I recently read Saddam's Secrets: How An Iraqi General Defied And Survived Saddam Hussein by Iraqi General Georges Sada. Saddam's Secrets is a biographical book about General Sada. Reading this biography provided a glimpse into life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein as well as a sketch of Saddam's megalomania.
Among the most interesting points in the book are:
- During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, 147 bridges were demolished by coalition bombers and missile strikes. In 2003, by contrast, not a single bridge was destroyed.
- Saddam was intent on attacking Israel with chemical weapons in 1991. However, such plans were not carried out because it became apparent that Israel possessed such sophisticated technology that such an attack would have been futile. For instance, Israeli aircraft had very advanced radar with the capability to see more than 125 miles in any direction whereas the Iraqi planes could only see for about 15 miles. Also, Israeli laser-guided missiles could lock on Iraqi fighters while they were still 65 miles away and fire at them at a range of at least fifty miles.
- Of the 606 Kuwaitis captured by Iraq during the Gulf War, 605 were killed by Saddam.
- Saddam placed military bunkers under civilian shelters so as to preempt any attacks on military command and control centers.
- During the five months preceding the commencement of hostilities in the Gulf War, the United Nations Security Council put forth 12 separate resolutions condemning Saddam's actions and calling for immediate withdrawal from Kuwait. His refusal to cooperate with those demands led to the formation of one of the most formidable coalitions in military history, representing 31 nations from five continents. Ten of these nations had predominantly Arab or Muslim populations.
- Of the approximately 360,000 Iraqi soldiers on the battlefield during the Gulf War, 28% of them (nearly 100,000) were killed in action, and as many as 200,000 sustained serious injuries. In addition, coalition forces captured 60,000 prisoners, and by some estimates there may have been as many as 150,000 deserters. As for casualties on the other side, 390 American soldiers, sailors, and airmen died in combat, while 458 were wounded in action. Among coalition forces, there was a total of 510 casualties.
- Saddam was making a fortune by evading oil sanctions. (According to a report of the Independent Inquiry Committee of the United Nations, headed by Paul Volker, more than 2,200 companies participating in the UN's Oil-for-Food program paid at least $1.8 billion in kickbacks to Saddam.) One method was by swapping oil with Iran. Thus, when inspectors checked the properties of oil being shipped in the Gulf, they would determine that the oil came from Iran. Iran was able to ship out Iraqi oil with ease because no one checked their oil shipments since they were not subject to sanctions.
- In 2003, when the terrorists came and bombed 18 churches in Iraq, many Assyrians left the country. Within three months, between 35,000 and 50,000 Christians left Iraq.
- Saddam had Chinese technicians working on nuclear bombs in China on behalf of Iraq. Saddam took advantage of an irrigation dam collapse in Syria in June 2002 to spirit WMD out of Iraq. There were 56 sorties of commercial airliners that whisked away WMD to Syria under the guise of humanitarian relief.
- A law in Iraq stipulated that at least one close relative must remain in Iraq when another relative was traveling or living outside of Iraq.
- There was a law in Iraq that held that everyone must watch Saddam's speeches on television. Some Iraqis were murdered by Saddam simply for turning off the television when he was making a speech.
- Before the coalition invasion in 2003, Saddam distributed more than eight million AK-47s to the popular army, and another four million were stolen from the military arsenals. Saddam released 150,000 criminals from Iraqi jails in 2003 to destabilize Iraq.
- In addition to the killing of many Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War and many Kuwaitis during the Kuwaiti Invasion, Saddam killed more Baath Party members than any other person. Saddam killed more officers of the Iraqi Army than any other person or nation. Saddam killed more Tikritis than any other man. Saddam killed more clerics of all the major Muslim denominations and tribes than any other man.
Two other books about Saddam Hussein that I found very informative are: a) I Was Saddam's Son by Latif Yahia and Karl Wendl which discusses Saddam and Uday Hussein's sadistic behavior; and b) Saddam: King of Terror by Con Coughlin which discusses Saddam's rise to power.