Transcript: Saddam Hussein Interview, Part 2

Iraq Was Not Defeated In 1991?

Read Part II of the Saddam Hussein - Dan Rather interview.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: (??)…It's mistaken. Fate is not made by a foreign country. We believe in Allah, and Allah alone decides what fate is going to be. However strong a country may be, however powerful, they cannot change the will of other people. They cannot destroy or direct the will of other people. I live here and we will continue to defend our freedom. We live here in freedom, and our people will continue to defend their freedom, their sanctity, their honor and their country.

Rather: Again, I have plenty of time, Mr. President.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: You remember that in , when Mr. Tariq Aziz, as Foreign Minister, had a meeting with Secretary James Baker -- that was in January in Geneva. Baker threatened Tariq Aziz with something that he hoped that Tariq Aziz would bring back to…the government of Iraq.

And the fact that was the United States was going to push Iraq back into the pre-industrial age. And you remember that, I'm sure. The American onslaught on Iraq continued for more than a month and a half, using , warplanes with, of course, the Tomahawks hitting Iraq from everywhere including the Naval, you know, naval ships and naval pieces.

And they used more than , helicopters, even though they did not destroy Iraq. They did not push Iraq, as they have threatened, to the pre-industrial age.

They destroyed bridges, they destroyed churches, mosques, colleges, buildings, plants. They destroyed places, houses, palaces. They killed people, and elderly, but they did not push Iraq back into the pre-industrial age.

The Iraqis have subsequently reconstructed everything in determination and having relied on Allah, the Almighty. And then they began, after that, talking about Iraq having -- that is, after UNSCOM had been withdrawn from Iraq on instruction from the U.S. government, they began talking about Iraq…

Rather: (UNINTEL)

Translator For Saddam Hussein: They began talking about Iraq possibly having produced WMD, weapons of mass destruction, after and that they have information or data to that effect. We have said that Iraq has not produced any such weapons. What does that mean? It means that what they had threatened with -- pushing Iraq back into the pre-industrial age - had not actually taken place, that they could not do that to Iraq, what they had threatened Iraq with in - through Baker in - had not taken place. So nobody can metamorphosis. Nobody can sort of take Iraq apart. That is not fair to the will of Allah, and it's not fair to the people of Iraq who are facing the difficulties in resolve and through serious work and through creativity.

We hope that war will not take place, but if war is forced upon us, then Iraq will continue to be here, will continue to be there. This country, with a history of over , years, this country, the cradle of the first civilizations for humanity, will not finish just like that, even though a huge power may want it to be like that.

Nobody should accept that Iraq will finish in such a way despite the will of the (UNINTEL).

Rather: Mr. President, you're being very patient with your time, and I want you to know I consider this a solemn moment in history, and, if I may, take time to have you speak to the American people about questions that I know are on their minds. I just want you to know that I appreciate your patience here.

Question: You mentioned, and 'and the Gulf War.' You fought the father, George Bush the first. He and the forces he led prevailed on the battlefield. Now you face the son who has an even greater, even more modern, even more lethal military force aimed directly at your (UNINTEL). Why would you think that you could prevail this time on the battlefield? Or do you?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: You know that in both situations, then and now, we have not crossed our borders and gone across the Atlantic to commit aggression against the United States, neither by air or by land or by sea. We are (UNINTEL) people and officials in Iraq -

Translator For Saddam Hussein: The officials of the United States have themselves spoken about their intentions to commit aggression against Iraq. Isn't it part of our responsibility and our actions and our morality and, in fact, the basic meanings of faith that we should say to the aggressor that once you commit aggression against us, we are not going to succumb. And if we were to reverse the question and ask any American, any American citizens, any good, honest American citizen in his own country, including Mr. Rather himself, and we say to him, in any subsequent period or state, if another power, another force were to come across the Atlantic to commit a great aggression against the United States, will you do nothing?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Let me answer.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: I say to the honest Americans that if such a thing happens, do not capitulate, do not give in. You have to defend your country, defend your family and your honor. Do not commit aggression against us. And, as you know, we have not committed any aggression against the United States. The United States intelligence (UNINITEL) against our country, our people, our children.

I am speaking now with you, and maybe airplanes, warplanes, American warplanes, are flying over Iraqi air space, over south or north, and dropping ammunition, weapons that…are destroying property, property belonging to our citizens, our population -- either private property or public property, because public property also belongs to the people. This is happening daily.

So when such a law is wished to prevail in the world, to govern the world, whether it's in possession of huge powers and has the right to destroy others or to control others and then you have to accept their control or their domination, such a law does not possess the basics, the most basic elements or ingredients of morality and the most basic ingredients of faith, whichever this power might be. Regardless of this power, this state of affairs will be the law of the jungle, and we are people who believe in our destiny and we will not accept any law of the jungle. It is our duty, it is our responsibility to defend our country, to defend our children, to defend our people, and we are not going to succumb, neither to the United States nor to any other power.

Even if such a power, however strong as you describe it, even if this power is multiplied by whatever amount or size more than it is now, then we will continue to defend ourselves, to fight such a power if they attack because defeat comes only from God Almighty.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: With one exception. Might be important to you and the American people. In 1991 Iraq was not defeated. In fact, our Army withdrew from Kuwait according to a decision taken by us. Yes, it withdrew and -But when we were back within our boundaries, the boundaries of Iraq, the Iraqi Army was not defeated. Nor was the people of Iraq.

Iraq was not defeated in 1991. And you will remember that the (UNINTEL) were published, talking about the battles, especially the tank battles that took place in the south, near Basra., and how Bush, the father, came out on a - Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: I actually want to take time to explain to you that we're always gentle, we refer to people as gentle.

Rather: I understand when he calls him Mr. Bush.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Yes.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: When Khomeini died, bless his soul, and when I heard about his death, the Minister of Information at the time, do not gloat over the death of Khomeini. It is the law of God. That is the law of Allah. Let me tell you, in jest, I didn't used to say Mr. Bush when I addressed him when he was in power. But when -- as soon as he left power – I -- whenever I have referred to him, I refer to him as Mr. Bush. And in any case - And in any case, the law of faith says even your enemy, you have to respect his humanity. For that reason that I refer to Mr. Bush.

Rather: I understand now.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: So when Mr. Bush came out--

Rather: Senior?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: The father came out in his dawn speech, or his speech at dawn, declaring cease fire without preconditions - except for the pre-conditions that if their forces are attacked, they will respond in kind -- he-- it was his decision to — to -

Rather: Cease fire.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: To stop the fighting. And, consequently, Iraq was not defeated. Therefore, Iraq was not defeated.

Rather: Mr. President, respectfully, a lot of Americans are going to hear that and say, what is this man talking about, as all of those Iraqi tanks coming out of Kuwait with the turrets knocked out indicated a beaten army on the battlefield. There's no joy in my saying that. But the point is I'm asking you to explain what you mean that you were not defeated in the - war, because I can report to you with accuracy that, overwhelmingly, the American people believe that that was a resounding defeat for you and for Iraq.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Let me answer this. You know the (UNINTEL) of Mr. Bush's father, senior. You also know why he repeated his attacks later on against us. I'll be happy to hear the President's view as to why that was true. Why did Mr. Bush, the father, when he was President of the United States - Why did he repeat his attacks on us if we had been defeated? Totally defeated? When there is a military conflict, there is forward and backward. You push forward--

When there is military conflict, you push forward and you retreat and then we saw that when Bush the father and President (BREAK IN TAPE) against us during (BREAKS IN TAPE) Once we saw that whole front against us—(BREAKS IN TAPE) - a military operation against us on the ground against our country, against our people, against our army, we realized that we must take action to--

(BREAK IN TAPE)
Translator For Saddam Hussein: Twenty-eight armies against us. Losing the confusion of (BREAK IN TAPE) When there is military conflict, you push forward and you can retreat. And when we saw that Bush the father, the President, had mobilized armies against us, using the confusion of countries and that onslaught against us, once we saw that whole front against us-

The whole, the whole world, in fact, collaborating in a military operation against us on the ground, against our country, against our people, against our army, we realized that we must take action to - Until we took the decision to (UNINTEL) forces, and throughout a whole month and a half of fierce fighting, we had not lost more than percent -- that is the highest percentage of loss in any (UNINTEL) battlefield concerning our units involved in this war…. So we withdrew our forces inside Iraq in order that we may be able to continue fighting inside our country.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: And we continued to fight.

(BREAK IN TAPE)

Translator For Saddam Hussein: And the tanks that fought us around Basra, near Basra were defeated. And this is confirmed in writing that have been published by military people.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: And then we had - Then we had the statement made by Mr. Bush, the statement about which he didn't consult -- he hadn't consulted any of his allies, the coalition involved in the fighting -- that the fighting, that the war had achieved it's objective and that he was now stopping it.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Without pre-conditions. Without pre-conditions. So we have not lost the war. And we were not defeated. You know that the fighting that went on continued -- between us and Iran -- continued for eight years. Iran lost battles to us and we lost battles to them. But how do you calculate things? You measure things by the final results.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: If I may continue.

Rather: Please.

Translator For Saddam Hussein: The United States can destroy - but the question is, why should America destroy? And why should America generate hostility - the hostility of the world -- towards the United States?

Translator For Saddam Hussein: Did the Americans obtain the weapons in order to control and dominate the world? Or did those (UNINTEL) and the taxpayers (UNINTEL). Did they do that in order to control the world?… (UNINTEL) the USA. I believe that the scientists of the United States and the people of the United States and the taxpayers of the United States, when they paid that, when they supported that, that was for the basic defense of the United States. Is it right? Is it right? Is it acceptable that anybody, any official, anyone in power, once he is in possession of a weapon, then he should go and take that weapon to destroy other people?

Transcript, Part III
Transcript, Part I


  • David Kohn

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