Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Perhaps Kerry Thinks We Should Have Gone Into Iraq Earlier?

Lots of noise about what the missing explosives....it's really going bang!

Pentagon officials said yesterday that Iraq had already admitted to breaking the IAEA seals and moving tons of the explosives from the Al Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad, before U.N. inspectors re-entered the country in 2002.

CBS and NYT (those paragons of journalistic integrity) developed a story around the missing material. According to Drudge, The source behind the NYT story first went to CBSNEWS' 60 MINUTES last Wednesday, but the beleaguered network wasn't able to get the piece on the air as fast as the newspaper could print. Executive producer Jeff Fager hoped to break the story during a high-impact election eve broadcast of 60 MINS on October 31. But no doubt Kerry slipping in the polls sent NYT into higher gear and they ran with the story Monday.

Although the NYT and CBS say that the Iraqi government claimed the materiel went missing during postwar looting, the IAEA did not publically mention the missing explosives until AFTER the CBS-NYT report, which suggests political timing on their part.

As the Kerry Spot notes, citing IAEA reports: As a measure of the size of the stockpile, one large truck can carry about 10 tons, meaning that the missing explosives could fill a fleet of almost 40 trucks."

Forty trucks filled with explosives pulled away from an Iraqi arms depot during the invasion or occupation? Yeah, right. U.S. air power and/or ground forces would have pulverized them. I'd bet a Krispy Kreme doughnut that at least a big chunk of these explosive materials were taken before the war.

Even the LA Times, as they were condemning the adminstration, still noted there was something weird with this picture:

Considering that al Qaqaa was a major munitions installation where the US also suspected there might be WMD, it's difficult to believe that we wouldn't have noticed a convoy of forty huge trucks carting stuff away.

Interesting to notice that the last time IAEA checked their seals on this stuff had to be ca. March 8, 2003. The war began March 19. You think Saddam was sitting on his hands that entire time? This man who was obsessed with holding onto his stockpiles of munitions?

Drudge quotes a top Republican as saying "The U.S. Army was at the site one day after the liberation and the weapons were already gone." NBC embedded reporters and others were there in April, and there were no munitions. IAEA papers speculate perhaps that they moved munitions out of the bunkers (at least one of which was destroyed outright) and moved them into fields where they would be accessible to be looted, BUT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THIS HAPPENED.

Lockhart immediately called it a coverup. Edwards tried to make an issue of this, which led one official to email Drudge and ask, Does he think we should have gone in earlier?

As Jim Geraghty reports:

But there was one point when the U.S. clearly wasn’t going to be bombing any convoys - the tense days before the war. Would an aerial reconnaissance pilot start the war before the President gave the authorization because he or a satellite saw trucks leaving an arms depot? As the Hussein regime prepared for war, weren’t trucks leaving arms depots all the time, bringing supplies and ammunition to the troops along Iraq’s southern border? ....But the alternative is that Iraqi looters walked/drove away with 350 tons of this stuff after the Coalition was in the neighborhood. You don’t just walk away with 350 tons with it tucked in your shirt one handful at a time. Or, alternatively, one has to believe that the Coalition troops just ignored a 40 truck convoy leaving an Iraqi arms depot.


Who is grasping at straws?

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