If you want to understand just how profoundly badly we mis-judged Saddam and his intentions read these two excellent reports:
1. Saddam's War: An Iraqi Military Perspective of the Iran-Iraq War
2. Iraqi Perspectives Project
Why does this matter now?
Name your enemy. There is no such thing as a crazy or mad enemy. Everyone acts rationally. What is rational for a particular leader and people will depend on their culture.