London: In a startling revelation John Nixon, former CIA analyst who interrogated the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, claims that the US got is completely wrong about Saddam.
In his book, entitled “Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein,” Nixon gives a first-hand account of how the invasion of Iraq and the execution of Saddam Hussein happened.
Nixon claims that the US made a critical mistake in their Iraqi intervention on many counts, including their complete misreading of Hussein’s health, personal habits, and his attitude towards chemical weapons.
During the interrogations, Nixon had asked Hussein if he’d ever thought of engaging in a pre-emptive strike with WMDs against US troops based in Saudi Arabia. The former dictator replied, “We never thought about using weapons of mass destruction. It was not discussed. Use chemical weapons against the world? Is there anyone with full faculties who would do this? Who would use these weapons when they had not been used against us?”
The CIA agent admitted this was “not what we had expected to hear”.
In an excerpt from his book that Nixon wrote for the Daily Mail, he says “In the course of interrogations, Saddam ‘turned our assumptions upside down’. In particular the ex-CIA agent says that had Saddam remained in power, the swift rise of a terrifying terrorist organization like ISIS would have been impossible.
Saddam, says Nixon, was well aware of the threat posed by Jihadi Islam and was eager to suppress such attempts. Infact, apparently, after 9/11 Saddam thought that now the US will partner with his secular government to fight Islamist terrorism.
Nixon concedes that he had to “grudging respect for how he [Saddam] was able to maintain the Iraqi nation”.
The ex-CIA analyst also mentions that given the progressive deterioration and chaos of Iraq, Saddam’s warning to him seems prescient.
“You are going to fail,” Hussein told him. “You are going to find that it is not so easy to govern Iraq.” When asked why he thought so, Saddam said that the American people did not understand Iraq because they did not know the language, mind-set, history or the effects that the extreme summer can cause.
Hussein was executed in 2006, three years after his capture.
Nearly 4,500 American personnel, 179 British troops and estimated 150,000 Iraqis were killed during the war and the following years. Iraq is now considered a failed misadventure of Western interventionism.
Nixon also criticised ex-President George W. Bush, during whose tenure America invaded Iraq, saying that he heard “only what he wanted to hear”, and made jokes about the missing WMDs.