Inside The Mind Of Saddam

President Saddam Hussein speaks during a televised address Sunday, Dec. 20, 1998 in Baghdad, Iraq AP

To anyone who's studied Saddam Hussein, the secret to him is no secret at all. The evidence is on every street corner, it adorns every public building.

As CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports, when Saddam looks down the boulevard, or into the mirror, he sees a great man. More importantly, what he sees is the world's greatest Arab.

"He believes he is going to be this great Arab leader that unites the Arab world under Iraq's banner and makes it into a new super power," says Ken Pollack of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institute.

Pollack, who once tracked Saddam for the National Security Council, calls Hussein's belief in his own future glory the key to understanding him. Saddam, he says, suffers from grand illusions.

But the question begs, is this man crazy?

"It depends on how you define crazy. He's not irrational. But that said, Saddam Hussein can be delusional. Frequently delusional," says Pollack.

Delusional because Saddam's ego permits no defeat. In fact he believes he won the first Gulf war.

Maybe his troops were decimated, but he won, at least in his mind, because an Arab had faced down the U.S.

"This was a triumph for him," Dr. Jerrold Post, the former Chief of Profiling at the CIA.

Post says Saddam's perception of victory in the '91 war made him more -- not less -- determined to have weapons of mass destruction.

"After this triumph he was a world class leader. World-class leaders have world-class weapons. Big boys have big toys… So I think its inconceivable for him to give up such weapons," Post tells Andrews.

So, to those who know him, Saddam is clearly toying with the U.N. inspectors. Abbass Al Janabi, who, until he defected four years ago, was in Saddam's family inner circle, says Saddam's game is to hide his weapons. He has no intention of disarming.

"How can he implement his ambition without them? This is an hitch inside himself," says al Janabi.

Saddam, remember, used mustard gas against Iranian soldiers, and nerve gas against Kurdish civilians. Most experts believe he will do it again -- and they think they know when.

"If at some point he does conclude his fate is sealed, he will likely lash out with everything he has -- nuclear, biological, chemical, whatever he has got he will use it," says Pollack.

To Saddam violence has always been the path to power, but its violence against the west and Israel that forms the path to Arab greatness. And now, in his mind, destiny awaits.
  • Sue Chan

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter