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Saddam's Secrets
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Georges Sada
Saddam's Secrets:  How an Iraqi General Defied and Survived Saddam Hussein (NY:  Thomas Nelson, 2006, 315p.)

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Georges (Gyorgyes) Sada is an Iraqi Christian who served for years as an Air Force officer under dictator Saddam Hussein.  In this book Sada tells his inside story of the years of tightrope-walking uncertainity dealing with the whims and moods of Saddam.

Sada was a pilot, officer and the teacher in the Air Force College.  During his years as a professor, he was often called into Sadaam's presence for tactical advice, and often was the sole opponent of some plan.  He would present objective information on equipment, and assessments of strategies and operational possibilities, even if it was not the answer Saddam wanted.  He says there were times when he thought his time to die had come there in the President's office.  But his very honesty and moral commitment to the truth seemed to be the quality that preserved him, the one reliable voice Saddam could trust for technical expertise.

He reveals the struggles he had as a conscientious Christian, as well as all the intrigues and evil plots he watched Saddam hatch, and all the sufferings of Iraq under Saddam.  He also details how his convictions led him to always speak honestly and tell the truth, even if it was not what Saddam might want to hear, when other leaders were telling Saddam what they thought he wanted to hear, due to their fear for their own safety.

Ancient Christians
Those unaware of the Christian community in Iraq will find this book interesting, as Sada reveals bits of information through his story that build a portrait of the small, faithful minority who trace their heritage back to the first century as believers in Jesus Christ.  He mentions two indigenous Christian churches, "Assyrian" and "Chaldean," whose communities still speak forms of the Aramaic language as their native language.

Especially touching was Sada's story of his time in the Soviet Union in training as a young pilot in Alma Atta, Kazakhstan.  He met another community of Assyrian Christians, who had no Bible in their whole community in the city.  When they found out he was an Assyrian, they asked him if he had a Bible with him.

Accidental Missionary
This community of believers had seen no Bible in over a generation, in their own language or any other.  They had preserved by memory what Bible knowledge they could out of what they had retained from the period when they immigrated from Iraq to the Soviet Union.  Georges loaned his Bible to them for his remaining time in the country, then left it with them as a gift.

They shared this Bible house to house for a week at a time, so each family in the Assyrian community could read some and copy some pages down.  Gradually they would have their own handwritten copies of the Bible, copied from the one printed copy of this Iraqi Assyrian Christian.

Sada tells gives step by step the story of the Iraqi invasion of Iraq that led to the first Gulf War.  He then details the inner operations of the Iraqi military during the First Gulf War and what he refers to as the "Liberation of Iraq" in 2003.  He gives information about Saddam's programs of chemical weapons production ("Weapons of Mass Destruction").

International Corruption
He provides details of disgusting corruption in the Food-for-Oil fiasco, which became an opportunity for United Nations personnel to join the corruption to rake in their share of the funds and participate in the sanctions-breaking activities of illicit trade and bribery that only increased the suffering of the Iraqi people.

He gives step-by-step details of how sanctions only enriched Saddam and his cronies, at the growing expense of the suffering common people, who starved to death or died from diseases due to lack of medicine, while Saddam expanded his opulent living.

This is an insightful and informative story.  The reader gets the feeling that the author has no axes to grind, and that he now feels a sense of relief and freedom with Saddam gone.  He tells the story with the natural flair and authenticity of Georges' insider experience.

Georges is fluent in English from his education and his training with the US Air Force on American planes.  His book includes experiences during his training in Texas.

But the story itself was formed with the cooperation of writer Jim Nelson Black, so the story flows as natural English.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
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[review] Islam:  Its Life and Values
[review] Practical Peace
[review] Sumerians, Arabs and the Invading Coalition
[review] Taliban Trap, Terror and Torture
[review] Why is this Happening?

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Written and Posted on Thoughts and Resources 10 April 2007
Posted on Amazon 2 March 2009

Last edited 6 July 2011

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2007 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

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