A detailed and revealing article from Foreign Affairs regarding the inside story on Iraq and the Baathist regime leading up to the current Gulf war. It makes the interesting point, among others, that by 2002 Iraq's leadership honestly believed that they no longer had any prohibited WMD or WMD-development programs, but ironically, their own efforts to clean up and make certain there were no leftover artifacts or papers left -- in compliance with the UN resolution -- helped convince inspectors, in the light of Iraq's past record of deception and non-cooperation, that Iraq was once again dissembling and hiding the truth. "Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you." Except that this time, for once, they weren't fooling.
I started out trying to summarize the most important key mistakes and failures of Hussein's Baathist regime, as detailed in this article. However, I had to abandon the effort, because there were just too many. Really. It's a train-wreck.
It's no miracle that the Iraqi military folded up as fast and as easily as they did. The wonder is perhaps is that they didn't desert en masse the moment opposing troops appeared and request political asylum.