…through the FBI interrogator who debriefed him for seven months, George Piro. Piro has been interviewed by 60 Minutes; the interview will air on Sunday. This preview is interesting, but not surprising.
As many have believed, Saddam misjudged the Bush administration. He expected another “four-day bombardment,” which he was willing to wait out. At some point, though, it became apparent that an invasion was inevitable. Why didn’t Saddam come clean and admit that he had run out of WMDs? Piro says that Saddam told him he didn’t dare let the world know that his WMDs were gone, because he would then be unable to deter an Iranian attack:
Saddam still wouldn’t admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, “For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” he tells Pelley.
Of course, there was something else going on too: Saddam had been telling the world for years that Iraq had no WMDs, and no one believed him. In fact, Saddam didn’t want to be believed; he wanted the world (particularly Iran) to take his obvious non-cooperation with U.N. inspectors as evidence that he was concealing active biological and chemical programs. So Saddam would have been in the position of saying, “No, no–I really mean it this time!” It’s doubtful whether anyone would have believed him.
Piro reinforces another point that was emphasized in the Duelfer report; that is, that Saddam was biding his time, and had the personnel and resources he needed to restart his weapons programs when the time was right:
He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. “Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there,” says Piro. “He wanted to pursue all of WMD