Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein:An American Obsession

  • Paperback

This book offers a chilling view of just how terrible the price of the 1991 Gulf War has been for Iraqis. The authors show how Saddam has learned from that experience as well as analyse the consequences of a military invasion of Iraq.

“The idea of direct invasion is the greatest threat to Saddam. It avoids the problems of securing local allies, inside and outside Iraq, which bedevil any indirect approach to get rid of him. But it has one immense disadvantage from the US point of view ... if the US invades Iraq to install its own government it will be taking direct physical control of an area containing more than half the world’s oil reserves. It will look like the founding of a new American empire based on physical force and will be deeply resented ... It would outrage the Arabs at a moment when the Israel-Palestine conflict is in a particularly bloody phase. America could find that it has overplayed its hand, just as Saddam did when he invaded Kuwait twelve years ago.”—From the new Prologue
At the outset of the 1991 Gulf War, US leaders resolved the ‘Iraqis will pay the price’, so long as Saddam Hussein remained in power. This book makes chillingly clear just how terrible that price has been. Eleven years ago Saddam was caught by surprise; his preparations since September 11 show that lessons have been learnt. In a substantial new prologue the authors analyse these preparations and the terrifying consequences of a military invasion of Iraq.


  • A seamless, cockpit-to-ground narrative written with pace and verve, researched with rigour, and telling in choice detail.

    Financial Times
  • The Cockburns’ book is a chilling tale of barbarity and betrayal. It documents the lethal mix of US cynicism and incompetence that established Saddam Hussein as the bully of the Gulf, encouraged him to invade Iran and Kuwait, and then allowed him to stay in power.

    Irish Times
  • The most detailed book available at what has happened in post-Gulf War Iraq ... Because of Patrick Cockburn’s contacts in Baghdad, [the book] brings light to a political system that most writing leaves shrouded in darkness.

    Washington Post Book World