Saddam’s Interrogation: Time Magazine

Time Magazine has published an exclusive story on its web site on the capture and initial interrogation of Saddam Hussein:

After his capture, Saddam was taken to a holding cell at the Baghdad Airport. He didn’t answer any of the initial questions directly, the official said, and at times seemed less than fully coherent. The transcript was full of “Saddam rhetoric type stuff,” said the official who paraphrased Saddam’s answers to some of the questions. When asked “How are you?” said the official, Saddam responded, “I am sad because my people are in bondage.” When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?”

Later, the questions become more serious:

The interrogators also asked Saddam if he knew about the location of Captain Scott Speicher, a U.S. pilot who went missing during the first Gulf War. “No,” replied the former Iraqi president, “we have never kept any prisoners. I have never known what happened.”
Saddam was also asked whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. “No, of course not,” he replied, according to the official, “the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us.” The interrogator continued along this line, said the official, asking: “if you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?” Saddam’s reply: “We didn’t want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy.”

It is too early to tell whether Saddam’s capture will have an immediate dampening effect on the “insurgency” being staged by the Ba’athists, or even if he had any role in the attacks at all. In fact, the unnamed official that is the source of the story asks a telling question:

The official said it may soon be clear how much command and control over the insurgency Saddam actually had while he was in hiding. “We can now determine,” he said, “if he is the mastermind of everything or not.” The official elaborated: “Have we actually cut the head of the snake or is he just an idiot hiding in a hole?”

Or both?