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May 11, 2007

Ex–Iraq chief foresees victory in homeland

The College Republicans hosted former Iraqi General Georges Sada as their spring speaker on May 8. Sada, an Iraqi national who has held leadership positions in both Saddam Hussein’s regime and the new post-invasion Republic of Iraq, spoke about the history of his country, his own experiences there, and his thoughts about the current state of the region.

Sada began with a detailed account of Iraq’s ancient history, explaining that he considers understanding a country’s history to be vital to understanding the country as a whole, pointing out that in particular, Iraq is a “biblical land” that is “very deep in the history.” Citing pre-1920 Iraq, Sada explained that the country has traditionally been ruled by strong monarchs, which has complicated the contemporary introduction of democracy there; he said that “[Iraqi] people don’t understand very much the freedom and democracy.”

A born-again Christian, Sada trained with the American Air Force briefly in the ’60s before returning to Iraq and eventually serving as Hussein’s personal adviser for seven years. He was censured by Hussein for refusing to execute POWs from the Iran-Iraq War, but owing to their formerly close relationship, he was not punished further. According to Sada, generally speaking, to disagree with Hussein was to risk one’s own life.

Speaking on the current Iraq war, which he vigorously supports, he said that much of the American opposition to the war is engaging in politics before policy. He said that since the 2003 invasion, approximately 16,000 American youths had died in drunk driving accidents in California alone, as compared with the 3,500 U.S. soldiers who have so far given their lives in Iraq.

In his recent book, Saddam’s Secrets, he claims that the missing WMDs that have frustrated the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war were actually surreptitiously transferred to Syria prior to the invasion. The claim, however, has not yet to be borne out by publicly available evidence, which he said could only be discovered by wresting the WMDs from Syria.

Countering criticisms of the war, he said that “the terrorists can always be defeated,” and that he is “sure the Iraqis will manage security and do a great job.”

He supports a federal form of government for Iraq that would give minority groups a fair say and potentially undercut much of the current civil strife there.

Looking to the future, he concluded that “everybody should know how to live in peace. Now is the time everyone should sit at the table and dialogue.”