Saddam Risked His Life for WMD Secrets
11:30 AM, Sep 27, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
The Washington Post reports on a story leaked to Spain's El Pais about a meeting between President Bush and the former Spanish president Jose Maria Aznar weeks ahead of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It's interesting to note how Bush discusses Saddam's signals that he might accept exile from Iraq.
El Pais provides the Spanish language transcript here. And here's Bush on the chances that Saddam Hussein might choose exile instead of war [translation mine]:
This begs the question: why would Saddam attach so much importance to information on Iraq's WMD program? The mainstream media, the Democratic party, and many others have accepted that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, and that there is no reason to think that Iraq's program posed a threat to anyone at the time of the US invasion. Small caches of WMD and evidence that Saddam intended to reconstitute the program at some point in the future have been downplayed in light of the failure to find the stockpiles of weapons that most intelligence agencies believed to exist.
Yet if the dominant narrative is correct--that Iraq posed no WMD threat--then why did Saddam stake his life on concealing information about the program? After all, he had to think that if he did not leave Iraq, there was every chance that he would be killed during or after the invasion. Why would it have been so important to hide evidence that merely confirmed the lack of any threat?
The only logical reason for making this a condition of his agreement to exile was that he believed the program was more advanced than it really was, or that he intended to augment it. In either case, it further bolsters the case that Saddam remained a threat to the region (at least), and that it was wise to depose him.