10.25.2004

the world slowly catches up to me

Hoo boy, seems a whole lotta HMX and RDX have been missing from the Al Qaqaa weapons site in Iskandariya (named after Alexander the Great) Iraq for many many months. To which I say, no shit! People were looting the country before we won the war. Nuclear materials were looted from Al-Tuwaitha. Kids were playing with radioactive materials in the street, for crying out loud.

Was allowing things to be looted a mistake?

Deffinately. I was saying the day the war started that every minute we spent fighting was time for things to fall into the hands of terrorists. The chaos of war is the perfect time for things like that to happen and I saw the invasion as the perfect opportunity for terrorists to get ahold of things that Saddam would never have allowed them to have.

I watched as the first reports came in from Tuwaitha claiming some materials had been opened and I watched as the Army moved on to fight in another area. Big mistake, I thought. Then they came back and, lo and behold, things had gone missing. Duh.

I am not a genius, so why the hell am I the only person to think of these things? Why have I never heard anyone ask if these things are making their way to the black market? A few months after the war an Iranian official said in an interview that Iraqi weapons had been showing up on the black market in the region, but he said nothing more than small arms had shown up at the time. He expressed concern that other things would begin appearing. So it's like me and one Iranian who are worried about these things. That seems to be all. Why?

Ok, so John Kerry has latched onto it as a crib against Bush. No surprise there and though his motivations are purely political, it's still a valid criticism.

Drudge is making a big deal of it, calling it an "October surprise" though that's obviously not the case since the story came to light via the Iraqi interim government.

You can tell the Bush administration has already gotten to Drudge for he's trying to spin it as a "liberal media" conspiracy, pointing out that the news organizations keep repeating the story (um, hello, they repeat all stories over and over and over) and that the explosives were gone when troops arrived on April 10, 2003, "one day after liberation".

That's probably questionable because the site itself is immense and it's hard to say they deffinately weren't there unless you've combed the whole place. Inventories on places like this take months, not hours and we never stayed at most of these complexes. Instead, we "secured" most of them for a few hours and left. I cringed every time this happened and it happened a lot. Since Al Qaqaa was listed as "medium priority", I'd say we almost certainly left it unguarded after "securing" it.

But the main point is that we started the war on March 22, 2003. We knew the explosives were there and we had 19 days to do something about it and didn't. Sites such as this should have been a number one priority for the "shock and awe" bombing campaign. Instead, we focused on political targets. Hey, what was our goal here? Weapons that terrorists might get ahold of or Baathists? It should have been the former, but we all know it was the latter.

Somehow in our rush to fight the war against weapon proliferation, we did the one thing that guaranteed we would fail. I don't know if this is "Bush's fault" or not. I'm one of those people who don't think the president, any president, is responsible for every little thing, but I do think this is a very amateur screw up. I mean, I saw it coming and I'm an amateur. I have a hard time imagining that if I were president that I wouldn't demand the weapons complexes be wiped out with extreme prejudice, first. Before they could either be used or moved (I did not forsee the looting, but I did forsee unsecured sites being scoured by anyone from local Iraqis to terrorists. If I were a terrorist, I'd have been in Iraq during the war to get my hands on anything I could)

We were watching these facilities and should have known that if the area was going to erupt in chaos, the buildings need to be destroyed first. If Kennedy had invaded Cuba during the missile crisis, do you think he would have left the missiles alone until the ground troops could get to them? If you were going to launch a military campaign against Tennessee to disable whatever weapons programs are present, how could you possibly think you could leave the Oak Ridge facilities alone for three weeks while the infantry fought their way to it? No, you bomb that shit and bomb it hard.

You can trust that they'll still be left unmolested by the time you get there, but by taking out the complexes you take out the whole problem altogether. I saw this a couple days after the war started, why has it taken a year and a half for everyone else to catch up?



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