A new and illuminating article in Foreign Affairs takes a look at what we now know about what was going on in Iraq before the invasion, based on a recently declassified "comprehensive study [by the US Joint Forces Command] of the inner workings and behavior of Saddam Hussein's regime based on previously inaccessible primary sources."
The article, entitled "Saddam's Delusions: The View from the Inside," is written by Kevin Woods, James Lacey and Williamson Murray, principal participants in the USJFCOM project.
Here (via Hugh Hewitt and Stephen Hayes) is one incredible sentence from the article:
The Saddam Fedayeen [created in by Saddam in 1994] also took part in the regime's domestic terrorism operations and planned for attacks throughout Europe and the Middle East. In a document dated May 1999, Saddam's older son, Uday, ordered preparations for "special operations, assassinations, and bombings, for the centers and traitor symbols in London, Iran and the self-ruled areas [Kurdistan]." Preparations for "Blessed July," a regime-directed wave of "martyrdom" operations against targets in the West, were well under way at the time of the coalition invasion.Another notable passage, from the one-page summary press release (my emphasis):
What made Saddam so complacent? His belief that the United States did not have the will to take casualties in a serious war and that if necessary France and Russia would keep him safe.And this:
Did Saddam plan the current insurgency? No. He thought the United States would never attack, and was confident that even if it did, the resulting war would follow essentially the same script as the first Gulf War in 1991.