Destruction Styles Considered Devastating

Take a container of chemical and dump it in a large city’s water supply and perhaps 100,000 people will die. Or, take a car bomb — with a nuclear payload — and the property damage and loss of life would be difficult to measure.
The designated target was Washington, D.C.
These different forms of destruction, recorded on tape, considered in 1998 focusing on the U.S. capital, were held in Iraq long before the Sept. 11,2001 terrorist attack on New York City.
The voice of one man in the group was positively recognized as Saddam Hussein, now deposed Iraqi dictator.
Gen. Georges Sada, one of Hussein’s top generals and foremost military advisors, identified the dictator’s voice, recognizing it from his long and stormy relationship with the Iraqi leader.
Sada, author of Saddam’s Secrets, spoke to the Downtown Rotary Club on Dec. 6.
He, and Dr. Terry Law, president of World Compassion, presented a program that focused not only on Iraq during the Hussein regime, but what now is happening and why any American pullout must be victorious, not a sign of weakness.
Make no mistake, Sada stated, Iraq did have a variety of biological and chemical weapons and was one-year way from having an atomic bomb. Hussein, using the guise of a humanitarian effort, was able to get the weapons out of the country before U.N. inspection teams discovered them.
While the conflict rages between in Iraq, there also is some positive news escaping world attention.
There is a real success story in northern Iraq where the Kurds are building their country and want Americans to help develop their oil reserves, Law said. But the big focus is on the fighting in Baghdad. The conflict is between groups that do not understand the legal and election process and that they can nave a voice in government without violence.
Gen. Sada has been instrumental in getting the freedom of religion amendment in the Iraqi constitution, he continued. It also is the result of a lot of urging from many people outside the Arab world, he said. He (Sada) has been a key player in trying to bring order to the country.
That became very clear to the Tulsan when he was enroute to Baghdad to meet with the country’s leaders on the religious freedom, human rights issues.
Law had reached London’s Heathrow Airport when he received a call the meeting Baghdad had been cancelled because the parties were going to the White House in Washington, D.C.
‘‘I was wondering what to do when I received a call on my cell phone from Megan O’Sullivan from the White House asking about my work in that country,’’ he said.
He was ‘‘unofficially’’ encouraged to pursue getting the religious freedom amendment in the new constitution, adding that it would take thousands of names from people throughout the world, especially the United States.
Law got those names at a later meeting in Baghdad, met with officials. He presented the petitions and asked if they would consider amendment.
There was no answer from officials about the request for the religious freedom amendment, but Law later was informed that it was Article 44 on human rights and it was part of the new constitution.
Law credited Sada with helping get the amendment added.
Sada, who trained as a pilot for the Iraqi Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio in the 1960s, said he bought a white 1965 Chevrolet — with Texas tags — and drove it while he was in training. He took the vehicle when he returned to his country.
It was when he picked up his wife from a school where she taught that he met Hussein’s wife for the first time.
The next day, when he went to pick up his wife from school, he also met Hussein who was waiting for a ride outside the building.
Hussein came to power in 1968 and Sada quickly moved up in the military and became an advisor.
‘‘It is important to understand that I am an Assyrian, one of the indigenous people in Iraq,’’ he said. ‘‘I also am a Christian in a Muslim world.’’
Sada quickly learned about the volatility of his position when he was forced into retirement in 1986.
He had failed to attend a party given by Hussein.
He stated his reasons — an Arabic background and Christianity — and it meant that he would not be a three star general commanding the country’s fighter planes.
‘‘Hussein was very angry when I went to see him,’’ Sada recalled. ‘‘He reminded me that I had disagreed with him 18 times. I was amazed that he remembered each time.’’
But, Hussein also admitted that he checked each of the 18 disagreements and found that Sada had told the truth and was correct.
Too often, Hussein’s advisors would tell the dictator what he wanted to hear.
Retirement ended just prior to the first Gulf War when Hussein made it clear that he wanted Sada back — because he told the truth.
The first information he wanted was data on the capability of aircraft from a carrier and other weapons that might be used against the country.
Sada also, for a short time went to the bunker that Hussein was supposed to use. He lay down in the bed the dictator would have slept in, but when the initial bombardment of Iraq started, he left the area.
When he returned, there was a large piece of concrete on the bed. Had he not left, he would have been killed.
Two British pilots became the first prisoners of war shortly after the fighting began in January, 1991. Soon, there would be 45 pilots, including 25 Americans, 16 Britons and flyers from several from other countries.
Sada was placed in charge of the POWs and immediately obtained a copy of the Geneva Convention rules to ensure they were properly treated.
He would stand up to Hussein when the dictator’s son came in and demanded the men be executed.
‘‘Don’t show me that book (Geneva Convention rules),’’ the irate son told Sada.
It took a long time to convince Hussein that should the executions occur that he would face an all-out war with the Americans.
Finally, he relented, but wanted to use the prisoners as a shield in some of the vital Iraq areas, again another violation of the Geneva Convention.
Sada was arrested for his stand and placed into prison, across from two British pilots John Nichols and John Peters. They didn’t know each other until many years later when a special meeting was arranged in London.
The British government honored Sada for his role in saving the pilots, something the American government has yet to do, Law told the Rotarians. The group responded with applause of appreciation at his request to honor the speaker.
‘‘It was my duty,’’ Sada responded, ‘‘in the perfect way to praise Jesus Christ.’’
Law also found he would be involved in the negotiating process when he was invited to meet with a group of leaders in Amman, Jordan.
‘‘I called the White House, informing them of the proposed meeting and was told not to go because these men were severe terrorists,’’ he said. ‘‘I told Gen. Sada ‘these guys were bad dudes’ and I really didn’t want to go.’’
But Law found himself on the aircraft bound for Jordan to meet with the seven leaders. He and Sada were met at the airport by an entourage in seven stretch limos and taken to the meeting.
Sada told the leaders about Law calling the White House and the advice not to go to the meeting.
The only thing Law knew was that everyone was heartily laughing. It was only after Sada’s discussion with the leaders that he was told what was said.
‘‘You said what?’’ was Law’s reply.
The leaders wanted Law to call the White House immediately with a list of their requests.
He listed their demands and made the telephone call.
Sada worked with various Sunni leaders, encouraging them to participate in the elections, a process that took patience and time.
Yes, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Sada said. Hussein was able to get them out of the country under the guise of offering humanitarian assistance. Large aircraft made flights from Baghdad to Damascus carrying yellow barrels marked with a skull and crossbones.
There were 550 missiles found in Iraq with mustard gas that were destroyed. Hussein destroyed some, but there were many tests before this happened.
The casualties were 4,500 villages destroyed with extensive loss of life, mostly women and children.
America was right to attack when it did, Sada continued. Yes, it is sad that about 3,000 of your people have been killed. But that is a small number when compared to the number of fatalities in automobile accidents.
Don’t politicize the issue, Sada said. The Iraqi army now has 325,000 soldiers and the government is getting stronger. As these forces become better trained, let them take over the security of the country.
They know how to deal with these terrorists.
Iraqis like to fall into the hands of Americans because they get four meals a day. That is now that happens when Iraqi forces capture them.
Sada didn’t elaborate.
America must pull out with a victory, he said. If not, it will be perceived as a sign of weakness and the terrorists will carry the fight to American soil, he warned.

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