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History As It Happens

Jun 4, 2024

Before U.S. leaders would compare Saddam Hussein to Hitler, they cynically helped him in his war against Iran. Before the U.S. would wage a decades-long war on Iraq in the form of sanctions and a pre-emptive invasion, multiple White House administrations sought better relations between Washington and Baghdad. During periods of cooperation and conflict, each side misread the other. Yet "forever war" was avoidable. In this episode, investigative journalist Steve Coll, the author of "The Achilles Trap: Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A., and the Origins of America's Invasion of Iraq," discusses new source materials, including audio tapes of Saddam's internal deliberations, that allow us to understand the dictator's decision-making in illuminating ways.