The Way We Were...Joseph Wilson before the War

Iraq Symposium

"Two things to keep in mind. First, Saddam is a classic survivalist. In his mind, as long as he survives, the nation-state of Iraq survives; the state is embodied in him. Second, Saddam wants to survive with weapons of mass destruction. He wants to continue his efforts to dominate the region. He would like to create one single Arab state under his leadership or at least dominate the Arab world.

Can you deter him? … Regime decapitation is the ultimate sanction if he uses a weapon of mass destruction or tries to embroil Israel in this conflict. …

Operation Desert Fox [1998] roiled the political climate in Iraq. It weakened the pillars of the regime--tribal support and clan support. An aggressive campaign on weapons of mass destruction may have the intended or unintended consequences of leading to a coup, causing Saddam's generals to move. We may want to therefore focus on high value targets. For example, right now, when an American or allied aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone is "painted", we go after the air defense site, the sergeants and the corporals manning the post. Instead, we should go after the headquarters issuing the order--this affects colonels and generals. …

We need to focus on global public opinion. We need to present evidence that Iraq does have weapons of mass destruction, not that we are overthrowing an Arab regime because we don't like it.

I don't believe Saddam will go quietly. He will use every weapon in his arsenal, and he will cause trouble for us wherever possible."

Joseph C. Wilson - Iraq War Symposium 12/11/2003