10.26.2004

update to the missing explosives

Ok, there's very little new information of substance to comment on except how it's being spun. Again, Drudge, who is obviously in close contact with the white house spinsters, is working hard to make this a nonstory. Apparently 60 minutes originally planned to report this on Oct 31 which according to Drudge is "24 hours before election day." Looks like he's using some sort of new math.

Well, it might seem a little fishy to run the story two days before the election except for two things. One, the story doesn't really implicate Bush in any way and two, that is a reasonable time table for the story to evolve and make it onto a news show. I don't think 60 Minutes was trying to influence the election, but I do think that if the story was going to be shown that day they should have stepped back and thought about it first, which they apparently did several days ago, to their credit.

Drudge is also calling it a "repackaged 2003 story" but it's not. It does appear that the Army searched the complex rather well after all in 2003 and found no HMX, RDX and PETN, however it also appears that they either didn't know there was supposed to be any there or simply forgot to tell anyone because it wasn't reported until now and now it is geniunely news to everyone involved.

The timetable is this; the Iraqi government contacted the IAEA a couple weeks ago and alerted them that the stuff was missing. The IAEA looked into it and five days later alerted U.S. officials which investigated it on their own and confirmed that, yes indeed, the stuff was missing.

If this is in any way an October surprise meant to influence the election, the blame lies squarely on the Iraqi interim government. All the IAEA did was pass the information along, and, again, the US government launched an investigation when they heard it so it's obviously not something they were aware of.

It sort of feels to me like the Army took an inventory of what was there in 2003, but no one thought to compare that to what was supposed to be there.

At any rate, this story has become so political that it will only devolve into nonsense. Kerry is right that there should have been a plan to deal with these sites better, but he's hammering Bush over it with too little information and the White House is just spinning it away as if it's all a load of crap since the explosives were gone when the troops got there, which is totally not the point.



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