This interview with John Hamre (formerly a deputy Defense secretary under Clinton) from GovExec mentions that the criminals that Saddam Hussein let out of jail prior to the US invasion of Iraq are contributing to the security woes there. Looking back, I wonder if at that point the general release of basically everyone that the government had improsioned was a sure indicator that Saddam knew that the invasion was inevitable and that there was no way the Iraqi army could stand up to the US. Most people here knew that both invasion and victory were inevitable, but I think the conventional wisdom has been that Saddam is an idiot who throught that war could be averted or that Iraq could somehow win. I don’t see any rationale that explains emptying the jails other than that Saddam knew how the war was going to go down, and that having thousands of additional violent criminals (on top of the ones that he employed as part of the regime) would make the ensuing occupation more difficult.