On December 15, The New York Sun’s Ira Stoll reported that Israeli General Moshe Yaalon’s statement that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction had been moved to Syria six weeks before the war started. Today he follows up with the testimony of Saddam Hussein’s number two Air Force officer Georges Sada: “Iraq’s WMD secreted in Syria.” Sada’s testimony provides previously unreported details:
Mr. Sada, 65, told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq approached him in the middle of 2004, after Saddam was captured by American troops.
“I know them very well. They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends as pilots,” Mr. Sada said of the two pilots. He declined to disclose their names, saying they are concerned for their safety. But he said they are now employed by other airlines outside Iraq.
The pilots told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including “yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel.” The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.
The flights – 56 in total, Mr. Sada said – attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.
Can Sada’s testimony be confirmed? Stoll’s report doesn’t provide much ground for optimism:
Short of discovering the weapons in Syria, those seeking to validate Mr. Sada’s claim independently will face difficulty. His book contains a foreword by a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, David Eberly, who was a prisoner of war in Iraq during the first Gulf War and who vouches for Mr. Sada, who once held him captive, as “an honest and honorable man.”
In his visit to the Sun yesterday, Mr. Sada was accompanied by Terry Law, the president of a Tulsa, Oklahoma based Christian humanitarian organization called World Compassion. Mr. Law said he has known Mr. Sada since 2002, lived in his house in Iraq and had Mr. Sada as a guest in his home in America. “Do I believe this man? Yes,” Mr. Law said. “It’s been solid down the line and everything checked out.”
Said Mr. Law, “This is not a publicity hound. This is a man who wants peace putting his family on the line.”
This is one issue on which hearsay and character witnesses won’t cut it. We need what Othello referred to as “the ocular proof.” Let’s hope that Sada’s scheduled meetings next week with Senators Sessions and Inhofe of the Senate Armed Services Committee result in further investigation of Sada’s claims.
UPDATE: Rick Moran of Right Wing Nuthouse comments: “Oh, those pesky WMDs!”