Thursday, August 12, 2004
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-a(2)
This brief section reveals the attitudes toward Saddam Hussein. Joseph Wilson’s comment is especially meaningful in light of Bush Jr.’s efforts at coalition-building. In any case, finding Saddam was no easier during Desert Storm.
VOICEOVER: The Gulf War would be brief. Saddam Hussein would see his army collapse in a few days. The crucial question remained: Was it necessary to halt operation “Desert Storm” even though those in power were still in place? The CIA wished to be entrusted with the task of eliminating Saddam Hussein. But President Bush refused.
ROBERT GATES: Even before the first shot was fired, we had decided that an overthrow of the regime would not be one of our objectives.
JOSEPH WILSON: I don’t believe we would have been able to set up a coalition if overthrowing Saddam Hussein had been our goal. In fact, I’m sure that everything would have fallen apart.
ROBERT GATES: But there were also practical problems. Saddam wasn’t going to sit on his veranda and wait quietly for the 24th division to come stop him.
WILLIAM WEBSTER: Nobody would have shed the slightest tear if Saddam Hussein had been killed at the same time as the many soldiers who perished in that war.
JIM HOAGLAND:14 If by chance Saddam had caught a stray bullet, pity! But there were very strict limits on what they could do to cause the death of a foreign head of state.
ROBERT GATES: Every night we lit a candle and prayed that Saddam would be in one of the bunkers that we were bombing—all the while knowing very well that he was sleeping soundly in a school, a hospital or a mosque—places that he knew we weren’t going to bomb.
MILTON BEARDEN: 15 They never succeeded in finding him.