SAN DIEGO, May 21, 2015 — On the heels of Jeb Bush’s adjusted answer following Megyn Kelly’s Fox News interview in which she asked if he would have invaded Iraq, knowing what we know today, other potential Republican 2016 candidates are falling into step with their own answers to the question.
The answer, seemingly obvious, is “No. Since we have now established that our intelligence was erroneous and Iraq had no WMD’s, there was no point for the war.”
Unfortunately, very few are asking an important follow-up question: Was the intelligence really wrong?
I investigated this subject through research and a radio interview back in 2013. International columnist and college professor Amir George insisted that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction really did exist. Speaking on my own radio program, (“The Bob Siegel Radio Show,” KCBQ 1170 San Diego) George, who was promoting his book, “Liberating Iraq,” offered some interesting insight into America’s search for the WMD that prompted the Iraq war.
An Iraqi who at the time taught at Chiba University in Chiba, Japan, George was in Iraq both before and after America’s invasion. He was involved with early relief efforts after the war.
Since finding WMDs was the stated intention of the Bush administration’s military campaign, George’s testimony helped re-open a news story that many thought had long since ridden off into the sunset. George’s revelations are corroborated by other witnesses, long since put on record but mostly ignored or underplayed by the mainstream media.
The information in his book is drawn from meetings with the Iraqi prime minister and foreign minister, top U.S. and international officials, and the Iraqi people themselves.
When asked how he obtained such connections, George said, “We were there before the war … We brought the first relief truck of supplies right after the war. And as you can imagine, right after war, things are pretty much in flux. So it’s basically whoever got there first kind of knew everybody and it developed from there.”
George’s primary purpose in granting the interview to KCBQ was to help our country understand that many Iraqi people at that time appreciated the American military, not only for their obvious liberation from an evil dictator, but also for a “spiritual renewal.” George credits this renewal to the kindness of the American soldiers.
But lightning seemed to strike in the middle of George’s interview when the subject of Iraq’s WMDs was raised. George freely and persuasively offered an account that contradicts conventional wisdom that America’s intelligence was mistaken or that “Bush lied.”
“Well, it’s fascinating to everybody, to be perfectly frank,” George said. “All I can say is that first of all, one of our distant relatives was actually a part of the situation right before the war and he directly says they flew part of them into Iran, they flew other parts of them into Syria and then other parts of them they buried in the desert. And, well, we detail in the book, we had a number of conversations and the conversations were always very strange, because nobody really can talk about it.”
When asked how the Bush administration could have failed to hear of these accounts and why they would not have vindicated themselves if they had known the truth, George said that very question was put directly to a U.S. soldier in Iraq who replied, “I can’t tell you, but what would you do if you were looking for something that was supposed to be somebody else’s and you found it and it turned out to be yours?”
In other words, at least some of those weapons had been supplied to Saddam Hussein by the United States during Iraq’s war with Iran.
“Essentially what happened,” George explained, “was there were all the weapons that, you know, we thought there were but they had been from a previous generation and most of them were ours as well as our allies’ … So … I think every one was stuck with this catch-22 situation … Either you say that you couldn’t find them or you say we found them and they’re ours … each of them being equally difficult … and they chose as far as we can tell … ‘we couldn’t find them.’”
George’s radio spot provided an interesting sequel to my earlier 2005 interview with Victor Mordecai, former Israeli defense force spokesman for the Judea and Samaria command and former senior editor/translator for the government press office under Prime Minister Hakluyt Shamir.
When asked whether Iraq’s WMDs existed and found their way into other countries, Mordecai replied, “The answer is definitely ‘yes.’ And by the way, my wife … Egyptian-born and Arabic-speaking, works in intelligence gathering. And they were watching the satellite monitors of these tremendous 18-wheelers, crossing over from Iraq into Syria, prior to the recent war in Iraq, prior to the American invasion of Iraq. And the weapons were sent to Syria; the weapons were sent to Libya; the weapons were sent to Sudan.”
He went on to talk about “the gassing of the blacks in the south of Sudan from the weapons they received from Iran and Iraq.”
Suggesting that the Bush administration would, in all likelihood, have been privy to Israeli intelligence, Mordecai was asked the same question that was put to Amir George: Why would President Bush not vindicate himself?
Mordecai’s answer was brief and sobering: “Three letter word: O-I-L.”
Mordecai’s comments were not the only revelations from Israel.
An article in the 2005 Middle East Quarterly described an appearance on Israel’s Channel 2 on Dec. 23, 2002, of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. The prime minister said, “Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.”
The Syrian government denied the claim. But Syria’s stellar reputation for truth telling did not discourage the New York Sun from investigating further.
In 2006, Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, told the Sun that Saddam “transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria.”
A little more than a month later, the Sun obtained an additional interview, this time with an Iraqi general, Georges Sada, the second in command of Saddam Hussein’s air force. Sada went on record to say that weapons of mass destruction were hidden in commercial airplanes and smuggled into Syria prior to America’s arrival. This was made possible by the removal of passenger seats.
“There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands … I am confident they were taken over.”
Sada claims to have obtained this information first hand from the pilots of the two airliners who approached him quietly and confided in him.
“I know them very well. They are very good friends of mine. We trust each other. We are friends.”
For safety reasons, Sada refrained from mentioning names.
According to these pilots, two Iraqi Airways Boeings carried “yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel.” They also mentioned 56 flights and other weapons removed from the country in trucks.
“Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming,” Sada continued. “They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians.”
When asked about Sada, Amir George confirmed his story.
“Those are exactly the facts. They were flown to Iran, they were shipped across the border to Syria, and then buried in the desert. So the situation in Syria that’s developing in many ways is connected to this.”
The variety of corroborating testimony warrants a second look into America’s confusing rapport with Iraq so that our history books can be written properly.
Assuming these reports are true, it is anybody’s guess why George Bush would not have chosen to disclose the information.
The fact that America once supported Iraq against Iran was not a secret. Did the timing seem difficult? Would the discovery of our own weapons look embarrassing after we provided the world with such a compelling case to remove WMDs?
Was there an additional motive regarding our oil interests, as suggested by Victor Mordecai?
Was America’s need for oil so important and so delicate that our government chose to ignore the shipping of weapons from one country to another so as to not upset the balance of power in that delicate, unstable part of the world?
Did it seem easier and more diplomatic to act as if our intelligence were wrong?
Whatever the reasons, nobody profits from a lie. In this case, hiding the source of Hussein’s weapons spawned a much worse tale. Historical revisionists continue to suggest that George Bush invented a phony excuse to go to war. How sad if covering up one lie is the reason our former commander-in-chief was accused of telling a much worse lie.
This is especially ironic to people like Amir George, who wrote his book for a more important reason than discussing WMDs. Quite simply, he wants America to know that Iraq is glad we liberated her from an evil tyrant.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
This current article includes portions of a previous article Bob wrote on the subject of WMDs back in October of 2013. His radio interview with Amir George was on Sept. 1, 2013 and is still posted at www.bobsiegel.net.