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Saddam: The Myth in America (english)
11 Sep 2002
American foreign policy based on Saddam the madman myth is silly
That we Americans think Saddam is a madman, is a major problems with our politics. I wil explain based on a reading of, “Between Memory and Desire: the Middle East in a Trouble Age” by S. Humphreys, Professor of History and Islamic Studies, Univ. of California. Is a chapter titled the Shaping of Foreign Policy, he writes about the myth of the Middle East Madman. Actions of three alleged madmen are analyzed.
In Humphreys’ word, “No creature in the American political bestiary is more enduring than the Middle East Madman....They are madman, impervious to reason and logic, utterly beyond the understanding of rational Westerners.” is not sustained by historical facts. Three examples are given to show “a hardheaded politicians who knows perfectly well how to set his goals and to craft strategies to accomplish them.”
1. Nasser’s Decision to Nationalize the Suez Canal. July 1956
2. The Ayatollah and the U.S. Embassy Hostage Crisis. Nov. 1979 to Jan 81
3. Saddam Hussein’s Decision to Occupy Kuwait. July--Aug. 1990
I will only review item 3. The author argues that Saddam was not simply stupid in 1990. “Saddam Husssein had strong reasons to want Kuwait; he likewise had every reason to think that he held a pretty good hand in the Kuwait affair and that he was playing it cleverly.” Some of Saddam’s possible reasoning follows:
1. Iraq owed enormous war debt from the eight-year war with Iran. Kuwait was demanding payback on loans of $30 billions while ignoring that Iraq had sacrificed to saved them from domination by Iran
2. Taken over Kuwait would have given him 20% of world’s known oil. He could have erased war debt and rebuilt his economy. He would have been the dominant power in Persian Gulf.
3. Saddam like most Iraquis believed that Kuwait had no right to exist. The area had been historically part of Iraq and had been created by machinations of British imperialism.
3. Almost every Middle East expert and commentator supported his judgment.
4. He did not think U.S. would go beyond a verbal protest. During April 25, meeting with Ambassador April Glaspie, his tactics were not opposed. U.S. had invested much in Iraq during past ten years and countries were trading partners.
5, U.S. had done nothing about Iran and needed alliance of Iraq
6. Us had bad memories from losing war in Vietnam
7. After embarrassing Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The U.S marines ran out the following year.
8. Middle East policy under Carter and Reagan had been poor and Saddam had contempt for U.S. leadership
9. There was little fear of economic sanctions due to enforcement problems.
10. He did not think other Arab countries would supply military bases for an invasion of Iraq
11. Saddam had an experience military from war with Iran
12. He knew that U.S. was divided on prospect for war. There would be calls of “No Blood for Oil”
13, If attacked, Saddam expected that Arab nationalism would be ignited wide support in other countries
A few thought taken from this expert, indicates that Saddam may be a brutal dictator, but he is not crazy. I agree with the author.
Finally, why should any Arab country in the Middle East be denied WMD as a deterrent and as a protection against Israeli WMD including an indisputable, rogue nuclear stockpile. A fair and rational world policy would aim at the elimination of all WMD in all countries, Including the U.S.