Did he have an atom bomb? Of course not.
Did he have a nuclear program? Very definitely.
In the broadest commonsense terms, there is only one reason on this earth to produce Uranium-235 - and that's to make a nuclear weapon. Uranium-235 is the high-tech name for weapons-grade uranium, the principal component of an atomic bomb, or a guided-missile with a nuclear warhead.
Naturally, anyone trying to make a nuclear weapon would prefer to do so in secret. Which is why we are all obliged to listen to a plethora of rubbish about water-reactors and the possible use of uranium 235 in the production of electricity, and other facile excuses.
Essentially you can forget all about that. If anyone is using a 'gyro' to 'spin' uranium 238 (regular) into uranium 235 - that someone is trying to make a nuclear weapon. It takes around seven years to spin the 238. Which is a long time, fraught with problems.
The finished article, a deliverable weapon with a nuclear warhead, is probably the result of a 10-year program. And so, the question is, not did this character have an atom bomb? But, did he have a program that would lead to an atom bomb or nuclear missile?
Which brings us to Saddam Hussein, who was most certainly 'spinning' -- cunningly placing his six gyros in the enclosed steel rear compartments of massive trucks running up and down the highway, unapproachable, and unseen by outsiders, especially Hans Blix, who was running around in the desert, under strict Iraqi supervision, trying to find an atom bomb on behalf of the United Nations.
The three giant silver colored trucks were nailed by the CIA's anti-terrorist operators in Iraq. They were photographed by US satellites, pin-pointed and tracked back and forth along Iraq's very few highways. Colin Powell made a major international presentation of their existence, with photographs, and great detail.
Inside the trucks, he proclaimed, were the totally incriminating gyros, spinning Saddam ever closer to the elusive uranium 235 and the nuclear weapon it would become.
The subsequent accepted mantra that there were no weapons of mass destruction is at best an absurd conclusion at which to arrive. But, much more importantly, a grotesque journey up the wrong path. Because the real question remains, did Saddam have a nuclear program ? Not the rather primitive query, did he have an atom bomb?
At the time, Donald Rumsfeld remarked, in obvious exasperation, What do you want to do ? Leave the sonofabitch there 'till he has got one?
The truth is, Saddam did acquire uranium-238 from Niger, he did have gyros in those trucks, they were 'spinning' throughout their endless journey, and the Iraqis did get that uranium the hell out of the country before anyone found the spinners in the back.
But find them they did. And how do I know ? Because I was privileged to write the life story of one of the US Navy SEALs who discovered them, buried beneath the desert floor, with the obvious signs of the huge spinners having been ripped out and shipped out. The CIA think to Syria.
Try not to forget, the only reason anyone has to 'spin' uranium, is to make weapons grade 235, and that's because they are trying to make an atom bomb or missile.
The word is program, not bomb. Saddam did not have a nuclear bomb. But he did have a very elaborate nuclear program. That's why he had to go. Because that nuclear program leads only one way - toward the day its owner decides to launch it. Why else would he have it?
Patrick Robinson has also written twelve international bestselling Navy SEAL thrillers. He is Europe's answer to Tom Clancy. His latest novel, Diamondhead, is about al-Qaeda and international arms dealing.