Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

French treachery?

Steve Coll has a long article in the WaPo about the confusion in Iraq on the eve of the war and how Saddam thought he could survive. The first paragraph already indicates some very interesting information to be found in the rest of the article.

"Saddam Hussein refused to order a counterattack against U.S. troops when war erupted in March because he misjudged the initial ground thrust as a ruse and had been convinced earlier by Russian and French contacts that he could avoid or survive a land invasion, former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has told interrogators, according to U.S. officials."

Here is another: "Aziz’s extensive interrogations -- eased by a U.S. decision to quietly remove his family from Iraq to safe exile in a country that American officials would not name -- paint Hussein on the eve of war as a distracted, distrustful despot who was confused, among other things, by his meetings with Russian and French intermediaries. Aziz said Hussein emerged from these diplomatic sessions -- some secret at the time -- convinced that he might yet avoid a war that would end his regime, despite ample evidence to the contrary."

And yet one more: "Aziz has told interrogators that French and Russian intermediaries repeatedly assured Hussein during late 2002 and early this year that they would block a U.S.-led war through delays and vetoes at the U.N. Security Council. Later, according to Aziz, Hussein concluded after private talks with French and Russian contacts that the United States would probably wage a long air war first, as it had done in previous conflicts. By hunkering down and putting up a stiff defense, he might buy enough time to win a cease-fire brokered by Paris and Moscow."

I am aware that Aziz is not necessarily trustworthy, and he may be making things up just to get on our good side, etc. Yet, these are interesting things, and the reporter seems pretty careful. This may be worth paying attention to. 

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