In a democracy, citizens have to keep themselves informed about key events and issues. That’s why I’ve been working my way through the Duelfer Report, the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. And from a religious point of view, this report poses the difficult question — is the second Gulf War a just war?
The report now available on the Web in HTML and as extremely large PDF files. Forget the PDF files, they’re too big — go straight for the HTML version of the report at http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/index.html
I was struck by this passage:
Saddam did not consider the United States a natural adversary, as he did Iran and Israel, and he hoped that Iraq might again enjoy improved relations with the United States, according to Tariq â€˜Aziz and the presidential secretary. Tariq â€˜Aziz pointed to a series of issues, which occurred between the end of the Iran-Iraq war and 1991, to explain why Saddam failed to improve relations with the United States: Irangate (the covert supplying of Iran with missiles, leaked in 1986), a continuing US fleet presence in the Gulf, suspected CIA links with Kurds and Iraqi dissidents and the withdrawal of agricultural export credits. After Irangate, Saddam believed that Washington could not be trusted and that it was out to get him personally. His outlook encouraged him to attack Kuwait, and helps explain his later half-hearted concessions to the West. These concerns collectively indicated to Saddam that there was no hope of a positive relationship with the United States in the period before the attack on Kuwait.
Although the United States was not considered a natural adversary, some Iraqi decision-makers viewed it as Iraqâ€™s most pressing concern, according to former Vice President Ramadan. Throughout the 1990s, Saddam and the Baâ€™th Regime considered full-scale invasion by US forces to be the most dangerous potential threat to unseating the Regime, although Saddam rated the probability of an invasion as very low.
Clearly Saddam Hussein misjudged the political situation in the United States. As I work my way through the rest of the report, perhaps I’ll have additional comments. You look at the report, too, and tell me what you think….