Originally Posted by Minister_of_Information
I think you should undertake the study of Stalin with a bit more intensity.
Saddam was an inherently destabilizing figure, under those toothless "no fly zones" his regime trained and supported international terrorism and never gave up its aspiration for WMD, and he was not contained in fact he had effectively defeated containment circa 1998 (the cruise missiles we sent over there may as well have been flying white flags), he was the symbol par excellence of the impotence of both the UN and the US and the idea that clever brinksmanship and diplomacy could always paralyze and nullify the liberal regimes of the west. He could neither be reformed or contained, and like a slowly growing malignant tumor had to be removed now that the patient was aware that his life was at stake.
Good points all. But I still think it would have been worth a shot to at least offer him a chance to get on the right side of 9/11 (Jesus, even the f-ing Iranians were our "buddies" then). I think, his power preserved, he might have bitten. Hell, I might have used his "little shop of horrors" as a final destination for the worst of the worst that we captured.
As for Stalin, where am I wrong? I guess we could look at his attitudes toward the Allies pre 1941 (while he was carving up 1/2 of Poland) vs. post-Barbarossa. Certainly, with the Nazi knife to his balls, he was a lot more . . . ahem, plyable. And yet, as his troops mount up victory after victory, he becomes a lot less so, even confrontational by 1945.