Some American officials have argued that Saddam was deterred from using chemical weapons by ambiguous U.S. threats of nuclear retaliation and explicit threats of regime change. But information Saddam provided interrogators after his capture — 10 years ago today — along with newly released recordings of Saddam’s meetings with his advisors, suggest otherwise. Saddam viewed chemical weapons as a final trump card, to be held in reserve to deter American or Israeli use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and to prevent coalition forces from marching on Baghdad. And Saddam later concluded that his deterrent strategy had worked, telling his advisors that Iraq had won the war because the United States stopped combat operations after the Iraqi army retreated from Kuwait.
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