- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2002

Just for a moment, accept the psychological profile of Saddam Hussein by U.S. analysts who, since 1979, have depicted him as a man who has a stable personality and is a rational, calculating decision-maker. Now, place yourself in his position.

You love wielding absolute power, you like hand-tailored suits, Cuban cigars and presidential palaces with swimming pools. You've survived the "Mother of All Battles." You still are the Anointed One, the Glorious Leader and the "President for Life" of Iraq.

The onslaught of U.S. media reports about the inevitable invasion of and regime change in Iraq has reached your eyes and ears. All indications point to the fact that life, as you know it, is going to rapidly deteriorate after Ramadan this year.

What would you do?

First, do not do anything that will justify a U.S. invasion.

Continue to deny the existence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Avoid any direct link to involvement in terrorist acts.

Do not directly threaten any of your neighbors or appear aggressive to them.

Second, tighten up on personal and national security.

Create an inner circle of guardians made up exclusively of close relatives, followed by a larger circle of trusted confidantes, and put them in charge of family security.

Establish an outer circle of the elite SSO, run by your son, Qusay.

Move around at night; never stay in the same place for too long, have several look-a-like doubles show up at random places and meetings.

Eliminate anyone who shows or is rumored to have less than total loyalty to you.

Third, work hard to undercut international support for a U.S. attack.

Exploit the Palestinian crisis. Offer $25,000 to the family of every suicide bomber and family made homeless by the Israeli assaults.

Promote a positive image to your neighbors in Europe and the Arab world. Sign an agreement with Kuwait respecting and acknowledging its sovereignty.

Start talks with U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan to discuss the possible return of U.N. inspectors.

Expand your oil contracts with key members of the U.N. Security Council China, France, Germany and Russia. Establish oil trade relations with 75 countries.

Finally, prepare for an invasion.

Instruct all regional commanders to be ready to operate autonomously.

Reinforce each major urban area with Republican Guard soldiers.

Adopt a strategy that avoids open combat and focuses on urban street fighting in heavily built-up areas, which will inflict high U.S. casualties. Organize forces and operate out of mosques, hospitals, and schools as sanctuaries from air strikes.

Stay alert for any signs of escalation of U.S. military activities pointing to an invasion.

Consider pre-emptive military options.

Deploy heavy reinforcements of anti-air missile batteries to the north and south to target any aircraft or helicopter invasion of your oil fields. Develop plans to have a reserve force of 100,000 to spread throughout the entire Baghdad urban area when an invasion starts.

Redouble construction efforts to build missile, aircraft, tank and radar decoys, which will be spread across likely target areas.

Relocate and camouflage or conceal everything of military value.

Start building concrete revetments at select military locations to protect soldiers, aircraft and tanks.

Ensure all operational Scud missiles are dispersed, well-hidden and able to move rapidly into launch-ready positions, even before an invasion starts.

Load all Scuds with chemical and biological warheads. Pre-program missiles to target American facilities in Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the Gulf. Target half of the missiles on key Israeli cities. Prepare Scud batteries to act autonomously and to launch simultaneously.

Unfortunately, it is likely that Saddam has already taken the above measures, or is well on his way to doing so. What does this mean for any U.S. invasion plan?

First and most importantly, it means that military action will not be a cakewalk, nor should it be viewed as "Desert Storm Lite." The risks are serious.

Second, it also means that U.S. leaders should also be looking at what options are available short of an all-out, massive invasion. For example, it would make sense to fully support the U.N. effort to restart inspections of suspected weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Third, if the plan is an invasion in early 2003, the Pentagon must spend a substantial amount of energy in the upcoming months examining all options to include an end game and an exit strategy.

Finally, if the United States does invade Iraq, it must be able to present convincing justification that this action is worth the risks. Right now, the Bush administration is not close to that point. The American public and the rest of the world, deserve clarity from the globe's only military superpower about how and why it wields its heavy sword.

Retired Rear Adm. Stephen H. Baker, a former chief of staff for Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain and former operations officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group throughout Operation Desert Storm, is a senior adviser for the Center for Defense Information.

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