At the outset of his interview with British leftist Tony Benn, Saddam Hussein said, “when you asked me if I wanted to look at the questions beforehand I told you I didn’t feel the need so that we don’t waste time, and I gave you the freedom to ask me any question directly so that my reply would be direct” In that spirit, here are the questions I would have asked, had I conducted the interview:
You have never admitted any links of any kind to al Qaeda or any other terrorist group. Yet in 1996, U.N. weapons inspectors reported large terrorist training camps in Iraq. Furthermore, you gave sanctuary to noted terror network entrepreneur Abu Nidal, who recently allegedly committed suicide. His second in command also recently disappeared. Isn’t this just like Goodfellas?
Dr. Rihab Rashida Taha, a.k.a. “Dr. Virus,” who headed your germ-warfare project, was recently reported murdered by your security forces. Was that just to shut her up, or were you dissatisfied with her work?
U.S. and German press reports claim Iraq has portable WMD laboratories disguised as trucks. General Hossam Mohammed Amin confirms you have portable labs, but claims they are for food inspection. Is he kidding? Food inspection? Come on.
You recently formed a Republican Guard unit for the defense of Baghdad from middle-aged members of the Baath Party, teachers, and other government employees. Any plans for an elite “old men and children” brigade?
What’s up with France? Any ideas?
Israel has allegedly given sanctuary to Abu Hamdi Mahmoud, your chief bodyguard. Do you know who brokered the deal to help him escape? Have you hunted down all the traitors who surround you? If any of your security officials survive can you be certain you got the one who betrayed you? Wouldn’t it be safest just to eliminate them all? And what alarms you more, the secrets Mahmoud will give up or the access Moussad has to your inner circle?
The Russian press reports you will seize UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors to use as human shields once Allied attacks begin. Why do you suppose this will make a difference?
What are your grid coordinates?
— James S. Robbins is a national-security analyst & NRO contributor.