Getting Saddam to Talk


A special Iraqi police force formed for tracking down crime kingpins, scored it’s first major operation by arresting one of Saddam’s key henchmen. A carefully planned raid nabbed seized Mohammad Zimam Abd Razzaq al Saadun, and several others, in Baghdad. Al Saadun was number 41 in the American deck of cards of key Saddam officials. Iraqi detectives had picked up the scent when they heard of al Saaduns son was looking for guns and false passports so that he could get his father out of the country. Al Saadun did Saddam’s dirty work, organizing militias to keep Kurds under control and ran his own prison were people were kept in small dog cages. Only eleven of the 55 “most wanted” (as shown in the famous deck of cards) are still at large. The new Iraqi police forces have been encouraged to go after these men, because the fugitives have obviously hidden themselves well within the Iraqi population, or left the country.

Senior Iraqi officials have made clear that they will demand Saddam Hussein be turned over to them for trail when the new Iraqi takes control on July 1st. The U.S. may not want to hand him over that soon, because the CIA is using some new and novel interrogation techniques that require long periods of time to break down the subjects resistance to providing information. The CIA knows that once the Iraqis get Saddam and try him, they will probably execute him. Saddam will take a lot of valuable information to the grave if it is not gotten out of him first. Saddam was in the middle of all manner of diplomatic and political dirty business for over three decades. Saddam knows who did what to whom, or tried to. Getting Saddam to talk would fill in a lot of blanks and make it clear who was reliable, or just a good liar, since the 1960s.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:


    I would tend to agree if that’s all there is against Kerry we should have moved on… but there is certainly more… far more. His voting record since those years were not so consistant with the mindset he exuded for those anti-American years.

    The fact of the matter is, I’ve not seen anything
    that even remotely suggests to me his motivations have changed since those years. I have naught to conclude but that he is the same anti-American idiot he ever was, and should be called out as such.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Um, wrong thread. 🙂

    And I don’t suggest his voting record is off limits. Indeed, his Senate votes and Bush’s record as president should and almost certainly will be the crux of the campaign ahead.

  3. Tom says:

    Since Saddam is officially a Prisoner of War, what can and can’t we do to him to “get him to talk”. We have a good 4 months, is there a formal code of conduct that we have to maintain? The new techniques obviously will debilitate him, probably less physically than mentally. I am all for getting everything out of Saddam, damn the consequences. However, I do not have to live with the consequences.

    What would the line be that we can not cross for legal, political, and humantirian reasons? James, do you know?

  4. James Joyner says:


    I’m not sure quite where the line is–but it’s pretty far aside from physical torture. And he’s not really a prisoner of war, in that he’s not a soldier who is going to be repatriated at war’s end but rather an accused war criminal who will be tried at some point.