Interrogation of Saddam Hussein and U.S. policy in Iraq

On March 22, 2017, I attended the Brookings Institutions to go see the seminar of the Interrogation of Saddam Hussein and U.S. policy in Iraq from 10:00 to 11:30. The featured speaker was John Nixon, who is known as a Middle East expert who served as a CIA analyst and moderator, Bruce Riedel. Nixon worked briefly on Capitol Hill and was hired as a leadership analyst for the CIA in 1998. While at the CIA, he worked on Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, and is thus one of the few analysts who worked on George W. Bush’s designated “Axis of Evil”. The meeting was held in a conference room where Nixon went over the findings and information on interrogating Hussein. “In order to able to interrogate Hussein, you have to live, breath, and known Saddam Hussein” (Nixon). When Nixon started working in Iran the only challenges he had was not knowing the languages and having to start building relationships and connections with the important people in the field due to the fact that everyone knew everyone. As the integration came to effect, Nixon finally got the chances to talk to Saddam Hussein. Nixon believes Hussein was willing to negotiate with the United States on its security concerns. Hussein persona was intriguing when he walked in a room; the whole vibe of the room changes. He would make jokes here and there, and try to create small talks towards the guards and Nixon. “It was almost like he was not the guest in this situation” (Nixon). He would often use this tactic to put two sides against each other instead of them focusing on the bigger picture which was Hussein. The guards would say “we’re here to ask the questions not you”. Certain topics that Nixon would bring up to Hussein made him less talkative and more secretive or he would even get mad at times. There were so many sides to him, Nixon and Hussein’s relationship was like cat and mouse basically. Hussain gave a lot of information as to why he “understand” his country a lot, Zionist concept, reasons, and invasions in his country. Nixon using make jocks here and there during the seminar, which I thought was cool, because of that fact that he did so many ruthless things due to his job, but it shows that he just like an average Joe. At the end of the seminar the moderator, Bruce Riedel introduces the questions and answers segment to the audience, where the audience asked many questions about the U.S. policy, weapons of mass destructions, Bush, and other topics. There was also a book signing with Nixon.

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