Former Iraqi General Sada has written a book titled Saddam’s Secrets. This guy claims to have been the number two man in Saddam’s Air Force and part of Saddam’s inner circle. This despite being a Christian, and contending that he told Saddam the hard truth, whether it was what he wanted to hear or not. Now Tariq Aziz was also a Christian, although Aziz was often touted as “the only Christian in the Iraqi government”. Perhaps Sada was considered military and not government, but it does call into question just how tight he was with Saddam. My point being mostly, that I’m not sure how credible this guy is, and most of those who could validate his claims are dead.
By far, his most provocative claim is that just prior to the U.S. invasion, Saddam ordered the removal of all his WMDs to Syria. The exodus was executed by both truck and plane. And Sada claims to have spoken directly to several pilots who flew WMDs into Syria. Sada’s claim is that this is why the U.S. has not found WMDs in Iraq.
This is an interesting claim, and really changes the historical landscape for the Bush administration – if only it were true. But several things trouble me about this story, so I doubt its veracity.
First, Sada claims he was not involved in the transport of the WMDs to Syria. But if he was really the #2 guy in the Air Force, and military transports were used to get the weapons out of the country, is it really likely that he’d have been out of the loop? Saddam just doesn’t seem like the sort of micromanager who would directly contact lower level field commanders to execute an order such as this. It seems more likely a chain of command would have been used.
Further, it is in the Bush administration’s best interest for this story to be true. It would justify the war and possibly restore credibility to an administration that is clearly on the ropes right now. And moreover, the administration has hardly been unwilling to assert sophistries in the past. Hell, Cheney’s still sticking to the Iraqi involvement in 9/11 as well as the WMD story. Why not assert that the weapons were squirreled away into Syria? It’s not like we’re worried about ticking them off.
But I think the administration knows it would need to answer for the implications of this claim. For months (at least) prior to the invasion, we had Iraq blanketed with satellites, radar, and every other snooping technique we had at out disposal. How could we have missed a convoy into Syria? We’ve enforced no-fly zones over part of Iraq for years, and have clearly been monitoring air traffic in and out of the country. Wouldn’t military planes flying in and out of Syria have raised a few eyebrows somewhere?
I can’t accept that our military is that incompetent. And I can’t accept that the administration would pass up the opportunity to cover its collective butt if there were even reasonable plausibility to this claim. Therefore, I’m forced to conclude that Sada knows way more about selling books than he knows about the regime of Saddam Hussein.