Point, NY, June 1, 2002. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020601-3.html>


106
As quoted in James Risen, David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, “In Sketchy Data, Trying to Gauge Iraq Threat,”
New York Times, July 20, 2003, p. A1.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/20/international/worldspecial/20WEAP.html>
107
According to Phebe Marr, author of The Modern History of Iraq (1985), “Although figures are notoriously
unreliable, estimates place Iraq’s casualties at about 400,000, of whom 150,000—about 4 to 5 percent of its military-
age population—were killed.” Phebe Marr, “The Iran-Iraq War: The View from Iraq,” in Christopher C. Joyner
(ed.), The Persian Gulf War: Lessons for Strategy, Law and Diplomacy, (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1990), p. 70.

The military historian John Keegan puts the number at 100,000. John Keegan, The Iraq War (New York: Knopf,
2004), p. 69.
108
According to Kamran Mofid, the total economic cost of the war to Iran and Iraq exceeded $500 billion in each
case. Kamran Mofid, “After the Gulf War II: The Cost of Reconstruction,” World Today (Royal Institute of
International Affairs, London), March 1989, p. 49.
109
Michael Sterner, “The Persian Gulf: The Iran-Iraq War,” Foreign Affairs, Fall 1984, p. 130.
110
Milton Viorst, “Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini,” Time, April 13, 1998, p. 167.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101980413-138964,00.html>
111
Shahram Chubin and Charles Tripp, Iran and Iraq at War (Boulder: Westview, 1988), p. 29.
112
Majid Khadduri, The Gulf War: The Origins and Implications of the Iraq-Iran Conflict (New York: Oxford
University, 1988), p. 102.
113
Milton Viorst, “Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini,” Time, April 13, 1998.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101980413-138964,00.html>
114
Interestingly, Khomeini was not informed of the takeover in advance, though, by the time the geroga-girha
(hostage-takers) presented him their spectacle, it was so popular that he officially anointed them national heroes.
Mark Bowden, “Among the Hostage-Takers,” Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, p. 84.
115
Paul S. Boyer et al., The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, 4th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
2000), p. 906.
116
Mark Bowden, “Among the Hostage-Takers,” Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, pp. 82, 84.

60
Shahram Chubin, “Iran and the War: From Stalemate To Ceasefire,” in Efraim Karsh (ed.), The Iran-Iraq War:
117

Impact and Implications (New York: St. Martin, 1989), p. 13.

Efraim Karsh, “Introduction,” in Efraim Karsh (ed.), The Iran-Iraq War: Impact and Implications (New York: St.
118

Martin, 1989), p. 1.
119
Dilip Hiro, The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict (New York: Routledge, 1991), p. 38.
120
John Keegan, The Iraq War (New York: Knopf, 2004), p. 61.

See also Efraim Karsh, “From Ideological Zeal To Geopolitical Realism: The Islamic Republic and the Gulf,” in
Efraim Karsh (ed.), The Iran-Iraq War: Impact and Implications (New York: St. Martin, 1989), p. 30.
121
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “Can Saddam Be Contained? History Says Yes,” Belfer Center for
Science and International Affairs, November 12, 2002, p. 4.
<http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/can_saddam_be_contained.pdf>

Shahram Chubin, “Iran and the War: From Stalemate To Ceasefire,” in Efraim Karsh (ed.), The Iran-Iraq War:
122

Impact and Implications (New York: St. Martin, 1989), pp. 14-15.
123
Mark Bowden, “Among the Hostage-Takers,” Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, p. 82.
124
Mark Bowden, “Among the Hostage-Takers,” Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, p. 92.
125
Mark Bowden, “Tales of the Tyrant,” Atlantic Monthly, May 2002, p. 47.
126
Helga Graham, “U.S. Oil Plot Fuelled Saddam,” Observer (U.K.), October 21, 1990.
127
An old joke went that whenever Saddam went for a haircut, his barber would ask about Ceaucescu. Irritated,
Saddam would demand to know why he mentioned the deposed dictator. “Because every time I do, sir,” the barber
replied, “the hair on the back of your neck stands up, which makes it easier to trim.”
128
Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi, Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 207.
129
Lisa Beyer, “Iraq’s Power Grab,” Time, August 13, 1990, pp. 19, 20.
130
Theodore H. Draper, “The Gulf War Reconsidered,” New York Review of Books, January 16, 1992, p. 49.
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/3032>
131
Lisa Beyer, “The Crude Enforcer,” Time, August 6, 1990.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,155208,00.html>
132
Lisa Beyer, “Iraq’s Power Grab,” Time, August 13, 1990, p. 18.
133
Lisa Beyer, “Iraq’s Power Grab,” Time, August 13, 1990, p. 19.
134
Lisa Beyer, “Iraq’s Power Grab,” Time, August 13, 1990, p. 19.
135
Lisa Beyer, “Iraq’s Power Grab,” Time, August 13, 1990, p. 16.
136
As quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991,
p. 20.
137
Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World
Order (Princeton: Princeton University, 1993), p. 36.

61
138
As quoted in Ofra Bengio (ed.), Saddam Speaks on the Gulf Crisis: A Collection of Documents (Tel Aviv: Tel
Aviv University, 1992), p. 43.
139
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1989 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,
1990), p. 1411.
140
As quoted in William Safire, “Broadcast To Baghdad,” New York Times, September 10, 1990.
141
As quoted in William Safire, “Broadcast To Baghdad,” New York Times, September 10, 1990.
142
As quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991,
p. 22.
143
William Safire, “Broadcast To Baghdad,” New York Times, September 10, 1990.
144
As quoted in Craig R. Whitney, “Denying Pleas, Iraq Hangs British-Based Reporter,” New York Times, March
16, 1990.
145
As quoted in [Unsigned]. “White House ‘Regrets’ Appeals Unheeded in Journalist’s Execution,” Associated
Press, March 15, 1990.
146
As quoted in Craig R. Whitney, “Denying Pleas, Iraq Hangs British-Based Reporter,” New York Times, March
16, 1990.
147
As quoted in Ofra Bengio (ed.), Saddam Speaks on the Gulf Crisis: A Collection of Documents (Tel Aviv: Tel
Aviv University, 1992), p. 60.
148
As quoted in Alan Cowell, “Iraq Chief, Boasting of Poison Gas, Warns of Disaster if Israelis Strike,” New York
Times, April 3, 1990.
149
Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 23.

As quoted in “U.S. Senators Chat with Saddam,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (eds.), The Gulf War
150

Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 119.

As quoted in “U.S. Senators Chat with Saddam,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (eds.), The Gulf War
151

Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 120.

As quoted in “U.S. Senators Chat with Saddam,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (eds.), The Gulf War
152

Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 120.

As quoted in “U.S. Senators Chat with Saddam,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (eds.), The Gulf War
153

Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 121.
154
John Kelly, Hearing of the Europe and the Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,
Federal News Service, April 26, 1990.
155
Simon Henderson, Instant Empire: Saddam Hussein’s Ambition for Iraq (San Francisco: Mercury House, 1991),
p. 218.
156
Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 36.

As quoted in [Unsigned], “Saddam’s Gulf of Threats,” Economist (U.K.), July 21, 1990, p. 37; as quoted in Don
157

Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 37.

62
158
As quoted in [Unsigned], “Saddam’s Gulf of Threats,” Economist (U.K.), July 21, 1990, p. 37.
159
As quoted in Caryle Murphy, “Iraqi Leader Gets New Title As Kuwaiti Anxiety Grows,” Washington Post, July
20, 1990; as quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17,
1991, p. 38.
160
As quoted in Caryle Murphy, “Iraq Accuses Kuwait of Plot to Steal Oil, Depresses Prices,” Washington Post,
July 19, 1990.
161
As quoted in Caryle Murphy, “Iraqi Leader Gets New Title As Kuwaiti Anxiety Grows,” Washington Post, July
20, 1990.
162
[Unsigned], “Saddam’s Gulf of Threats,” Economist (U.K.), July 21, 1990, p. 37.
163
As quoted in Caryle Murphy, “Iraq Accuses Kuwait of Plot to Steal Oil, Depresses Prices,” Washington Post,
July 19, 1990; as quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine,
March 17, 1991, p. 38.
164
As quoted in Leslie H. Gelb, “Mr. Bush’s Fateful Blunder,” New York Times, July 17, 1991.
165
As quoted in Caryle Murphy, “Iraqi Leader Gets New Title As Kuwaiti Anxiety Grows,” Washington Post, July
20, 1990.

As quoted in Elaine Sciolino with Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Gave Iraq Little Reason Not to Mount Kuwait
166

Assault,” New York Times, September 23, 1990.


167
Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 37.

Caryle Murphy, “Iraq Expands Force near Kuwaiti Border,” Washington Post, July 31, 1990; Don Oberdorfer,
168

“Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 37.

As quoted in Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Deploys Air and Sea Forces after Iraq Threatens Two Neighbors,” New
169

York Times, July 25, 1990.

As quoted in Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Deploys Air and Sea Forces after Iraq Threatens Two Neighbors,” New
170

York Times, July 25, 1990.


171
As quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991,
p. 39.
172
As quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991,
p. 38.

As quoted in Nora Boustany and Patrick E. Tyler, “U.S. Pursues Diplomatic Solution in Persian Gulf Crisis,
173

Warns Iraq,” Washington Post, July 25, 1990, p. A17.

As quoted in Elaine Sciolino with Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Gave Iraq Little Reason Not to Mount Kuwait
174

Assault,” New York Times, September 23, 1990; as quoted in Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,”
Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 39.

As quoted in Elaine Sciolino with Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Gave Iraq Little Reason Not to Mount Kuwait
175

Assault,” New York Times, September 23, 1990.

63
176
As quoted in Michael R. Gordon, “Pentagon Objected To Bush’s Message To Iraq,” New York Times, October
25, 1992.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
177

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 64.
178
In the Glaspie meeting, he says, Saddam says, “I have read the American statements speaking of friends in the
area.” “The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The
Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 63.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
179

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 69.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
180

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 68.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
181

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 67.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
182

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 67.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
183

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 68.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
184

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 63.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
185

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 64.

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
186

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 71.
187
Pace conventional wisdom, Carter never used the word “lie.” Instead, he said Brezhnev was “not telling the facts
accurately,” and added, “My opinion of the Russians has changed most dramatically in the last week than even the
previous two and a half years before that. It’s only now dawning on the world the magnitude of the action that the
Soviets undertook in invading Afghanistan.” “Transcript of President’s Interview on Soviet Reply,” New York
Times, January 1, 1980, p. 4.

In Détente and Confrontation (1985), Raymond Garthoff explains that “[t]his statement was subsequently
considered so embarrassing to Carter that it was not included in the official Weekly Compilation of Presidential
Documents. Nor does he, Brzezinski, or Vance refer to it in their memoirs, although it drew heavy press attention
and was cited by political opponents in the next election campaign as evidence of Carter’s naiveté.” Raymond L.
Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon To Reagan (Washington, D.C.:
Brookings Institution, 1985), p. 950.
188
To be sure, as Jean Edward Smith recounts in George Bush’s War (1992), “[D]etails [of the meetings] are
sketchy and each side asserts its own interpretation,” so we cannot automatically fault the Iraqis. Conversely, “Since
they had been warned by King Fahd, King Hussein, [and] Hosni Mubarak . . . that Saddam meant business, it is
difficult to understand why [the Sabahs] continued to stonewall.” Jean Edward Smith, George Bush’s War (New
York: Henry Holt, 1992), pp. 22, 23.
189
April Glaspie, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Federal News Service, March 20, 1991.

64
Christopher Ogden, “In from the Cold!,” Time, April 1, 1991, p. 36; Elaine Sciolino, “Envoy No Longer Silent:
190

April Catherine Glaspie,” New York Times, March 21, 1991.


191
April Glaspie, Hearing of the Europe and the Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, Federal News Service, March 21, 1991.

As quoted in Thomas L. Friedman, “Envoy To Iraq, Faulted in Crisis, Says She Warned Hussein Sternly,” New
192

York Times, March 21, 1991.

See also Christopher Ogden, “In from the Cold!,” Time, April 1, 1991, p. 36; William Safire, “I’ll Remember April,”
New York Times, March 25, 1991; David Hoffman, “U.S. Envoy Conciliatory To Saddam,” Washington Post, July
12, 1991.
193
As quoted in Michael R. Gordon, “Pentagon Objected To Bush’s Message To Iraq,” New York Times, October
25, 1992.
194
Leslie H. Gelb, “Mr. Bush’s Fateful Blunder,” New York Times, July 17, 1991.
195
Patrick Cockburn, “OPEC Ministers Agree [To] Price Rise,” Independent (U.K.), July 28, 1990.
196
On July 27, State spokesman Richard Boucher said that while “much in Iraq’s recent behavior has caused us
concern,” “the kinds of legislative measures now under consideration would not help us to achieve U.S. goals.”
Mary Curtis, “U.S. Weighs Anti-Iraq Measures,” Boston Globe, July 28, 1990.
197
After complaints from representatives in rural districts, the House voted again to allow the Secretary of
Agriculture to waive the sanctions if he determined they harmed American farmers more than they did Iraq. Steven
A. Holmes, “Congress Backs Curbs against Iraq,” New York Times, July 28, 1990.
198
Caryle Murphy, “Iraq Expands Force near Kuwaiti Border,” Washington Post, July 31, 1990.
199
John Kelly, Hearing of the Europe and the Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,
Federal News Service, July 31, 1990.
200
John K. Cooley, Payback: America’s Long War in the Middle East (McLean: VA: Brassey’s, 1991), p. 188.

See also Alexander Cockburn, “West Vacationed while Saddam Burned,” Wall Street Journal, September 6, 1990,
p. A15.
201
Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 1962), p. 387.
202
Theodore H. Draper, “The True History of the Gulf War,” New York Review of Books, January 30, 1992.
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/3019>

Judith Miller, “Gulf Impact: Hurting U.S. over Time,” New York Times, October 11, 1990; Youssef M. Ibrahim,
203

“A General Surrenders,” New York Times, October 15, 1990.


204
[Unsigned], “The Signals That Were Sent—and the One That Wasn’t,” Economist (U.K.), September 29, 1990, p.
20.
205
Christopher Hitchens, “Realpolitik in the Gulf: A Game Gone Tilt,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The
Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 56.
206
Michael R. Gordon, “Iraq Army Invades Capital of Kuwait in Fierce Fighting,” New York Times, August 2, 1990.
207
Stephen C. Pelletiere, Douglas V. Johnson II and Leif R. Rosenberger, Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Mid

65
dle East (Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania: U.S. Army War College, 1990), pp. x, 41, 39.
208
Don Oberdorfer, “Missed Signals in the Middle East,” Washington Post Magazine, March 17, 1991, p. 40.
209
Elaine Sciolino, “Deskbound in U.S., the Envoy To Iraq Is Called Scapegoat for a Failed Policy,” New York
Times, September 12, 1990.

As quoted in Elaine Sciolino with Michael R. Gordon, “U.S. Gave Iraq Little Reason Not to Mount Kuwait
210

Assault,” New York Times, September 23, 1990.


211
Jeffrey Record, Hollow Victory: A Contrary View of the Gulf War (Washington, DC: Brassey’s: 1993), p. 24.

As quoted in [Unsigned], “The Signals That Were Sent—and the One That Wasn’t,” Economist (U.K.),
212

September 29, 1990, p. 22.

In the Persian Gulf, “the only unforgivable sin is weakness.” Margaret Thatcher, “Don’t Go Wobbly,” Wall Street
Journal, June 17, 2002.
213
Janice Gross Stein, “Deterrence and Compellence in the Gulf, 1990-1991: A Failed or Impossible Task?,”
International Security, Autumn 1992, p. 155.
214
Jean Edward Smith, George Bush’s War (New York: Henry Holt, 1992), p. 62.
215
Jeane Kirkpatrick, Hearing of the House Committee on Armed Services, Federal News Service, December 19,
1990.
216
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “Can Saddam Be Contained? History Says Yes,” Belfer Center for
Science and International Affairs, November 12, 2002, p. 5.
<http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/can_saddam_be_contained.pdf>

See also Richard K. Betts, “Suicide from Fear of Death?” Foreign Affairs, January-February 2003, p. 39; Janice
Gross Stein, “Deterrence and Compellence in the Gulf, 1990-1991: A Failed or Impossible Task?,” International
Security, Autumn 1992, p. 155.
217
Janice Gross Stein, “Deterrence and Compellence in the Gulf, 1990-1991: A Failed or Impossible Task?,”
International Security, Autumn 1992, p. 164.
218
Theodore H. Draper, “The Gulf War Reconsidered,” New York Review of Books, January 16, 1992, p. 50.
<http://www.nybooks.com/articles/3032>

See also Jean Edward Smith, George Bush’s War (New York: Henry Holt, 1992), pp. 30-31.
219
Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi, Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 212.

As quoted in Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New
220

York: John Wiley, 1991), p. 199.


221
For example, as David H. Finnie, author of Shifting Lines in the Sand: Kuwait’s Elusive Frontier with Iraq
(1992), explains, “Iraq confirmed the validity of the 1963 Agreed Minutes by its conduct after the document was
signed. The two countries entered into a number of other agreements on the basis of sovereign equality; they
established diplomatic relations and exchanged ambassadors.” Further, while the joint boundary commission the
countries formed to demarcate their frontier never completed its mission, “by participating in its work Iraq is
presumptively estopped from reneging” on the ’63 agreement. David H. Finnie, Letter To the Editor, in David H.
Finnie, Elliott A. Cohen and Theodore H. Draper, “The Gulf War Reconsidered,” New York Review of Books,
January 16, 1992. <http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2950>

66
222
Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: John
Wiley, 1991), p. 199; Michael Kramer, “Must This Mean War?,” Time, August 27, 1990, p. 19.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101900827-155347,00.html>; Paul Gray, “The Man behind a
Demonic Image,” Time, February 11, 1991.
223
Michael Kramer, “Must This Mean War?,” Time, August 27, 1990, p. 19.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101900827-155347,00.html>
224
Christopher Layne, “Why the Gulf War Was Not in the National Interest,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1991, p. 76.
225
Alan Cowell, “Arabs Are Forming Two Economic Blocs,” New York Times, February 17, 1989.
226
[Unsigned], “Same Old Saddam,” Economist (U.K.), August 4, 1990, p. 30.
227
Ami Ayalon (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey (Boulder: Westview, 1991), p. 587; Barbara Slavin and
Andrew Gowers, “Saudis and Iraq Sign Pact of Nonaggression,” Financial Times (U.K.), March 28, 1989.
228
[Unsigned], “The Signals That Were Sent—and the One That Wasn’t,” Economist (U.K.), September 29, 1990, p.
22.
229
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Next Stop Baghdad?,” Foreign Affairs, March-April 2002, p. 33.
<http://www.cfr.org/publication.php?id=4484>
230
As quoted in Russell Watson, “Was Ambassador Glaspie Too Gentle with Saddam?,” Newsweek, April 1, 1991,
p. 17.
231
Lisa Beyer, “Iraq’s Power Grab,” Time, August 13, 1990, p. 16.
232
George Bush, “Remarks and an Exchange with Reporters on the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait,” George Bush
Presidential Library and Museum, August 2, 1990.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1990/90080201.html>
233
George Bush, “Remarks and an Exchange with Reporters on the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait,” George Bush
Presidential Library and Museum, August 5, 1990.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1990/90080502.html>
234
Dan Goodgame, “‘What if We Do Nothing?,’” Time, January 7, 1991, p. 24.
<http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1990.html>
235
George Bush, “Address To the Nation Announcing the Deployment of United States Armed Forces To Saudi
Arabia,” George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, August 8, 1990.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1990/90080800.html>
236
George Bush, “The President’s News Conference on the Persian Gulf Crisis,” George Bush Presidential Library
and Museum, November 8, 1990. <http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1990/90110803.html>
237
“Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on President Bush’s Letter To President Saddam Hussein of Iraq,”
George Bush Presidential Library, January 12, 1991.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1991/91011201.html>
238
Lisa Beyer, “Last Gasps on the Negotiation Trail,” Time, January 21, 1991, p. 30.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101910121-156265,00.html>
239
Paul Gray, “The Man behind a Demonic Image,” Time, February 11, 1991.

67
240
Andrew Rosenthal, “U.S. and Allies Open Air War on Iraq,” New York Times, January 17, 1991.
241
Daniel Pipes, “W.M.D. Lies,” New York Post, October 7, 2003. <http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1271>
242
Johanna McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s Head,” Time, March 31, 2003, p. 58.

Fed urban myths by ill-informed aides, Third World rulers often misunderstand the United States in fundamental
ways. Even today, at a meeting in February 2005 with George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin was
convinced that his counterpart had fired C.B.S. Evening News anchor Dan Rather, who, during the previous year’s
presidential campaign, had aired now-infamous forgeries rebuking the Bush’s service in the Texas Air National
Guard during the Vietnam War. At a previous summit, Putin asked if American chicken producers run two kinds of
plants: those for domestic consumption and lower quality ones that process substandard produce for Russia. John F.
Dickerson, “Vladimir Putin, C.B.S. News Loyalist,” Time, March 7, 2005, p. 18.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1032354,00.html>
243
Michael Kramer, “The Moment of Truth,” Time, January 21, 1991, pp. 23-24.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101910121-156282,00.html>
244
Daniel Pipes, “War Now—or War Later,” New York Times, October 23, 1990.
<http://www.danielpipes.org/article/197>

See also Michael Kramer, “The Moment of Truth,” Time, January 21, 1991, p. 24.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101910121-156282,00.html>
245
Jerrold M. Post, “Explaining Saddam Hussein: A Psychological Profile,” Prepared Testimony, Hearing of the
House Armed Services Committee on the Persian Gulf Crisis, December 4, 1990.
<http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/iraq/saddam_post.htm>
246
For a compilation of the hostages, see Nigel Holmes, “Caught in the Conflict,” Time, August 27, 1990, p. 25.
247
[Unsigned], “The Caravan To Baghdad,” Economist (U.K.), November 10, 1990, p. 48.
248
Subhy Haddad, “Iraq Offers Free Oil To Thirsty Third World,” Financial Post (Toronto), September 11, 1990.
249
Janice Gross Stein, “Deterrence and Compellence in the Gulf, 1990-1991: A Failed or Impossible Task?,”
International Security, Autumn 1992, p. 172.
250
Lisa Beyer, “Pausing at the Rim of the Abyss,” Time, September 10, 1990.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101900910-155451,00.html>

As quoted in Thomas L. Friedman, “And Now the Hard Part: Making Hussein Give In,” New York Times,
251

October 21, 1990.


252
As quoted in Dan Balz, “Bush Bashes Congress on Budget Mess,” Washington Post, October 17, 1990.

As quoted in Thomas L. Friedman, “U.S. Jobs at Stake in Gulf, Baker Says,” New York Times, November 14,
253

1990.
254
George Bush, “Why We Are in the Gulf,” Newsweek, November 26, 1990.
255
As cited in Thomas L. Friedman, “U.S. Gulf Policy: Vague ‘Vital Interest,’” New York Times, August 12, 1990.
256
Christopher Layne, “Why the Gulf War Was Not in the National Interest,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1991, p. 68.

68
257
Congressional Record, January 12, 1991, p. S109.
258
As quoted in Dan Goodgame, “‘What if We Do Nothing?,’” Time, January 7, 1991, p. 22.
<http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1990.html>
259
Thomas L. Friedman, “U.S. Gulf Policy: Vague ‘Vital Interest,’” New York Times, August 12, 1990.
260
Elaine Sciolino, “Hussein’s Errors: Complex Impulses,” New York Times, February 28, 1991.
261
Daniel Pipes, “Will Saddam back down—or Fight?,” Wall Street Journal, December 20, 1990.
<http://www.danielpipes.org/article/200>; Mark Danner, [Untitled], New Yorker, December 20, 1990.
<http://www.markdanner.com/newyorker/122090_for_almost_four.htm>
262
Michael Kramer, “Deadline: January 15,” Time, December 10, 1990.
263
The Military Balance: 1990-1991 (London: Brassey’s: 1990), p. 105.
264
As quoted in [Unsigned], Crisis in the Persian Gulf: Sanctions, Diplomacy and War (Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Government Printing Office, 1991), p. 529.
265
As quoted in Richard Pyle, Schwarzkopf: The Man, The Mission, The Triumph (New York: Signet, 1991), p. 156.
266
Peter Applebome, “Ripples of Pain As U.S. Dips Deeper into Military,” New York Times, January 31, 1991.
267
Michael Kramer, “Must This Mean War?,” Time, August 27, 1990, p. 16.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101900827-155347,00.html>
268
George J. Church, “Weekend To Full-time Warriors,” Time, September 10, 1990.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,971114,00.html>
269
As quoted in Patrick E. Tyler, “Adding It All Up,” New York Times, February 10, 1991; as quoted in Elaine
Sciolino, “Hussein’s Errors: Complex Impulses,” New York Times, February 28, 1991.

In August Saddam had told Dan Rather of C.B.S. News, “The United States relies on the Air Force.” As quoted in
“Excerpts from Interview with Hussein on Crisis in Gulf,” New York Times, August 31, 1990.
270
Robert A. Pape Jr., “Airpower Can’t Dislodge Iraq,” Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 1990, p. 19.
271
Osama bin Laden, Interview with John Miller, Southern Afghanistan, May 1998.
<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/interview.html>
272
Romesh Ratnesar, “Sticking To His Guns,” Time, April 7, 2003, p. 40; Thomas Barnes, in Harry Kreisler and
Thomas Barnes, Interview with Robert H. Scales, “Conversations with History,” Institute of International Studies,
University of California, Berkeley, March 9, 2004. <http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people4/Scales/scales-
con3.html>

“The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam Meets the U.S. Ambassador,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, The Iraq
273

War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (New York: Touchstone, 2003), p. 64.
274
As quoted in James Ridgeway (ed.), The March To War (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1991), p. 62.
275
Neil C. Livingston, “Iraq’s Intentional Omission,” Sea Power, June 1991, p. 29.
276
In Alan Cowell, “Leaders Bluntly Prime Iraq for ‘Mother of All Battles,’” New York Times, September 22, 1990.

69
Amatzia Baram, “Calculation and Miscalculation in Baghdad,” in Alex Danchev and Dan Keohane, International
277

Perspectives on the Gulf Conflict, 1990-91 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1994), p. 32.
278
Jerrold M. Post and Amatzia Baram, “’Saddam Is Iraq: Iraq Is Saddam’ (until Operation Iraqi Freedom),” in
Barry R. Schneider and Jerrold M. Post (eds.), Know Thy Enemy: Profiles of Adversary Leaders and Their Strategic
Cultures, 2d ed. (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: USAF Counterproliferation Center, 2003), p. 183.
<http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cpc-pubs/know_thy_enemy/postbaram2.pdf>; Amatzia Baram, “Calculation
and Miscalculation in Baghdad,” in Alex Danchev and Dan Keohane, International Perspectives on the Gulf
Conflict, 1990-91 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1994), p. 45.
279
Elaine Sciolino, “Hussein’s Errors: Complex Impulses,” New York Times, February 28, 1991.
280
Johanna McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s Head,” Time, March 31, 2003, p. 57.
281
Victor Davis Hanson, “The Power of Will,” National Review Online, October 29, 2004.
<http://nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200410290825.asp>

“The most successful group by far in this exercise has been the Palestine Liberation Organization. The P.L.O. was
founded in 1964 but became important in 1967, after the defeat of the combined Arab armies in the Six-Day War.
Regular warfare had failed; it was time to try other methods. The targets in this form of armed struggle were not
military or other government establishments, which are usually too well guarded, but public places and gatherings of
any kind, which are overwhelmingly civilian, and in which the victims do not necessarily have a connection to the
declared enemy. Examples of this include, in 1970, the hijacking of three aircraft—one Swiss, one British, and one
American—which were all taken to Amman; the 1972 murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics; the seizure
in 1973 of the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum, and the murder there of two Americans and a Belgian diplomat; and the
takeover of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, in 1985. Other attacks were directed against schools, shopping
malls, discothèques, pizzerias, and even passengers waiting in line at European airports. These and other attacks by
the P.L.O. were immediately and remarkably successful in attaining their objectives—the capture of newspaper
headlines and television screens. They also drew a great deal of support in sometimes unexpected places, and raised
their perpetrators to starring roles in the drama of international relations. Small wonder that others were encouraged
to follow their example—in Ireland, in Spain, and elsewhere.” Bernard Lewis, “The Revolt of Islam,” New Yorker,
November 19, 2001, p. 61. <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?011119fa_FACT2>
282
Mike Barnicle, “Earlier Battles, Lingering Fears,” Boston Globe, August 21, 1990.
283
George Bush, “The President’s News Conference,” George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, November
30, 1990. <http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1990/90113000.html>
284
George Bush, “Address To the Nation Announcing Allied Military Action in the Persian Gulf,” George Bush
Presidential Library and Museum, January 16, 1991.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1991/91011602.html>

Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: John
285

Wiley & Sons, 1991), p. 230.


286
As quoted in Richard Pyle, Schwarzkopf: The Man, The Mission, The Triumph (New York: Signet, 1991), p. 155.
287
Lisa Beyer, “Pausing at the Rim of the Abyss,” Time, September 10, 1990.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101900910-155451,00.html>
288
As quoted in Thomas Beaumont, “Kerry: Bush Should Bend on Iraq,” Des-Moines Register, March 9, 2003.
<http://www.dmregister.com/news/stories/c4789004/20687439.html>

Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: John
289

Wiley & Sons, 1991), pp. 237–238.

70
290
John Bulloch and Harvey Morris, Saddam’s War (Winchester, MA: Faber & Faber, 1991), p. 159.
291
Daniel Pipes, “Is Damascus Ready for Peace?,” Foreign Affairs, Fall 1991, p. 41.
<http://www.danielpipes.org/article/212>

Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: John
292

Wiley & Sons, 1991), pp. 237.

Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: John
293

Wiley & Sons, 1991), pp. 237.

Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis (New York: John
294

Wiley & Sons, 1991), pp. 239.


295
Lisa Beyer, “The Center Holds—for Now,” Time, September 3, 1990, p. 36.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,155420,00.html>
296
Jeffrey Record, Hollow Victory: A Contrary View of the Gulf War (Washington, DC: Brassey’s: 1993), p. 33.
297
Fouad Ajami, “Iraq and the Arabs’ Future,” Foreign Affairs, January-February 2003, p. 6.
298
As quoted in “Fighting the War of Words over Kuwait,” New York Times, August 12, 1990.
299
Otto Friedrich, “‘He Gives Us a Ray of Hope,’” Time, August 27, 1990, p. 26.
<http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/subscriber/0,10987,1101900827-155335,00.html>
300
Joel Brinkley, “Jordanians Meet Frustration in Search for ‘Arab Solution,’” New York Times, September 21,
1990; William Drozdiak, “Jordan, Algeria Pressing Arab Solution To Crisis,” Washington Post, December 10, 1990;
Claude Rakisits, “The Gulf Crisis: Failure of Preventive Diplomacy,” in Kevin Clements and Robin Ward (eds.),
Building International Community (St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1994), p. 99.
301
R.W. Apple Jr., “U.S. ‘Nightmare Scenario’: Being Finessed by Iraq,” New York Times, December 19, 1990.
302
George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Knopf, 1998), pp. 437-438.
303
Bob Woodward, Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p.
187.
304
As quoted in Bob Woodward, Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1999), p. 185.
305
Jeffrey Record, Hollow Victory: A Contrary View of the Gulf War (Washington, DC: Brassey’s: 1993), p. 38.
306
Matthew L. Wald, “Experts Worried by Kuwait Fires, New York Times, August 14, 1991
307
Tom Wicker, “Kuwait Still Burns,” New York Times, July 28, 1991.
308
R. Jeffrey Smith, “U.S. Says Iraqis Prepared Germ Weapons in Gulf War,” Washington Post, August 26, 1995.

See also David Johnston, “Saddam Hussein Sowed Confusion about Iraq’s Arsenal As a Tactic of War,” New York
Times, October 7, 2004. <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/07/politics/07saddam.html>
309
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Next Stop Baghdad?” Foreign Affairs, March-April 2002, p. 36.
<http://www.cfr.org/publication.php?id=4484>

71
310
Paul Wolfowitz, “Clinton’s Bay of Pigs,” Wall Street Journal, September 27, 1996.
311
James A. Baker III with Thomas DeFrank, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989-1992
(New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 359.

See also Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New
World Order (Princeton: Princeton University, 1993), p. 257.
312
Michael Kramer, “The Moment of Truth,” Time, January 21, 1991, p. 23.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101910121-156282,00.html>
313
“Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on President Bush’s Letter To President Saddam Hussein of Iraq,”
George Bush Presidential Library, January 12, 1991.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1991/91011201.html>
314
[Unsigned], “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” United States Strategic Command, 1995, p. 6.
<http://nautilus.org/archives/nukestrat/USA/Advisory/essentials95.PDF>
315
R. Jeffrey Smith, “U.N. Says Iraqis Prepared Germ Weapons in Gulf War,” Washington Post, August 26, 1995.
316
Tariq Aziz, Interview with [Unknown], “The Gulf War: Oral History,” Frontline, Public Broadcasting Service,
January 9, 1996. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/oral/aziz/3.html>

“Senior Iraqi wartime civilian and military leaders (including Saddam’s son-in-law) have claimed that while U.S.
conventional threats were insufficient to stop Saddam Hussein, implicit U.S. nuclear threats did deter his use of
C.B.W. [chemical and biological weapons].” Keith Payne, “Nuclear Deterrence Provides U.S. Irreplaceable
Option,” Defense News, April 13-19, 1998, p. 21.
317
As quoted in Lawrence J. Goodrich, “U.S. Won’t Use Chemical Arms in Gulf, Air Force Chief Says,” Christian
Science Monitor, August 14, 1990.
318
R. Jeffrey Smith and Rick Atkinson, “U.S. Rules out Gulf Use of Nuclear, Chemical Arms,” Washington Post,
January 7, 1991.
319
In his memoirs, James Baker confirms this. James A. Baker III with Thomas DeFrank, The Politics of
Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989-1992 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 359.
320
R. Jeffrey Smith and Rick Atkinson, “U.S. Rules out Gulf Use of Nuclear, Chemical Arms,” Washington Post,
January 7, 1991.
321
Three weeks into the war, in response to a reporter’s question as to how he would respond to a chemical attack,
Bush said, “I think it’s better to never say what option you may be considering or may or may not do. . . . [H]e
[Saddam] ought to think very carefully about doing that—very, very carefully. And I will leave that up to a very
fuzzy interpretation because I would like to have every possible chance that he decides not to do this.” George Bush,
“The President’s News Conference,” George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, February 5, 1991.
<http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1991/91020500.html>
322
Barry R. Posen, “U.S. Security Policy in a Nuclear-Armed World; or: What if Iraq Had Had Nuclear Weapons?”
Security Studies, Spring 1997, p. 19.

See, for instance, “Iraqi Leadership Statement[:] Oil Fields to Be Destroyed in Event of Attack,” B.B.C.
323

Summary of World Broadcasts, September 24, 1990.

72
324
Although Tel Aviv has neither signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty nor confirmed or denied that it has a
nuclear weapon program, in July 1998, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres acknowledged what is widely believed:
that Israel had “built a nuclear option[,] not in order to have a Hiroshima but an Oslo.” As quoted in Michal
Yudelman, “Peres Gives Sign of Nuclear Capability,” Jerusalem Post, July 14, 1998.
325
Mark Grossman, Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War (Santa Barbara: CA: ABC-CLIO, 1995), p. 307.
326
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Why Iraq Can’t Be Deterred,” New York Times, September 26, 2002, p. A19.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/26/opinion/26POLL.html>
327
Kenneth M. Pollack, “A Last Chance to Stop Iraq,” New York Times, February 21, 2003, p. A27.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/21/opinion/21POLL.html>
328
Joel Brinkley, “Israeli Tension Eases a Bit, As New U.S. Help Arrives,” New York Times, 1/21/1991; “Joel
Brinkley, “Israel Says It Must Strike at Iraqis but Indicates Willingness to Wait,” New York Times, 1/20/1991.

Khidhir Hamza, Interview with Daniel Pipes, “Khidhir Hamza: ‘I Can Forsee Saddam Controlling the Middle
329

East,’” Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2001, p. 69. <http://www.meforum.org/article/102>


330
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Next Stop Baghdad?” Foreign Affairs, March-April 2002, p. 36.
<http://www.cfr.org/publication.php?id=4484>
331
Arnold Beichman, “Israel’s Right To Self-defense,” Washington Times, February 9, 1998.
332
[Unsigned], “Israel’s Illusion,” New York Times, June 9, 1981.
333
Gregg Easterbrook, “Term Limits,” New Republic, October 7, 2002, p. 22.
334
Colin L. Powell with Joseph E. Persico, My American Journey (New York: Ballantine, 1996 [1995]), p. 455.
335
Vernon Loeb, “‘No-fly’ Patrols Praised,” Washington Post, July 26, 2002.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A2674-2002Jul25&notFound=true>
336
David Brooks, “The Elephantiasis of Reason,” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2003, p. 35.
337
David Brooks, “The Elephantiasis of Reason,” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2003, p. 35.
338
David Brooks, “The Elephantiasis of Reason,” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2003, p. 35.
339
Fareed Zakaria, “The Wealth of Yet More Nations,” New York Times Book Review, May 1, 2005.
<http://www.fareedzakaria.com/articles/nyt/nytreview050105.html>
340
David Brooks, “The Art of Intelligence,” New York Times, April 2, 2005, p. A15.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/opinion/02brooks.html>

“[R]ationalism may be defined as a case of elephantiasis of the spirit of rational inquiry.” Irving Kristol,
“Rationalism in Economics,” in Daniel Bell and Irving Kristol (eds.), The Crisis in Economic Theory (New York:
Basic, 1981), p. 203.
341
Jerrold M. Post, “Explaining Saddam Hussein: A Psychological Profile,” Prepared Testimony, Hearing of the
House Armed Services Committee on the Persian Gulf Crisis, December 4, 1990.
<http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/iraq/saddam_post.htm>
342
Youssef M. Ibrahim, “The Man Who Would Be Feared,” New York Times, July 29, 1990.

73
343
Johanna McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s World,” Time, May 13, 2002, p. 31.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101020513-235435,00.html>
344
Kenneth M. Pollack, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (New York: Random House, 2002), p.
280.
345
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Why Iraq Can’t Be Deterred,” New York Times, September 26, 2002, p. A19.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/26/opinion/26POLL.html>

As quoted in Mark Strauss, “A Rogue by Any Other Name: The Adjustable Language of Foreign Policy,”
346

Chronicle Review, December 15, 2000, p. B12. <http://www.ceip.org/files/publications/rogue.asp>


347
John Mueller, “Deterring the Egomaniac du Jour,” in John Mueller and Brink Lindsey, “Should We Invade
Iraq?,” Reason, January 2003, p. 47. <http://reason.com/debate/ai-debate110102a.shtml>
348
Victor Davis Hanson, “Great Leaders Are Forged in War,” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2001.
349
[Unsigned], “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” United States Strategic Command, 1995, p. 4.
<http://nautilus.org/archives/nukestrat/USA/Advisory/essentials95.PDF>
350
[Unsigned], “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” United States Strategic Command, 1995, p. 7.
<http://nautilus.org/archives/nukestrat/USA/Advisory/essentials95.PDF>
351
President Nixon famously tried convincing the Communists that he might literally go nuclear if they didn’t
behave. “I call it the Madman Theory,” he explained to his chief of staff. “I want the North Vietnamese to believe
that I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war.”

Mark Strauss, “A Rogue by Any Other Name: The Adjustable Language of Foreign Policy,” Chronicle Review,
352

December 15, 2000, p. B13. <http://www.ceip.org/files/publications/rogue.asp>


353
Jerrold M. Post, “Explaining Saddam Hussein: A Psychological Profile,” Prepared Testimony, Hearing of the
House Armed Services Committee on the Persian Gulf Crisis, December 4, 1990.
<http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/iraq/saddam_post.htm>; Johanna McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s World,” Time,
May 13, 2002, p. 29. <http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101020513-235435,00.html>
354
James DeHart and Jerrold Post, “Responding To Qaddafi,” Christian Science Monitor, January 7, 1992, p. 18.
355
Johanna McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s Head,” Time, March 31, 2003, p. 57.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101030331-435906,00.html>
356
Kenneth M. Pollack, “Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong,” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2004,
p. 86. <http://www.brookings.edu/dybdocroot/views/articles/pollack/20040108.pdf>
357
Johanna McGeary, “Inside Saddam’s Head,” Time, March 31, 2003, p. 57.
<http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1101030331-435906,00.html>
358
Saddam “did not change overnight into a ruthless tyrant; what changed was the attitude of the United States
toward him.” Mark Danner, [Untitled], September 10, 1990, New Yorker, September 10, 1990, p. 35.
<http://www.markdanner.com/newyorker/091090_Americans_tend.htm>

“World Politics Changes. Cruel, Ambitious Dictators Do Not.” Flora Lewis, “Between-Lines Disaster,” New York
Times, September 19, 1990.
359
William Safire, “Anti-Missile Issue,” New York Times, August 22, 1996.

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360
Jerrold M. Post, “Explaining Saddam Hussein: A Psychological Profile,” Prepared Testimony, Hearing of the
House Armed Services Committee on the Persian Gulf Crisis, December 4, 1990.
<http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/iraq/saddam_post.htm>

Chris Matthew Sciabarra, “Don’t Bother to Examine a Folly,” Liberty and Power Group Blog, History News
361

Network, December 15, 2003. <http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/2007.html>


362
Thomas L. Friedman, “People Power,” New Republic, June 28, 2004, p. 28.

Kanan Makiya, “How Saddam Held onto Power,” in Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (eds.), The Iraq War
363

Reader: History Documents, Opinions (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), p. 123.
364
Steve Chapman, “No, Even if Saddam Has Nukes,” September 27, 2002, in Jacob Weisberg et al., “Should the
U.S. Invade Iraq? Week 1,” Slate, September 26-September 27, 2002.
<http://www.slate.com/id/2071522/entry/2071663/>
365
George W. Bush, Speech, “President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat,” Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Union
Terminal, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 7, 2002. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-
8.html>
366
Richard K. Betts, “Suicide from Fear of Death?,” Foreign Affairs, January-February 2003, p. 40.
367
Charles Krauthammer, “The Obsolescence of Deterrence,” Weekly Standard, December 9, 2002.
<http://www.theweeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/964dzkuf.asp>
368
Actually, like Operation Iraqi Freedom, this would not have preemption but prevention. According to the
Defense Department’s official definitions, preemption is “initiated on the basis of incontrovertible evidence that an
enemy attack is imminent.” “Preemptive Attack,” Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated
Terms, October 7, 2004. <http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/doddict/data/p/04142.html>

Prevention is “initiated in the belief that military conflict, while not imminent, is inevitable, and that to delay would
involve greater risk.” “Preventive War,” Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,
October 7, 2004. <http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/doddict/data/p/04178.html

In other words, “[A] preventive war is a preemptive war in which the imminence requirement is recast from
temporal to probabilistic terms.” David Luban, “Preventive War,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, November 3,
2004, p. 230. <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=469862>

Put another way, preemption is interceptive, whereas prevention is anticipatory. Yoram Dinstein, War, Aggression
and Self Defense, 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 172.

Interestingly, NSC-68, the National Security Council document from 1950 that helped shape U.S. Cold War military
doctrine, deplored the latter. “It goes without saying that the idea of ‘preventive’ war—in the sense of a military
attack not provoked by a military attack upon us or our allies—is generally unacceptable to Americans.” [Unsigned],
“United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” National Security Council, April 7, 1950.
<http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsc-hst/nsc-68-9.htm>
369
Steve Chapman, “Iraq Not,” Slate, November 29, 2001. <http://slate.msn.com/?id=2059126>
370
Steve Chapman, “No, Even if Saddam Has Nukes,” September 27, 2002, in Jacob Weisberg et al., “Should the
U.S. Invade Iraq? Week 1,” Slate, September 26-September 27, 2002.
<http://www.slate.com/id/2071522/entry/2071663/>

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