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EXCERPTS FROM HIDE AND SEEK

The conclusion is that American leaders and the American people must assume that a foreign policy objective must be so important that it is worth doing very badly--because it is probable that the U.S. government will, in the event, do it very badly.  Good intentions are not enough.  Our good intentions, when acted upon, have done much damage. (Page xvi-xvii)

Sitting across the table for so many hours over so many years, I found it impossible not to consider that through the accident of birth, those on the other side of the table had to face decisions I had never confronted. Had I been born in Iraq and pursued an interest in public policy or engineering, what paths would have been open? If you were moderately successful, you would rise to a point where pursuit of your interest required an accommodation of some sort with the government. Do you continue with your career, incrementally becoming more deeply involved and indebted to the regime? ……The luxury of our choices was never more apparent.  (Page 94-95)

 “No, Amer, we can do what we want with GPS. This is the way we are building our baseline inventory of buildings for this survey. We have blocked the area in sections on imagery-derived line diagrams. We are registering data on each building according to each site and including its location.”

“We cannot accept that. You know full well your air force uses your UNSCOM data to bomb!” He had a point there, but the air force could have bombed without that data.

Getting louder, I shouted, “Look, General, do you really think the next satellite going over our heads doesn’t see exactly where on this pathetic planet this pile of Italian marble sits? If Washington gets it in its head it wants to blow up this place, it can do so without a bunch of UNSCOM inspectors!”(Page 147)

Overhead were both UNSCOM and Iraqi helicopters. At one point, the convoy pulled over to allow some laggards to catch up. It was evidently a very welcome opportunity for a large number of Iraqis to relieve themselves in the adjacent field. Probably a dozen were in the middle of the field generally pissing in the direction away from the road. An Iraqi MI-8 helicopter saw an opportunity and, before any of these Iraqis could react, swooped low over the field. The powerful downwash of the rotor had the desired effect on those in the field. The Iraqis were not without a sense of humor. (Page 150)


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