It’s been more than a decade since the United States invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime. At the time, the war was popular thanks to a massive government propaganda campaign that insinuated the Iraqi dictator was involved in 9/11 and had nuclear weapons. Both of those claims were eventually proven false and public opinion quickly flipped. Now, half of Americans think that the decision to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein was the wrong one. The CIA officer who interrogated Saddam Hussein after his capture agrees that we should have left him in power and not intervened.
Senior Analyst John Nixon interrogated Saddam Hussein shortly after his capture in December 2003. The CIA officer has now written a book about the experience that adds to the mounting consensus that the Bush administration’s war was a massive mistake. He suggests that the U.S. should have left Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq and that if we did “Iraq would have eventually gotten out from under international sanctions … and [Saddam] would probably be in charge today”. Even the Arab Spring wouldn’t have posed a threat for “Saddam’s leadership style and penchant for brutality were among the many faults of his regime, but he could be ruthlessly decisive when he felt his power base was threatened”.
In addition, if Saddam Hussein was still in charge in Iraq, ISIS would never have come into existence. Nixon concludes that “it is improbable that a group like ISIS would have been able to enjoy the kind of success under his repressive regime that they have had under the Shia-led Baghdad government”. That’s not to say that many human rights violations would have taken place to crack down on those Islamists. Although, the situation would be immensely better compared to what is taking place today.
The book also details the multiple things that the Bush administration got wrong about Saddam Hussein. They insisted that “Saddam had an iron-like control over the Sunni insurgency (he didn’t) and that decapitating the Baathist regime would make Iraq a peaceful country (it didn’t).” Neither of those were true and in fact Saddam was a rather aloof leader in his later years. The country was not involved in any chemical or nuclear weapons production and had not provided any assistance to Al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein would have probably made a much better partner in the ‘war on terror’ than the Iran-installed puppet Iraq has today.