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Poll: Does Saddam's WMD Deceit Matter?

Poll: Does Saddam's WMD Deceit Matter?

This week on 60 Minutes, Saddam Hussein's interrogator shared various confessions of the late Iraqi president. FBI field agent George Piro, one of 50 Arabic-speaking agents, met with the dictator everyday after his capture.

Piro managed to get an explanation about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction from Saddam. Piro recounted:

"He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s. And those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq."

When asked why Saddam kept the destruction a secret, risking his nation and his life, Piro explained:

"It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from re-invading Iraq."

Apparently, Saddam underestimated the United States' plan for invasion.

Click here for more details regarding Piro's fascinating relationship with Saddam.

Does Saddam's confession— that his worries about an Iranian invasion kept him from revealing the truth about the lack of WMD—change your opinion about the road to war with Iraq?

Join The Conversation
piper23 piper23 9 years
''Tyranny truly is a horror: an immense, endlessly bloody, endlessly painful, endlessly varied, endless crime against not humanity in the abstract but a lot of humans in the flesh. It is, as Orwell wrote, a jackboot forever stomping on a human face. ''I understand why some dislike the idea, and fear the ramifications, of America as a liberator. But I do not understand why they do not see that anything is better than life with your face under the boot. And that any rescue of a people under the boot (be they Afghan, Kuwaiti, or Iraqi) is something to be desired. Even if the rescue is less than perfectly realized. Even if the rescuer is a great, overmuscled, bossy, selfish oaf. Or would you, for yourself, choose the boot?" - Michael Kelly wrote this in one of his last columns. Micheal Kelly was the first journalist to die while covering the war.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
The second option is a bit imprecise, because there was intelligence from normally very reliable sources indicating that he *did* have WMDs. And had used them against his own citizens. Also, there was information that he, hosted training camps for international terrorists as a for-profit business. It's easy to second-guess past decisions, but the risk to American citizens at home appeared at the time to be credible.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
We would not have gone into Iraq if they farmed Potatoes. People might think that invading Iraq was the "right" to do but they should not base that belief on the assertion that the US did so because Saddam "was a dictator who killed thousands of innocent Kurds." The US would have been fine with it if Saddam didn't sit on a pot of oil. There are many dictators who have slaughtered many (often using weapons the US sold them) the US and most other countries seem perfect happy to let them keep about their business. Let's not pretend the US cared.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
Jillness, i don't mean to be argumentative, but I don't think the record supports that assertion. The French, along with syria, voted for 1441, the inspectors went back in. The reports from the inspectors indicated a lack of cooperation and alot of missing nerve gas. The "freedom fries" (certainly a low point in american sentiment) was a result of the french not backing the US desire to invade. As usual, wikipedia has a good summary i think the below is the crux. In any event, I think it is worth pointing out because thinking that it was just the administration is revisionist and prevents us from honestly looking at what happened and the mentality that lead to such incorrect conclusions. -- On December 19, Hans Blix reported before the United Nations and stated in regards to Iraq's December 7 report (unedited version): "During the period 1991-1998, Iraq submitted many declarations called full, final and complete. Regrettably, much in these declarations proved inaccurate or incomplete or was unsupported or contradicted by evidence. In such cases, no confidence can arise that proscribed programmes or items have been eliminated." --
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think a lot of countries went along with us because they are our allies and we had sympathy post 9/11. Russia, China, and France didn't buy it from the adminstration, and we ended up getting "Freedom Fries". To suggest that no one was suspicious at the time isn't true. You have to recognised that anyone who was dissenting was silenced or slandered. 1441 was passed, and Iraq said it would allow the UN inspectors back into Iraq. The UN found nothing. I think it is important to point out that many people who are/were against the war had valid information to contribute, but were called Anti-American for doubting the administration. The bottom line is that Bush overstated his case for war, knowingly.
foxie foxie 9 years
Most people who are against this war already have their minds made up and no news will change it. They'll just take this valid information and twist it around until it fits THEIR idea of the war (ie- Yes, if the administration listened to Saddam, it's more incompetent than I thought). So really, there's no use.
piper23 piper23 9 years
There was a vote to go to war entitled - A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq. I would hope that all of the yea votes would have checked out the intelligence before making such a vote. Bush could not have gone into Iraq without those "yeas". Monday morning quarterback is a nice role to play but when you have a dictator who has already gassed a portion of his country saying that he has weapons of mass destruction and then factor in the emotional state of our country at that time, I can see why we got all of those yea votes. Of course it was bad intelligence, no one is disputing that. But who knew it at that time? Apparently not many or Bush would not have been able to go to war.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
I meant 15th my bad lol.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
Yes, Joe Wilson certainly did not agree with the assessment. All I am saying, and stand by, is that prior to the invasion, there was consensus among international intelligence agencies that Iraq was pursuing WMD. The unanimous passage of UN Security Council 1441 is evidence of this fact.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Don't ask don't tell was introduced and approved in 1993...
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Saddam was an idiot for further antagonizing the USA, especially when emotions were running high after a major terrorist attack and the president was under immense pressure to prevent anything like that from happening again. I think any intelligence at ALL that reveals a possible threat should be taken seriously, not ignored. That being said, if President Bush would have done what he should have to do in the first place (taken the time to properly review every possible course, exhaust all of our diplomatic resources and done the proper research), it would have eventually become clear that the man had nothing at all. And so many men and women might still be alive today, who knows? I pray that this is a lesson that our future presidents will remember.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"My understanding is that internationally there was consensus that Saddam was working on WMD and that only divergence was what to do about it." Ambassador Joe Wilson was disputing that Iraq had WMD capabilities.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
speaking of the military today is the 25th anniversary of the don't ask don't tell policy.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I still think we did the right thing by invading Iraq.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
Here's one example: March 1, 2002 Bureau of Intelligence and Research Publishes an Intelligence Estimate, Finding Sale of Uranium to Iraq Unlikely On March 1, 2002, INR [Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research] published an intelligence assessment, "Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely." The INR analyst who drafted the assessment told Committee staff that he had been told that the piece was in response to interest from the Vice President's office in the alleged Iraq–Niger deal. The assessment reiterated INR's view that France controlled the uranium industry and "would take action to block a sale of the kind alleged in a CIA report of questionable credibility from a foreign government service." The assessment added that "some officials may have conspired for individual gain to arrange a uranium sale," but considered President Tandja's government unlikely to risk relations with the U.S. and other key aid donors. SOURCE: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq (U.S. Senate, 2004), page 42.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
Interesting that "No. Most intelligence said there were no WMD, regardless of what Saddam said." is the most selected. My understanding is that internationally there was consensus that Saddam was working on WMD and that only divergence was what to do about it. Am I mis-remembering? Any cites would be welcome.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
No one is saying Saddam was a nice guy. The fact is he was terrible, but if Bush would have researched the REGION, and thought about the implications of taking Saddam out, it was clear this war between religious factions was going to happen. The surrounding countries had far too much interest to just let their neighbor be taken out. It was more than obvious that the surrounding countries would get involved.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Judge not lest ye be judged...regardless of the atrocities that Saddam committed, it was not the place of the US to be judge, jury, and executioner. It should have been brought up for vote at the UN, with an actionable, reasonable plan to remove him from power and prosecute. It was not our (the US) right to go into war. 9/11 and Saddam are two different (albeit similar) topics. One does not equate victimization of the other.
piper23 piper23 9 years
If Bush Sr had another four years he probably would have. Either way Saddam was a dictator who killed thousands of innocent Kurds. He deserved what he got.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
There is a reason that Bush Sr. didn't take out Saddam. Bush Jr. should have studied a bit before pushing his staff to war. It was known that taking Saddam out would create a vaccume and the surrounding countries would rush to gain influence.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Isn't this just another way of saying Saddam didn't have WMDs? I thought that was just a common fact. Did ANYONE really believe that story? Except the press, of course.
piper23 piper23 9 years
Our country was in peril before we started this way. Remember 9/11? This guy says that Saddam's goal was to make the US believe he had WMDs. Well, it worked. What an idiot.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
It will always matter. It matters because what "our" Administration did was to not only CREATE a war but they put our whole way of life and living into jeopardy. We are so laughed at by the rest of the world now and our whole country is in peril that we just refuse to see.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
Well he's dead so it's too late anyway for it to matter.
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