The Unveiling of Saddam Hussein’s Secret Tapes Finally Reveals the Truth Behind the Ill-Fated Invasion of Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq — In the annals of history’s bloodthirsty dictators, Saddam Hussein has faded into obscurity. He’s remembered as part of the “axis of evil,” for his psychopathic sons, and the absence of weapons of mass destruction. However, a new book, “The Achilles Trap: Saddam Hussein, the CIA and the Origins of America’s Invasion of Iraq,” by journalist Steve Coll, reveals the secrets behind Saddam’s downfall. Based on Saddam’s secret tapes, obtained after a legal battle, the book highlights the CIA’s misunderstanding of the dictator, as well as Saddam’s own blunders.

The book discloses that Saddam was not just a ruthless dictator, but also fancied himself a creative talent. He wrote four novels and financed a film during his rule. As the rhetoric against him intensified, Saddam’s focus shifted from military affairs to writing and even poetry. However, despite his cultural endeavors, he failed to anticipate the US decision to invade Iraq and failed to dispel the belief that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. Saddam secretly ordered the destruction of his chemical and biological weapons, but concealed it out of fear of appearing weak.

Coll’s book doesn’t absolve Saddam of his failings, emphasizing that he miscalculated the US invasion and lacked effective political strategy. The CIA also receives criticism for its “miscalculations” and “missteps” in invading Iraq. The tapes reveal Saddam’s disbelief that the US would attack, as he believed it would negatively impact President George W. Bush’s popularity. Additionally, the book sheds light on Saddam’s desire to be viewed as a man of culture, inviting poets to his office and showing a keen interest in literature.

But Saddam’s upbringing, marked by violence and a harsh rural existence, hindered his ability to navigate the complexities of international politics and mixed messages from the West. Coll argues that Saddam naively believed Washington to be more competent than it actually was. The book also highlights Saddam’s anti-Semitic views and paranoia surrounding Jews, seeing them as controlling the CIA. Despite his literary ambitions, Saddam ultimately fell victim to his own megalomania and poor decision-making.

The revelations in “The Achilles Trap” provide a unique glimpse into the complexities of Saddam Hussein and the flawed decision-making that led to the ill-fated US invasion of Iraq. The book challenges the CIA’s understanding of Saddam and sheds light on the dictator’s own missteps. In the end, it becomes clear that Saddam’s downfall was the result of his ego, poor political strategy, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the US’s intentions. The legacy of the invasion, as Coll points out, is a tragedy that empowered Iran and eventually led to the rise of ISIS.