10.27.2004

Another update to the missing explosives

I haven't kept track of this very well, but I did happen to catch a snippet of NBC news last night in which they made clear that when their reporter was there in April 2003 they weren't looking for the explosives. They were looking for nuke-chem-bio weapons and, as NBC clarified, they never said those explosives weren't there.

And today the Iraqi government says it was impossible that the explosives went missing before the troops arrived.
"The officials that were inside this facility (Al-Qaqaa) beforehand confirm that not even a shred of paper left it before the fall and I spoke to them about it and they even issued certified statements to this effect which the US-led coalition was aware of." -- Mohammed al-Sharaa, who heads the science ministry's site monitoring department and previously worked with UN weapons inspectors under Saddam.
This all still misses the point. It is not relevant exactly when the stuff went missing. It would be nice to know, but it is not important. The fact is that it went missing when we should have known better. Either before of after the troops arrived we should have taken care of the problem. The government's line seems to be that it's all ok if it was missing before troops arrived, but in reality this excuse just means that we screwed up earlier rather than later.

The timeline of these explosives goes something like this: They were there before the war. They weren't going anywhere. Inspectors checked on the routinely. No doubt our spy sattelites would have known if a massive operation was underway to move them. The war starts. A year and a half later we realize they're missing. Somewhere in there these explosives went missing and their disappearance was facilitated by our actions.

How big of a deal is it that this stuff is missing? Well, it's pretty damn important. The stuff that is missing is available for purchase all over the world, however, it's not easy to get 380 tons of it and whoever has the stuff just walked up and got it for free. They didn't have to have operatives all over the world making small purchases while hoping none of it would be traced back to them, they just walked up and voila, they're three quarters of a million pounds richer in high explosives, and no one even knows they have them.

It's like a machine gun, you can get them all over the world so it's not a big deal if a terrorist gets ahold of one and it's hard for them to purchase a million without someone noticing, but if you know where there's a big pile of 760,000 of them and suddenly realize they're missing it's a bit different. Somebody was extremely lucky and we need to find out who and where they are. It doesn't matter when they went missing. What matters is finding them and finding out what else is missing. Unfortunately we won't even allow U.N. arms inspectors back in to help with that.

The problem now is that it's a political issue. The biggest part of this story is whether they went missing before the troops arrived or not, which as I have said is irrelevant. But, sadly, that's going to be the issue.

Let's look at how stupid the politicians are:

First, I don't have any Kerry quotes but I think he was wrong for blaming it all on Bush and, it seemed to me, making too many accusations without knowing very many facts. So I thinnk they're both being asshole politicians about it.

But I do have Bush quotes which are surreal to the max:

Bush: "If Senator Kerry had his way... Saddam Hussein would still be in power. He would control those all of those weapons and explosives and could share them with his terrorist friends."

Of course the reality is that under Bush, those weapons are likely in the hands of terrorists and we don't have the first clue where they have them. No leads, no nothing. They have a year and a half head start. It's doubtful that Saddam would have given them to terrorists for a couple reasons. One, the terrorists probably would have used them against him and two, we would have known he did it. If we hadn't have invaded Iraq, those explosives would still be under heavy monitoring and couldn't have gone anywhere. As it is, their disappearance is a direct result of the war. I'm not saying we should have avioded war for this single reason, believe me I have about 500 other reasons, I'm just showing the ignorance and hypocracy that is, unfortunately, Bush's calling card..

Bush follows up with this scathing criticism of Kerry: "And a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief." (repeated in both Pennsylvania and Ohio today, and probably every other speech he gives between now and Nov 2)

A valid criticism, but, ahem, isn't that precisely what the hell Bush did when he invaded Iraq and drained out armed forces because of phantom weapons? I agree it's wrong to criticize someone without knowing all the facts, but if simple criticism is so wrong, imagine how wrong it must be to go to war without all the facts!



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