In Defense of Saddam Hussein
Jude Wanniski
February 5, 1998

Memo To: James Zogby, president, Arab-American Institute
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Gathering Storm

It was good to talk with you yesterday. I was happy to see you quoted in the papers to the effect that the administration has not given up on a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Iraq. A large part of the problem is that we have done such a thorough job of demonizing Saddam that it is practically impossible to devise a solution acceptable to the American people that does not require his extermination. I agree with your assessment that he is bad, but not that bad, and that we have to be able to live with him without trusting him. That is how we have always dealt with foreign powers, large and small, who have been potential threats. I know how the demonization process works and have over the years defended any number of political figures who I thought were innocent of what they were being lynched for, or who I thought deserved lesser punishment.

My interventions on Iraq's part are not recent. I studied the events surrounding the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait more than seven years ago and came to believe it was our State Department that did the initial bungling although Saddam did plenty himself. As promised, I send along a few pieces I did early on, one on October 11, 1994, "IRAQ: SEND FOR COLIN POWELL," and a second I did on September 3, 1996, "IN DEFENSE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN." You should know that I am, by upbringing, a defender of lost causes, my namesake being St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. I did not originally support the coalition against Saddam, because Kuwait's neighbors did not seem to care about Saddam's claims against the border oilfields. I only joined in support when I observed that Kuwait's other Arab neighbors were persuaded by our intelligence that Iraq was preparing to push into Saudi Arabia. Our Gulf War coalition was built around that sense of immediate threat from Saddam. That threat no longer exists. He's bad, but he's not that bad. That is why the Arab World will not support our use of military force. I'm afraid any unilateral military action means a declaration of war against the Islamic world which would bring out not their armies, but their most dangerous and creative terrorists.