Extra, extra, read all about old news, updated x 2
Yesterday the NYT dedicated rivers of ink and dead tree coverage to a story on explosives that disappeared after early April 2003. Coincidentally, the Kerry campaign had soundbites at the ready.
The NYT story misses a few subtle points, among them,
- It’s an old story, folks. If this was so pressing, why did it take the NYT a year and a half to write about it?
- CBS Had Iraq Story, Just Not in Time. The network was the first to know about the missing explosives, but getting interviews on tape proved a problem: “our plan was to run the story on [Oct.] 31, but it became clear that it wouldn’t hold, so the decision was made for the Times to run it.”
- Among the clamor of no WMDs, now, on the last week of the campaign, the NYT writes about these explosives, HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon?
- If the I.A.E.A. knew of this (see January 27, 2003 I.A.E.A. report to the UN Security Council, items 53 and 54) why didn’t they insist that it be disarmed? The weapons disappeared after the last IAEA inspection, which occurred before the invasion
- Following up on the prior point, Captain’s Quarters points out, “Putting aside the fact that no one knows when these munitions disappeared, the fact that they were still there after 12 years of UN inspections and sanctions establishes the futility of the entire UNSCOM process”
- NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army’s 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing
- CNN Report: Explosives already gone when U.S. troops arrived
As Belmont Club points out,
the RDX explosive was already gone by the time US forces arrived. Although one may retrospectively find some fault with OIF order of battle, most of the damage had already been inflicted by the dilatory tactics of America’s allies which allowed Saddam the time and space — nearly half a year and undisturbed access to Syria — necessary to prepare his resistance, transfer money abroad and disperse explosives (as confirmed first hand by reporters). Although it is both desirable and necessary to criticize the mistakes attendant to OIF, much of the really “criminal” neglect may be laid on the diplomatic failure which gave the wily enemy this invaluable opportunity. The price of passing the “Global Test” was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again.
something for which the Kerry campaign won’t have appropriate soundbites.
Then there’s the question of, are the explosives really missing, since, as the NYT story says, “By late 2003, diplomats said, arms agency experts had obtained commercial satellite photos of Al Qaqaa showing that two of roughly 10 bunkers that contained HMX appeared to have been leveled by titanic blasts, apparently during the war”.
Roger L Simon gets it right,
the New York Times report of 380 tons of escaped explosives published this morning was so much propagandistic drivel timed to encourage the defeat of a sitting president in favor of a candidate, I am almost certain, the paper’s publisher and editors do not even care for in the first place. How pathetic is that! How deeply reactionary! This kind of distortion during an election is a worse disgrace than the Jayson Blair affair.
How ironic that the locale in question is named Al-Qaqaa.
Update Cliff May at NRO goes out on a limb,
Sent to me by a source in the government: “The Iraqi explosives story is a fraud. These weapons were not there when US troops went to this site in 2003. The IAEA and its head, the anti-American Mohammed El Baradei, leaked a false letter on this issue to the media to embarrass the Bush administration. The US is trying to deny El Baradei a second term and we have been on his case for missing the Libyan nuclear weapons program and for weakness on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.”
Has the qaqaa hit the fan yet?
2d Update Daily Recycler video now ready for your perusal.