At one point, Ryan served as a member of a CIA group
of psychiatrists who wrote psychological reports on Saddam
Hussein. When I asked Ryan what he thought of the man, he put it
succinctly, saying, “He’s like the high school bully who campaigns
his way to the top becoming the class president, and then he decides
to take revenge upon his classmates.” Later in the war, we discussed
the rational of the war strategy. “War plans are very much like
business plans,” he explained to me. “The military planners have
hundreds of major plans just like corporations do. Goals, objectives,
strategies, action plans—there’s not much difference between the
two.” There was a plan from the CIA to assassinate Saddam
Hussein which was circulated among their three top guns for
review. All three told their supervisors that they would accept the
mission but only on one condition—that Ryan would go with
them. Ryan, however, told them no. I never asked him why, knowing
that his reason was private, his own business. Perhaps he thought
the plan would not work, or maybe he just sensed it was time for
him to step aside. What I do know is that shortly after scrapping
that plan came the US invasion of Iraq, and I can’t help but feel
quite sure that scraping the CIA mission to assassinate Hussein,
due to Ryan’s refusal to participate, was part of the calculation to
invade Iraq.

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