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March 22, 2006
JON STEWART interviews Iraqi General George Sada (video is available here) and there's some interesting discussion in which Sada says that there absolutely were Weapons of Mass Destruction. (The interesting part starts at about 3/4 of the way in, with 2:45 remaining.) Sada says they were transported to Syria just before the United States invaded Iraq. "I have seen them myself, because you see I was the number two man in the Iraqi Air Force."
I haven't read Sada's new book, but it seems significant to me that he's getting attention from the likes of Jon Stewart, who's certainly no Administration mouthpiece. (Thanks to reader Adam Jensen for the tip.)
UPDATE: Reader Alan Goldstein thinks there's less here than meets the eye: "on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC-FM on March 9th General George said he didn't actually see them himself."
Ian Schwartz has the video too, and a transcript.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dana Buzzell emails:
I believe George Sada's comments about seeing/not seeing the WMD in Iraq are consistent. I didn't see the Brian Lehrer Show, but I saw Sada on other shows and he said he didn't personally see the WMDs being transferred to Syria, but did see them in Iraq, prior to their removal.
Here's a link to the Lehrer show. And James Lileks, who has read the book, emails:
In his book he doesn't say he saw the WMD sent to Syria, but he describes the operation, and says this:
"My own knowledge of these transfers [WMD to Syria] doesn't come from any of the published reports but from a man who was actually involved in the transfers - a civilian pilot who witnessed the commercial 747 going back and forth between Syria and Iraq at that time. And he has confirmed for me that it happened just this way."
Sada says there were about 56 transfers. He is much more specific about his first-hand knowledge of a planned WMD attack on Israel in the run-up to the first Gulf War, but of course we have to take his word for it all. Or not.
MORE: Bill Quick has further, uncomplimentary, thoughts about the Administration's PR strategy.