"(CBS) Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture."
(That link includes a video clip.)
In a "60 Minutes" interview, Prio said: "He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack,"
"He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack."
"He didn't believe the U.S. would invade?" the interviewer asked "No, not initially" Piro replied.
So that's why it looked like Iraq had nuclear weapons. Hussein wanted Iran to be afraid of his non-existent nukes, and didn't think America would do more than a repeat of the 1998 bombardment.
Maybe America should have left Saddam and his party-boy sons in charge of Iraq. Okay, the FBI interrogator who interviewed Hussein said that the ex-dictator planned to re-start his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons program. "He wanted to pursue all of WMD ... to reconstitute his entire WMD program," was the way Piro put it.
That doesn't mean that Saddam Hussein actually would have.
Despite the embarrassment of
- A surge that worked
- An Iraq in the hands of a relatively representative government
- Iraqi infrastructure being rebuilt after decades of neglect
- Hospitals and schools being repaired, and used for something other than backdrops for video clips and sound bites